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Basic ground cover for foam base

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  • Member since
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Basic ground cover for foam base
Posted by Webnerdnick on Sunday, May 10, 2020 6:59 PM

I have a N scale layout which I've used a 2" foam for the base. Mountains, and banks will be carved out of foam or using plaster cloth, but in the general flatter areas what could I use as a ground cover so it doesn't look so "perfect" and a little more natural instead of just painting the foam?

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, May 11, 2020 11:13 AM

Check out the Woodland Scenics website, along with a search of other manufacturers, and look for YouTube videos on how it can be done.

Woodland Scenics might have videos on their site.

Mike.

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, May 11, 2020 11:18 AM

I plaster cloth it, sometimes with litle mounds of foam under and then zip terxture it.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, May 11, 2020 11:22 AM

Scultptamold sticks well to foam, can be tinted and painted with craft paints and is lightweight.  It can look like it has fibers, so go over it wearing wet latex or non latex gloves.

This is my first experimental rock casting with sculptamold, not that you want or have to cast rocks with it.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, May 11, 2020 12:11 PM

There are a lot of different ways to get the look you want and lots of great You-Tube videos. This is just one spot on the layout. I found some tea towels in the kitchen drawer and dipped them in Plaster Of Paris and had them covering those cardboard strips before the wife knew they were gone.

 

I don't cover the foam with anything, just carve and paint.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Monday, May 11, 2020 12:22 PM

 Paint the foam brown/tan. Go outside get some dirt,its free. Scrape off the top  its dryer.

Dump the dirt on foam, mess with it till you like it. Mist, then wet with alco./water

glue with white glue/water mix.  Add some green stuff/trees

In N scale you wouldn't need much to hide that flat look

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, May 11, 2020 12:34 PM

I use very finely sifted dirt as well. I just paint the foam with white glue and sprinkle away. For most areas this is good enough, however, where a critical eye or camera may snoop, I will use left over tile grout or thinset and airbrush it to the colour I want. No matter how finely I sift real dirt it is just too big for photos. Grout and thinset are like powder and you can even throw in some weathering powder to the mix.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by woodone on Monday, May 11, 2020 1:01 PM

For sifting real dirt, use some old nylon stocking material . When I sift with this, the dirt is has fine has flour. You have to sift it over some wet paint or glue- vacuum off excess.

 

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, May 11, 2020 1:24 PM

woodone
For sifting real dirt, use some old nylon stocking material . When I sift with this, the dirt is has fine has flour.

I guess a lot depends on where you live. Out here on the rocky West Coast, fine dirt is small rocks.Laugh 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, May 11, 2020 1:51 PM

Big flat expanses look unnatural to me, so I usually start by gluing down scraps of foam, then using plaster cloth to get a smooth contour.  Next I skim coat with Gypsolite, a rough, grainy plaster.  I paint the Gypsolite with a camouflage pattern of green and tan.  If I am putting in rock pieces, this is the time.

The next step is either glued down fine turf and other scenic material, or static grass.

Obviously, I'm not in a hurry.

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

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Posted by kasskaboose on Monday, May 11, 2020 7:53 PM

Get yourself some great scenery books.  They give you a lot of helpful tips, tools, and techniques that make the effort more realistic.

Regardless of the method(s) you use, consider going for variety.  Mother Nature's hardly uniform.  Pick different textures, colors, etc. to make things different.  You can take some spare foam you use for making depressions and make them mounds or hills.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 12:49 PM

BATMAN
...I found some tea towels in the kitchen drawer and dipped them in Plaster Of Paris and had them covering those cardboard strips before the wife knew they were gone....



Had I done that, it would have resulted in me being dipped in concrete, and getting a one-way boat ride on very-nearby Lake Ontario.


I was doing some scenery work last night...well, early this morning, and wrapped it up just a little after 4:00AM.
  Most of it was ballasting track that was laid directly on plywood, but also on the supply/service track of Mount Forest's coaling tower, which is on a styrofoam incline.

I was intending to add some photos of that session, about 14 square feet of real rock ballast, real dirt (really, really fine, too), ground foam of various sizes and colours, and static grass, also of various sizes and colours, but they will have to wait until photobucket gets their you-know-what together.

