Using Hydrocal for roads?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by green_elite_cab, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I bought a carton of Woodland Scenics light hydrocal in the hopes of using it for roads and some scenery. However, my main concern is the roads.

    Would i be able to use Hydrocal for the roads, and are there any special steps i should take? does it take alot of paint to get a good color because the hydrocal absorbs it?

    How would you build the roads?
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Actually, Hyrdrocal doesn't absorb paint at all; it just lies on the surface. That's why hardshell scenery has you add a layer of other plaster on the top (zip-texturing).
    I used the WS road kit for mine. The plaster is available as an extra. I will probably use Polyfilla if I do it again.
    You might mix a bit of colour wth Hydrocal.
  3. i used the hydracal for roads they turned out great add a bit of black acrylic paint and detail to your likes. as for putting it down i used pices of steel beams from plastruct for the guids that i had extra from scratching buildings
  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    straight hydrocal is good for concrete roads for black top i mix some fine sand in it givers it a bit of texture.
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Hydrocal (and most kinds of plaster) is supposed to take washes and stains quite nicely. India ink washes and various diluted stains are apparently the way to go - you keep applying very dilute amounts until the color is what you want. Crevices naturally get darker this way.

    Disclaimer: this from my reading of what others have done. I pre-colored my plaster with an earth colr Rit dye, and applied the dyed plaster mix to fiberglass window screen. I never got around to do anything more with it.

    yours in scenery
  6. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I form all of my roads out of your standard joint compound wall plaster. I simply spread it out to a mostly uniform surface with a putty knife and then later once it dries, I smooth it out with sandpaper. From there, I use a real diluted black wash repeatedly until I get the desired darkness. I have found that the best tool for applying the color is one of those foam paint applicators for painting in corners because it soaks up a lot of color and I can cover an N scale road side to side with one even swipe. After that, I use automotive pin striping tape for one solid centerline.
    While the photos are not that great, you can see some examples of my roads here...
    & here...
  7. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Thanks for the help! I think i'm going to try and put some down tommorow. I still have a few questions though,

    I hear hydrocal can get dusty though, is that going to be a problem in keeping my layout clean?

    If i properly protected and masked my layout, would an Airbrush be suitable for painting my roads?

    Jim, how much sand per batch? the scratchy asphault was exactly what i'm looking for.

    How would i pave across my tracks? would i scrape it out later, or should i use spacers that i can pull out once the hydrocal is set?

    Thanks for the help! i appreciate it!
  8. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    As far as Hydrocal getting dusty - Hmmm... I'm not quite sure what angle your coming from on that one. Once it is painted and all your scenery has been glued down, none of it will be exposed anymore.

    Paving the tracks - I smear the wall joint compound right over the rails and down in between so everything is nice and smooth with just the tops of the rails exposed. Then after the plaster has dried just a little bit, I come back with an exacto blade or some other useful tool and clean out inside the rails just enough for the flanges to pass through. Keep in mind that if you clean your crossings with a Bright boy eraser, you have to be careful at the crossings or you will scrape the paint off of your plaster on either side of the rail resulting in white stripes down either side of both rails. :D

    Personally, I kind of liked the idea suggested about using spacers and then once the plaster has dried, just pop 'em out for instant flange gaps! Sounds a lot easier.
    Good Luck! Keep us posted with current pics!

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