T-TRAK Modules – The single mainline track modules, part the Eleventh – Scenery for the first corner module.

I first became aware of T-TRAK in 2002-2003 and Kato Unitrack was difficult to obtain in Australia. Being in a rural region made it all the more inaccessible. I therefore experimented for a while with my own type of table top modules. Eventually I bit the bullet and went T-TRAK all the way, a decision I have never regretted. This did leave me with some of the earlier type modules, especially the corner module shown below. The scenic work on the hill was particularly satisfying to me and so it sat in storage in the garage for a LONG time.

The following photo’s show how I was able to move the mountain from the old style module to the T-TRAK corner module I have built. The actual hill was formed of expanded polystyrene pieces covered with strips of paper stuck down with diluted PVA glue. This was then covered with a thin layer of cheap acrylic gap-filler, followed by the normal scenic treatments. To protect the outer side of the hill, and also provide a smooth surface to it, I had built up a wall of 3mm MDF along the two outer sides.

I was 99% sure there were no nails holding the polystyrene blocks together or fixing the hill down to the baseboard. Teeth were gritted as I sawed away. My confidence was justified, and the expense of a new saw avoided.

After gluing down the hill formation I used acrylic gap filler to match it into the module base.

To build up some ground height on the inside of the track curve I  fixed down some roughly cut layers of corrugated cardboard.

When the glue had dried I spread out some acrylic gap sealer and revisited finger painting at kindergarten to spread out the gap filler and make a smooth surface. I dipped my fingers in water a few times on the way through and finished off with a wide brush, again dipping into water a few times along the way.

The next few stages were rushed together, not the best move I discovered! Later in the day that I applied gap filler over the cardboard layers I covered it with a coat of brown paint for the basic soil colour. This sealed off the gap filler too early and slowed down the drying time considerably (the result was found out a few days later). A day or so later I fixed down a layer of earth over the new area, liberally applying diluted PVA glue to hold it in place and then topping it off with some coats of Woodlands Scenics ground foam for grass. This looked really good until two days later when I discovered ….

…. that the  acrylic gap filler was still drying (curing?) and has shrunk a little under all the soil and grass cover, resulting in cracks and creases in the scenery. A less to learn: Acrylic gap filler used for ground formations dries out fairly quickly for small amounts, but larger areas need to be left maybe a week or so before putting paints and the other scenic materials on.

Fix it up action consisted of giving a few more days for drying/curing and then lightly coating it with diluted PVA glue sprayed out in a mist via an empty hair care products pump pack. It is important to let the spray gently `mist’ down onto the surface and be soaked up. Ground foam was then sprinkled on via a small sieve and fixed in place with more diluted PVA misting. The results are as follows:

The result is quite acceptable to me and hopefully gives the impression of good `dairying country’. Once I sort out the fencing and some trees  I have a herd of N scale plastic Friesian cows ready to place and help fix the theme of a rural branch line in the southwest of Victoria.

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