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Great Model Railroads By Allen Keller Vol. # 38


Volume 38 - Allen Keller's "Bluff City Southern"
Allen Keller's Bluff City Southern is set in the area around Memphis of 1950 when cotton was king. He models 5 railroads - Illinois Central, Frisco, L&N, Missouri Pacific and Southern - that helped make the city a major distribution center for the Mid-South. The HO scale BCS is filled with deep scenes that are highly detailed. Allen tries to embellish the interesting qualities of a scene while de-emphasizing the dull parts.

Layout construction began in 1997 and now the railroad runs from staging in Greenville, Mississippi through Memphis to staging in Forrest City, Arkansas. Later a line will be added to run to Jackson, Tennessee. The railroad and its scenes are a way for Allen to re-capture his childhood in Memphis of the 1950s.

The BCS features a seldom modeled area of the country, the Delta lands of the Mid-South. This relatively flat scenery presents an artistic challenge that is much different than mountain railroading. He's captured the look of hot, vast fields, slower paced rural living, poor but proud sharecroppers, and magnificent mansions of the antebellum South.

You will learn how Allen uses styrofoam panels instead of plywood, plants fake fur weeds, weathers with tempra paints, kitbashes buildings, and details track with paint.

The BCS is built on a few guiding principles: keep things simple, only detail what can be seen, find the essence of a scene, and know that you can't scratchbuild everything.

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