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A method of doing textured scenery and ballast with no glue : Modeling fibre as base for scenery

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A method of doing textured scenery and ballast with no glue : Modeling fibre as base for scenery
Posted by wsdimenna on Sunday, July 20, 2008 9:35 PM

After some experimentation a method has been developed that should be applicable to many scales for making textured scenery in great detail with little or no glue. In addition the technique can be applied to doing ballast so that no glue is necessary.

It is a wall covering material that comes in a variety of colors.  The one on sale is the best bet.  Add water and acrylic paint for color desired as base. The material is applied directly to wood surface at a thickness equal to tie height. The track is pressed into the material and secured (screws until dry). At this point some of the material may be on the ties. Take a paint stick level, trough with the tie and push it off towards side of track. Alternately a small spray of water can remove some of the excess. The ballast material is applied over  and brushed until it is one layer over fibre. Its then pressed lightly into the fibre. Spray the finished area lightly with wet water.   This helps bind the ballast to the modeling fibre. There is no reason to hurry. It takes a couple of days to dry...sometimes longer if humid or if doing it on a non porus surface.  This long drying time means you can make changes as necessary without worry. 

I have used this with O and S. I see no reason why it will not work with HO, N or Z. 

Woodland Scenics and Scenic Express ballast have been used.  Real stone or rubbber ballast may not work as well. 

 

 

Tags: truescene
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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, July 21, 2008 9:30 AM

This certainly sounds like a novel approach, but you'd want to be sure that your track layout was exactly as you wanted it before starting.  Is the track removeable (and salvageable) after the material has dried?  I'd also be concerned about fine-tuning the track and turnouts, as the usual practice is to install the track, and use it for a while:  this is where you find out if it works properly and if it works visually and operationally.  Most track layouts continue to "evolve" after they've left the planning stages, too.  How do you handle turnouts?  It sounds to me as if the Fibredecor would impede the motion of the throwbar.  Personally, I find ballasting track to be an enjoyable pasttime, with big returns for relatively little "work".  Your method sounds like it might be a bit messy, and I'm wondering how much "depth" you can get with scenic materials:  I like to build up the scenery applications in layers, to control both the texture and the colour.  Can traditional scenery methods ("wet" water spray and dilute glue application) be used after the initial application using the Fibredecor?   I give you full marks for an innovative idea, although it'd be nice to see a few photos. Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]

Wayne 

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Posted by CSXDixieLine on Monday, July 21, 2008 10:07 AM

Looks very interesting. Although the official Fiberdecor website is not very useful, I found this page on another site had some good info:

http://www.gemtexdecor.com/frasqu.html

Jamie

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Posted by stokesda on Monday, July 21, 2008 10:25 AM

wsdimenna,

Could you post some close-up photos of the finished product on your layout?

Dan Stokes

My other car is a tunnel motor

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Posted by wsdimenna on Monday, July 21, 2008 4:58 PM

 Wayne and Dan

Thanks Jamie. They were running a special on that web page on closout colors. $10 bucks off a bag 

"Is the track removeable (and salvageable) after the material has dried?"

Yes, very much so. Even though it dries extrremely hard and has good sound insulating properties, you can simply spray hot water to area you want remove. Assuming track scews are not there it will lift up with spatula. Rinse track under warm water and it will be like new. If you get material near throw bar , it can be wiped off with wet rag.

 "I'd also be concerned about fine-tuning the track and turnouts, as the usual practice is to install the track, and use it for a while: "

Yes, and this brings me to part two. My layout has been an expansion from 2 four by eights to a main line of 252 ft.  I used the traditional method for some of the track. Where there are sections I don't want to lift out I use the firbedecor along the outside edge of track. The ballast in center (between rails) is done in traditional fashion. The excess  is pushed off the side (as normal for ballasting) into the fibredecor as one layer, saving lots of ballast. Ballasting 450 ft of track with an eye dropper was not my idea of fun.

"I like to build up the scenery applications in layers, to control both the texture and the colour.  Can traditional scenery methods ("wet" water spray and dilute glue application) be used after the initial application using the Fibredecor?"

Yes you can use glue after material dries but that defeats the purpose of using fibredecor. 

First you can achieve depth without glue.  The idea with fibredecor is too avoid using glue as it often dimishes the colors. The scenery material is placed on fibredecor while it wet. So for example I may take some dark ground cover over the fibredecor, wet it , then add lighter color and wet it gentlay pressing it into the fibredecor.  You need alot less material then traditional methods. If applied at a railroad tie height you can stick small bushes, tress directly into the material prior to drying. Sometimes its best to wait a day or two for it to setup if the piece is a bit large. 

