As I worked on major terrain forming along the mountain grade of my railroad, one spot in the valley portion of the railroad commanded similar terrain attention. The Willamette River crossing between Eugene and Springfield was one of my earliest efforts with paint defining a scene. The bridges were installed five years ago during the early part of mainline construction.
This area also saw some of my earliest artist attempts to both represent the Willamette River and expanding the scene onto the backdrop. This river crossing also served as the first significant scene for photography as a scene (as opposed to bare plywood and track). With my terrain forming skills well-honed over the past year, it was time to fill in the river banks.
As I noted in my early posts on this scene, space was limited, just as it is almost everywhere on a model railroad. The early efforts took note of the need to use a shorter bridge than the prototype. Still, an acceptable solution was found by doing what a railroad engineer would do--order a pair of standard bridges to span the river. The limited space also impacted the space for the river banks. I extended the cut into the plywood subroadbed on both sides of the river as far as I thought I could. As I looked at this scene more carefully, I found I could trim a bit more of the plywood, helping expand the river banks a bit more.
Willamette River crossing much as it has been for the past five years. The plywood subroadbed on both sides has been trimmed back a bit more--about an inch or so on the right side in this view. This makes the approach trestle span a bit more believable.
With the plywood banks cut back, I installed a base for the terrain on the Springfield (right-hand side in the photo above). I then began filling in the gap with Styrofoam slabs and wedges , starting with the area around the trestle. With the "fiddly-work" done around the trestle, the rest of the job was fairly straightforward with layers of Styrofoam placed and carved to create the river bank slopes. Gaps were filled in with spray foam insulation, although that process proved a bit too vigorous. I had quite a bit of spray foam I had to carve back to the desired terrain shape.
Terrain forming begun for the Springfield side of the river, beginning with filling around the trestle approach. Note I also angled the edge of the plywood subroadbed to provide a better transition for the eventual covering of Sculptamold.
River bank carved and shaped. A selection of knives and the Stanley Surform™scraper I use for this step. I find the shreds of foam easier to clean up than the dust mess made with conventional plaster scenery--I have done both.
I mixed three batches of Sculptamold to cover the foam terrain. I mixed in quite a bit of burnt and raw umber with the tan paint for the lowest level--closest to the river. I mixed in less and less of the umber as I worked up the banks. Although this provides distinct color bands right now, it will provide a good base for more detailed scenery later on.
River banks created.
SP9236W crosses the Willamette River, headed from Eugene to Springfield and on toward the Cascades and then California.
I am glad to have filled in the terrain around this important scene on the railroad.