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Best way to model 2 lane rural roads

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  • Member since
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Best way to model 2 lane rural roads
Posted by nscalebuilder on Friday, November 03, 2017 8:37 AM

I have been in and out of the Hobby for many years. I was diagnosed with lung cancer 2 years ago and I have a 9 year old son I am building a layout for. My all time biggest problem has been modeling realistic roads. I mostly model rural areas without any major cities and I am to the point I would like to start modeling the roads but I am stumped as to how do this realisticly. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.   Will post some pictures of the layout if that would help explain what I am trying to model. Thanks in Advance for any help.

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Posted by chutton01 on Friday, November 03, 2017 9:18 AM

What era is the first question.
Road markings of the 1940s are different from roads of the 1960s are different from roads of the 1980s (although markings for US roads have stablized since then on yellow center lines (either double solid or dashed for passing allowed) and white shoulder lines.  If you want to go into more detail, search for a copy of the MUTCD (manual of traffic control devices - includes road markings - here's an online version for 2009) for a period about 5 years before your era (since it takes time to upgrade road markings)

That said, there are a number of various methods described in previous threads, IMO, there are kind of two basic methods:
1) Painted sheet material - sheets of styrene/card/foam-core/etc.
2) Molded in place - Durhams Water Putty, spackle, plaster, Woodland Scenics Smooth it, and a range of other such materials
3) Some combination of the two methods above (well, a plaster-top on thin wood for example, which actually might warp too much come to think of it)
4) "other" (I dunno - black fabric? It's Model Railroading - everything has been done before)

Use the search function to search the forums for streets (roads may be too broad -highways may work). Also, there's an article about this very thing in the current MRH, as well as many video tutorials on line like Luke Towan and the aforementioned Woodland Scencics.

BTW, decals and pinstripes seem to be the new favorite method for road striping, as opposed to good old masking tape and spray paint bombs.

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Posted by nscalebuilder on Friday, November 03, 2017 9:35 AM

Transition Era, Thank you for all the great suggestions, I was looking at the woodland scencics system did not know about the Video. Again Thank you..

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, November 03, 2017 10:30 AM

I use Arizona Rock & Mineral for all of my roads.  I use a 1:8 white glue/water mix to make a mud then use a 2” putty blade to smooth it out into a road.  They have several types of ballast that works great for gravel road and powers for dirt and asphalt roads.
 
 
For my ground cover and road base I use Paper Mache or Sculptamold.
 
Here are a few photos of my roads.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by nscalebuilder on Friday, November 03, 2017 11:47 AM

Thank You I like your roads/ scenery looks great. The scratchbuilt House looks awesome. took a look at your blog very nice. thanks again..

 

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  • From: Fullerton, California
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Posted by hornblower on Monday, November 06, 2017 1:48 PM

I like to use a combination of styrene sheet covered by Fun Foam, a 2mm thick foam sheet product found in most craft stores.  I use .040" sheet styrene to create a road base.  I buy 4' by 8' styrene sheets from a local plastics supplier.  It's far cheaper to buy styrene this way plus it allows me to make continuous road sections from a single piece of styrene.  The styrene base enables me to create smooth, realistic looking roads with gradual grade changes (no roller-coaster rides).  The Fun Foam provides a surface that takes paint well and can simply be painted to look like a newer road or easily distressed to look like an older roadway.   

I start making my roads by first cutting out patterns from card stock.  This allows me to design smaller, easy to handle sections of the road before I attempt to build the whole thing.  Once each card stock pattern section is cut out, I tape them together to form the total pattern length.  I then lay the pattern atop the styrene sheet and trace the pattern with a pencil.  I usually cut the styrene using a hobby knife but .040" styrene is still thin enough to be cut with heavy scissors.  I then sand the cut edges to create a smooth road edge, then use the styrene roadbed as a pattern to cut out the Fun Foam.  Unfortunately, the Fun Foam is not normally available in 4' by 8' sheets (special order?) so I piece it together to create the total length.  Overlapping the ends of two pieces of foam and cutting a crooked lined across the two can help disguise a seam by making it look like a crack.  Otherwise, I have found that Woodland Scenics Foam Putty can be used to fill and hide the seams in the Fun Foam.

I install the roads by first gluing down 1/4" wide strips of .040" styrene along the roadway centerline.  I then glue down the styrene roadbed over this strip to create a crown in the roadway.  With the roadbed glued down, I then attach the Fun Foam surface pieces to the roadbed using a spray adhesive.  I next fill in the foam seams using WS Foam Putty.  After sanding the seams smooth, I paint the roadway.  I add realistic looking cracks with a hobby knife followed by an extra fine tip black marker to simulate tar sealer.  The Fun Foam is somewhat self-healing so I can get pretty aggressive with the hobby knife and still end up with reasonable looking cracks.