I like using Cray's custom scenery, woodland scenics, Scenic express, natural materials. 

With respect to photos. I have submitted closeups descibing the procedure to magazine. About 95% of the scenery in the album was done using this method, including the cliffs.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdimenna/collections/72157603222420889/ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by stokesda on Monday, July 21, 2008 5:33 PM
 wsdimenna wrote:

With respect to photos. I have submitted closeups descibing the procedure to magazine. About 95% of the scenery in the album was done using this method, including the cliffs.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdimenna/collections/72157603222420889/ 

Thanks for the pics - it was kind of hard to see the details on the ballasting job, but from a distance at least, it looks like a potentially promising method. If you submitted an article to MR, hopefully they'll print it in the near future.

Dan Stokes

My other car is a tunnel motor

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Posted by wsdimenna on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 6:12 PM

Here is shot of ballast and some of base ground cover that was added. This is still wet on the left side of track.  Bushes and shrubs are added while still wet over the next day or two.

This track was already in place so ballast between the rails was drizzled with  glue/wet water .

 

 

Tags: truescene
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Posted by wsdimenna on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 10:10 PM

 Followup: Here is a rainy afternoon's work.   Mid to late fall

 

 

 

After a few days its stil wet enough to add some bad ends from super trees as ground cover.  Sstill needs trees, which are under construction

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Posted by RDG-LNE on Thursday, November 20, 2008 1:49 PM

 I wonder if this could be substituted for the Perma-Scene in the original ground goop recipe. It looks very similiar and from the website information it has a base similiar to sculptamold.

 

Drew

Modeling the Reading Company, Jersey Central Lines and Lehigh & New England in the 1950's.
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Posted by wsdimenna on Friday, November 21, 2008 1:52 PM

 Drew I have never used sculptamold so I can't comment on the "setup time". Here its not unusual to keep adding bushes, etc for over a week and not need glue to do it. 

UPdate: I have received payment for mag. article, so I'll wait till it  appears and before I add comments and clarify any other questions. Thanks for your patience in advance.

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Posted by RDG-LNE on Friday, November 21, 2008 9:08 PM

 The Permascene just gave ground goop some texture. Most of the times I used ground goop it dried in about 24 to 36 hours.

 

Drew

Modeling the Reading Company, Jersey Central Lines and Lehigh & New England in the 1950's.
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Posted by wsdimenna on Friday, March 20, 2009 4:59 PM

 the article has appeared in classic toy trains May issue. My understanding is that  the 3rd rail doesn't bite when read from at least 18 inches.


 

 

Bill D

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Posted by Doc in CT on Friday, March 20, 2009 5:30 PM

 Checked out the Fiberdecor website

The easy preparation  page is interesting as it emphasizes the need to properly prime the wall surface prior to applying Fiberdecor.  Of course they are worried about color bleed through, and the method here tints the material with acrylic. 

Might be an interesting alternative to other methods for scenary.  wsdimenna do you think it  would work on foam?

Co-owner of the proposed CT River Valley RR (HO scale) http://home.comcast.net/~docinct/CTRiverValleyRR/

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Posted by wsdimenna on Friday, March 20, 2009 7:49 PM

Doc

the article describes the method of doing it foam. That photo shows the material applied to foam, that has been covered with plastic drywall mesh. On wood that is not necessary, but on foam it keeps it from sliding around.  With respect to color, it didn't matter. I simply add materiall to warm water to which paint has been added. In this case it was grey.

If you want to purchase the material in US

www,truescene.com.

disclaimer This is our web site. 

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Posted by wsdimenna on Wednesday, May 6, 2009 10:32 PM

 a demonstration of the use of the material as a method of doing textured scenery will be held at the NOME (Niagara Orleans model railroad engineers) meeting on May 21st

 

This is the finished patch from the CTT article .

 

Just a quick note about glue.  If you plan to reuse material that already has some ground cover in it , it wouldn't hurt to add some white glue to mix of water when rehydrating the mixture.

I haven't used glue here for any natural material that attaches to the fibre. I have also used some of the synthetics from Scenic Express  medium clump foliage, etc. With silfor the plastic adhesive backing is partially embeded.  Its doesn't stick reall well when the fibre is real wet. Wait to use this.

 

 

 

only  mesh of this shown in CTT article 

 yes the car is going on wrong side of road.. the photo dept rejected it.

Tags: truescene
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Posted by soofan on Sunday, May 10, 2009 8:50 PM

Many thanks for the tip. I'll give it a try. This Fibredecor is stable and does not crack?

