The right hand half – southern section – of my little world of Boltorr Road Halt consists largely of a scenic vista of the railway – perched on an embankment – crossing the Bolt Brook, a small river which has been dammed by those damned Victorians a little upstream, in the service of providing drinking water to Plymouth.
After crossing the Brook, the track dives into the heart of Bolt Tor itself, burrowing towards the Tamar and The Three Towns, or as we know it nowadays, The ‘Muff.
The needs of Plymouth means the Brook now only functions as an overflow, so it’s pretty shallow. I’m trying to give it the look of the Plym at Cadover Bridge. Clear, stony, rocky even.
The ground surface has largely been formed from Woodland Scenic’s Shaper Sheet, supported by their Profile Board and other scraps as found. Once coated with Plaster of Paris, the surface is surprisingly resilient.
No. I couldn’t walk on it, but as long as no one takes a mallet to it, it seems solid and light enough, with minimal support.
In the first image the railway crosses the embankment, and over a yet to be imagined bridge. In the top left-hand side, the passing loop headshunt hovers over the landscape awaiting its granite retaining wall. There’s going to be another spring running by, down to a small marshy area by the brook. The retaining wall will, in part, be founded on some granite outcrops, hopefully looking as if it’s really founded in the ground there.
I suppose that anything to do with water in a model environment is going to be problematic. By its nature it’s dynamic, alive. Yet our models, dioramas or renderings are kind of fixed in time and space. But water just wants to keep moving. Basically, it has to look like water not a sheet of glass or plastic.
So I’m still looking into possibilities. Unfortunately, the best model “water” tends to have a sticky surface and can be plagued with specks and dust. So currently, this is a work in progress.
But still, nothing, water-wise anyway, can happen until I work out what’s happening between Boltorr Reservoir Dam and the railway bridge. I can see a lot of cardboard and sticky-tape mock-ups in my near future, before finalising what’s going to be.
To be honest, I’m not really happy with the way the Brook is shaping up. I’m not finding it convincing, so it’s possible I might rip it out and start again on the water course.
However, you don’t know that until you’ve tried it, and virtually every process on this layout is a first time for me.
However, landscaping is a priority because I don’t want to commit to track laying before the major items, road bridge, Boltorr Reservoir, and Bolt Tor tunnel are finalised, even just in cardboard mock-up.
PS: 28.02.2016 – So I went ahead and ripped out the river bed. I replaced it with an incredibly skilled application of Shaper Sheet with a layer of Plaster of Paris to firm it up.
The banks of the Brook look hard, but they’re going to be softened with boulders, reeds and general bogginess. There also needs to be a bit of retention wall built in a couple of places.
I’ll be detailing the underwater parts of the river with rockiness and weediness, darkening the centre of the course to help suggest depth.
The river is now too deep to be able to cross with stepping stones, so I might need to consider a rickety wooden- or even a clapper-bridge for intrepid Ramblers.
Now I really have to start thinking what happens between Boltorr Reservoir and the railway bridge.