Gln has been kind enough to respond to your questions about his layout (if you missed it, it’s here).
Several folks have asked about the techniques I used to landscape my layout. I thought I’d make a few comments about basic approaches to landscaping and then start with how I developed the river system as it was the lowest point of the layout and I worked upwards from there. It gave me a real sense of excitement with its physical variety and provided a meaningful impetus to move forward with construction.
First, I had used the traditional technique of plaster covered papier mâché as a youngster and found it unbelievably messy – I got the stuff everywhere, often not where I wanted it! When I researched newer techniques several things came up:
1: cardboard strips covered with plaster soaked newspaper of paper towel
2: balls of rolled up newspaper covered with plaster soaked papier mâché
3: insulation foam or styrofoam carved with a hot knife
4: landscape aluminium mesh
5: Woodland Scenics shaper sheet coated with liquid plaster
I tried several of the earlier techniques and found them messy and difficult to work with quickly as time is often a problem for me. When I tried the Woodland Scenics shaper sheet I realized I had hit pay dirt! It is simply fantastic. All you do is buy rolls of 9″x72″ or 18″x72″ shaper sheet, cut off a piece larger than you think you need, then scrunch it up to whatever shape you desire. Simple as that. I stapled it to plywood supports or insulation foam for rigidity. The you just paint on a liquid plaster slurry and it dries to a rock hard shell in a few hours. The sheeting is not cheap (US$10 for 9″ wide and US$22 for 18″ wide roll [I used the latter always]) but a little goes a long way and it is worth every cent. It can be lifted off intact or re-shaped as needed. To plaster it you can use expensive Hydrocal at $10 a box, but I found that a $10 20lb bag of joint compound from Home Depot was just as good and 10x less costly.
Once I had the basic shape in place, I would add rocks. These I made from Woodland Scenics silicone rock molds – buy a few different shapes and pour your own rocks as needed using the joint compound plaster. They dry overnight and can be peeled out of the molds easily. Placing them in different orientations creates fascinating realistic rock formations. The rock molds are anchored by layering a thick paste of joint compound slurry to the back of the rock and then sticking it into place on the plastered shaper sheet. I blend the edges of the rock with plaster slurry as needed.
Anyway back to the river. I created river banks by shaping pieces of 1” thick insulation foam to build the banks of the river course. Then I overlaid shaper sheet over the river bed and banks, scrunching it up to create the desired contours. The sheet is then painted with the plaster slurry and allowed to dry. Once dry, the river bed is painted appropriately with artists acrylic paint – darker blue-green for the deeper water and greeny blue for the shallower water. Small pieces of real rock chips or gravel are placed to imitate boulders and fine talus can build up finer rocky deposits and sand banks to imitate river bends. I had a bag of playground sand in the garage and it makes a perfect size to imitate river sand and fine dirt as well. Small broken twigs form the garden act as fallen logs and river debris washed up on the banks of the river.
Prior to pouring liquid acrylic water, the banks and hillsides should be painted using the Woodland Scenics “leopard spotting” painting approach – – 3 water-diluted mixes of acrylic black (produces gray), burnt umber and yellow ochre. More of that in my next post. Below are images of the steps leading to the painted but unfinished river bed.
And Mark has been back in touch too. If you missed his last missive, it’s here.
“Hi, Al. Just responding to some of the questions and thoughts about the Wine Train video.
First of all, a big THANK YOU to everyone for all the flattering responses to the video. I am humbled and encouraged to continue! And another big THANKS to Al, for all of his time and effort in promoting our hobby!
Q&A The flag assembly is made by miniatronics, part #90-048-01 but the BIG question is “what is the best selling product at the general store on Thunder Mountain”? …hairspray!
Q&A The rock faces are commercially available and made of a high grade rubber, augmented by actual rock gleaned from the garden.
Q&A The layout is HO scale and the ALCO engine is made by Rapido
Q&A …and still trying to figure out how to tap into the wine tank car!
A huge thanks to Glyn and Mark. It’s great to see how they do what they do!
Ebay cheat is more than pulling its weight at the moment, have a look, it’s here.
That’s all this time folks. Please do keep ’em coming.
PS Scratching your head over where to start? Have a look at the Beginners Guide.