Last night I attended our local model railroad get together at my friend Dale Kreutzer's house, in nearby Port Orchard. Dale is building a world class Sn3 layout based on the RGS in 1926, the part nobody models: Durango to Dolores (no "O-fear Loop").
As I was admiring all the track details Dale has installed, it reminded me of all the discussions we've had regarding box culverts, stub turnouts, harp switch stands and stub derails, all part of the narrow gauge scene but not often modeled. Here are some examples of Dale's Sn3 work:
Stub turnouts with harps:
Trestle guard rails (not sure if the C&S used them):
Finally, mainline switch stand by water tank:
All track work is hand laid code 55 rail on stained wood ties, guard rails on bridges are code 40 rail. Dale made each spike he used from music wire (yikes!!!) so flanges wouldn't bump on spike heads. Ground cover is real dirt and decomposed gravel, a la Paul Scoles. All backdrops are Dale's own photomurals from the actual locations.
But Dale's scenery is understated and thus very believable. From conversations with him, the photo mural back drops came as a solution to his attempts to paint his backdrops (I thought they were pretty good!). He seemed to feel he could spend the next 15 years painting backdrops or finish his layout. Thus his photo backdrops.
It is amazing to see, better to run trains on operating nights.
Dale has standard flourescent outlets, in recessed fixtures. But, the basement was built out with a layout in mind, possibly a specific track plan. So he may have specifically located the flourescent fixtures to provide even lighting.
And while we're (off topic) on the subject of guard rails, there were also singular (inside) guard rails on the wooden bridge at Forks Creek, and at the top of Kenosha pass. (The later, while not being on a bridge or a trestle, is on the old South Park line.)
Anyone have any pictures of the Selkirk or Gold Pan trestles?
The two pictures in the Mineral Belt 2 of the Illinois Gulch trestle are taken too high above to make out the detail. However there are several in Mal Ferrell's C&Sng that show the deck without Guard Rails whatsoever.
Early photos of Elk Creek in Clear Cr show no guardrails but the somewhat later view of the Woodentruss does have paired inside: the much later Steeltruss photos are obscured. Further upstream above Forks at the #703 and the #705 Steeltruss bridges show paired guards inside the running rails in 1939. Also the #721 Ponytruss above Fall River did have paired guardrails between the running rails yet the Ponytruss at Stanley Mills didn't. Oddest of all, the lowside Plategirder on the Loop only had a single in 1939.
Given that the C&S trestle standards called for Dabbed outside Guardtimbers I wonder if they were rarely used if at all. After all the C&S had very few Trestles and more actual Bridges than the RGS did.
Clearly a case of find a photo of the bridge/trestle location.
Dale has given many clinics in the past several years as to his backdrops and methods, including the National Narrow Gauge Conventions in St. Louis and Seattle. He also gave clinics at the last Sn3 Symposium here in Seattle this past spring. He will be attending and giving another clinic at the 2016 Narrow Gauge Convention in Augusta, Maine, next fall. Attend if you can or if a friend is going, have him ask Dale for an extra updated copy of Dale's materials, now under revision (no copies currently available).
I've been trying to convince Dale to publish an article in MR or RMC describing his methods, but Dale (like me) has been overextended of late, due to unexpectedly working near full time, well past planned retirement age.
Some points I recall from past conversations with Dale:
--The murals are all shot on the same day for any given scene, staggered, with camera on tripod, overlapping the individual photos, with some foreground object (rock, fence post, etc.) to key hooking them together on Photoshop.
--The finished murals are then printed on a 20 inch wide printer capable of using roll paper. The widest murals on Dale's layout are 17 inches I believe (bottom scenery edge to horizon/ridgeline. The mural behind the Mancos area is well over 20 feet long and Dale has printed murals for others up to 50 feet long.
--Sky is impossible to convincingly match from one mural set/scene to the next. So, Dale paints his basement walls a consistent "Sky Blue" that looks right under his lighting. He then takes a complete mural of whatever length and carefully, with a No. 11 Exacto blade, cuts the printed sky away from the horizon line. If some clouds attached to the horizon cast "shadows" on the scene, he leaves them attached. If clouds well above the horizon cast shadows on the scene, cuts them out as separate pieces and applies them separately to his blue wall "sky". See the scene at Mancos behind the stock pens above.
--The backdrops are printed on a particular paper that can be applied with wall paper paste, allowing time to apply, remove and reset the scene if necessary. Obviously several sets of hands are helpful here. Dale points out that using spray adhesives like 3M are next to impossible, as if you're off by a few mm on the initial placement, over a 20 foot run of larger murals, you may end up off by and inch or more at the other end.
--Because the paper is applied with water soluble wall paper paste, the murals must be printed with pigmented inks--the inks used on conventional ink jet printers, even high end ones, will smear if they get wet.
--As to where he gets his printed, I believe he found a professional photographer locally, who could print his murals to the above specs. Likely you would have to do the same.