Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow

Whilst the weather outside isn't really all that frightful, and it's too humid at the moment to even think about having a delightful fire crackling away, I thought it might be interesting to try out a method I read about lately for replicating snow.

After having the spare room where my modelling desk is converted into an actual bedroom over the Christmas break I've not been able to get to any of my modelling stuff. However last night after getting home I got stuck into de-bedrooming the place and dragged out my small test diorama that I did some hand laid track on last year and attempted to turn the temperature down.

Something I've mentioned before, is my personal dislike of almost every layout representing sunny days with clear blue skies and typical summery conditions. Granted, if you are modelling most Australian locations, that's a typical thing to model, however in certain places, you do get filthy storms, rain, and snow.

Now I'm not talking about a winter wonderland where everything is buried under three feet of snow and there's no other colour but white to be seen, but more when you have that light drifting snow that doesn't cover everything, but seems to gather in clumps, and randomly covers the ground and structures.

So, armed with some baking powder, I began sprinkling it randomly onto the ground cover and track work, being careful to keep it fairly light and not too thick, so as to represent what you would see after the snowing has stopped and some has already melted.

In general the baking powder does a great job of mimicking the texture and slightly sparkling colour of snow. Gently wiping it off the sleepers so it sits mainly on the ballast and against the track fairly closely replicates photos I have of these types of snow falls.

The next thing that I think needs to be done, is the whole area needs to be hit with a bit of a gloss finish, to try to replicate the slight sheen surfaces get when they are damp, but not fully wet like after rain.

Coupling these features with a dark stormy sky, and possible some lighting with a blue tinge, should go a long way to adding some real atmosphere and representing a gloomy, damp, freezing cold day on the railways, and not the typical bright sunny day.

Obviously depending on the area you are modelling, snow may just not be part of the plan, but if you happen to be modelling one of those areas where snow is semi common during the winter months, this could be something that tickles your fancy.