Saturday, March 6, 2010

More Alma Progress

The Google Earth backdrop got reprinted in yellower colors (to be a bit closer match to the existing backdrop further on), so I glued that on with some Spray-mount (well, Super 77 contact cement). Once the backdrop was in, I added some backdrop oak trees I'd made last year from Supertrees. The scene's looking pretty great to my eye. The yellow static flock and Silflor grass tufts really make the scene look like a typical summer in California. The tufts are lots of fun; although they're pricey (around $25 for about 12" square) they're actually cheap fun because they're easy to add to a scene, suck up a lot of time as you figure where taller grass can appear, and do a great job of carrying grass out to the edge of the benchwork. I've found the tufts to be much more useful than the Silflor grass sheets.

This shot shows off the sandy banks well. I worried they wouldn't look right with the darker soil I use, but the different texture (and darker color bleeding through) makes it work. It's too bad I didn't have room for explicit drainage ditches on the far side of the tracks. I used some of the Silflor bunch grass along the edge of the cut to make the grass look thinner. Next step: replace the hot glue signals with some moving semaphores.

For the time I model, Alma was at best a flag stop; it had lost its agent years before, and one of the history articles I read said that the station became the area's community center by 1940. Trains weren't stopping in Alma. The crossing under the photographer's feet would be the original (1915?) Santa Cruz Highway; by 1932, the state had built a new highway up the center of the valley, off to our right across the creek about a half mile away. The local water district was furious because they'd been planning on building what would become Lexington Reservoir, but the state wasn't willing to move the highway. When the dam and lake were finally approved in the late 1940's, the courts heard about Caltrans's intransigence, and forced them to pay for a good portion of moving their "new" highway out of the way of the dam.

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