Help for my 10-year-old's first mountain?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Q-deck, Jul 13, 2004.

  1. Q-deck

    Q-deck New Member

    My son is in the middle of his first h-o gauge scenery project, a mountain with a snow-cap and stream. Not to scale, its about 2.5 x 1.5 x 8. Anyway, so far it's made out of paper mache-covered foamboard. He wants to go ahead and paint it, but it would seem to me that there should be another layer of something, like plaster of paris, so it doesn't look like just spray-painted paper. It need to be done fairly quickly, so we're no worried about great realism. Any ideas out there? I haven't been real thrilled about any of the books we've been able to find...
  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    you could dip paper towels in plaster and drape over the mountain to give it texture. Then spray down with variouse earthy colors of latex paint watered down in a spray bottle. Then you can add ground foam (grass) available from a hobby shop. Woodland scenics is a popular brand.

    Most of all, have fun!

    And :wave: :wave: :wave: welcome to the-gauge! :wave: :wave: :wave:
  3. Q-deck

    Q-deck New Member

    Thanks, Jon. Would you use a standard plaster of pais mix on the paper towels?
  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I've done that (long ago), but there is a product called hydrocal (sp?) that's stronger I think, available at the hobby shop too.
  5. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    The new plaster impregnated cloth is easy to use. It's like the stuff they make casts from. Fred
  6. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I use plaster impregnated bandage. You can get it from hobby shops reasonably cheaply. It's pretty much the same stuff they wrap your broken leg up in, but don't get it from the chemist shop. It's 2 - 5 times the price.

    Dip that in water and lay it over the top of the mountain. Massage it a bit, to even it out etc.

    I then mix a teaspoon or so of cheap artist paint (earth colours) $1 a tube or so, from the hobby arts shop, with a bowl of reasonably sloppy (porridge consistency) of plater of paris and paint this on (1/8 inch thick) after the plaster bandage has pretty much set. Lump it up, and sculpt with a knife to represent cracked rocks and outcrops etc. Then get some other "earthy" coloured paints, and just a smidge in a bowl of water, (really thinned down) and then dribble this over the painted on plaster (just before it really dries out), and let it run down the sides, to simulate the water runoff and weathering of the ground.

    VOILA!! One rocky mountain!!

    Cuppla hours for all that should do it. :)

    Let it dry completely, then use white wood glue, and paint this all over, (except where you want exposed rock) and sprinkle on some ground cover, then give a light spray with water.

    You can make your own ground cover. Just put some dead leaves etc in the blender and push the button!!! :eek: :eek: or colour some sawdust and let it dry out.

    As for snow? ummmm..... I've never had to do snow.

    Any suggestions guys, for a "snow sprinkle" cover? Maybe use that "Santa Snow" stuff out of a spray can that everyone uses at Christmas time???? :eek:

    Good luck. :)
  7. Q-deck

    Q-deck New Member

    Woodie, thanks for the ideas.

    As for the snow, I was thinking spray glue topped with flour. Some sprinkled crumbled foam-board insulation for texture where needed. Or perhaps the latter topped with the former. I hadn't thought about the spray snow, although there may be a question of permanence.

    My son is imagining a fairly green mountain with a 'glacier' on top that's melting to a waterfall down one side (which can probably be done with acrylic?). He ended up with one end rather cliff-like that could be a dry, brown layered outcropping.

    Have lots of old, dried parsley for ground cover and a little green among the rocks.

    We don't have much time before this has to be displayed (4-H fair project). Think clipped end of pine branches would make acceptable trees?
  8. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    That's okies, Q-Deck.

    With that whole process there is no need to be gentle or accurate. Just slop the lot on. Sometimes, the rougher, the better. Do it like you'd imagine Curly (Three Stooges) would bake a cake. :):) (and sing along accordingly, of course. **la na neeeee.... la na naaaaaah** :D )

    And that bit about painting the white woodglue and then spray with water. It WILL look like a blizzard hit the joint, as the white glue soaks into the groundcover, but it dries clear, remember. and the ground cover won't brush off.

    As for trees? Do you have an old plastic Christmas tree laying around? You know, those 2 foot high plastic ones. Use bits off that for trees. :):)
  9. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

  10. Q-deck

    Q-deck New Member

    Thanks, Jon and Woodie...:thumb:

    Next question...the base needs to be temporary, since the mountain will most likely taken off this 'display' base and transferred to a larger diorama . I was thinking 1/2" plywood with dy-wall screwsfrom below holding the mountain in place.

    But how to decorate the plywood :confused: ? I've read of using some cloth to cover it, then building on that. Is that a good idea, and what cloth should I use?

    Also, about 'ballast' to cover the cork bed and between the ties. Again, I've read about it, but haven't discovered what material it is or where to get it (as I said, I've not been thrilled with the books we've been able to find on the subject :curse: ).

    And yes, I'll post a picture when the thing is done.

