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Dallas_M
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Greetings On30ers!  (Read that in Bullwinkle's voice for extra amusement) :)

In today's episode, we'll have some fun with acrylic paints!  For inspiration, let's take these standard gauge (sigh) Army boxcars rotting away in the dual-gauge (hooray) EBT yards ...



And combine that idea with one of the new Boulder Valley Models "Hunkered Down" 18' composite boxcar kits ...



Which is a freelance design based on several narrow gauge prototypes, such as the old boxcar turned into a shed here, the WDLR composite boxcars built to serve the trenches in WW1 and several other narrow gauge examples.



And we'll capitalize on the idea that narrow gauge railways in Alaska and Hawaii served an important role during WWII to tie it all together!



This time around, let's try some intermediate and/or slightly advanced techniques and do some stuff that may not be "familiar" in the world of painting model TRAINS ... we'll draw on techniques used by military modelers to enhance realism, figure painters for the same ... and a gifted On30 modeler and artist for more inspiration.  It's tricky as heck to shoot step-by-step photos of every little bit of the process (glare from wet paint, trying to work with the paint before it dries vs reaching for the camera, etc) ... so here are some videos that do a good job of demonstrating brush techniques and lots of interesting ideas.

HOT LEAD / How to Paint a Better Miniature:  This is my favorite painting DVD and it has NOTHING to do with model trains!  It focuses on painting figures for war-gaming, mostly in 28mm size which is a bit  smaller than O scale, and IMO does an outstanding job of covering all sorts of interesting techniques using acrylics.  He covers the "basics" from mixing paints, blending colors, using dry-time extenders, glazes, washes and so forth and so on ... then covers a variety of techniques like wet-blending colors, layering colors, using glazes to tie things together, etc, etc.  For me, this made a huge BREAKTHROUGH in my approach to working with acrylics ... but I lent the 3-disc set to a friend whose painting I respect and his response was "meh" ... so, um ... well, there are sample clips on you-tube and I think it's great stuff.  I got mine at FRP Games for a discount ...



AFV Acrylic Techniques by Mig Jimenez:  Mig is one of the "greats" from the military modeling field.  After developing widely-followed techniques using solvent-based materials, he turned to using acrylics for this demo.  IMO, there are some weak spots, like clumsy use of pre-mixed acrylic washes ... BUT ... holy mackerel, there is some amazing stuff.  He covers pre-shading, color modulation and so forth, which is all about PAINTING LIGHT & SHADOW on the miniature (which has a very different effect than just using your room/desk lights to light up the model!) ... and it's truly amazing to watch the finesse with which he freely hand-paints little tiny chips in the paint, etc.  I'll be attempting some of that here ... but, fortunately, there's no video to show my lack of grace!  Various sources, including FRP games.

Realistic Color for Railroad Modeling by Troels Kirk:  Now this one DOES come from the model railroad field ... and On30 to boot!  Troels is a gifted artist who has created The Coast Line On30 model railroad to the delight and amazement of many modelers.  On this disc, Troels talks about PAINTING LIGHT & SHADOW onto the model as well.  He uses a much simpler palette and also much "simpler" approach to achieve his amazing results ... but, er, um ... well, I just don't have the "gift" or finesse or something to do it that easily.  So, if you're like me ... or more like me than Troels, maybe my somewhat more complicated, convoluted approach will help you get there too!  (Maybe we should wait and see how this boxcar actually turns out?)



The idea of painting light & shadow that isn't "really there" is nothing new ... it goes back to the Old Masters, who often did an under-painting using umber tones BEFORE adding color.  The dark areas of the under-painting add depth to the shadows, while the lighter or untouched areas of the under-painting allow the light/highlight areas to "pop."

Now, give me a "few minutes" to sort out the next batch of photos and we'll get started.  :Salute:

Dallas_M
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The step-by-step by follows is "almost live" ... haven't done this particular project before, so there may be some mistakes or miss-steps, but  we'll fix any of those along the way.  (So, if you decide to follow along, you might do well to read ahead!)

Now, going back to the "under painting" idea ... we're working on a 3-D object rather than a canvas, so we'll start with a flat black or dark gray base coat (like Krylon or Rustoleum spray can primer) ... that will put shadow into all the little recesses and such without  a lot of brush strokes (well, we'll actually go back and enhance some of those) ... and we'll use a sort of dry-brushing technique to put some "light" into the under-painting.

BTW, the base coat looks a bit patchy here, because I painted the interior flooring before gluing the roof on ... then masked off the door to paint the roof ... and used a different paint can to paint the roof ... so you see both dark gray and black, but that shouldn't make much difference.



