Modeling rocks

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Gary Pfeil, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Have you seen the article in the Sept. MR on using ceiling tile to model rock? I've done something similar using leftover scraps of homasote. I'm not all that happy with the painting, it needs some highlights, but I think it compares favorably with the photos in the article. The scene, as just about all of the scenes on my layout, is incomplete. I tend to flit from one area to another, never completing aone. No discipline. Well, who needs discipline in their hobby!

    Attached Files:

  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Hey there Gary,
    I've done the same thing with homosote scraps and think it makes some convincing cliffs and rock cuts. I usually smear joint compound or spackle over the homosote and then, after it dries, carve some more strata and then tint it with grey paints. That seems to help with coloring and highlighting. I'll have to check that issue of MR.
  3. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Looks good to me Gary! :cool:
  4. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    That looks fine to me! :cool: Touch it up around the edges with some grass etc, and you'll have some mighty fine looking rock. I find that, when you do something like that, it doesn't necessarily look right at first, but as you surround it with appropriate stuff, vegetation, finishing touches, it does, then look quite good. Completely different to the "half done" look.
  5. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Gary,
    I think the finer detail in your rocks looks better than the mag. Like you say, it's hard to get the colors like you want 'em, but maybe a little highlighting is all you need. I think it looks great!!
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Thanks for the kind words guys. I think some subtle drybrushing of white applied vertically from top down will add contrast. Woodie is probably right, adding dirt and weeds to more nearly complete the scene may be just what it needs to look better. Perhaps I can get that done in the next month or so.

  7. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Gary, I think the "rocks" look just fine:) You know, that idea of using broken ceiling tiles for rocks has been around for ages...I guess "what goes around comes around":D :D :D

    Something else ( another real old technique) that will make some interesting rock strata is to stack pieces of pine bark on top of each other. A 40# bag of the stuff is only a couple of bucks at the garden center. Pick out the big thick pieces for your rocks and put the rest around your petunias:D :D :D
  8. billk

    billk Active Member

    I've thought about using this technique, only with foam supermarket "meat platters" or whatever you call them. In N-scale, this would give much thinner, i.e. more-to-scale, strata thicknesses. Any comments?
  9. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Thanks Vic, Yeah, I've heard of both methods for many years, While I've used the homasote method a few times over the years, I never did try the pine bark. One thing I was concerned about was wildlife. I suppose a few minutes in an oven would take care of that, not sure if the drying action would make the bark crumble. Spraying with insecticide would smell. Have you used it?

  10. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Bill, If I'm thinking of the same thing you are, I would think the stacked trays would result in too perfect strata. Never having tried, I can't say for sure, but I think attempts to use blades or wire brush to change that would simply break the material. I don't think there is anything scale specific about the homasote or tile method, I glued several thicknesses together and used a utility knife to gouge them. I went at it for quite a while. Occasionally used needle nose pliers to pull some loosened material out. Most tedious step was using needlenose pliers and tweezers to remove the "pilling". But if this isn't done, the rocks won't look right, in fact they won't look like rock!

  11. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Critters and Crawlies

    Hi Gary, Yes I have used it but not on my current layout. We used it on the club layout some time ago and didn't have any problem with any "critters or crawlies":D :D Don't know about putting it in the oven but we did let it "air dry" for a few days because some of it was damp. We glued the stacks together with a hot glue gun.
  12. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Gary, a few dabs of colour for highlighting and you got yourself a great cutting!

    I also flit from one thing to the next on my layout, I call it freedom of choice :) and besides, we don't get audited on our progress (well, all except Rory :D ).

    Also, of all things, I abhor discipline in my train room as I'm the only one with a licence to enter it :D :D .

  13. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Nice work.

    Great idea to use up all that scrap homasote.

    I'm glad that I'm not the only one who jumps around on projects.

    But, I guess that is why we call it a hobby.

  14. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Errol, Marty, thanks, good to know I'm not alone! I was able to direct my enegies more efficiently during benchwork, early tracklaying and wiring, but after that the possibilities became so many my brain explodes when I enter the trainroom! I never know what I may decide to work on till the last moment. Once in a while I put pressure on myself to finish some scene and find myself not even wanting to go to the trainroom. Then I realize it's a hobby, not a job and go do something else for awhile.

  15. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    I'm the same way. I was on a roll during benchwork, tracklaying and wiring. I went to the train room and knew what I was going to do and got it done.
    Now I'm trying to do scenery and that seems not to be as cut and dry as the other tasks. Right now I have been trying to build a concrete arch bridge and can not seem to get the right look yet.
    Along with the path of the river, the river bank, etc.

    O'well, it will come.
  16. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member



    I use rock molds made by Mountain Senic. Just make up your plaster, add to the mold, and paint. Works great!


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  17. In my opinion you've done a fine job, looks quite realistic to me. I'll be happy if mine turn out nearly that good..

    By the by, as you mentioned this is a hobby, and the wonderful thing about it is THERE IS NO DEADLINE, no boss pressing for a completion date, no pressure, just enjoy. It's all to easy to get swept up in this work, work and then go home and work world that it can sometimes be difficult to remember to slow down and enjoy our hobby. At least I know these things are true for me.

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