Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pismo Dunes Road, Part 2

In my first post about building this road, I described the East Shumala location and showed my basic construction method using sheet styrene (see it at: ) . This road is important to development of the entire East Shumala section of the layout, because it sets the front of the scenery area.
     With the styrene road shape complete, as shown in that prior post, the next step was to put a coat of primer on the styrene. I plan to use acrylic tube paints to color the road, but as these are water-based, they don’t work well on clean styrene, so a quick rattle-can primer of a dark gray color was used. My paint for this was Tamiya TS-48, “Gunship Grey,” a color I use for lots of background dark colors. I simply spread some newspaper on the garage floor and painted. Here is the road section with this done. Coverage isn’t perfect, but this is just primer.

     At that point, I also needed to refine the road shape a little bit, to blend better into the layout area where it would be placed. There is always an issue with roads which meet the backdrop, in that it is a challenge to blend the scenery and make the road not look like it crashes into a wall. At the left end of the section you see above, the road would have done just that. I simply added a partial curve at that point.
     With the roadway piece fitting well onto the layout, I glued it down with canopy glue, which I’ve found to be an excellent adhesive to attach dissimilar materials like these. (You can read my comments about canopy glue at: .) Weights were placed on the roadway while the glue set, to ensure a good bond.
     Once this was done, I used my customary fine-grained paper mache product, Brandt’s Paper Mache Compound (Brandt’s, a taxidermists’ product, is available from Robert Ruozzi of Irwin, PA) to fill any gaps on the aisle side, and to form the contours of the road shoulder. As you can see, I use an ordinary putty knife for this, and keep a plain kitchen sponge handy to wipe clean both the fascia and the road surface as I work. The paper mache was mixed in the background bowl.

Note I also filled along the fascia edge, which will be painted a color to match the Masonite, and to bring the vertical surface right up to the plane of the roadway.
     Here is a view of the entire area. The gap between Caslon Printing, at left, and Phelan & Taylor, the white packing house at center, is where Alder Street will be located. I have left a gap in the road shoulder at that approximate location, pending choice of exact alignment. I am working on a stock pen to be placed between the tracks and Pismo Dunes Road. Many stock pens along the SP were owned and operated by the railroad, which is how I will portray this one.

     Last task for this phase of the project is to get Alder Street started. I used the same 1/16-inch styrene sheet that Pismo Dunes Road was made from, and cut out the pieces to fit around the grade crossings of the two spur tracks. These styrene pieces were also primed with the Tamiya Gunship Grey paint. Here are the primed pieces, merely set in place.

But there are a couple of problems here. First, the road slams straight into the wall, a hard arrangement to disguise or hide. Second, the full-width roadway doesn’t quite look right. What to do? It would be easy to taper the roadway to force some perspective, but that won’t help with the perpendicular arrival at the wall. Something else has to be done, and I will take that up in the next post.
     Also in my next phase of this project, I will refine all the road shoulders, and paint the road, followed by application of a center line to Pismo Dunes Road. I will also carve a suggestion of drainage ditches along one side. Modelers are accustomed to the fact that rail lines are accompanied by drainage ditches, but seem not to recognize that roads, especially in the country, often have them too. But I’ll postpone describing those steps to a future post.
Tony Thompson

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