Tuesday, September 27, 2011

10/10/09 Built a Retaining wall Finished with the Plaster, again

Today I finally took on a project I’ve been dragging my feet on since June, installing a Woodland Scenics Stone Retaining wall behind the paint factory. I bought this thing back in June and when I saw what I actually got, I realized it would be more work than first anticipated. You get six sections of cast-plaster walls like the one in the photo below:
 In order to but them together, you have to cut off one edge and sand down the other. WS recommended a hacksaw or a coping saw. Not having either of these on hand, I used my dremel. First I cut ½” off the bottom of all six pieces and started cutting the one edge off. After two sections I got tired, threw them in a box and forgot about them. For months I thought about it but was two concerned about not getting them “prefect.”  Well today I went to get something out of the cabinet and found the unfinished wall sections. That’s when I had a eureaka moment and realized they didn’t have to be perfect. Real stonewalls have chips and cracks in them. Why shouldn’t mine? In that spirit I grabbed the dremmel and knocked those babies down in short order. I cut one edge off all but one end section. Then I put a sanding head on the dremmel and sanded part of the other edge on each piece, living a small lip. This lip covers the gap between sections. Then I mixed up some dark gray poster paint and brushed it on. Next came three coats of weather wash to really grungafy them. Next came and overlay of DullCote. Installing the wall on the layout was easy. Just some foam tack glue on each section and then affixed them. So there they are, the fruits of my labor. They do look great but they don’t look perfect.

In other news I re-did the lake bed. Initially I painted it with the earth undercoat. The I red about using different pigments to give the illusion of depth. That necessitated removing the earth undercoat. Easier said than done. I tried hot salt water, and then wet sanding and neither did a satisfactory job of removing the pigment. I also came to the realization that the lake was too darn deep. This left only one option, mixing up some plaster of Paris. Just when I thought it was safe to put this stuff away.
At any rate I back-filled about ¾” of the lake and then waited for the stuff to cure. When the plaster had set, I mixed up some raw and burnt umber pigments as well as yellow ochre. As per Woodland Scenics instructions, I painted the center of the lake (the deepest part) raw umber. I followed that with burnt umber for the less deep areas and finally from the shallowest areas to the shore with yellow ochre. Unfortunately the last layer of plaster left a discernable hard edge. This was easily hidden with fine turf. 
 On PR&Y I just painted the water areas blue. However WS absolutely eschews blue water so I figured I’d try it their way for a change. Anyway, with today’s projects out of the way, the lake water, stream and waterfall are really the last bits of heavy lifting remaining on this layout. After that all that remains are wiring up those sidings and detailing.

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