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Posted by wsdimenna on Monday, May 11, 2009 8:16 AM

 it will only crack if the subbase its applied to cracks. I have a section with basic ground cover over plywood that I stand on to reach other sections. It has no effect either on the ground cover or coating.

This photos gives example of various uses and stages. To left is basic ground cover. I put my coffee here in morning and manhatten there in evening. In foreground the brown dirt road with ruts was done by running vehicle over section when tacky. To right on other side of tracks is some fibre that has dried without any ground cover (will wet it and continue). The hydracal portal and abutments were first glued to a pink foam backing which was tied into the rest of area with the mesh.The large rocks ae set into fibre but are not secure. Glue would be required for these real rocks. 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Scenery , truescene
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Posted by wsdimenna on Thursday, May 21, 2009 11:27 AM

Here is the HO ballast on nonraised track. Since I think in 1/48 you will have to pardon this modest attempt at lightly used industrial non raised track.  Note this is fresh and still wet, not cleaned up yet.

here is final. The link shows photos of the steps.  As pointed out in the comments I added ballast when fibredecor was wet as a way to get older look. DO NOT DO THAT for clean mainline look. Add ballast only after fibredecor track area is like bread dough with dry brush, pressing into fibredecor. When you like the way it looks mist it thoroughly with wet water.  This was done on foam/mesh. Ceiling tile staples were pressed to hold track and can be seen in photos. Remove these after drying

 

 

Even if one chooses other methods for doing ballast, this will be good way to do textured scenery on other parts of layout in HO. 

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Posted by Ron_P on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 11:46 AM

After using this fibredecor for about two weeks now I have to say it is just perfect. I am using it on a F scale project and the results are just what I like.

Why,

Well I like to use my own coloring. Ground foams don't always come in the color or show much variation. It is a matter of drop and hope it looks good. This approach allows me to finally sculpt a scene, as apposed to adding color.

This fibre product I color my water with tan acrylics and soak the product. Strain and apply to the diorama. This does not give a perfect tan color but it is a great base to start from.

I like the fact it stays pliable for a day or so. This way I can use the back end of my tweezers to manipulte the surface.

One note to look out for is moisture. This products soaks the water in and takes a while to dry. Now that I am writing this I think maybe I should squeeze out the excess water, something I think will be fine to do (update will come)

  • accepts paint
  • dries solid
  • sticks, but in such a way that when wettened once more it releases
  • modifiable and does not stick to fingers or tools (yes I apply with me fingees)
  • Gives a fantastic variation in heights on my diorama's plywood base.
  • Usable in the smallest of batches no measuring of water required
  • Does not restrict changing the scene later. I'd even go as far as saying it is a great way to sample idea's on a particular scene.

Ron Pare
A guy on Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/c/modelersguild

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Posted by wsdimenna on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 7:06 PM

 Ron.. I think if you use warm water , ad your color, add equal volume of fibredecor  and mix thoroughly there will be no need to strain product. Think you may be adding a touch more water then necessary.  I have made it too watery and all I did was add more fibredecor until it got a bit thicker. 

If you prepare too much, don't worry about it. You can come back in a year and add water to same batch and it will be fine. 

  It was orginially designed to be used in similarr fashion as paint, although like you I use putty knife or fingers.

Thanks for trying it and lets see some photos

 Bill D

BTW as an aside. its great to use in conjunction with hydrocal  rock formations.   If you ever pick up and move layout you can save the rock formations with no damage.

 

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Posted by wingman on Monday, October 26, 2009 6:40 PM

I just received my first copy of Kalmbach's Dream-Plan-Build DVD series.  In the first edition, it shows how to build your first layout.  One thing it covers is using a generous coat of brown or earth color latex paint to form the base of your ground and then sprinkling fine or course WS turf on to the paint while still wet to get it to stick.  You mask off the track bed, first,of course, to keep the brown paint where it belongs.  It seems like a neat trick and I see it discussed a little bit at the beginning of this thread.  Granted, the world isn't golf course flat, but for most areas of the layout, it seems like a good plan.  Has anyone tried this?  Is there something found at Lowes that can be mixed into the paint safely to add a little bumpiness to it, if you wanted to do that.  Does the grass stick?  In the video, they do show the modeler sprinkling the turf with scenic cement to ensure it stays in place.  Thoughts? 

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Posted by wsdimenna on Monday, October 26, 2009 10:27 PM

 "Thoughts? "

do your paint method on one side and do the modeling fibre on other:

while waiting for your paint and first layer of scenery to dry go over to the ffibre portion and add lightly a dark layer of ground cover,  an earth blend, mist with water then add some green , mist with water and let dry. Come back in a week and see which looks real.

 

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