Modular scenery

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Dave Farquhar, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    After procrastinating for what seems like months (it probably was), I finally went to Home Depot and bought some 1/8-inch hardboard (aka Masonite). Not knowing exactly what it was I wanted, I sat down with a printout of my trackplan, drew out some roads by hand, and then rounded them off to the nearest foot. A six-inch wide road makes a believable road in either O or S scale (parking on one side of the street in O, both sides of the street in S).

    So then I mapped out what I needed and had hardboard panels cut to fit the sections I mapped out. I'll be able to do basic scenery on the panels (sidewalks and grass), then lift up the track and lay them into place on the layout. I'll put road material (textured wallpaper in my case, since I want cobblestone streets) down in the gaps in between.

    And it just so happens that 1/8 inch will make a believable curb in O or S scale. It's a little tall (6 scale inches), but the road material will chew up some of that. Overstating the detail makes it a little easier to notice that it's there. Or at least that's what I'm going to tell myself.

    This method lets me cut the job down into manageable pieces--most of them are 6 square feet or smaller. There's no way I could do the whole 8x8 in a single weekend (I've tried unsuccessfully several times). But now I have 9 boards to do, so even if all I can manage is one board per weekend, I'll still have it done in a couple of months. Since I'm doing minimal scenery, a couple of weeks is probably realistic.

    Oh, and my total bill? About $14. That's $6 each for the two 4x8 hardboard sheets, and 9 cuts (4 are free).
  2. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Your narrative intrigues me.
    I must see pictures in order to understand your methods more clearly.
  3. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    I'll try to take some pictures at a few points during the process. The boards are all sitting in the garage now, and with my sister coming in this weekend I probably won't get to them until next week, but at least now I have them, which is half the battle.
  4. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Here's the trackplan (stolen from a Spankybird design, adapted to 8x8 with O27 track, using mostly O42 and O34 curves). The little squares are where I intend to put buildings. The track doesn't all line up right on the computer, but on my table it works out fine. Tubular track gives you a lot of wiggle room.


    The long, narrow rectangles are roads. So basically I'm going to lay my textured wallpaper down where the roads are going to go, then lay the Masonite boards down where the big rectangles are in the picture.

    If I play my cards right, I'll be able to just lift the track up, slide out the grass paper I have in place now, and then slide my boards into place. I'll have to do some re-tightening of track joints but it'll be a lot quicker than completely tearing down the layout.

    My goal is to make the layout look a lot like the neighborhood in south St. Louis where my wife was living when we met. Lots of commercial buildings, small houses, a little bit of industry, and lots and lots of cars and people walking around.
  5. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    Looks like a nice plan. Spanky sure did pack a lot into his layout. I am going for less is more. :) The plan calls just for two barns, one farm house and maybe a yard tower. The rest will be fields and pasture.

    I have to figure out a way to make some cool dirt roads which should be easier than the paved/concrete ones.

    I know what you mean about the time factor. I don't get too many days to sit down and start the landscaping.

    I can't wait to see yours in progress. Good luck and happy building.:thumb:
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Dave: Can I throw out this idea: put the roads at an angle to the table. Course this would mean that things might not fit as well. I don't know south St. Louis at all; I live in a town where the railroad runs due west and the streets go more Northwest.
  7. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Due to the presence of the Mississippi River, most roads run north-south and east-west in the area I'm interested in (all bets are off elsewhere). Railroads tend to do the same thing.

    This is good, because 90-degree angles makes everything a lot easier, and I'm going for easy.

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