Above left is the future home of Strong on the layout. Initial benchwork is done and the wall above decorated before installing a backdrop. Above right, to the lower left closest to the camera is where Avon will be, then past it Strong. On the far wall and extending off to the right, where the 'home hobby shop' has been temporarily located, will be the Farmington module.
Above left you can see the masonite insert to cover the window that tucks in behind the backrop sections to the left and right. With this, I can pop it out to get at the windows behind if need be. Above right, the backdrop continues on behind what will become Strong, and curves the corner toward where Farmington will be. I paint the masonite with two coats of light blue to make sure that no brown will show through after the sky is painted. Previously I used a wide brush to do this, but found later that the brush marks show up if you look too close, so I've now switched to a mini paint roller.
Above left, the outline of the trimmed photo backdrop has been traced on the insert, then the sky and clouds are blended to match the backrop section to the left. I use a damp sea sponge and cheap hobby acrylics to do the sky and clouds. To the above right, I used two shades of gray spray paint, and a quickie-made cardboard cloud top stencil to make the winter storm clouds and overcast that will help emphasize the 3-D Winter scenery on the ground. Light snow will be on the ground under the beginning of the storm clouds to the left, getting heavier as you move to the right.
Above left, the adhesive-backed photo backdrop has been applied to the insert and the trimming of the photo backdrop touched up with paint and a fine brush to blend it with the painted sky above. Above right, the photo backdrop has been taped in place on the masonite to get a better idea of how the scene will come together. After looking at it awhile, I decided to lighten up the dark gray on this portion to look more like and overcast winter day instead of the darker storm clouds to the left. This is also helping me figure out how the backdrop continuing around the corner will transition from the Winter scenery of Strong to the Spring scenery of Farmington.
Above are kits that I've already constructed and will construct for Strong. The rest will be either kitbashed or scratchbuilt. A structure I have on hand that will become the Brantley's apple cannery is a Campbell kit that was built and painted by the legendary Bob Hayden that was previously on his Carrabasset & Dead River Railroad layout, the very layout that inspired me over 40 years ago to someday build my SR&RL RR layout.
Above and below the foam base has been set in place to figure out the yard track plan, which is based closely on the prototype. Some of the structures are set in place to make sure everything will fit. The industries served here in Strong will include the New England Creamery, Dagget & Will general store, Forster's toothpick mill, Brackley's apple cannery and the Burnham & Morrill corn cannery. Full rail facilities are also located here, and the junction with the Franklin & Megantic branch of the railroad is also located here. The F&M track that heads 'north' from the junction in front of the creamery will disappear behind the buildings on the far side of the track and will serve as a hidden staging track for trains coming from and going to Kingfield on the F&M branch.
Below left is just a messy shot of the way things look while I'm figuring out what I'm doing. Below right, the valley where Porter Brook trestle will be going is cut from the plywood deck, then lowered down and screwed into place to model Porter Brook. This is at the left side of Strong.
Below left and right are shots from above to get a better idea of the track plan. All the track that was in Strong is modeled, based on Volume 5 of Jerry DeVos' series of SR&RL books. Of course, it's been compressed to fit in the space available. You can see at the back of the layout next to the photo backdrop, is the track that goes 'to Kingfield'. The prototype curved off to the left, but due to space, I've curved it off to the right and it will be hidden behind the scenery. It will be used for staging trains coming 'from Kingfield', and then for trains leaving Strong going 'to Kingfield'. The industries that will be modeled in Strong are the New England Creamery, the Dagget & Will general store, the Forster toothpick mill, the Brackley apple cannery and the corn cannery as well as the railroad's freight house. Full railroad facilities will also be modeled with water crane, coal shed, section house, turntable and engine house.