The two completed structures are going to be mounted to the diorama base. This is so that I can preserve the work even if the layout itself needs to go to layout heaven. I had previously painted the piece of plywood (shaped to fit the layout) that serves as the diorama's base with a first available paint, which was flat black. I did that just to protect the wood from any moisture. Before installing the newly-constructed lumber storage shed, I painted it with a more appropriate base color.
I then glued the lumber storage shed to the diorama board using 5-minute epoxy. As this photo shows, I am in the middle of covering the board with some Arizona Rock & Mineral Co. brown sand. This was done by covering sections with matte medium and then liberally sprinkling the sand. Letting it dry overnight guaranteed maximum adhesion. The next day I brushed all the loose sand off and recovered it to be re-used again. The darker "blobs" in the photo is the wet sand still drying. The lower-left section hasn't been covered yet, while the middle and upper-right section is already dry. Note: the edges of the overlapped sections can build up matte medium, which is visible in the final result. I'm going to have to strategically hide that in the future.
The property is to be protected by a fence. A simple chain-link fence is sufficient to keep anyone away from the precious collection of expensive woods in the lumber storage shed. I decided to use the Gold Medal Models' "Chain Link Fence with Barbed Wire" stainless steel kit. It is very accurate. Although it appears delicate, it is actually quite tough. The instructions tell you to use a pair of scissors to remove the fence from the sprue, but I found that it was much easier to just wiggle the fence and eventually it will break off from the sprue. A small file is all that is necessary to remove the remnants of the sprue. Installing the fence is very easy. The sprue comes with a series of holes that are to be used as a template for drilling holes into the surface wherein the fence will be installed. I used a no. 74 drill bit and hand-drilled all the necessary holes in the plywood base of the diorama. Using a ruler I made sure that the holes lined up with each other so as to make a straight fence line. The company only sells the fence with three rows of barbed wire on top. This is great for high-security facilities, but I thought it was overkill for the lowly furniture factory. I removed the rows of barbed wire from the fence by solidly grabbing the fence and just wiggling the barbed wire portion back and forth until it came loose. Between 10 and 15 "wiggles" seemed to be required. No need to throw away the barbed wire, because that makes a great fence for keeping small animals confined to an area in some future project.
The fence around the perimeter of the Woods Furniture factory has been erected. I used 5-minute epoxy on the poles of the fence to secure them in the plywood base. I placed squares against the fence while the glue was drying to ensure that the fence remained up straight. I then used superglue to connect the sections of fence together. Both poles of neighboring sections fit in the hole drilled with the no. 74 drill bit. The poles are so thin that lining two up against each other is not noticeable.
It is very easy to bend the fence to fit the perimeter of the property, as shown here. A total of 436 scale feet of fencing was installed.
The last step is to model the gate. I decided to make it easy on myself and just cut two 7-1/2' of fencing material, glued in at an angle, to cover the 15-foot gap between the fences. The factory is now open for business, delivery, and pick-ups.
Now it is time for grass. I will be spraying a mixture of water and matte medium on the ground cover done a few weeks ago. My experience has taught me that the glue mixture will tend to go into small holes, such as the fence I just installed. So the first step is to cover the fences with simple strips of paper, folded over and held down with some small clothespins.
The spraying and application of the grasses went well. I held a specially-folded piece of paper around the structures to prevent glue from going on them as well. The photo below shows the grasses and bushes glued in place. I purposely left the center section of the diorama barren, because that is where all the vehicular activity takes place, so grass doesn't stand a chance to grow there. Some bushes can be found in the property, but most are outside the fence.
I'm trying to build the diorama from the ground up, so now it is time for the vehicles. I wanted to try to give the barren center section of the diorama the feel that there's been lots of traffic from customers and delivery vehicles. I used Bragdon Enterprises' weathering chalks to indicate this. I am not 100% happy with the results, but I can always improve this later.
Several period vehicles have been installed. I sprayed them with Testors Dullcoat, and then glued them on the diorama with 5-minute epoxy. The large truck in the foreground has wheels that fit rather loosely on the vehicle, and had a tendency to show the wheels axles misaligned. Before gluing that one to the diorama, I put a dab of superglue on the axles to hold them in place. The two passenger cars either belong to customers or employees. The delivery truck near the main building is loading several large crates. I have two on the loading dock of the building, and a third crate will be glued to the truck's bed later.
I couldn't resist including this dramatic low-angle shot below.
The flat-bed truck is being loaded with crates.
I started building some junk piles. This is shot of the lumber storage shed. There are two large tree trunks, some chain, several weathered boards, a barrel, and a couple of smaller trunks. I drink a lot of herbal teas. There is a great store here in west-Houston that sells fresh herbal teas "raw". The tree trunks came from Echinacea tea. They're probably Echinacea roots. The reason why I mention this is that you can find useful things for the model railroad in just about anything. Keep an open mind and think outside the box. Well, I believe that this completes the diorama. I will be adding trees, more people, more "junk", and perhaps more vehicles over time. I extended the plywood legs under the diorama so that it fits the track height next to which it is installed on my current layout. I worked on the diorama itself from January 28, 2007 through February 18, 2007. In total, it has taken me over three months to complete this project, but I enjoyed it very much.
The final installation on the layout.