Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by RobertInOntario, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I'm planning to put in a row of houses and a street onto my HO layout this fall. I'll also need to add a sidewalk -- just wondering if anyone could suggest the best way to create sidewalks?

    I'm thinking thin pieces of painted plastic, wood might work or even styrofoam might work?

    Thanks again!

  2. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    In N scale, I put down one piece of masking tape where I want the edge to be. I then apply a thin coat of wall joint compound to the area where the sidewalk will be. I then peel up the tape, leaving a nice clean edge and a slightly raised sidewalk. After the WJC dries quite a bit, I come back with an Xacto blade and score joints every 4' and random cracks here and there. Paint and your done.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Depends on youre era - are your sidewalks actually boardwalks, or are they bluestone or cement/concrete, or even asphalt?

    I would agree that the drywall compound makes a nice concrete sidewalk, and can be used for stone or asphalt too, depending on the form and the colour you give them. Similar techniques can be used to make the road as well.

  4. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- do you have to do much sanding? Sounds like a good technique. Cheers, Rob
  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Andrew. I was thinking of cement/concrete sidewalks placed along the front of a row of stores. I'll give the drywall compound some serious thought though, it could work quite well.

  6. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Not normally but that depends on how uneven you apply it or how thin you want it after you accidentally applied it way too thick (been there done both)! Use a finer grit as rough grit leaves big scratches that are obvious later on.
  7. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- I'll try this then. I'll also check those websites as well. Rob
  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    OK, I might start on these sidewalks tonight then as I've been caught up with other projects. If I can't get the time tonight, I'll aim for next weekend.

    First, I'll lay some masking tape down to define the area that I want to make into a sidewalk. Then I'm going to put down some poly filla into this marked-out area, then I'll smooth or even it out with a straight-edge or putty knife. Once that's done, I'll remove the tape.

    Does this sound right?

    My main concern is that it could be tricky to make the surface smooth and consistent. I don't want to have an uneven, lumpy-looking sidewalk!


  9. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I don't know what ply filla is but if it is anything like wall joint compound, you can sand it later to smooth it out. Also, make sure you remove your masking tape BEFORE the material has a chance to dry. Otherwise, when you pull it straight up, you will not get a clean edge.
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Poly Filla is a brand name "plaster hole filler". I would advise getting it as smooth as you can beforehand, even using a wet sponge to smooth it when you apply. Sanding any of these compounds can create huge amounts of fine, fine dust that is a pain to clean up. You can wet sand if you use a fine wet/dry paper, but it is always best to get as cloe to the finished dimensions as possible.

  11. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, TrainNut. Yes, as far as I know, poly filla is the same as WJC -- it's a type of drywall filler.

    Thanks also for the tip about removing the tape before the compound dries. I was actually wondering about that and, knowing me, I'd end up having all sorts of bits of tape sticking!

    You can also easily sand this poly filla as well so I'll sand it fairly smooth afterwards. Then I will need to paint it a concrete grey or something. I'm trying to "create" typical concrete sidewalks.

    (A totally different effect that I might try some time is to create a cobblestone effect, but I guess that's a different process altogether?)

    Thanks again,
  12. Using a putty knife with a nice clean blade, wider than the sidewalk, will goo a long way in helping you achieve a smooth surface from the get-go. For the cobblestone effect, I would look into Brawa's texture materials.
  13. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    This is what my circle table looked like after I had taped, plastered, peeled up the tape and sanded smooth. The bare plywood is where the buildings went.

  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Robert: I use foam-core board (2 sheets of cardboard with foam between) with black ink lines drawn on it. This does alright for the background areas.
    Up front I use Metcalfe's sticky paving slabs.
  15. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Normally, your sidewalks should be about 6" higher that the adjacent road. If you want to use drywall mud, use some strips of .060" (for HO) thick styrene to define the edges of the walkway. Depending on what material you've used for the surface of your layout, you can pin or tape the strips in place, along the outside edges of the sidewalk area. Fill the area in between the strips with the plaster compound, then, using a drywall knife of suitable width, drag it along the length of the sidewalk, resting the blade atop the styrene strips. You'll get a smoother finish if you first dip the blade in water, then shake off the excess. Don't "work" the surface too much, as it's easier to go back after the first application has dried, if there are low spots to fill. I'd also wipe some vegetable oil on the plastic strips before installing them, to act as a mould release agent. Just put a little bit on a paper towel, then drag the strips through it. Leave the strips in place until the plaster sets. Once removed, they'll clean-up easily with dish detergent and warm water, and you can re-use them many times.
    When it comes time to colour the sidewalk, use a very light touch if you're using a water-based wash applied with a brush. A soft brush at least as wide as the sidewalk works best - one pass and you're done, as the plaster will re-soften once it gets wet. :eek:

  16. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    If you're going to use joint compound be sure to get the plaster-based stuff and NOT spackle. Spackle sands well but does not carve well, as it seems to be polymer-based, so carving lines and cracks into it does not work as well as real drywall mud.

    As for me, I'm lazy so I just use plastic sidewalks made by Rix, but I have used drywall mud for roads. I like it because it's easy to carve, and easy to get irregularities, if that's what you want.

  17. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, David. Where would I buy or get foam-core boards? as they sound as if they'd work well. Cheers, Rob
  18. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Val. These are good ideas as well, especially using drywall mud for roads. Cheers, Rob
  19. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Wayne -- I'll try to implement these ideas in the near future!
  20. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    I have recently been turned onto for printable stonework, etc. Have you considered something like this: - UT034 Roads and Sidewalks
    I have this set, and while it's not completely glued down yet, I can tell it looks really good.

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