Scenic Ridge is a Learning Project

    I decided that I wanted to get into Model Railroading and spent over 2 years trying to figure out how to proceed, what gauge to select, how to build benchwork, whether to use foam or plywood, what to do for scenery, mountains etc., what era to model, and what track to get. If you are starting out or remember back to that, you'll remember all the research that you do and all the things that you try to figure out.

    Well, I made a GREAT decision. I bought the Woodland Scenics Scenic Ridge N Scale layout. I bought it as a learning tool, so that I could better understand HOW to model, what N scale was like, and whether I wanted to continue with N or go to HO. I diverged from the layout right away and decided to use Flex Track! I learned about radius after having to rip out a couple of sections of track that were just too tight. While adding a bit of a switching area at the front, I learned that when your switch isn't level, trains don't run very well as they rock from one side to the other. But, I got my trains running just fine.

    Then it was time to move on to landscaping. I had poured rocks and attached them, so was off to Leopard Spotting. I had my doubts about this but I am AMAZED at how well this turned out. I thought this technique was only for the rocks I had made but nooo, it is for all of my mountains. The only mistakes I made were to not follow all the instructions. My first mistake was that I painted my waterfall emerald (hey, I live in the Rockies and that's what water looks like). Well, water does, but waterfalls don't.

    Anyway, I then used the Leopard Spot Technique (LST) on my mountains and the result was far better than I ever thought it would be. So, I sprayed on scenic cement and let it set. When it dried, it was better still. But, I had left the tops of my mountains and other hills white, plus I had the emerald streak to deal with. You can't use the LST over acrylic paint so I had to mix up some paint which I applied as a wash, not bad, but I am not sure whether I'll do more on that or not. Then I used the LST over the rest of the the mountains/hills that I built. Here came lesson #2.

    If you have oversprayed scenic cement onto plaster with no colour underneath, and then you use the LST on top of it, the hardened scenic cement doesn't take the pigment nearly as well as the bare plaster. This leaves you with some lighter, spotted areas. So, I learned that the next time I will do everything at the start. I can always paint over it later.

    Oh, and if you get the kit and decide to do more than what was recommended (like your entire mountain), you'll need to purchase a bit more pigment. And, if you paint your tracks using a spray brush, be aware that any overspray will stain the plaster so be careful in how much overspray you generate. The nice thing is that any overspray stain can be fixed with a bit of paint and scenery, which is next for me.

    Woodland Scenics has done a FANTASTIC job. I'm really looking forward to the next steps in my modeling adventure.