Sunday, May 8, 2011
A Working Retaining Wall
Most of the time, when creating a layout, our models are just that: models. But on one section of the CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Subdivision, a scenery element wasn't a model; it served a real and prototypical purpose.
In the photo above you can see a small retaining wall. I didn't plan to put one there. But when I went to ballast the track, the ballast wouldn't stay alongside the track. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't keepit on the roadbed; it just kept falling down the cliff.
And so I asked myself: What would the prototype do? Build a retaining wall, I thought. So that's what I did.
Many years ago, I created rubber molds to make tunnel portals. I poured some plaster in a mold and, when it was set and dry, I broke the tunnel into smaller pieces to make the retaining wall. The pieces of the wall were then glued to the Styrofoam scenery base to keep the ballast in place.
The retaining wall made for a nice scenic highlight. But it was more than that; unlike the rest of the scenery on the layout, which was there just to look good, it did real work, and served a real purpose.
And it kept the ballast in place.