Ok, so I wasn't too crook to not play trains. The tucker from my freezer last night should probably have been thrown out but... I can be cheap at times. So a few trips to a shiny white ceramic device and I was right to go.
By that time I'd emailed the boss to say I wasn't coming in.
So a couple of cups of coffee and a slice of toast and I was ready to go... to the train club... I reckoned it was too late to call the boss - what a shame ;o)
No one else there today at the club, so it was on with the radio and switched to my favourite 4KQ and the volume turned up so I could hear it. Fresh cup of coffee and away I went. Foam beads would be a flying everywhere. But first I had to remove the railway bridge so as to access all the foam without damaging the bridge. 6 screws later and also the track joiners moved and out came the bridge. I better put it back before noon on Saturday so they can run trains I suppose!
I shaped both sides of the river with my Surform tools with a good vacuuming every ten minutes so that snow drifts didn't build up everywhere. Once I had the shape roughly the way I wanted on the hills, I got into the cuttings on either side of the mainline tracks. Craig M had advised me to keep the slope of the embankments to about 60 degrees. So I grabbed a bit of ply and spent 20 minutes making a nice wooden template to measure 30, 60 and 90 degrees. A bit of school geometry helped me here as I couldn't find any protractors at the club. So based on the long side (hypotenuse) being twice the length of the short side of the triangle (for one with a 60 degree, 30 degree and a 90 degree angle), I was able to cut a piece of ply that already had a right angle on it (90 degrees is a right angle as I remember) to suit the job. Some nikko markings of the angles of 30 and 60 degrees on both sides and a coat of clear paint and I put it aside for a while to dry.
While waiting for the template to dry I cut out a section of track on the reversing loop and got the area ready for the point to go in so we could progress the creation of a wye. It was fortuitous in that there was already a track join at about the right spot for the point. So a bit of cork was glued down and painted grey and then the tracks cut to length and all sharp edges filed away on the track and the set of points. I'll be able to glue the track down tomorrow I reckon and perhaps put the wiring in. The last point for the wye will be a while yet as we haven't purchased it yet.
The template was now dry enough to use and I continued on with the embankments. A pile of snow later and they were done. Next was to fill any and all holes in the foam from joins and where I hadn't added enough foam. I used my usual foam putty mix but this time with a twist - a twist of vermiculite. I had read that some people add vermiculite to their plaster mix to make it light. Well that's a good thing, so I thought I'd try it in lieu of using blended up foam beads in my mix. I also remember that vermiculite is also squash-able since it is sort of popped corn, well, it's popped and hence spongy and light. So I figured it might be able to formed better when used as my putty, as the beads do not compress - they stay round.
So the mix was a couple of tubes of No More Gaps and similar acrylic gap filling brands, and to this I added some acrylic cheap artists paint to make it all go brown like dirt in colour. I then added three or four handfuls of vermiculite and of course some foam beads. a tiny amount of water and I mixed it all up to a really think porridge consistency. This was then applied with a paint scrapper to all the holes and places needing some texture or adjustments. This included along the side of the track where the embankments meet the ground. This I was able to shape so as to look a bit like a drainage ditch along the side of the tracks.
Once I had applied about a liter or so of "putty", I made up a mix of just No More Gaps and coloured paint and a few drops of water. The consistency here is more runny, like wet toothpaste. This I painted on with a brush all over the foam and the filling I'd done. This will dry to the tough rubbery skin that will seal the foam.
It was now mid-afternoon, so time to cleanup and head home - I could hear a beer or three calling me, and boy was it a loud call!