I made a lot of great progress on my layout over the weekend. As I mentioned before, I wanted to get all of the exposed pink and floral foam covered in an initial base coat of scenery and I was able to get that accomplished!
I began by placing a couple of smaller N scale woodland scenics culverts where I wanted them to go. I had to go do some additional carving into the foam to make room as they weren't originally part of the plan for this location. I secured them in place using Mike Confalone's "Universal Mud" technique and shaped the hillside around them appropriately.
I then painted the surrounding area with dark brown latex paint and spread on ground foam while the paint was still wet. Later, I secured the ground foam with diluted white glue.
Once that was accomplished, I turned my attention to the hillsides. These will eventually be covered in a variety of deciduous and conifer trees so I wanted to create the look of a forrest floor. Again, I borrowed a technique from Mike Confalone using dried leaves shredded and "pulped" in a blender to create the forrest floor.
I am extremely pleased with the results of this technique. The look of the forrest floor is very convincing. (though honestly the leaf cover is quite oversized for HO scale) I'm considering adding a light misting of an appropriately colored ground foam over the leaves to try to add finer texture to some of the larger leafy chunks. Your thoughts or suggestions on this are welcome.
Overall I am extremely happy with the results! Though far from finished, it is really good to get a base coat of scenery applied to the entire layout. Doing so was a kind of strange cathartic experience for me. It gives the railroad a certain degree of polish that wasn't present before. Now as I look at my railroad I feel much more relaxed and positive about the work ahead!