Wayne

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 3:29 PM

I used garden soil from my garden, sifted through nylons/panty-hose.  It seemed reasonable to do, and I got it sifted and rolled nicely.  It was when I went to wet it that it changed texture and ended up drying rather too coarsely...IMO.  Looked good, not great...in photos, close-up.

Note that I added some Plaster of Paris powder to the mix before I place it, and then I rolled it with a small baby food glass jar.  Then, I spritzed it with the same light glue/water/detergent fixative I use for scenery cement, ballast glue, and for overspraying scenery if I want it to be extra-firmly adhered.  Meant I had to wipe the tracks very thoroughly immediately.  Had to be very careful because this was in the yard with tons of tracks, lots of turnouts, etc.

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Posted by woodone on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 3:36 PM
Small rocks are NOT dirt!
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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 6:17 PM

Most of my layout is on wooden benchwork, with the track either on cork roadbed, or directly on the plywood.  I am starting to use extruded styrofoam for some scenic forms, but the only place I've used it to support track is for the ramp up to the dump-pit for coal and sand at the Mount Forest locomotive servicing tracks...(any of the tiny images from photobucket can be clicked-upon for a larger view)

Ramp_to_Mt._Forest_coal_dump_1

 

Ramp_to_Mt._Forest_coal_dump_2

 

Ramp_to_Mt._Forest_coal_dump_3

This is part of the area that I worked on last night, as mentioned previously, and here are some photos showing the results...

Views_at_Mount_Forest_service_area...

Views_at_Mount_Forest_service_area_1

Views_at_Mount_Forest_service_area_3

Views_at_Mount_Forest_service_area_4

Views_at_Mount_Forest_service_area_5

For all of the fairly steep slopes along both sides and the high end of the ramp, I used a 1/2" brush to paint-on full-strength white glue, then sprinkled on some dirt, and ground foam and then sprayed that area with wet water, to aid in getting it to adhere to the thick glue.  As soon as the area was well-wetted, I sprinkled-on some moreground foam and then added the static grass, using a homemade applicator.
For the areas that were mostly flat, I added some of the very-fine real dirt - it's not even dust, but more like powder - and on the sloping profile of the cork roadbed, I added ballast and some ground foam.  Most of the dirt-covered areas also got some ground foam.
I then sprayed all of those areas generously with "wet" water, then used a small dropper-type plastic bottle to apply the diluted white glue.

The next operation was to add the static grass to the areas where I wanted it, while the glue was still wet.  Here's a couple photos of that...

Views_at_Mount_Forest_service_area_6

Views_at_Mount_Forest_service_area_7

Views_at_Mount_Forest_service_area_8

...and while I was at it, also added a little static grass to this recently built area on the lower level of the layout...

Lowbanks_service_area_for_the_BEE_

Wayne

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Posted by kasskaboose on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 12:55 PM

doctorwayne

 

BATMAN
...I found some tea towels in the kitchen drawer and dipped them in Plaster Of Paris and had them covering those cardboard strips before the wife knew they were gone....

 



Had I done that, it would have resulted in me being dipped in concrete, and getting a one-way boat ride on very-nearby Lake Ontario.


I was doing some scenery work last night...well, early this morning, and wrapped it up just a little after 4:00AM.
  Most of it was ballasting track that was laid directly on plywood, but also on the supply/service track of Mount Forest's coaling tower, which is on a styrofoam incline.

I was intending to add some photos of that session, about 14 square feet of real rock ballast, real dirt (really, really fine, too), ground foam of various sizes and colours, and static grass, also of various sizes and colours, but they will have to wait until photobucket gets their you-know-what together.

 

Wayne

 

 

Can't wait to see the results.  They were probably better at 4am than me working at 4pm!  I too work late, but nowhere near graveyard shift.

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 11:59 PM

kasskaboose
Can't wait to see the results....

No need to wait...they're in the post above yours.  Simply click on any of the puny images for a larger view - I think that they may have elves running photobucket.

Wayne

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, May 14, 2020 10:54 AM

I cover everything with Woodland Scenics T-49 blended green ground foam.

