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Building a snowscape

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  • Member since
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Building a snowscape
Posted by John-NYBW on Friday, November 3, 2023 12:23 PM

It looks like this is the year I'll finally get around to building the 4x8 Christmas village layout that I've had on the back burner for many years. Just a simple oval with a couple sidings and maybe a spur or two. I'm in the process of collecting the structures I'll need. I want the entire layout to be snow covered except for the roads and track which will have been plowed. This will be my first experience with snow. I know Woodland Scenics makes a snow ground cover. Should I use the same diluted white glue technique that I do with other ground covers. My concern is whether it will yellow over time. Are there other options for a snowy landscape?

For most of the year I will keep this layout undercover and bring it out for the holidays. A question I have for those who have built winter landscapes is whether the snow has to be touched up occasionally to keep it white. If so, would a simple white acrylic paint suffice?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, November 3, 2023 7:13 PM

Ken Patterson uses plaster for snow.  Someone created an index for his "What's Neat" youtube videos.  You can probably find one of his scenes.  I don't remember him saying he glued it down.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, November 6, 2023 12:50 PM

I've read that some folks use marble dust for snow as it doesn't change color over time. I've used just regular scenic snow from Woodland Scenics and others and haven't had a problem with fading though.

I think just putting artificial snow over white plaster hills isn't all that convincing. Even in December, there can be places where the snow isn't very thick, and you can see some yellow grass tufts sticking up through the snow. 

Stix
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Posted by kasskaboose on Monday, November 6, 2023 6:40 PM
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Posted by selector on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 1:44 PM

I just use leafless sage armatures and Bosch pines, and then sprinkle liberally with WS 'snow'.  It seems fine years later, although my train room is quite free of dust...no forced air, little traffic.

From two layouts ago:

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, November 8, 2023 3:45 PM

By the blessings of outrageous fortune, this month's issue of Model Railroader has a scenery-building article that includes a short piece on building snow-capped.  The author does mention that once snow is put down his way, it's pretty much permanent.  What you might want to try is using a layer of plaster cloth below the snow.  That could be removed pretty easily, snow and all, if you change your mind.

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

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, November 8, 2023 4:48 PM

MisterBeasley

By the blessings of outrageous fortune, this month's issue of Model Railroader has a scenery-building article that includes a short piece on building snow-capped.  The author does mention that once snow is put down his way, it's pretty much permanent.  What you might want to try is using a layer of plaster cloth below the snow.  That could be removed pretty easily, snow and all, if you change your mind.

 

I just got the latest issue but haven't had the time to look at it yet. I'll check it out. There is zero chance I will ever want to remove the snow. I'm building this little 4x8 for the specific purpose of having a Christmas Village. 

I'm going old school with this layout, using leftover code 100 track and DC locos from previous layouts that I never converted to DCC. I'm finding lots of Hawthorne Village snow covered structures on ebay at a reasonable price as compared to buying them new. It's still going to be a lot of money for a simple little 4x8 but it's been something I've had in mind for a long time and finally decided to get it done this year, hopefully before Christmas. 

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Posted by AEP528 on Thursday, November 9, 2023 7:05 AM

If you're referring to Gary Hoover's article, it's in the November 2023 issue.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, November 20, 2023 4:45 PM

One other question I have is how much snow could be expected to accumulate on locos and rolling stock while moving. I've looked online for pictures and don't see a lot of snow build up on the trains but that still leaves a lot of question. Locos are going to produce heat which is going to prevent snow accumulation on some parts, particularly steamers. What places on a steamer would snow likely accumulate while the loco is moving. I'll probably have one steamer and one first generation diesel on this layout. 

As for rolling stock, I've seen pictures of freight cars with snow covered roofs. Passenger cars on the other hand would be heated. Would there be enough insulation in the roofs to allow snow to accumlulate. 

What I have in mind for this little layout is a small village that has just received a heavy blanket of snow. The track and roadways will have been plowed and the sidewalks shoveled, but much of it is going to be snow covered. I'm trying to decide how much or little snow to put on the cars and locos. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, November 20, 2023 9:30 PM

I've seen photos of steam and road switcher diesels with considerable snow especially on the front of the loco after fighting snow drifts.  But after time in the roundhouse, it will be dry, so I guess that might be why I don't remember seeing snow on model RR equipment.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 1:46 PM

About 1/2 of my layout is (or at least, is going to be) set in early winter. I have maybe 15-20 freight cars with snow added to the roofs at this point. I haven't added to engines, I figure as Mike says, the engines are more likely to have spent time in a roundhouse or enginehouse, and/or the snow could have fallen on the car several days before it reached the area I'm modelling.

Stix

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