Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Xaniel, Sep 19, 2002.

  1. Xaniel

    Xaniel Member

    Ok... I have the plaster cloth in place, dryed, and everything... now I want to start to add some scenery, like rocky surface, grass, and so one, and so one...

    What should it be the fisrt step?

    before gluing some grass? help me on this... my first layout was a bit strange. grass wasn't taking the look that i want....

    thanks for your time
  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    When I was at that point, this was 25 or 30 years ago :D I added some color to the plaster, so it would not show through the grass. Back then it was rit dye/water in a spray bottle, today we probably use some earthy latex paint diluted w/ water in a spray bottle. I would spray several coats of differing colors in a patchy manner so the color varies. I'm sure those who have done such work this millenium have more modern, evolved ideas :D :D :D

    jon, the old fart:rolleyes:
  3. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Luis it would help to know what look you are trying for. Western arid sparse vegatation, Eastern lush vegatation, Midwest flat mostly grasses very few trees??? If you could post a pic of the area it would help too. :)
  4. msh

    msh Member

    Hi Ho Xaniel:

    Here's what I did.... I got myself a gallon of earth colored latex paint at Home Depot for $12. I painted on a nice thick coat where the scenic materials would go, but was careful not to do too much at once - here's why. I next sprinkled the ground foam on top of the WET paint. The cool thing about that is if there's a bald spot it's okay because the paint is the color of your dirt, and the wet paint acts like a glue, bonding most of the foam to the layout for you. Repeat everywhere you want scenic details like this.

    NEXT: Let it all dry and then recover the foam that didn't stick with a soft brush or an empty dust-buster or something. Then, to add more layers for a more realistic look, spray with 50/50 matte medium, spinkle on another layer, spray, sprinkle, spray, sprinkle - until you've come up with a look you like! Use several different colors or blended foam for more realism. When it's all dry you'll have a sweet and durable scenic area.

    My goodness it sounds like I actually know what I'm talking about!
  5. Xaniel

    Xaniel Member

    that's a good idea, msh.. Pics.. do you have any pics??
  6. msh

    msh Member

    uh...... no. Fact is the only place I actually did what I've descibed was "inside" my tunnels as practice. They came out nicely. You can check those photos on my website under layout pics, although you won't see too much, and it will be a little longer until I get the scenic materials slathered on to the wide open spaces. Darn the luck - the stuff costs money.. can you believe it???

    NOTE: This was not my idea. I got this step by step from a book by Dave Frary called Modeling Realistic Scenery. At the moment he's my guru. I might suggest you pick it up as it's chock full of GREAT stuff that use all water soluable materials that are cheap and readily available.
  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I also use earth colored latex (I buy the "mistake" paints for about $3) but I don't attempt to use it as a fastener for the ground foam. I paint the area, then place the foam (I just sprinlke it on with my fingers) The key here is using several shades. When happy with the appearance, spray witrh a fine mist of either "wet" water or alcohol. I use the wet water. Then mix up some diluted white glue (somewhere in the area of 50/50) and use a pipette (large eye dropper) to saturate the area with the glue.

  8. Xaniel

    Xaniel Member

    i really would like to see the pics... but i can't.. you have the link to the pics taken at 31/08 to zephyr...

    and the last one also to zephyr...
  9. msh

    msh Member


    Darn the luck - fixed it. You can view the pics now.

    Cut and paste is handy for editing but it can also bite you on the butt when you're not paying attention.
  10. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Luis!
    Here's some pics of some scenery I made basically using the methods these guys have already described to you...
    I build my scenery from styrofoam...I cover it with earth colored latex paint, then sprinkle on sifted dirt, ground foam, etc...using wet water & 50/50 white glue, I just keep adding layers.

    Attached Files:

  11. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Here's one more...

    Attached Files:

  12. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    Can you identify the shade or tint information on the Home Depot paint? The price is right and I'm getting ready to start the coloring phase of my project. Thanks, Jim
  13. msh

    msh Member

    Well jimnrose, that's a bit tough to do. Since earth is a different color depending on where your layout happens to exist in real life that would dictate the earth color you would use. OR you can do what I did and just pick a color you like and contrast it to the color your rocky areas will be - after all, earth is crushed up rock. For me I chose a darkish-gray with a bit of brown in it, whose name I think was Clamshell or something really clever like that.

