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Wolf Creek & Spanish River Modules
(formerly Biscotasing and Lake Biscotasing)
Jeff Hill
This web page was last updated on April 15th, 2011.

Wolf Creek (left)  Spanish River (right)

Module Type: Free-mo

Features: Bridge, river, embankments, hills and valleys, and lots of beautiful scenery.

The Name: A trip on VIA Rail's Budd car service from Sudbury to White River will bring you to the real Biscotasing, located at Mile 54.4 on Canadian Pacific's Nemegos sub, about 100 miles northwest of Sudbury.  On a trip like this, you can't help but notice the beauty of the Northern Ontario countryside with hardly a paved road in sight.  The first thing that strikes you about these modules is the scenery.  While the modules might be fictional, the scenery is representative of what you might see on this trip - creeks, rivers, bridges, logging roads, and, yes, even some clear-cuts.  The river winds through the modules, forcing the railway to cross the valley twice, first on a bridge and then on a high fill.  It's very easy to visualize a trackside stop in the middle of nowhere to let some campers unload their canoes so they can lazily paddle down the river on a wilderness tour and meet the train at some other bend in the river.

Module Construction: The modules were built and scenicked by Jeff Hill.  A single-track Code 83 main line passes over two 4' modules with 22 angles at each end.  The prominent features are the railroad bridge crossing the river, the logging road with water tower and the whistlestop/lineside shack.  A long high fill carries the main line over the next bend in the river.  In between is a small module with a hill that the railway had to cut through.  Being true to the prototype, the modules contain lots of trees, including the remains of a clear-cut.  With all three modules combined, you get a lot of Northern Ontario scenery compressed into a very short length. 

The module frame was contoured to create the effect of a major change in elevation between the hills and the valleys.  The module deck is a combination of styrofoam glued together in layers and Hydrocal plaster applied over a lattice of cardboard strips.

Scenery Details: The fill for the main line was made by first carving the slope from the styrofoam base.  Scrap plaster was then tossed in a plastic bag and pounded with a hammer.  The resulting rubble was glued to the foam, then coloured with repeated washes of diluted paint - a very labour-intensive but most effective technique.

The rivers that run through the modules starts with a layer of soupy plaster poured over the styrofoam base and smoothed out as flat as possible.  The plaster was then painted to represent the bottom (brown near the banks, black in the middle). The water effect was built up from multiple layers of gloss medium, with a small amount of white paint added for the rapids near the bridge at Wolf Creek.

When adding vegetation, common and natural materials were used as much as possible. The conifers are mainly chunks of furnace filter skewered onto a stick and sprinkled with ground foam. The deciduous trees are a combination of commercial kits and spirea sprinkled with ground foam. The long grass is uncoloured jute cut to about " and stuck into glue.

The birches are made from a "Y"-shaped wire armature.  Strands of jute were spread across one leg of the 'Y', then the legs were twisted together, locking the jute in place and spreading it out in all directions.  The tree was then sprayed with a spray adhesive and ground foam was sprinkled on the jute to add foliage.  A hole was drilled into the deck and the trees held in place with glue.