Mudflats, a different kind of fencing & a pathway
Almost a year ago when I took Sandy Shores for its first ever exhibition, a visitor politely suggested that perhaps the tidal area of the layout looks far too blue considering it is a mudflat. I seem to remember that I originally painted it whilst trying to judge colour from photos found online. Knowing that it would soon be necessary to pour a deep water layer over the top of it, and with that comment still in the back of my mind, I thought I should do some research.
Turns out, the visitor was of course right, any water in tidal areas amongst mudflat is incredibly... well... muddy! I think the reason I got it so wrong originally was that I relied mainly on photos taken from sea level (or just above), which of course meant that the water was reflecting blue sky!
As this tidal area had several layers of PVA on it, repainting it was not an option. I was also acutely aware that the depth of the sunken areas was all over the place; thus any deep pour "water" would collect in one place rather than spread equally across the whole area.
That left me with only one idea; re-levelling it all with filler! The first photo below shows an initial application with a glue spreader, whilst the second shows the neater result obtained by using a slightly wet brush:
Following on from my earlier research, not only did I get the colours wrong, but the mudflat wasn't quite modelled correctly either. It appears that there is a small set of primary channels that hold water even during low tide, with the mudflats immediately to each side having drain marks perpendicular to the channels. To try and model this, the channels were made using a C shaped bit of sprue, and the drainage marks were made by scraping the dentist tool away from the channel:
The end result it a much more convincing (and considerably more level) mudflat channel:
Whilst I had some leftover filler, I decided to extend the concrete road off-scene. By curving the road back out of sight behind the backscene, I'm hoping it will help soften the harsh transition between scenic and non-scenic sections of the layout. This was constructed in exactly the same way as the existing road. I'm also tempted to add some solid fencing and maybe a sand dune right at the back to help the effect further.
Whilst thinking about the scenic transitions, I determined that a little bit of detailing would help with this, by drawing peoples attention to details, such as around the kiosk area. Whilst I still need to add more details here (such as a menu board and a bin etc.), I knew that I wanted to make some seating (remember that little sketch I drew on my phone a while back!). Whilst I can't find any examples, I specifically remember seeing such seating before; it also doubles up as a low wooden railing. Anyway, it was constructed entirely from balsa wood; with the horizontal tops being sanded to a C shape (half round):
My attention then turned back to the grounded carriage, where I began work by adding tension posts to every corner of the fencing. Some of them are perhaps a little too thick, so I may come back to these another day, but I was keen to press on to the next thing: a footpath. Originally I planned a quick idea of just pouring ballast onto the sand and then blending in the edges with sand... however, things somewhat escalated!
The first thing to do was to roughly mark out the path with a mechanical pencil; making my way from the porch to the new boardwalk at the back of the layout. This is where the process became a little destructive as I scored the ground and lifted up the surface layer. Unfortunately, the end nearest the boardwalk was surprisingly soft, and the knife went straight through into the polystyrene, damaging the end of the fence in the process! Thankfully it wasn't lasting damage, and the rest of the ground was removed without issue.
As you'll see in the photo montage below, I kept making life difficult for myself, this time by deciding the path would need an edging. To do this, incredibly thin strips of lollipop stick were needed; barely being bigger than splinters! It may have taken a while, but it resulted in clean edges with which I could then fill with gravel (ballast).
And there we have it; two days of progress in one post!