We'll "wet-drybrush" the wood surfaces using these Vallejo and Reaper (Master Series) paints.  You can use various other acrylics from the craft store, Polly S, etc.  The exact colors don't matter ... just a variety of similar tones will do.  For military colors and inks, I tend to favor Vallejo ... for non-military colors, metallics and flesh tones, definitely Reaper.  Both are available from a variety of sources.  I like Miniature Market, because they carry BOTH brands at a discount and have good service.



Did he say "wet" DRY-brushing?  Huh?  Yup!  It's just like "regular" dry-brushing ... but you use a damp brush and diluted paints.  Dip the brush, wipe out most of the paint on scrap paper and then apply to model.  The advantage is that it builds up more gradually and provides more control.  If you look at the paper above, you'll see that even the darkest tones are actually translucent.  BTW, I love having a ceramic palette for acrylics, especially this one with 12 little wells.  Easy clean-up and I frequently use many or all of the different wells -- great for mixing tiny bits of a lot of different colors.  Search "12 well mini ceramic palette" on the web if you like the idea!



Let that crazy wet dry-brushing begin!  The paints were mixed 3 drops paint to 1 drop wet water.  (Wet water is 90% water + 10% Liquitex Flow-Aid or similar.)  I started with the Splinter Blotches, then the Golden Skin, applying them somewhat randomly in a cross-hatch pattern -- to catch the grain without going up/down.



Finished dry-brushing with the Dirt, Weathered Stone and Golden Shadow ...the amount can be varied to suggest more or less wear, tear and paint chipping ...



Now we'll use some Vallejo inks ... these are great!  They're transparent and mix/blend with all your other acrylic paints ... don't think there's a craft store equivalent, so if you're only going to splurge on a few "special" items, the inks and glaze medium are  a good choice!



The inks were mixed 1 part ink to 3 parts wet-water ... a pretty dilute mix.  Here, I've switched over to one of my "good" fine-tip sable brushes and used the black ink to outline the groove between boards and along the edges of the ribs ... that's been done on the area to the left of the door ... and makes a difference when compared to the area to the right, eh?



Here I've used two more applications of ink:
-- The Vallejo "brown" ink has a very reddish tone to it ... used that to apply a second layer of ink into the groove between boards and along the underside of the diagonal braces.  Then lightly streaked the surface of various boards.
-- Sepia ink (very golden brown tone) streaked across the surfaces of various boards to add a little more color variation.
-- The door is "closer" to the viewer ... and the "foreground" details on the car should get more light ... so the dry-brushing was done to create a brighter effect there, followed by the same inks ...

And, that's a good place to take a little break.   Obviously, this isn't a "quickie" approach with the various little steps, but if you're steady with a fine-tip brush for the outlining bits, the process is pretty easy ..

Dallas_M
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Now let's try something really weird!  Whaddaya say we use RED to darken our greens ... and PINKS to lighten them. :shocked:

Well, yeah, it does sound weird ... but it works because red & green are chromatic opposites, so they tend to cancel, neutralize or "gray" each other when mixed ...



If you make up your own formula, be sure to take notes so you can go back and reproduce the colors for touch-up ... or to paint another boxcar! :)

Here's the formulas that I used, from darkest to lightest (Vallejo colors unless noted):

-- Darkest/shadow tone:  1x #347 Splinter Blotches (dark, reddish brown), 1/2 drop #343 Shadows Flesh (deep crimson), 5x #318 US Army tank crew.
-- Mid-shadow:  1/2 drop Shadows Flesh, 1x #330 Highlight Russian Tcker, 5x US Army tank crew
-- Mid-tone:  6x Highlights Russian Tckr
-- Mid-highlight:  5x Highlights Russian Tcker, 1x Reaper #9067 Rosy Shadow
-- Highlight:  4x Highlights Russian Tckr, 1x Rosy Shadow, 1x #70928 Light Flesh



Added just one drop of wet water to each and mixed 'em up.  Here you can see how those opposite colors blend ...



Even on an On30 boxcar, the spaces between ribs are a little snug to use sponge painting or other chipping techniques, so I decide to tap or dab the paint on ... and practiced that touch a bit on paper before moving to the car ...



Here it is with those colors tapped/dabbed on somewhat randomly and unevenly, going from darkest to lightest ...



Now that we've got some chipped, oxidized paint on the wood parts, let's see if we can make the metal parts look like metal or something! :)  



These colors were mixed 3x paint to 1x wet water and tapped onto the ribs and metal surfaces -- used them in this order:  Splinter Blotches, Oiled Leather, Chestnut Gold and then the Stormy Gray to tone that all down and blend it a bit ... you can go back-n-forth between colors, etc ...



