To connect the large river and the harbor, I cut a triangular piece of plywood. Here I am mounting it to the other sections.
Looking from the closet at a low angle, you get the idea I'm after. Lots of water!
To get a very smooth water surface, I decided to cover the entire plywood area with one sheet of 1/8" Masonite hardboard. That way there are no gaps or screw holes to content with. The Masonite board was glued to the plywood.
I have scratchbuilt a bridge, and so it needs abutments to sit on. I scratchbuilt them out of styrene to exactly fit the double-track main line.
Here's the view of both of them built and the bridge sitting in between them.
It is now time to blend the river's edges with the surrounding land. I used Sculptamold to make some non-uniform edges. It also blended in the bridge abutments.
These abutments must be protected from wayward boats, so I stained some sections of wood dowels, and then glued them onto the water surface.
And now for the fun part (Ha!). I decided that since this is a harbor scene that the entire harbor edge will be covered with poles. This meant buying 1/8" dowel rods cut to around one inch tall. Since the harbor edge measures a total of 67 inches, that means (67 * 8 = ) 536 poles. These need to be cut, sanded, and glued into place along the water/land border. To be able to cut that many of them without going nuts, I created a temporary cutting jig/set-up. The photo below is this set-up. Starting on the right, I grabbed an empty cardboard box and used an awl to make two holes in each end of the box. This feeds and holds the dowel rod in place. The box is clamped to the workbench. As you cut the dowels the rod tends to want to fall of the table - this prevents that. Next, you see two C-clamps on the right-hand side of the wooden cutting board. The left C-clamp represents the cutting depth of the dowel to be cut, and the right C-clamp provides a surface against which to press the dowel rod as I cut it. It also makes for a guide to keep the saw perpendicular to the dowel rod as I cut it. I used the razor saw to cut the dowels by hand. Most of the time the last little bit of wood breaks off from the dowel rod, so to prepare the next dowel, I rubbed the dowel rod's end against the file leaning up against the cutting board. The cutting board is clamped to the table to keep the whole thing from moving. This made it possible to cut lots of dowels. It is nonetheless tedious, time-consuming, and hard work.
The harbor water surface has been painted with a matte black acrylic paint (same as the Allegheny River). I decided to paint the front edge of the Masonite and plywood boards as well since the front fascia may not perfectly line up with the water's edge. That way any space will be black inside and hopefully not draw too much attention.
I am now up to 378 dowels (at the end of the third day). This is tough work (sore wrist, shoulders, and back), but it will be all worth it. The dowels are glued into place with yellow carpenter's glue applied with a tooth pick. They are kept perpendicular to the water surface by using the triangle as seen on this photo. Hopefully one more day and I'll be finished!
All 523 poles have been hammered into the ground. The coast line is now safe! The whole thing took four nights.
Next I covered all the poles with a water-based stain. It was a random collection of three shades of brown and a dark green. This was mixed with water to create a soupy stain.