Scenic Refresh @ East Bay
Prior to the signal install I cleaned out a lot of scenery elements like bushes and trees since they could get damaged in the signal install. More importantly this area needed a refresh. With signals installed and operating here, I spent some time over the weekend added back grasses, ground cover, and trees. Additionally I took a whirl at painting a simple backdrop to represent distance trees using craft paints. The backdrop when paired with trees and scenery looks pretty good.
The key on scenery in my opinion is having lots of product variety and layering. Add some, take a break let it dry and the add some more. Like my good friend Shannon Crabtree I prefer to do my scenic gluing and work at night. (Be sure to check out his recent video posts). While I sleep it dries, then in the morning you get to see the end result. Scenery is a forgiving process, but it takes time and lots of practice. Sometimes you just have to jump in and give it a shot, you will surprise yourself.
Right of Way Signage
One detail overlooked a lot is signs along the railroad right of way. When you stop and look there is a lot more than just track and vegetation. A great resource I refer to often is the How To Build Realistic Layouts "Trackside Scene" special edition. This book has an article about right of way signs, examples, and product list in HO scale. Each railroad has their standard style including MCIS so let's take a look along the right of way.
PSA: (In no way should you ever trespass on railroad property or right of way to get photos or sign ideas. This is dangerous and illegal.)
Well there you have it progress from well progress. I imagine as the signal project gets more advanced these type of extra strides may be less, but any progress you can make on your layout should be celebrated as a success. My guest and regular operators along with myself will appreciate the detail. Later this week I will be posting my Part 2 ABS Signal Install post so be sure to check back soon.