Then it's back to those inks again ... Sepia ink diluted 1x ink to 3x water streaked across the surfaces of various boards in varying amounts.



Then mix a touch of the hideous Vallejo Green ink (really vivid!) with a touch of that nice golden Sepia ink to produce a pleasant mossy green ... add some water to that ...



... and streak that on various boards in varying amounts.  Be CAREFUL not to overdue it on the Vallejo green (favor the Sepia!) ... because that green is really vivid, and even here it's starting to jump out just a bit.



Now we'll blend those tones and put a little more olive drab onto the boards ... the Vallejo Glaze medium is great stuff for making TRANSPARENT layers of color ... that allows the "under painting" to show, but adds another color and helps blend/unify the underlying colors a bit ...



For this, I mixed 1 drop Army Tank Crew to 2 drops Glaze and a tiny touch of the black ink to darken it.  You can see that even the darkest brush stroke is translucent ... much like a water color effect (which is also great for adding SUBTLE rust streaks, hard water stains, etc with the appropriate colors!)



And here we are after only 109 million little steps!  I did mention that this wouldn't be a quickie, didn't I?  ???



Planning to have my car be a little more "serviceable" than that rotting prototype, so I think we're headed in the right direction here ...

Not only is this a good place to take another break ... that's all there is right now!  :P

More to come ... as time allows.  Thanks for looking in! :wave:




Chiloquinruss
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Thanks for taking the time to produce this great essay on painting that car.  I have collected a fair number of unpainted resin castings for use on the layout and when I get around to painting them this will come in very handy.  Thanks again!  Russ

Ray Dunakin
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Very interesting tutorial, thanks for posting!

mwiz64
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Holy smokes, Dallas. If I didn't know better, Id say your did this how-to post just for me. Thanks for shearing your techniques here.

Last edited on Fri Jan 18th, 2013 02:54 pm by mwiz64

Huw Griffiths
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I'd like to echo the above sentiments.

Even if I'm not ready to use this stuff yet, I'm sure I will be in due course - and it'll come in very useful.

What I've seen so far is excellent - I'm sure what comes next will be well worth the wait.

Thanks for posting,

Huw.

Last edited on Fri Jan 18th, 2013 06:11 pm by Huw Griffiths

Dallas_M
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Thanks guys, much appreciated! Really looking forward to doing more on this, but two things ... one, other business tasks to handle ... and, two, it's at a point where it seems like a really good idea to pause and ponder a bit! More to come ...

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This really proves to me that I need to stop taking the fast and easy way out like I tend to do. For me it's typically the fewer steps the better but its pretty clear to me how the time and effort pays off.

mwiz64
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Dallas_M wrote: Thanks guys, much appreciated! Really looking forward to doing more on this, but two things ... one, other business tasks to handle ... and, two, it's at a point where it seems like a really good idea to pause and ponder a bit! More to come ...
OK fine but if I gotta wait then I want my money back... Just kidding. :P

Thanks again for being so generous with your time and efforts to post things like this.

Bernd
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Hey Dallas,

Great tips. Going to need to study this thread a bit.

When I saw that first picture I figured it had to be the EBT. I've got quite a few pictures of those cars back in 1971.

Bernd

on2rails
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Excellent work, great thread, thanks for sharing

Dallas_M
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Thanks again for the great comments and, of course, just for following along!



Now, before we keep going on the sides, it might be a good time to do something about that black roof ... which is throwing off the balance of our "light and shadow" business a bit!  (And that should help make it easier to judge progress on the sides.)



So, what should a boxcar roof look like?  Kinda tricky to find color photos of those on old wooden boxcars, but here's a nice one!  Let's see, those roofs could be described as "black" and "brown" ... but the painting is oxidized, and of everything on the car, those are getting the absolute MOST sunlight, so the effect is a very light, powdery/dusty/oxidized look ... and, actually, we can see a LOT of subtle color variations there ...



Oooh, here's another neat one!  Makes me a bit "homesick" for Colorado, too.  Looks like a rusty galvanized roof showing through the peeling paint ... maybe we'll give that a try. L:



Now, of course, I'll go through a zillion crazy little steps ... but along the way, there will be several places where a perfectly sane person should be content to stop.  This one occurs rather early in the process ... it has the olive drab and a variety of other subtle tones, much like that first prototype roof photo.  This with a touch of black wash along the seams and perhaps some streaks of gray chalks would do just fine ...



