A new photo for the Aerial shots post (see the links at the top). Much of the future Rainbow Ridge and Rivers of America area looks a little cleaner, thanks to a little paint, applied in preparation for the OC Register shoot last March.
The Sound of.... Sound
Since the layout started construction almost six years ago, it was mainly a visual art. Now for the first time, you can also "hear" it.
While it was still easy to route wires, I decided to run lines for speakers to be incorporated into the layout to broadcast sound effects for each of the different areas. Such sounds include waterfalls, creeks, animals, geysers, townsfolk, and just ambient sounds.
Last winter I bough a bunch of inexpensive iPod speakers from Target that I could disassemble and customize so I can hide speakers in the layout and have the sound input be accessible. To have the sound playback, I'm using the tried and true CD player, two of them in this case. By taking advantage of the stereo quality of CD's that created four channels, each player having a left and right speaker. So this creates four different sounds that can be implemented in four different areas on the layout.
|"Hacked" CD players that will run the sounds of Nature's Wonderland.|
The wires will run to a custom panel that will control both players at the same time
All of these sounds are being mixed in GarageBand, and compiled onto one 1-hour track on CD. Each player will have two areas being played simultaneously
|All the audio tracks being mixed in GarageBand|
Right now, there are two speakers installed in Cascade Peak, Beaver Valley/Bear Country and two need to be installed in the Living Desert and one in Rainbow Ridge.
|A speaker for Beaver Valley, yet to be hidden by trees and foliage.|
|A speaker for Bear Country covered in wire screen and preliminary scenery|
blending. A few trees and shrubs and it wont be seen.
Here's a recording of the sound module in action (camera has poor video quality, no visuals).
Meanwhile in Beaver Valley, scenery began to "grow". Trees are starting to sprout as I experiment with different ways of making different varieties of trees. Some pines are scratchbuilt out of sculpey and wire branches, while others are Woodland scenics brand. What's nice about modeling Nature's Wonderland is that it's actually prototypical to have few trees, unlike most model railroads, since foliage still needed time to grow in. I won't need too many trees for that reason, but also so the viewer can actually see the scenes on the layout without being too cluttered.
Finally, here's a side-by-side look at Cascade Peak, a year ago before it's major rebuild, and just a few days ago. Quite a difference!