Modeling rocks of the Southwest

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by paulherman, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. paulherman

    paulherman New Member

    Does anyone have any tips or tricks for modeling scenery of the southwest, such as the buttes, buttresses, and other sandstone formations as are found in Bryce Canyon and other areas in southern Utah or Arizona? None of the rock molds that I have seen seem suitable. I haven't come up with an idea other than custom carving the formations, but that seems too tedious.
  2. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Model Railroader put out a book called "HO Narrow Gauge Railroad You Can Build"
    The layout is called the San Juan Central and has a scenery chapter that shows making rocks out of foam.
  3. hminky

    hminky Member

  4. paulherman

    paulherman New Member


    Thanks for the tip about Malcolm Furlow's book. It looks like it could have some good suggestions, but it is out of print and nearly impossible to find.


    Thanks for the links to your websites. This look and color is pretty close to what I want. I may try using the ceiling tile method, but making the grain of the rock run vertically.

    If anyone else has any suggestions, they would be appreciated.

  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I think I'd try stacking and carving foam.
  6. hminky

    hminky Member

    The advantage of the ceiling tile it has a built-in texture for sandstone. Here is a closer picture of the ceiling tile rocks on my layout.

    If I were to do the rockface again I would have made it more vertical.
    Hope that helps:wave:
  7. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    The ceiling tile looks very good, near prototypical, and as somebody who has spent almost his entire life surrounded by the bare geology of the desert Southwest, I have a certain eye for these things. :cool:

    Depending on the resources you have available, you may give either of these two a try:

    1) Sandblast the ceiling tile formations, varying the angle of the sandblasting. Obviously, you would want to do this prior to placing the formation on the layout. You can also do this with straight foam formations as well.

    2) Again, before you place your geologic formation on the layout, you could blast it with very focused pressure washing. This you would want to do with either plaster or foam formations, but not with anything that will become waterlogged.

    Note that these are simply speculative suggestions, as I've not had the opportunity to try either. Being erosion based shaping methods, theoretically either should give you good results. The devil may be in the details though.
  8. paulherman

    paulherman New Member

    Now that you jog my memory, I think sandblasting would give the desired effect. I used to be a sign contractor, and made quite a few sandblasted wood signs. But unfortunately, I no longer have a sandblaster.

    I'm thinking you would have to have a pretty light touch to sandblast ceiling tile. Deeply sandblasting soft pine or cedar might be more practical.

    Thanks for the idea.


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