Drywall Compound for Roadbed contouring?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by tetters, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Is drywall compound a good medium for sculpting roadbed? Probably not the best stuff to use, however funds are kinda tight, and I have a whole bucket of this stuff sitting in my basement.
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Do you mean the slopes on the side of the roadbed, or under the track itself? Keep in mind, the stuff is a little soft, is water-based, and will re soften if it gets wet.

    With that said, yest it will work for general scenery smoothing. Just don't spread it too thick, because it may take a long time to dry, and crack as it dries. If it cracks, you can always wipe the surface with a damp sponge to smooth it back out. Coat it with latex paint after you get the shape you want, and that will keep it from re-softening as you add scenery glue to the top.

  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Yes...the slopes for the sides of the road bed not under it. That's pretty much it. I was planning apply it conservatively at first and then build up where it needs it. I was also going to paint it some greys and/or earth tones once it cured before adding any scenery or landscaping to it.

    I just don't want to waste my time and find out its not going to work.

    Thanks Kevin.
  4. I've use Durabond 45 powder mix with so much sucess that I would use it over any premix, Scultamold, or pop. It comes in 25 lb. bags and goes along ways. It does'nt shrink or crack like premix will when its applied thick. I have cast hundreds of rocks with it. Things to know about it: It don't like to be sanded once its cured and rewetting has little or no effect, once fully cured. It cures in 45 min or so depending on how thin or thick you mix it. You have two time periods to work it-when you first apply it and just before it take a set. Very workable stuff. When doing scenery I do the wire, foil, and plaster cloth method. I will set my cloth and then sift the dry Durabond on to the cloth while its still wet and work it in the wet cloth. It helps fill the voids left from the cloth and makes it alot more rigid when its done. Some may cringe at the idea, but it sure does work for me.
  5. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    While I've never used wall joint compound for sculpting roadbeds, I have used it for pretty much everything else on my layout and I like it a lot. It's very easy to use, it always stays at the perfect consistency in the bucket (within reason), it stays workable for a long time and accepts paint easily. I think my biggest two uses for it are covering all the little holes of the plaster cloth and automobile roads.
  6. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Welcome :welcome1: to the Gauge, yamahammer.

    Finally, another proponent of Durabond! ;):-D:-D This stuff comes in various setting times, denoted by the number following the name - this is the setting time in minutes. While pre-mixed drywall compound is very easy to use, it's soft when set, making it easy to scratch or gouge, and it will re-soften when wet. I have used it for roads, but the Durabond works better. Applied too thickly drywall compound will crack, and even if it didn't, thick applications take too long to dry.
    If you have some brick structures, drywall compound is useful for creating a mortar effect: simply paint the building a suitable brick colour, and when the paint has thoroughly dried, use a clean rag over your fingertips to apply the compound over all of the brickwork. After it has dried, use another dry, clean rag to wipe the surface of the bricks - the "mortar" will be left in the grooves between the bricks.
    Here is a couple of links to photos in the Gallery - click on the pictures to get an enlargement which better shows the mortar detail.

    brickwork 1

    brickwork 2

    brickwork 3

  7. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Doc...you've got some of the best modelling I've ever seen on your layout. I never tire of looking at your work.
  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Thanks, Shane, the compliment is appreciated. :-D

  9. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Funny, the things you list as being negative are some of the things I like about it for various reasons. Haven't we had this debate before??:mrgreen::p
  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I got to agree with you. I use drywall compound for most every kind of scenery. I like the fact that I can go back hours later and work it into different and unique shapes. And yes, I have used it for a roadbed. It's been sitting there for over five years that way and hasn't changed. (It's a rural road and doesn't see much traffic except on Sunday when a few people drive to the church at the end of the street.) :mrgreen: :mrgreen: As far as re-softening when it gets wet, well, I can't see why it would get wet again, but if it ever does get soft enough, I just won't touch it until it drys out.:cry:
  11. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    I'm actually using it myself, to smooth off joints in the foam sub-roadbed, and make a smooth surface for attaching the foam roadbed.

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