Rainier Great Western Railway & Navigation Company

The Route of the Thunderbird


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Southwest wall features the most distinctive natural feature, Mt. Rainier. 
The Home and Design of the RGW....

This Page Currently Under Construction (Literally)

Train Room (Shell)  -  Train Room (Interior)  -  Layout Design

Layout Construction:  (click on pictures for full view)

April 2006:  

For the last couple of months, progress was slowed as we felt it was time to salvage as much of the usable track, switches, switch machines and electrical from the old layout.  This was a chore that was not anticipated and frankly a bit sad, as it was hoped many of the former layout sections would be used intact.  This was not to be.  The new layout design made it more practical to salvage what we could, create more working space in the train room and move on.

In early April, we realized that the best time to paint the backdrop on the four walls was now, before we put up more benchwork and succeeded in creating obstacles for ourselves.  In order to get this going, research and photographs were the order of the day.  Once we had reference photos and made our trips to the art supply store for the acrylic paints, we brought in a projector and cast the digital shots on the wall to outline the various mountain ranges in our region.  One modeling tip, use very light touch when tracing the photos, this will leave a light pencil mark to cover when painting.  A dark pencil line will be harder to cover with thinned acrylic paint.

To best understand what you're looking at; first, all of the walls are painted Rodda Hidden Lake Blue, to represent “sky blue”.  Imagine you're looking straight up outside, this is the blue we are simulating. As your eye comes closer to the horizon, more and more white is introduced.  If you don't believe it, go outside and LOOK!  You can see the penciled on horizon lines on the wall.  Then, we painted the clouds that are furthest from view.  These are represented by the wispy white areas painted by brush, using a dry-brush technique.  This means paint is picked up on the bristles and then wiped on the pan or rag until it's nearly dried off then applied to the wall with a scrubbing motion to give a hazy or misty white background at the horizon graduating to blue as you "look up."  On top of this haze, the mountains are introduced, the furthest away represented by the Slate Gray, again applied by brush.  Then, horizon clouds were added using an airbrush.  Clouds were added using cloud masks and the next closest mountains were added by brush using a purple-blue color.  Look at the picture below with both the painted mountains, specifically Mt. Rainier and the photo we used as reference to see why we chose the color variations. 

All of the work you see is a “first try”.  Needless to say that first time jitters were the order of the day and much time was spent debating each step.  After completing this phase, we realized that it's much easier than anticipated.  The most important thing is not to rush to judgment about the work in progress.  Step back and evaluate your work frequently. 

The rendition of Mt. Rainier, was a four step process.  First, gathering the photos, specifically the one you see tacked to the wall in the picture below.  The second was the projection of the photo on the wall for dimensioning.  The third step was the base coat, which included darker colors like reds, tans and slate blue.  The final step was to add the snow and work the contours of the mountain in using the same dry brush technique described above.  The next and last step will be to complete the highlights in the purple region, then to add the next closest mountain range.  This layer will show browns, greens and relief such as trees, rocks or far away buildings.  Lastly, large trees may be painted over all layers to give a sense of depth and closeness. Then, we graduate into the "real" physical scenery applied near the walls and outward to the layout edge.

          Mt Rainier painted with reference photo.          NW Wall cloud formations feature large rainstorm.          North wall cloud formations.         


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