And another good stopped point just a little further on for those who want a more weathered effect.  Nothing very difficult up to this point ... a matter of playing with the various colors and using some inks for weathering.



But, I think I'll drive myself :Crazy: a bit and see if I can do that something like that galvanized roof.  Speaking of sanity ... at this point, either of those "sane stopping-point" roof jobs would go nicely with the sides as they are ... so, sane people take note and give yourself a break!  And, those of us who are a little ??? can just keep going! :)

I think the roof is more-or-less done here and expect to do a fair bit more to add more depth, color and effect to the sides.  Roofwalk isn't finished ... yaddy, yaddy.

More to come when I get a chance to crop photos, etc. :old dude:

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I like the way the color is going Dallas, but I do have a question--that I should have asked earlier.

Why does the car have a roofwalk? The car is modern enough that there isn't any way to get to the roof--


                                     

Herb 

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A nice tutoral Dallas, I realy like the effects your getting,
thanks for posting this.:2t:

Last edited on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 01:17 am by CarlOn30

Dallas_M
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Herb -- It's actually a pre-War design, and there will be metal strap steps added to the closely-spaced ribs toward the right, allowing access to the roof.

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WOW.  Thanks for sharing.  There's this little box car in my garage that I think needs a new coat of paint.  Can't wait to try some of these techniques.

Dan B

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Thanks for taking the time to post this tutorial. I will definitely have to give it a try.

Bernie Lewis

Dallas_M
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Thanks again, guys! Making progress on the continuance of this ... will post more when I get a chance. :)

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Dallas, it looks fantastic. The other day, I was at the LHS (poor excuse for a train shop) and got "involved" in a "discussion" with an "expert" who had the opinion that styrene and resin couldn't...COULDN'T be distressed and painted to look like wood. This fellow has never seen anything like what you are doing and with his attitude, he won't become enlightened. I admire your work and my humble opinion is that you have proven him wrong, very wrong! Keep the faith, I can't wait for more "wrongness"...

Woodie

Huw Griffiths
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W C Greene wrote: Dallas, it looks fantastic. The other day, I ... got "involved" in a "discussion" with an "expert" who had the opinion that styrene and resin couldn't...COULDN'T be distressed and painted to look like wood. This fellow has never seen anything like what you are doing and with his attitude, he won't become enlightened.
I couldn't agree more.

Let's guess - this guy hasn't managed to work out how he can do this stuff - therefore, by definition, there can't possibly be any way in which anybody can do this stuff (or something like that).

When I worked in a university, I occasionally came across jokers like this - thankfully, not many of them.

Very few of them seemed to "stay the course" and finish their degrees, HNDs or whatever - for some reason which I don't need to explain (and these guys wouldn't have listened to / understood).

Thankfully, most people here are ready to learn - whether from their own experience or other people's.

Huw.

Dallas_M
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W C Greene wrote: Dallas, it looks fantastic. The other day, I was at the LHS (poor excuse for a train shop) and got "involved" in a "discussion" with an "expert" who had the opinion that styrene and resin couldn't...COULDN'T be distressed and painted to look like wood. This fellow has never seen anything like what you are doing and with his attitude, he won't become enlightened. I admire your work and my humble opinion is that you have proven him wrong, very wrong! Keep the faith, I can't wait for more "wrongness"...

Woodie

Thanks Woodie! 

The castings have very subtle distressing on the surface, which can be brought out rather easily with a few brush strokes.

I've made SIGNIFICANT progress on all of this, but have held off on posting updates for two reasons:

1) REALLY busy with this & a bunch of stuff! :old dude:

2)  Believe I can pull it all together & simplify the approach a bit ... which is really the whole point of making it a tutorial.  :)

So, more to come ...



PS -- Back to the "expert" that Woodie encountered ... above photo is taken from a thread right here on Freerails.  Rich (screen name "brungarda") took the Bachmann On30 log cars and "gussied them up" using a tutorial on my site:

http://bouldervalleymodels.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=13

And, he added some of his own personal touches to the process.  Here's his thread:

http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=2865

So, I guess the lesson here is "Beware of Experts!"  (I'm no expert, but I'll gladly share what I've learned ... or "think" I've learned ... and keep trying to improve.) :cool:

Last edited on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 06:04 pm by Dallas_M

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I absolutely LOVE seeing threads like this. Seeing the detail other modelers can acheive is a real insipration to people like me who are just getting into it. Dallas, thank you very much for sharing these tutorials with us. Judging by the results of that logging car, I'm not the only one here who appreciates your efforts.

