Slowly but surely, Bear Country is slowly coming together--and populated. I finally painted up the bears that were cast months ago and they are in place in the pond, awaiting the water to be poured from enviro-tex resin.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the "forest" section, Beaver Valley took another step in progress. The dams were made from backyard twigs and sticks and the building animal itself was painstakingly sculpted.
At this time, miniature counterparts of birch trees were "planted" which helps define the Beaver Valley section.
I sculpted two versions of the beaver, one in the standing position as shown above, and another in the swimming position, which will soon be embedded in the enviro-tex water.
Since I needed multiple beavers, rather than just the two that I sculpted, I molded the two sculptures in silicone rubber for casting. Until I could get around to that, I decided to change gears and focus on a section of the layout that has been needing some work for quite some time: Rainbow Ridge.
To really get started on Rainbow Ridge, and to get every detail right, planning and drawings need to be done.
When I mean detail, I really mean it; every lantern, every railing, every exit ramp, are all being meticulously accounted for in the planning stages so construction can go smoothly and I won't have any "Oh, I should have added that earlier" situations. I started the main block of Rainbow Ridge elevation drawings, and recently I've done the Mineral Hall complex and the massive plan-view drawing that brings everything together.
Of course, I can only get as accurate as I can with the space given. For example, on the real attraction, the Opera House is aligned with the curvature of the track, so that it faces the loading area. Well, my track is a little more straight, so it faces away from it slightly. The load area was also downsized in one area so it would actually fit on the layout. Little things like that will have to be compromised later, but you get the idea.
There are still plenty more drawings to do, especially in the Pack Mule load area. Once those are done and the mock-ups are satisfactory and everything about right, construction can finally begin!