Figuring out the exact placement of the Elk was quite a challenge considering the space I provided for them isn't much at all. And also considering how close they border the Bears and the Beavers, I had to take careful measures in making their position just right so it didn't impact the other two areas. Basically I had to take three major areas, make them as accurate as I can, fit them all together in a prototypical fashion, and make everything look good overall without anything looking "off". I also had to factor in how they would look from different point of perspective. For example, if you were on the miniature train passing through Beaver Valley, you wouldn't see the Elk fighting on the hill just above. To solve that, room had to be accounted for trees, shrub, and other visual barriers to make accurate site lines.
When I had everything figured out to a certain extent, I constructed the mechanism that would animate the Elk figures. Since I wasn't going to have their tiny legs move, all the Elk are going to do is move back and forth on a horizontal track, basically enough to give the illusion of movement. While someone with no mechanical animation experience might say "you should have made the legs move!", I say "good enough".
|The mechanism, but with the original elk stand-ins|
When the mechanism was finished and duration tested, the hills sloping up to the Elk could be installed and built for the umpteenth and final time.
To accomodate space for the hills to house the mechanism, the Beaver Valley river had to shift a little bit. I could have left it where it was, but the hills would look too steep and unnatural.
|The basics of land forms|
|The "fault line" is visible since the layout|
can break into two pieces.
Once dry, various ground foam foliage and carved rocks scattered over the terrain helped make this section of the layout more nature-like for the first time in years.
To accompany the Battling duo, Woodland Scenics deer stand in for the "cow-elk" that lounge on the grassy meadow. Eventually they'll be repainted to match the elk and my painting style.
Trees are the current focus; after experimenting with a few techniques, one made out of sculpey and wire with ground foliage seems to work pretty well. Now it's a matter of sitting down and creating a whole forest of trees one by one-- by hand.
Here's the final video of the Elk in action:
The NWRR Model's "Cousin"
I snapped a few photos and shot some video of the model, but really, it's worth it to see it in person.