I usually add striping using fine point paint pens.  Most visitors to my layout have commented favorably regarding my roads.

Hornblower

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Posted by nscalebuilder on Monday, November 06, 2017 2:21 PM
Wow sounds awesome, Love to see a few pictures of the finished road. Thank you for your reply, another option to consider I have never heard of Fun Foam looks like a trip to the craft store to check it out. Again Thank You..
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 11:07 PM

I use a hardware store product called Durham's Water Putty.

I like the way it comes out with an uneven color after painting it with a wash of gray craft paint.  Most of my modeling is small-town "urban," but the same technique works just fine for more rural roads.  "Edging" the roads with a bit of N-scale ballast helps in places, and I like these Pikestuff guard rails, too.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by nscalebuilder on Thursday, November 09, 2017 2:50 AM

Roads Look very good. Is the putty a solid type product or do you have to mix it? I have been working with Smooth it requires a Bit of practice to get the proper Mix. I have been looking for some Gaurdrails, now I know where to look.  Your roads look like what I am trying to Model Thanks again for your Reply.

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Posted by peahrens on Thursday, November 09, 2017 3:32 PM

I had done two roads, first on my grandson's layout and then one on mine.  On his, I used the Woodlands Scenics Smooth-It, using the related white edging tape for a guide, plus the black Asphault topping, applied with a small foam brush.  It came out ok.

I decided to add a road on my modest layout.  Since it crossed tracks, I first added wood strips between the rails and adjacent to the outside of the rails for the vehicle crossings.  Then I took one section at a time, adding the edge tape as a guide.  I used the Smooth-It on the first section but then within a few days it cracked across one or two areas.  I may have caused the problem by using my scraper to smooth the area, but pressing too much and making it too thin to have much strength.  So I tore it up and decided to try the Durhams Rock Hard Water Putty, completing the roadway with it.  You will notice I made my roadway above HO gauge cork roadbed in areas where near track height for crossings. 

I found it helpful to remove the edging tape soon as (1) it sticks too well and gets hard to remove, especially without disturbing the applied compound and (2) while the compound is still soft I can taper the edge with a scraper.  I used Smooth-It for a topping and added white pinstripe tape for a center line, then sprayed flat clear atop to protect the pinstripe and make it a bit smoother regarding how dust appears when not vacuumed.

I do not seem motivated to address adjacent scenery, including terrain contours, so the full effect is missing at this stage.

Overall, I would prefer to use the Water Putty again.  It's cheap, available in small cans at Home Depot.

I'll post some photos below for fun.  

 IMG_4890 by Paul Ahrens, on Flickr

 IMG_4904 by Paul Ahrens, on Flickr

 IMG_5042 by Paul Ahrens, on Flickr

 IMG_5159 by Paul Ahrens, on Flickr

 IMG_5145 by Paul Ahrens, on Flickr

 IMG_5157 by Paul Ahrens, on Flickr

  IMG_5153 by Paul Ahrens, on Flickr

 IMG_6271 by Paul Ahrens, on Flickr

 

 

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, November 09, 2017 3:42 PM

Durham's is a powdered product that's mixed with water.  It's got a bit of a learning curve.  It's best to smooth it and keep working it with a foam brush as it hardens to get a good surface.  You can retard the setting time a bit by adding white vinegar to the mix.  Don't use red wine vinegar or your train room will smell like a salad for a week.  Don't ask how I know.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by nscalebuilder on Thursday, November 09, 2017 4:45 PM

Thank you, First, love the layout very nice!!   I ordered some of the Durhams yesterday next week after I get back from the hospital in Atlanta I am going to put all my efforts in the road dept. I like the cork roadbed Idea to make a riser for your grade crossings. Thanks Again.

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Posted by nscalebuilder on Thursday, November 09, 2017 4:47 PM

Oh man if my layout smelled like a good itialian salad I would never go upstairs>>> Thank You for the advice!!

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  • From: Fullerton, California
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Posted by hornblower on Thursday, November 09, 2017 5:18 PM

nscalebuilder
Love to see a few pictures of the finished road.

Here's a shot of one of my larger Fun Foam roads.

 

 

Hornblower

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Posted by nscalebuilder on Thursday, November 09, 2017 5:31 PM

They Look outstanding/ I am also goning to try your method with the Fun foam. With all the great advice around here I am sure to get some roads worth driving on. I have a 57 Nomad and a 58 Edsel from Oxford I believe can't wait to go cruising.

  • Member since
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  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, November 09, 2017 10:56 PM

I had to have an Edsel, too!

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by AZ Rock and Mineral CO. on Friday, November 10, 2017 3:42 AM

Did you use just the Black Cinder or did you use more than that?

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Posted by nscalebuilder on Friday, November 10, 2017 6:00 AM
Yep got to have an Edsel.

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