Yard Art Notes–Using Figures Effectively

Click to enlarge, use back button to returnA few articles ago I build a “yard-art” piece using G-gauge pieces on a bit of leftover trestle I had lying about. The “Wreck of the Soggy Bottom Express” I called it. The first modification I made to it, in an attempt to bring it to “life,” was an engineer and fireman figure, both shown jumping from the doomed locomotive. But it really needed a little bit more action.

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While I was pleased with the result, I wanted to add additional figures. But what type of figures would look at home on a train as it’s busting through an end of track barrier and sailing into a chasm of doom? Fortunately someone on MyLargeScale.com reminded me of a series of figures call “Horrified B-Movie Victims”. They come in a 9 pack and 4 pack sets. The 4 pack seemed to me to be just what I needed.


Click to enlarge, use back button to return Here you can see three of the figures glued to the top of the doomed passenger car. I just painted their bases to match the roof of the car.




I was now happy with the passenger car but the empty green gondola car seemed to cry out for contents that would make the impending crash more interesting. Having spent no small part of my early years watching Tex Avery cartoons the solution was forthcoming.

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Some sleuthing on the Internet and I found a set of Looney Tunes figures. I figured Wile E. Coyote, being no stranger to long drops into deep canyons, should feel right at home in the gondola car.



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Now I just needed the appropriate payload for the gondola car. Some scrap wood blocks, some coffee stir sticks around the borders, some cheap barrels from Michael’s Crafts and some red paint later and I had a load of dynamite. Thinking I might want to swap out the payload should I come up with any alternative ideas later I glued the blocks and figure to some scraps of 1×4.

This not only lets me easily drop in or remove the car contents, it raises the floor to make everything more visible when viewing the trestle. Not wanting the elements to take too great a toll on the model I drilled some holes in the bottom of the gondola car for drainage and put the 1x4s up on metal Snapple bottle lids to keep the wood clear of any water that gets into the gondola car.

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Out of the box old Wile E. did not have the expression I wanted on him as he was going off the trestle so I repainted his face to give him a more eye-popping expression. I added a small sign as well which is appropriate if you’ve watched many Road Runner cartoons.



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When placed in the car with the dynamite, Wile makes a good impression on everyone that comes up the walk and views the train wreck in progress.





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Last was to create more immediacy by showing the engine bursting through some short of barrier. This was done by breaking several scrap pieces of trestle materials with a 2 pound sledge hammer and wiring and pining the partially broken beams to the front of the engine and side of the trestle. The “bridge out” sign was suggested by an online friend.


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The final result paints a much more animated scene. I need to completely rebuild the roof of my covered tunnel as the elements finally cause more damage than I could fix on the fly but that does not detract from the scene too badly.


Please leave comments or suggestions and let me know about your projects!

(Originally posted 9/21/2014)

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