Slowly slowly makey dioramaee…
Onwards we creep, this time to roads and basic landscaping. Once the trackbed was in, but before laying any track, I cut out a suitable road bed from greyboard, gave it a gentle camber by bending it along the middle, and stuck it down onto a layer of gripfill. I made the road ~60mm/15 ft wide, which seemed reasonable for a country lane in the 1930s. The base landscaping was then built up with sculptamold, mixed in with some muddy brown acrylic paints to tone it down. Once the track was in, I came back to the road, coated it in a light grey emulsion (I forget the colour now — one of the tester pots we considered for the hallway a few years ago!) and then covered it in polyfilla powder. This is – as far as I understand it – the Pendon method for representing compacted chalk roads. After a while the polyfilla was knocked off, and then the surface gently weathered with some pastels. I think it will need a bit more in due course.
The sculptamolded ground was painted with a grey/brown acrylic mix — took a few attempts to get a grey-brown I was happy with. It was then covered in sieved dried earth and sealed in with a spray of diluted matte “mod podge”.
For the grass, I did the area under the platform first. This had a heavier application of earth, and then a few tufts of 4–6mm dried grass whizzed over on random spots of full strength PVA. I’m fairly happy with the effect here, though it doesn’t show up too well on the photo. I then did the bits inside the railway fence, and used a slightly longer and dryer mix (I forget which now, some combo of Greenscene and Noch I think) to represent the more scraggly grass which seems typical of these areas.
Outside the fence, behind the halte, I used mainly a single colour to try and recreate a fairly well grazed sheep pasture. Just after applying the static grass (2 mm summer from Greenscene I think), I knocked down random areas with my finger, and dragged a screwdriver along to represent a well worn path which you seem to see in these fields. Once dry, I gave it another light coat with 6mm stray to add the longer dry stems which presumably the sheep find less tasty — not sure this worked very well though :-\ I think I may need to go back and dry brush some of the grass tips to highlight them. Some more dry grass was added along the fence line in a couple of passes. All the grass was given a dusting of sieved earth again to knock off any shininess.
The scene has a little ditch running through the front. It is slowly being filled with many coats of varnish, which makes it look like there’s a leak at the local creamery, but does dry clear! Not too happy with the representation of last year’s dried reeds — I’ve decided to look again at these once the ditch is full.
So road and grass coverings in. Next steps are the structures (platform, crossing keeper’s cottage, crossing gates, and fencing), and then attempting some shrubbery and a tree…