    Simply go to the H.I. store and pick out a few of those little sample cards - if you're trying to match a specific color of dirt or rock, have a sample or a picture of it with you. Then take them home and place them around the layout and just look at them until one says ME ME ME! Then take it in and buy some paint. Optionally, you may also wish buy a can of the same color a shade or two darker for some contrast. You can also add some white to your main earth color for a lighter contrast too.

    Once again I recommend "How to build Realistic Model Railroad Scenery" by Dave Frary. This subject and SO much more is covered in easy to understand detail. You simply cannot miss.
  14. Like Charlie, I also use the basic methods that have been described in this thread. To me, one of the keys to good scenery is to mix and layer the scenic textures. Don't use too much of (or exclusively use) any one thing.

    I'll attach a photo that shows how my approach to scenery usually turns out.

    Well, rats! The one I wanted to post isn't on this computer, so I'll have to post one that some of you have already seen.

    Attached Files:

  15. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    MSH, Charlie, Casey,
    I'm off to the store but next week (nearest discount chain is about 60 miles and we group our purchases for the 'day away'.
    Another question if I may. I just finished the hydrocal shell coats and am now focusing on the fock formations, I have some rubber molds for some of the rocks but I have a very large layout and would like to 'hand form' some of them especially where I don't have much depth allowance (near tracks). Shamus said he uses a kitchen knife to form the rocks before the plaster sets. I'm planning to use plaster for the finish detail and prepaint the mix.
    I was thinking of a modified scrub brush to get the rough terain look. Does that make sense or is there better schemes?
    Take care, Jim
  16. jmarksbery

    jmarksbery Guest


    Good shots and modeling guys, Hey Charlie, is the one shot from our home area? Sure does look familear!
  17. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Thanks! I guess I do model what's familiar to me...I guess I'm a little biased, but Ky is the most beautiful country in the world to me! Plus, the dirt I use came from right here in my own back yard! (literally! :) ) I laid it out on the driveway, in the sun, to dry, & then sifted it through a window screen.
    as far as earth colored paint, just go with any nice, basic tan color...nothing too dark, or too white...I use this old (seriously, I've had this same gallon of paint for 10 years!:eek: ) can of paint from Sears...I think it's called Desert Sage, or something like that...
    As for rockwork, I've found that carving my own out of plaster is faster & easier than using the molds...In fact, I was cleaning up in the workshop recently, & I was going to throw out some scraps of foam, but decided I would use the digital camera to do a little "how-to" page on woodland ground cover...It describes how I do my rockwork...(btw...these techniques will work on any scenic base) It's at...

    I've also got a thread in the N scale forum here (N Scale Trees - Cheap Fast & Easy) which describes how I make trees.
    Maybe some of this will be of use to someone.
  18. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Great pic's guy's.

    Charile - Excellent "how to" on trees and rocks.
    I have always used rock molds before, but looks easy to carve your own and plus much faster.

    Thanks for the tips.
  19. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    Charlie, thanks for the information and the excellent demonstration on how to construct rocks from styrofoam. I've already built the plaster shell but am going to try to use styrofoam pieces to simulate outcrops and small rocks by adding the styrofoam to the wet plaster as I'm applying the plaster. Your technique on washing, coloring and detailing the terain is great help. Thanks again for your time & effort, Jim
  20. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Mountining tip

    Reading this thread jogged my memory:

    I think I read this in one of my cousin's magazine articles, but I can remember for sure. Haven't tried it myself yet. If you mix some appropriately colored latex paint with your plaster when you are making mountains and such, you won't get the ugly white plaster showing when you later bump, scratch or cut into it. Also I immagine if you color it tan or gray or such, the saw dust you create while cutting it will be more welcomed as it settles where ever it wants to on your scenery.

    I hope to be testing this out fairly soon as I have actually began the first step to my layout: cleaning the garage :D :D :D


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