Then I add layers of everything to make the scene come alive. A little "Flock And Turf" from scenic express, other WS products, small stones, twigs, ground up tree bark, whatever. I usually do not securely glue anything down above the base of T-49 so I can vacuum and refresh the scenes as I want to.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by fwright on Sunday, May 17, 2020 1:44 PM

woodone
Small rocks are NOT dirt!

There's a reason they are called the Rocky Mountains.  Get out of the trees and the "mountains" are nothing but piles of rocks - usually big ones!

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Posted by WILLIAM SHEPARD on Saturday, May 23, 2020 12:47 PM

I also use 2" foam for most of my layout.  Tho, I model in HO think this will work in any scale.  

In the fall when the leaves fall, while they are dry, I rake them up and put them in a large trash bag.  Take them to the garage and run them through a blender.  Run the results in a dollar store cooking strainer.  Any thing that will go through the strainer works great for city ground cover, what won't go through the stainer is country ground cover.  Especially wooded areas.  

Mix it with white glue and apply direct to foam, or any other surface.  Lots of glue and you can apply it with a brush, drier you can will need to apply it with a puddy knife.  

Add the green ground foam later.  If you run out of the fine or medium foam and only have clumps left, run the clumps through the blender too.  

Had watched an Allen Keller video where I learned about using the leaves, but the video soaked the leaves in water to run through the blender then dried them in the kitchen oven.  I didn't think my wife would approve of using the oven so since in Colorado the leaves stay fairly dry I skipped the water part.  She won't allow the blender to be used with food either!

If your worried about mold forming as this is an organic product, you can always add some Lysol, alcohol or Clorox to the white glue.  Once dry the leaves parts are encased in the glue and pretty much protected from humidity or wet surfaces.  I've not tried it, but you might also add fabric dye to color the leaves in the application process. 

Webnerdnick

I have a N scale layout which I've used a 2" foam for the base. Mountains, and banks will be carved out of foam or using plaster cloth, but in the general flatter areas what could I use as a ground cover so it doesn't look so "perfect" and a little more natural instead of just painting the foam?

 

Webnerdnick

I have a N scale layout which I've used a 2" foam for the base. Mountains, and banks will be carved out of foam or using plaster cloth, but in the general flatter areas what could I use as a ground cover so it doesn't look so "perfect" and a little more natural instead of just painting the foam?

 

2" foam and Ground Cover

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 16 posts
Posted by WILLIAM SHEPARD on Saturday, May 23, 2020 12:49 PM

I also use 2" foam for most of my layout.  Tho, I model in HO think this will work in any scale.  

In the fall when the leaves fall, while they are dry, I rake them up and put them in a large trash bag.  Take them to the garage and run them through a blender.  Run the results in a dollar store cooking strainer.  Any thing that will go through the strainer works great for city ground cover, what won't go through the stainer is country ground cover.  Especially wooded areas.  

Mix it with white glue and apply direct to foam, or any other surface.  Lots of glue and you can apply it with a brush, drier you can will need to apply it with a puddy knife.  

Add the green ground foam later.  If you run out of the fine or medium foam and only have clumps left, run the clumps through the blender too.  

Had watched an Allen Keller video where I learned about using the leaves, but the video soaked the leaves in water to run through the blender then dried them in the kitchen oven.  I didn't think my wife would approve of using the oven so since in Colorado the leaves stay fairly dry I skipped the water part.  She won't allow the blender to be used with food either!

If your worried about mold forming as this is an organic product, you can always add some Lysol, alcohol or Clorox to the white glue.  Once dry the leaves parts are encased in the glue and pretty much protected from humidity or wet surfaces.  I've not tried it, but you might also add fabric dye to color the leaves in the application process. [quote user=]

I have a N scale layout which I've used a 2" foam for the base. Mountains, and banks will be carved out of foam or using plaster cloth, but in the general flatter areas what could I use as a ground cover so it doesn't look so "perfect" and a little more natural instead of just painting the foam?

 

[/quote]

Webnerdnick

I have a N scale layout which I've used a 2" foam for the base. Mountains, and banks will be carved out of foam or using plaster cloth, but in the general flatter areas what could I use as a ground cover so it doesn't look so "perfect" and a little more natural instead of just painting the foam?

 

2" foam and Ground Cover

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