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Scenery on the SA&N

 SCENERY DEVELOPMENT:  The SA&N is set in the rarely modeled Texas Hill Country, which dictates the geographical features, and coloration.  Early “druthers” included ample space for large looming scenery. 


ERA:  The era is set during the 1950s.  The month of April was selected to allow use of wildflowers including Bluebonnets-- the Texas state flower.  April also allows the use of long or short sleeved people and open or closed windows in buildings.

MOCK-UPS:  Folded Paper, cardboard and other mock-ups were used to “visualize” the scene before actual scenery construction begins

SUPPORT AND HARD SHELL:  Scenery is supported by wood “risers” screwed to benchwork Joists.  Plywood or cardboard screwed to the risers support metal screen wire that is stapled on.  Bed sheet strips dipped in wet moulding plaster are laid over the screen wire to make a hard-shell base for scenery ground cover.


PLASTER ROCKS: For maximum reality, there are 4 layers or “strata” of rock on the SA&N each strata layer has its own set of molds.  Whenever a particular strata appears the same set of rubber rock molds are used creating a uniform look throughout.  Rocks are cast using a Wet or Dry casting method.


WET: Plaster poured into rubber molds is applied to the hard-shell when it is just wet enough to conform to the shell and dry enough to stay in the mold when held against the shell.



DRY: Some rocks are cast in the molds at the workbench and when dry cut to fit the area then stacked in place like bricks using the plaster as mortar.  The joints between wet or dry rock castings are carved to appear as a single seam of rock.



PAINTING:  When completely dry, the rocks are stained using a four color process.  The first two colors are spotted on fifty-fifty then covered 100% with a gray then a dark brown wash.  



ROADS:  SA&N includes roads, streets, and parking areas to service the structures and industries on the layout.  Whenever possible highways parallel the mainline to give the impression that the scene is being viewed from a vehicle window.  Most roads are made using styrene plastic or plaster.



SIGNS AND MARKERS:  Miniature Texas road signs and custom decals and park signs were printed and made to match the prototype Texas signs of the 1950s.



GROUND COVER, FOLAGE AND WATER: A base coat of ground limestone Kitty Litter (without additives), Woodland Scenics ground foam, and/or Static grass are applied over wet latex paint or white glue.  Woodland Scenic course turf, bushes, lump foliage and field grass are used along with Scenic Express tufts, flowers, and other products.  



TREES: Hill Country; Live Oak, Cedar and Cyprus trees are featured on the SA&N.  Most are individually constructed using Balsa, Woodland Scenics armatures, Woodland Scenics “Fine Leave Foliage” or natural fern.  Dyed weeds, wire armatures and some commercial trees are also used. 


WATER: Rivers and falls were made with Woodland Scenics “Water Effects” and “Realistic Water.”  Ponds were made with “Enviro Tex.”  All bottoms were painted prior to pouring.  


STRUCTURES: Many structures are Scratchbuilt or kit-bashed to make them as authentic as possible.  Walthers and Design Preservation modular structure parts are used in larger structures.  High quality structures built by past SAMRA members are also included.  For example the Zengerlie arch bridge is over 50 years old and the Sawmill and lumber yard at Clarke Center were built by the late Robert (Bob) Clarke, MMR.



DETAILS: Look closely at the details.  Many items and scenes are modeled for the first time.  Egrets sitting on cattle, a prison road gang with mounted guard, the house from the Movie “Second Hand Lions”, A western Swing Band and an open air Texas Dance hall are just a few unique details.

A final thought on the SA&N

The SA&N is a work in progress. When complete it will proudly serve the educational mission of Bob Clarke Rail Heritage Museum and provide countless hours of fun for those who built and operate it.  While Its construction is the work of many of our members, it is also built with the knowledge and inspiration provided by our past and deceased members -- including our namesake, Bob Clarke MMR.  We thank them all for their contributions. 

           John Lowrance, MMR

           Chairman, SA&N Layout Management Committee



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