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Starting my first diorama - what kind of baseboard should I get?

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Starting my first diorama - what kind of baseboard should I get?
Posted by JustAcrosstheBorder on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 8:27 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie when it comes to model railroading and I just want to try my hand at a HO diorama first rather than a full blown layout. I was thinking about 8 inch by 8 inch. I know it's small but we all have to start somewhere.

What kind of baseboard would be the best and where would I be able to find it? . I live in Canada just for reference.

Also, am I right with the process of building the diorama?

1) Get baseboard

2) Paint baseboard dark green

3) Lay scenic grass while paint is still wet.

4) Lay track and ballast it

5) Add over scenic elements

Thank you in advance.

Tags: Diorama , HO , newbie
  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 8:47 PM

Down here Hobby Lobby and Michael's Crafts both sell plywood "painting panels" that are about that size for not much money.

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Your order of assembly will work, and you will learn a lot.

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I hope you can do it, and share some pictures.

.

Have fun!

.

-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 mbinsewi on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 9:02 PM

JustAcrosstheBorder
What kind of baseboard would be the best and where would I be able to find it?

I'd start with a piece of styrofoam, the extruded type, not the bead board.  You can carve in below grade scenes, like creeks, a marsh, roads, etc., and add more pieces to the top for hills, etc.

Easy to work with, easy to "plant" trees and shrubs, and more than strong enough for an 8" by 8" diorama.

You could go larger, like a 12" x 12" or even a 24"x24" and the foam will still be strong enough.

Mike.

 

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 10:24 PM

I would definitely recommend you do not use a flat base, that would allow you to have higher and lower terrain in order to make a realistic scene. Styrofoam (the extrude variety) is good.

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by gregc on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 7:07 AM

you may be interested in Designing and Building Model Railway Baseboards which is more common in Britain

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 9:55 AM

  IMHO

 Depending on the subject; 8X8 may be too small. To show case an engine and/or rolling stock, perhaps 8x16,a building, 12X12

 Most anything would work. But I have found that most material under 1/2 in will want to warp. I use 3/4in foam. I think foam is easyer to work with.All you need is a knife and caulk/glue.Dig to go down, glue to go up.

 If you have a craft store nearby, look around, or ask the help, explane what your doing. A lumber yard may have odds and ends of somthing laying around.

 Instead of green, I suggest a earth tone, brown,tan.Lay your track, ballest, and then start with the grass ect.

I now build almost all my buildings on a base [3/4in foam] at the bench, then incorperate then on the layout.

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Posted by DRGWGJCO on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 11:00 AM

For what it is worth. Woodland scenics has a scenery learning kit that would be great for what you are wanting to do. 

Woodland Scenics - Scenery Learning Kit -- Builds10 x

18" Diorama

- S927

Several places have it. It has all you need except some basic tools. Scissors, hobby knife that kind of thing. Might look into it.

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  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 11:25 AM

Howdy neighbour, I live in Canada as well. 

I would go with 2" extruded foam glued to a piece of plywood. this gives you plenty of opportunity to model up and down. 

You are welcome to drop by and I can easily find much of what you need in my shop and it would be yours for the taking. I am sure we could find a much larger piece of foam as well. My plywood rack is full of suitable stuff.

I am an hour SE of Vancouver if you are in the area. Good luck.

Brent

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

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 11:48 AM

UNCLEBUTCH
Depending on the subject; 8X8 may be too small.

My thoughts too.  A 50' car is almost 7" long.   That will leave you 5" of space to the side to do what?  Create a steep cliff?  More important than the base is what do you want to learn to work with, or experiment with: plaster, carving foam, casting rocks, broken ceiling tiles. 

You are not really going to learn very much laying and ballasting 8" of track and sprinkling some ground foam.

I'm all for experimenting and practicing, but I think your canvas is too small.  However is you are commited to 8x8, a used Amazon box will do.  It's not like it needs stability for transport to train shows, extremes of heat or temperature or even to run trains.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by dstarr on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 1:07 PM

I might use 2 inch foamboard.  It's plenty strong enough and you can shape it with a steak knife to have a little ground contour.  Do the shaping out of doors 'cause the shavings are staticy and stick to everything making clean up difficult.  One use for a diorama is a backdrop for taking pictures of your rolling stock and structures.  I would make it somewhat bigger, say 18" by 36", so I could pull the camera back and not have a diorama edge showing in the photo.  I might have a backdrop, a piece of masonite set vertical along the back to offer a backdrop for photography.  Also a chance to practice painting backdrops, or laying up a photo backdrop.  I used an earthtone paint on my layout and sprinkled dyed sawdust into the paint while wet.  I used two tones of dyed sawdust, a dark green and a light green.  Spread the dark and then spread the light over it to give some shading to the grass.  I am old school and have a woodshop and plenty of sawdust.  Ground foam works too. On foamboard you lay track with adhesive, fasteners will not hold in foamboard.  You want roadbed under the track and then ballast over the roadbed.  You want to paint the sides of the rails railbrown.  I brushpainted all the track on my layout in a couple of evenings.  You also want to try your hand at trees.  Consider a dual track mainline so you can pose two trains, one coming, one going.  And some sidings to hold more cars.  Allow some space for structures. 

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 1:18 PM

Does your diorama represet a small yard or a standard mainline section? Or are you just experimenting with track, scenery, and rocks?

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Posted by JustAcrosstheBorder on Thursday, November 21, 2019 8:31 PM
Pretty much just experimenting with track, scenery, and rocks at the moment. I do not want to do anything too big because if anything goes wrong, I would prefer it to happen on a small scale first.

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