Burnt Fly Canyon

This out of the way place is, quite literally, a hole in the ground. Nobody lives here. The river is polluted by a mineral processing factory upstream so there’s no fishing here. The only reason Burnt Fly Canyon is still marked on the FCPyF timetable in English is because the management didn’t deem it worth changing the station name board to Spanish after the revolution.

When I say station I’m being generous. The facilities at Burnt Fly are a short siding, allowing railcars to pass each other, and a grounded caboose body providing shelter from the rain (but not from the mosquitoes) should any unsuspecting tourists alight from a railcar by mistake.

bf plan

That’s the theory. In fact Burnt Fly Canyon will be a portable bit of the FCPyF, supposedly on the San Pedro branch, sandwiched between a pair of fiddle-sticks so that the trains have somewhere to go. I’m building this little diorama more for my own entertainment than for potential exhibition visits. It’s also a chance to experiment with a scenery technique that I cannot use on the main layout because it relies on gravity to create the rock face by tipping the diorama over while the glue dries.

bf 1

The base for the scenery is expanded polystyrene, pinned together with coffee stirrers.

bf 2

Paper towels are draped over this then soaked with diluted PVA.

bf 3

The diorama is then tilted and sprinkled with several layers of varied grades of sand to give both colour and texture to the rock face which is soaked with more diluted glue, not unlike the way model railway track is ballasted except it’ll be vertical rather than horizontal when finished.

bf 4It stands close up photography remarkably well and should be rock hard when it has set, quite literally man-made sandstone.

bf 7

The “station building” requires some work before it will be ready for use on the diorama. A pair of Gnomy brake vans joined together to make a longer vehicle, this caboose body has been in my scrap box for a few years.

bf 5

Never throw anything away!

EDIT – 15/7/16

Well, that was a spectacular landslip! The FCPyF is, of course, used to dealing with earthquakes. They come with the territory, the Andes being comparatively young and unsettled mountains… Plus the fact that I keep changing my mind with the configuration of the layout!

However, this landslip was a fairly heavy fall of damp sand from the cliff onto the track. The glue between the tissue paper and the polystyrene was not up to the job, and I’d probably over diluted the PVA used to hold the sand onto the paper too.

Anyways, starting again from scratch with the rock, the damp sand has been mixed with dry Polyfila and applied to the cliff face horizontally (with the diorama flipped over on its back) then lightly sprayed with water. It’ll probably take a few days to dry out so I have placed the bottle in my shed, out of sight, out of the way, out of temptation to prod it and see! The shed catches the afternoon sunshine so it can get quite warm in there at times, hopefully this will help with the drying process.

stop board


About Bob Hughes

Ex railwayman, life long railway modeller, lover of real ale and spicy food.
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