I knew that at least one of my starting modules should be a station. At first I had planned one with either a passing siding or a shorter freight siding. Alas budgets were slashed and belts tightened and I realized that I would have to settle on a pass-through station. Fortunately I discovered that it's the most common type in my area anyway!
This module, Magnolia Station, is fictional, but is based on the Amtrak station in Wilson, NC. It's a simple station with history going back to the Atlantic Coast Line. I liked the added interest of a city street crossing the tracks at one end of the station.
Currently there is a PRR style station building being used as a stand-in. I'm still debating whether to go back and build one in the style of the ACL stations.
On the south side of the street across from the station is a row of shops. I modeled about 1/3 of the actual building, and the storefronts were my first attempt at something like that. I've gotten better a doing transparent windows and may go back at some point and replace both shops.
This module also serves as the power point for the layout. I used the suggestions in the Australian T-Trak group's guidelines and mounted a RCA socket pair on the front of the module. That way the DC controllers can be plugged in when were ready to run trains.
As the painting progressed, I marked out some spots along the sidewalks for trees and streetlights. The trees beside the station are two that I made a few years ago for a wargame project but never used. They look okay from a distance, but don't stand up to closer inspection. They'll probably be replaced. The other trees are made using the sisal twine and wire method. I'm using dried tea leaves (black tea that has been used) for the leaves. It looks fine, but I am having a problem getting it to stick with hairspray.
The streetlights are made from short bits of discarded telephone wire strung with glass beads. It took a while, but I think I found a combination that resembles a decorative streetlight.
The next big step was to put some ballast between the two tracks and around the edges. I used sand that I colored with acrylic paint. I may go back with some Kato ballast and blend it in better, but we'll see.
The grassy areas were covered with fine sawdust that had also been colored with paint. Dirt and fine gravel was used to fill in between the road and sidewalks.
The lines one the road were done by laying down masking tape and painting with a size 1 brush. While it worked well with the fat white stripes, the yellow ones need to be redone.
The fence was made from thick card that I cut into strips and glued to long horizontal strips (all about 1mm wide). Fence posts were made from toothpicks.
The vehicles are paper models available from minimodel.cz. They're supposed to be Mercedes G, but at this scale they can stand in for a generic SUV.