  11. Moiuntain and Ballast

    Ballast for O, HO, and N scale is made in several colors by Woodland Scenics. Any local hobby store that does trains or military minis should sell some.

    As for the plywood, I can think of a couple options:

    one, a little more complex, is to 'countersink' the plywood part so it sits on a mini-shelf just inside what's left of the mountain below it

    Another idea is to paint the plywood part, making it a narrow cliff in the mountain.
  12. Q-deck

    Q-deck New Member

    Well, the mountain was a flop. About a week before the fair, mom and kids were called away due to family emergency. We tried to finish the mountain the last couple days before it had to be displayed, but it was just too frustrating an experience. We were trying to put plaster over the mountain so it would be smooth enough to accept colors, but it was drying too quickly, and tearing away the dried plaster filled towels and paper mache. I had no other clue what to do, and as usual, the available books were less than useless.

    Whether Alex will chose to continue in the hobby is questionable; we’re both fairly frustrated with the lack of usable resource material to learn from. If someone would produce a landscaping book that was written for beginners instead of fellow hobbyists, and with adequate illustrations, it would be of help. There probably is one out there, but I haven’t been able to find it.

  13. It might be easier to try a slightly different method

    My choice to a lightweight mountain is to take old newspaper, wad it up and make a pile. cover the file liberally with tape, then use Plaster Cloth (not paper towels dipped in plaster) and cover it with 2 layers.

    Another option is to take foam and make a 'terraced' mountain that you then carve a more reasonable slope into.
  14. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

  15. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    G`day gang,
    This might be a bit late for you, but better late than never..
    If you follow this recipe you should have 1-2 hours working time.

    1, mix your plaster(to the quantaty you can use ina small to med aerea).
    2, add 1/4 cup milk and CPA white wood glue to the mix.
    3, dip paper towl into the mix, run the towl through your fingers, to remove excess plaster.
    4, place towl into position and smoth out. when your satisfide, allow to dry a little.
    5, mix slurry(thin plaster mix ) pore or brush this over the rock/mountain, the smooth out, when nearly dry use copper wire brush to texture.

    The milk slowes down the plaster`s drying time, the PVA wood glue turns the plaster in to a concrete type hardness,(over foam based mountain shaped with wire brush, its hammer hard) I can stand on my mountain (15 stone or 210 pounds, my weight)mountain shell about 1/4 "thick.

    Tell Alex not to give up, experience is the best teacher. Good luck :thumb: and happy modeling.
    Have a good one....Steve
  16. Topo

    Topo Member

    I would avoid any edible stuff, because it will attract undesired "visitors" (AKA "bugs"). A friend of mine had a severe infestation of very tiny pests (less than 1mm long )in their layour, that spreaded to another points in the house.

    It was a REAL pain to get rid off (not to mention that his wife was not happy at all) :rolleyes:
  17. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    Chalk dust may be the way to go....have a good one....steve
  18. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I haven't used it, yet; but I picked up a jar of powdered marble. I understand you can make snow by sifting dry plaster over the area where you want snow. Then if you get some of the powdered marble you can sift a little of that over the top, then use a fine spray of water to wet the plaster, and bond everything. The powdered marble dust gives the snow some reflection. I think the powdered marble is available at craft stores. It might also be available from Micro Mark.
  19. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    I'd ike to second Topo: NEVER use anything edible for landscaping! There will ALWAYS be some insects or mites which will find your landscape irresistible.

    Whether you try to simulate snow with flour (which btw doesn't look right at all, because flour gets a yellowish tinge after a short time) or if you use a flour/water mix instead of plaster - the bugs will find it! Result: A zillion tiny black beetles (like Topo said) and a landscape full of tiny holes.
    And if you get acarians (mites) into that stuff, you might even end up with a species whose droppings can cause a dust allergy! :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Another nice possibility: If you have high humidity in your room, your landscape could even begin to sprout a greenish or whitish cover of mildew. This is the version I know: As a kid I modeled a Christmas nativity scene with flour as snow. After New Year's day I put it on the balcony, into a corner below a table. Not until Spring I thought about the model, and when I pulled it it out from under the balcony table... YEEEECCCCHHH!!! :D :D :D

  20. Topo

    Topo Member

    Liposcelis bostrychophila

    Tiny bug, BIG nuisance!! :eek: :curse: :curse: _0utlook.html

    They are so extremelly small that they can go (and they do, for sure!) into coffee metallic cans, under the paper stickers of cans (bean, pea...), inside all cardboard boxes... :eek:

    They are ALL female (haploid, so ALL lay eggs), so they can re-spread from only one left alive... :curse:

    I suspect that my friend used some grains to simulate a pumpkin field, and the critters first predate the grains and after that, finding the layout comfy, spread to another rooms. My friend and his wife go out two weeks in summer holydays -a hot and warmth summer- and when retourned to home, they find these pests coming out from EVERYWHERE!!. A month later they still hadn't get totally rid of them. Eeek!!

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