Sunday, May 27, 2018

Imitation is the Highest Compliment: Brad Burtnick's N-Scale Door-Size Layout

Every now and then, I check out the local (Winnipeg) Kijiji website to see what might be available.

Not that I need anything, but you never know: Something special or rare just might show up and call my name.

Earlier this month, while scanning through Kijiji, I came across an N scale layout on a door—a layout similar to the one I had made a few years ago based on the Thompson River Canyon.

I sent the seller a note. I wanted to know: What inspired him to make it?

The answer surprised me: My own Thompson River Canyon layout.

My Thompson River Canyon layout.

In a note sent back by Brad Burtnick, builder and owner of the layout I saw on Kijiji, I learned he saw my door-sized layout on display at the Winnipeg Mega-Train show and decided to make something like it himself.

“I liked it so much that I modeled this layout from your design with a few changes,” he told me. “I liked the compact design, and how a simple oval didn't look like an oval at all.” 

“So  you actually motivated me to build this layout.”

Brad's layout is different than mine—it’s only scenicked on one side, for starters, it's built on a piece of half-inch plywood, for another, and the cliff face and vegetation are not the same. (More like along Lake Superior than B.C.'s Thompson Canyon.)

But otherwise, the concept is similar: An oval with scenery to disguise the fact that it is, in fact, an oval.

I asked him more about the layout.

“I like large rock faces, so I incorporated that into my layout, and I also only modeled one side so the layout can be placed on a shelf or against a wall on a cabinet,” he said.

He explained that the scenery is built on a box-like structure of two-inch thick Styrofoam. To make it less square, and make it look more like a mountain, “I then used crumpled-up newspaper to round out the mountain on the top and the sides above the tunnels.”

Once the newspaper was in a shape that he liked, Brad used Woodland Scenics plaster cloth on top of the newspaper to seal the paper and make it hard. He then painted the plaster cloth a green color.

The rock was made from hydrocal plaster. Brad used two different castings to make the rocks. He then sprayed thinned paint on them to provide the colour. 

The deciduous trees are from Woodland Scenics, and the pine trees are from Heki.

As for me, I was flattered by what Brad had done, and why he did it; imitation is the highest compliment.

And since I was reading about Brad's layout on Kijiji, that means it was up for sale. Brad tells me it hasn’t been sold yet; if you are interested, check it out on Kijiji.

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