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Getting Flat Out

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  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Getting Flat Out
Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 8:59 AM

No this isn't about Speedy, my S1 that can give slot cars a run for their money.

The benchwork is basically done. After I put on the plywood, I plan to use cork roadbed under the tracks, and 1/4 sheet cork in the yards. But that leaves a big flat spot where the town goes. So how can I change the terrain to add subtle varieties in height without of adding a layer of pink panther--which would only serve the purpose of making the town higher and draining my wallet. What did the old-timers do pre-foam?

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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  • From: Northern CA Bay Area
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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 9:36 AM

SpaceMouse
What did the old-timers do pre-foam?

Often they slit the plywood and used risers.

  • Member since
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Posted by SouthPenn on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 10:16 AM

1/4" drywall?

South Penn
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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 10:35 AM

I'll say one thing about MBKlein: their packing for shipment is very secure and they're pretty generous with the styrofoam peanuts. I think Cody or Eric did an article recently using such peanuts for landforming. Eco-friendly; earn a few points from the green crowd.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


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  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 10:36 AM

This issue of topography is one I have been thinking about lately as I plan where to put culverts, trackside ditches, sidings that are lower than the main line, and - as you mention, the elevation changes that are almost everywhere around us but which we hardly notice now that we are a generation of drivers not walkers (much less roller skaters!).

My first conclusion is that to get all the elevation differences I want, my mainline has to be more elevated than we initially assume, for a flat topped benchwork situation.  Cork on the plywood is not enough.  There needs to be subroadbed which in my case is either plywood cut to size, or homasote cut to size, 1/2" to 5/8" thick.  And even then a case can be made for a layer of cork underneath the cork - perhaps O scale size cork roadbed which is still 1/4" thick, underneath the HO cork for mainlines and N scale cork for sidings.

For larger expanses where I want height differences there are many options.  It actually helps to think in terms of what a contour map of your area would look like. White beadboard styrofoam such as is used for packing and shipping various products (and is thus often available for free at some stores if you ask, or perhaps you have saved it when getting appliances or electronics) - the thinner the better because it is far easier to double or triple it up than it is to cut or "hot wire melt" the contours you seek into a thick piece).  1/8" thick would be ideal but rare.  1/4" is more common.  

Back in the old days ceiling tiles, which were a sort of compressed paper product, were used and can still be used as scenery contour.  A home supply store might have damaged ones that they can give away.  I suppose cardboard from boxes could be used, maybe with a coating of shellac to avoid surprising warpage years down the line.

The point (and I will have one sooner or later) is that for realism's sake, relatively little of our layout's topography should be at "ground zero" - meaning, the top surface of the underlying plywood.  

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 11:19 AM

My thought is just to apply a small layer of plaster over the area and sand in some un-evenness. The area I'm talking about will be densly populated with structures--it's a town--but I envision depressions where wagons leave wheel ruts and mounds here and there. Maybe I'm worried about nothing. Everywhere else is going to be dramatic in elevation change.  

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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  • From: Fullerton, California
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Posted by hornblower on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 4:17 PM

Chip

I don't know whether you saved any of the sawdust created when you built your bench work.  If so, I found that mixing sawdust with papier mache (or unmixed drywall mud) powder makes great ground cover that can be built up or flattened to create an undulating ground surface.  

Hornblower

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 4:24 PM

hornblower
I don't know whether you saved any of the sawdust created when you built your bench work.

Saved it all. Hehe!

hornblower
If so, I found that mixing sawdust with papier mache (or unmixed drywall mud) powder makes great ground cover that can be built up or flattened to create an undulating ground surface.  

I shy olf drywall mud because I know it shrinks. I have some plaster on hand though. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 4:58 PM

Scupltamold?

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 5:10 PM

    I use plaster. If I want a mound or a hill or something like that I build a skeleton, even if it's only an inch or two high, and cover it with paper towels soaked in plaster.
    I haven't tried it yet but some people really like using Scupltamold. It might be what you are looking for.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by cowman on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 5:44 PM

I used a couple of techniques and have some others in mind. 

Since I got a lot of foam from construction sites, I have many smaller pieces that can be shaped as desired.  Look around at construction sites, foam is so easy to plant trees in and to reform if needed.

Have used Sculptamold for small rises.

Wad up paper, stack peanuts, whatever or make a cardboard lattice mound and cover with newspaper, rosin paper, paper towels or the like, then cover with a plaster (hardshell) or glue (glueshell).

As with a lot of things in model railroading, different methods may work better in different spots.

Good luck,

Richard   

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  • From: Boise, Idaho
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Posted by E-L man tom on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 5:49 PM

With what little scenicing I have done so far, I like Sculptamold the best, It can be shaped even after it fully cures and has a relatively long "working" time. Its easy to sand too.

Tom Modeling the free-lanced Toledo Erie Central switching layout.
  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 5:56 PM

Lone Wolf and Santa Fe
I use plaster. If I want a mound or a hill or something like that I build a skeleton, even if it's only an inch or two high, and cover it with paper towels soaked in plaster.

I'm only talking 1/8 inch around the town area. The big elevations, like the mountains, I'll use foam. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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  • From: North Dakota
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Posted by BroadwayLion on Sunday, February 11, 2018 2:55 PM

LION knows that the papier mache with or without sawdust shrinks. But so what. It is the under coat not the finished surface.  You cover objectionable holes with shrubs, trees, rocks or puddles.

Just make sure that it is cear of the ROW otherwise it wii stick out and grab one of your trains.

 

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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