August 2001 - Page 42
tions I found myself asking George on my last visit. While we can only skim the surface, there is still a lot we can share through his efforts. Anyone familiar with the Fine Scale Miniature product line is aware that George has always cast his own windows and doors, and many of the scratchbuilt structures on the layout have used similar components. That has recently changed, and although structures are almost entirely wood-based, Grandt Line castings have replaced the metal castings of earlier days. Many of the streets are made from Trains of Texas brick wall sections, laid flat, and weathered to simulate cobblestone. A careful look at many of the structures will reveal awnings... these are simple cardstock creations that George uses to add some relief to otherwise flat-sided structures.
super thin paper stock follows building contours so tightly that they all but actually become part of the structure! The newer area of the layout uses trees constructed from wooden dowels and caspia branches. George gets flustered when he discusses these trees...while they look terrific, he can only build about ten per day. He is not used to working at this pace, and it takes a lot of trees to fill a layout! One of Georges unique abilities is blending a diorama into an existing scene. Two of his recent Jewel Series structures (from FSM) make the point...tearing up older (and beautifully done) areas is something many of us might be squeamish with but, unless youre very familiar with the F&SM, youd never be aware that things had ever changed
While the tried and true method of lifting individual boards from clapboard siding still prevails, it seems that George is more comfortable with chalks and paints than with an airbrush...he personally doesnt use one! Every structure is now internally lit; its not really noticeable under normal room lighting conditions, but apparently this has been an ongoing project for quite some time. The smoke plumes that lie along the rear skyboard are cotton and carefully placed to disguise any seams in the commercially printed sky backdrop. There are also many photos, scaled to size, that George has taken and mounted onto the skyboard as well...there is so much going on in the scenes that they just blend in and become a part of the visual fabric. While most of us have gotten used to sanding down the backs of paper signs to make them snug onto the sides of structures, George has taken it one step further. When I asked him why some of the signs are almost invisible he informed me that hes been using ads from newspaper print as well, and the
42 MODEL RAILROADING
from its inception. By using consistent techniques for ground cover and land contouring, the addition of various dioramas on the layout is accomplished with minimal problems. Since Georges modeling depicts the New England region, one would expect to see many rock outcroppings. Typically these areas are built using castings made of plaster or Hydrocal. George deviated from commonly used practices and took advantage of urethane rock castings. The reason? His preference stems from the concern of having excess weight on his layout since it is located on the second floor of an older woodframe structure. George is able to paint and weather the castings to make them resemble prototypical New England rock. Not only are the castings light in weight, but they are a neat alternative to traditional methods as well. When it comes to small seaport towns, the F&SMs Port Russell is one of the finest. From the terrific lighthouse (actually built by Paul Saulenas), down to Capt. Franks Seafood Caf, this area screams New England seacoast!