I didn't get back to the ravine until today (Friday). I finished the Styrofoam underlayment for Ravine 1, and finished the forms for the bridge foundations. To cut foam without the mess, I'm using the Avalon foam cutter that I bought years ago at the York Train Show. Up until this project I only used it once, making a construction stand for the big RC B-17 I built a few years ago. Now it's finally earning its keep. I also purchased the big hot knife foam cutter from MicroMark, but haven't used it here yet. It tends to make much more styrene smoke and is messier. Unless I have to cut thick sections, I'll use the Avalon.
The main challenge I faced today was building out the ravine wall since the screen wire was attached to the layout frame which, at some points, was far behind the the bridge location. Using foam here filled the space quickly and saves large amounts of plaster cloth and Scultamold. Each side had this problem. I also started filling the space between the outside and inside loops using cardboard strips for the narrower parts and then more screen wire for the larger areas.
This is the right side (facing from outside in)
Here's the left side:
I'm still haven't decided how to treat the bridge abutment foundations. I can coat them with Spackle/joint compound/patch filler to create a smooth "concrete" surface, or I can sheathe them with thin styrene and paint it concrete color. I'm going to experiment with the plastering idea on some scrap to see how it looks. I'll pre-color the compound so it won't really need painting which looks much better. I really liked how this worked out on the deck bridge foundation. The rest of the screen/Styrofaom will be first covered with plaster cloth and then Sculptamold.
Here's the beginning of the landscape skeleton for the between-the-tracks area. I'm planning a fairly substantial ridge simulating a cut for the upper level track. I'm also deciding to leave some of the areas of the layout that don't yet have any paneling on them in a lower landscape area. In this way I can use screen wire fastened directly to the joists to support landscaping.
I'm not worried about the lumpiness of the cardboard strips. Ill work some of that out when plastering and some of it is welcome since the real world isn't that regular.