More scenery tips

“Hey Al . . . Here’s a tip for making soft, damage-resistant and super light-weight rock faces . . . Use dense foam padding (as found in many old chairs and pieces of furniture) . . .

Cut this material into chunks with scissors, then shape roughly with the scissors (or scalpels or one-sided blades). Once done, rub these pieces with a sticky material like No More Gaps. Then roll the pieces in rock dust, and allow them to dry thorou8ghly.

Once dry, you can assemble them into whatever size rock wall you like, using an appropriate glue that won’t eat into the foam . . .

This is ideal for layouts that need to be moved, or for exhibition layouts!




This just a small note i was going to do some water on my layout but after extensive research canned it due to the cost. then i found a site that gave me the easy cheaper option using plaster sheets and sealant for windows and bathrooms etc. This was my first attempt and i think it looks pretty good.



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“A diorama I’m building at the moment. Yes foam very easy to use and shape.


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“Hi Al,

Just a couple of scenery tips.

Tip number 1 mixing plaster.

When you mix plaster, tip some brown water based paint into the mix.

It will give the plaster a natural earth brown, if the plaster ever gets chipped it will show a brown surface, not a white surface.

Tip number 2 printing back drops or card board building kits.

Clean the printer head first, just press settup on the printer, then press maintenance, then press clean printer heads.

After you have done that the printing quality is improved, no grainy lines in the printing job.


Big thanks to everyone who has contributed. And if you’ve ever thought of sending something in, now’s the time to do it. We’d all love to hear from you…

Latest ebay cheat sheet is is here.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming – I really want to hear from you, especially if you’ve made a start.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



16 Responses to More scenery tips

  1. Dennis says:

    Hi David,
    The waterfall looks brilliant.
    Any chance of sharing how you got the effect please?
    I assume you are able to peel the end product away from the plastic sheets.

  2. Michael Gibb says:

    I have just put a big piece of foam out in the bucket but I like your idea I have got some more lying about.

  3. david howarth says:

    That waterfall looks very good

  4. Neil says:

    Love the waterfall.

  5. Thomas Meleck says:

    That water looks terrific. As a first try, I can’t imagine it being any better.

  6. JIm Vejar says:

    The waterfall looks great. I am confused as to the products mentioned and the techniques used. Is the material clear? What is the description of the material. Each country has a different name for things and some items not available. Thanks, Jim

  7. bob says:

    hey Dave, I really like it and would like to know if you would share the website telling you how to?


  8. paul Otway says:

    I also like the waterfall.


  9. sundaram says:

    Water fall looks very good. The idea of mixing brown water colour into the plaster mix good idea.
    I build mountains / tunnels with thermocole . Themocole needs to be painted over with either PVA or Fevicol so that the oil paint does not eat into the thermocole. One, advantage with this process is when you shave of the excess thermo cole or dress down the thermocole, the little pieces of thermocole scrapings also get into the crevices in the joints/ openings in the bonded surfaces to give a rocky effect (while the PVA/Fevicol bonds them into position).

  10. THOMAS says:


  11. Thanks to all for some very good ideas.

  12. Larry J Middleton says:

    Al; I’ve noticed that plaster is being used a lot more for model RR scenery. Just a couple of ideas when mixing and using plaster for my years working on older houses. First, mix a little regular white vinegar in with the water, maybe 1/2 cup to 1 quart or so, to retard the setting process. Amount of vinegar depends on room temperature, less when cold–more when warmer. Don’t worry about odors, your scenery won’t smell like a dill pickle when dried. Next, for heavier coatings of plaster, try starting the base coats with ‘brown’ plaster. Its got a coarser body to it and is a lot stronger when set-up. The white or light weight plaster can be applied over it in thinner coats without fear of any cracking or chipping.

    Hope this helps. Great Web-site Alastair. Larry M. NJ-USA.

  13. Russell Zanetich says:

    Mountains look great. I have been looking at different ways on how to build ground under my rises to my bridge. this I would like to try. Could you share your site.
    I have a g-scale layout that I use take up and down. Now I have a loft in our new home, that belongs to the trains and allows me to do more.

  14. Peter Macdonald says:

    To make silicone waterfalls – get lengthy piece of waxed baking paper. Pour and spread silicone from tube in line(s) along the paper to the width you want the waterfall to be As it sets score the surface further with a paperclip or other thin stick to create waves and frothing effect. Let dry and silicone comes straight off paper.

  15. Walter Dustmann says:

    Comment from the US of A: I am amazed at how the waterfall looks and the water/river at the bottom is so cool. I’m just starting on my 11th HO layout and plan to add a lighthouse next to water and you have given me a great idea. I thank you for it.
    By the way: sometimes when I click on your ‘It’s all here’ I never connect. This one worked this time. Yea!

  16. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Hi. Re the use of old foam. The majority of old furniture will not comply with fire resistant codes. It can be extremely flammable please make sure the furniture you obtain the foam from has a fire retardant label attached to it before using on your railroad

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