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admin 22.04.2016

In this video, Dan Ashland shares his technique for working with Plaster of Paris to make stones and then incorporate them into his model railroad scenery.
Please note that some of the links on this site are affiliate links to products that will earn me a commission. The modules were linked together to ensure that there was a smooth flow and transition at module joints. The rock faces were cast using Woodlands Scenics Lightweight Hydrocal and also their rock moulds.
As the layout progresses, I will take photos of the same parts of the layout at different stages of development.
After the expanded polystyrene has been cut to shape, plywood profiles are cut to fit the ends of the modules.
Originally there was a Kato bridge installed on the layout but I couldn't resist the BLMA brass offering. Then the styrofoam sheets can be shaped with a hot foam cutting tool or even a steak knife (one with a jagged sawtooth edge).
Another method I have used is to make a lattice of cardboard strips held together with hot glue applied from a hot glue gun. After the plaster had dried, the final contours were added with a longer drying plaster applied with a wide paint brush.
Hills made from wads of wet newspaper held down with masking tape and covered with "puff ball" trees. Another method that is better for simple hill contours is to wet and ball up wads of newspaper.
I use a glass rectangular Pyrex dish when making mountain scenery with plaster soaked industrial towels. On the left of the photo behind the building I used ceiling tiles piled on edge and then rasped to roughen then up. I opted for the styrofoam method when building the biggest mountain on the recent Utopia Northern. If you are curious about the Internet, social media like Facebook and Twitter, and want to know more about what's going on in the wide, wide world up in the clouds, and especially if you have any desire to do something for yourself, I urge you to take a little time to watch the video below. The boats are made out of tooth picks for the sides and the bottom of them are made from corn dog stick’s. I glued two tooth pick’s together and after the glue dried i cut a slit in the tooth picks so that they would bend for the bow of the boat. The base of the model is a 4×4 peace of plywood and i used Styrofoam to make the hills and the beginning of the mountain then i used Plaster of Paris to form the mountain and the small hills. The inclines for the roads i cut out a peace of cereal box and made ramps i then got them into place and coated them with Plaster of Paris. We plane to cut some of our figures in half and glue the onto the plastic so they will look like there swimming. My son turned 10 years old just last month he has been very involved with all of this since we started.

The buildings are paper we are using these for placement of the regular buildings that we will be using.
The materials used to construct the model railroad mountains include broken styrene boxes, expanding foam and plaster cloth. First picture is of the various materials used as the actual railroad mountain was being built. Step 1: First make a box section with openings and spray paint inside with flat black water base acrylic. Step 4: Let the expanding foam cure for about 24 hours and then carve the foam using an electric carving knife and a Sur-Form.
Tip: For a more realistic model train mountain, start chopping at the form in any way you please to get random shapes and to ensure there is no set pattern. Tip: You want to reconsider using wadded newspaper as some model railroad modelers have had plastic insect problem from newspapers. Step 6: After the plaster cloth hardens for about 24 hours then mix up a soup mixture of plaster and dab it on to reinforce the hard shell.
Step 7:  Start priming the scene by using a mixture of grey acrylic primer mixed with water and plaster.
Lightweight Hydrocal is wonderful; easy to use, strong, quick setting, easy to cut and incredibly light in weight - particularly useful for portable modules.
If you look closely, you can see the cut-out where the support for the Kato bridge used to reside. One involves piling blocks of styrofoam on top of each other and gluing them together with white glue or drywall caulking material.
The plaster should be like pancake batter in consistency or a little more soupy for the final coat.
On the right the landform was styrofoam with plaster cloth.The background hills used wads of newspaper and plaster soaked paper towels. I could not purchase the people in the poses i wanted so i got what they had and my son told me how he wanted them to stand and what he wanted them to do for the areas of the model that they was in.
It is still under construction but the base board, track risers and track laid and ballast are in place. If you look closely at the first picture, you will notice that there is a roof for the mountain to go on top.
The polystyrene was covered with a very cheap plaster bandage from my local high street craft store (less than a third of the price of the plaster bandage from my model store).
Rocks are lightweight hydrocal from Woodland Scenics cast using their rock moulds - all obtained from Model Junction. The sheets can be held together temporarily with wooden skewers and weighted with paint cans or whatever you have on hand.
Dry pigments can be added to the dry plaster and the mixture can be sifted on and then sprayed with water. Some modellers prefer plastic bowls because they can be bent to pop out the old dried plaster.

I wanted to keep the weight down and provide an access hatch in the middle of the helix covered mountain scenery.
The trolling motors was dun with one tooth pick for the handle and the motor part was made from the rounded part of a corn dog stick i just sanded them down to size and shaped them to look like a motor.
I got out my soldering gun that i can turn down the heat with out melting them and i had a tip that go’s to a fine point that way i was able to make only one part of a arm or leg bend. This is called "zip texturing" and was pioneered by Linn Westcott, John Armstrong and others many years ago. I always spray the plaster with thin coats of black Rit dye in water to build up some colour and bring out highlights. It was also easier to "plant" trees on the hillside by poking holes with a wooden skewer and an awl.
Also, by break it down with your hands it can create a cave in the layout above the tunnel opening. I had to make some nearly vertical cliffs around South Point and this was a messy and tricky job. Or you can use the landscape fluids sold by Woodland Scenics or a little india ink in alcohol mixture. This can be more difficult to accomplish in thinner and more brittle plaster over cloth or paper towel mountain scenery. I have also used corrugated box cardboard for this and stapled or thumb tacked it to the sub roadbed. Rit dye seems to have salt in it so it can affect the setting up of the plaster, or so I have been told. Finally, here is a photo of scenery that was added after the fact to fix a problem where several modules had been damaged during a move into our last home. It only needs to rise about an inch above the track to be effective.The lattice is covered with industrial paper towels dipped in a soupy mixture of plaster such as hydrocal. This can be messy and it is wise to cover the floor beneath the layout with newspaper or a drop sheet to collect any wet plaster that falls through. A layer of softer plaster or even drywall compound can be lathered on top and smoothed with an old paint brush and spatula. They are also all the same size for overlapping and have straight edges that can help alongside the track to adhere to subroadbed. Strips of wood were used to form a containment wall and the plaster was poured into the form and smoothed with a drywall trowel.An old set of railway trucks (wheels) with deep flanges was used to make the grooves alongside the rails before the plaster set up.

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