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Greetings!  Sorry for the lack of updates ... been busier than a one-legged man at a turtle-stomping contest! :)

Have done some more work to simulate fading & peeling paint on the wood parts ... oxidizing & chipping paint on the metal parts and so forth ...

Just added those bold white decals to the letter boards.  They'll get "faded" in like the decals on the doors ... then a few finishing touches, and we'll be ready to "wrap up" the painting tutorial ... which means, I'll go thru the zillions of photos and pages of notes and try to put it all together in some sort of sensible way! :w: :cool:

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It looks really good, Dallas. Thanks for sharing your techniques with us. I'm sure ill be referring back to this thread many times in the future.

Philip
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nice! like that logging eq to!

philip

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I'm loving this tutorial. I am a fan of Boulder Valley Models stuff and have assembled 4 log cars and used their painting tips. They came out ok for me as a first timer using these techniques.
I have learnt so much but a long way to go to match the work done here.
Rod.

CarlOn30
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It's guys like you Dallas that makes
Free rails a most interesting place to visit.
I always look forward to logging on and learning from
you and many others here.
Thanks
Carl:bow:

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Dallas,
How does the powder and washes hold up to handling? I might of missed it but do you have to apply any type of sealant like dulcoat on the final product?
Thanks,
Randy

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slatecreeklogger wrote: Dallas,
How does the powder and washes hold up to handling? I might of missed it but do you have to apply any type of sealant like dulcoat on the final product?
Thanks,
Randy

Randy --

The Bragden pigments used in the log car tutorial have a binder (dry adhesive) mixed in, and they'll tend to grab & hold the surface whether they're applied dry or mixed with alcohol as shown in that demo.  So, unless there's going to be a LOT of handling, they really shouldn't need any sort of sealer (which tends to mute the effects).  NOTE:  Because of the binder in those pigments, you do have to be careful not to dust or blow off excess as it will stain carpet, clothes, etc.



Meanwhile ... remember this prototype shot?  I couldn't help thinking that the scene would make a great photo diorama ... it has "color" but all the winter tones are earthy and allow the equipment to be the center of attention ...



So ... Friday night I was struggling with shooting promo pix for the new car on a white background ... trying to get the lighting even, blah, blah ... late Friday night, I gave up and painted a backdrop on a scrap of foamcore ... picked up a piece of Micro-Scale code 83 flex at a train show yesterday and made a bit of progress on the quickie diorama ...

Herb Kephart
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I think that the "atmospheric" background is great, Dallas!

Much better than plain white, but doesn't draw the eye away from the subject.

Herb

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Wow! What a great tutorial. Thanks a million Dallas.

Dallas_M
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Thanks guys!



Diorama 99.9% done ... time for a short winter's nap! :y:

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And that's just cool, Dallas. A little snow and everything. Say, is the red car a variation of the same kit?

Dallas_M
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mwiz64 wrote: And that's just cool, Dallas. A little snow and everything. Say, is the red car a variation of the same kit?
Thanks, Mike!  The Army boxcar is an upcoming release (new "Hunkered Down" series ... so the paint scheme is appropriate!) ... that one is an 18' composite boxcar.  The red boxcar is an existing kit, 20' steel boxcar.  The steel boxcar is a "squished" version of the EBT style car ... and the wood boxcar is a "narrowed" version of a standard gauge Army boxcar rotting away on the EBT.

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As I mentioned on your facebook, absolutely great work here!

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Stunning job Dallas ! Appreciate the tuto on painting..........




now I have to order some of them soon...

Ray Dunakin
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Nice job on the diorama! Are you going to add some foreground trees?

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Ray Dunakin wrote: Nice job on the diorama! Are you going to add some foreground trees?
Thanks, Ray!  If you look closely at the last photo, there's a little bare tree on the right side in front of the red boxcar ... I might add a few more of those, but I'm going to deliberately keep the front "open" so I can use it as a photo prop.  There are a few stumps along the front side of the track to show where big trees were cut down ... and I could "stage' some trees for other shots (just temporarily placed) ... but the basic idea was to have the whole thing as a photo prop, so the scenery slopes down toward the viewer to allow low-angle shots ... and a bit of curve in the track to allow straight or 3/4 shots, etc.

But, as you suggest, it would be fun to have some removable trees to do some "in the woods" shots ... hope to find time for that eventually! :)

Dallas_M
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Whew ... fiinally finished the "full write-up" on this one.  You can find it:

http://bouldervalleymodels.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=24

Hope y'all find something interesting and/or useful!  Thanks for your encouragement along the way. :Salute:

Last edited on Mon Feb 25th, 2013 02:48 pm by Dallas_M

mwiz64
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You did a wonderful job on that one Dallas.


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