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What do you suggest for mountain making other than foam or mesh?

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What do you suggest for mountain making other than foam or mesh?
Posted by GN24 on Friday, December 2, 2022 12:53 PM

I have somehow gotten myself into making a new layout for a highschool and both my time and money are limmited. So just give me your best suggestions.

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Posted by chutton01 on Friday, December 2, 2022 2:30 PM

The past had some suggestions...-https://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/38131.aspx

(Spoiler alert - one old school way is plaster, paper and corrugated cardboard for support)

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Posted by Track fiddler on Friday, December 2, 2022 2:34 PM

Good evening

When we were young, my brother and I crumpled up newspaper and did a (paper mache).  Strips of paper dipped in a solution and put over in layers.  Cheap quick and easy!  And you can probably find everything you need around the house.

Just Google it.  There's a few different formulas for doing it.  The cheapest one being a bag of Mom's baking flour up in the cupboard.

Hope that helps GN24.

 

Good luck!

 

 

TF

 

PS  Wouldn't think you need a shell, but depending on how elaborate you want to get.  A bag of setting compound is only 9 bucks at a Big Box store.  

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Posted by ndbprr on Friday, December 2, 2022 4:03 PM

the old messy school way was paper towels dipped in plaster.  the plaster was replaced with hydrocal which is much harder.  a great trick is to mix some color like beige or brown into the plaster so the color goes all the way through.

d

 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, December 2, 2022 5:21 PM

Probably not appropriate for your budget restrictions, but Bragdon Foam can be used for really nice rock castings and also making a very light and strong hardshell.  I've only done castings, but they turned out great.

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

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, December 2, 2022 5:24 PM

Well, it's disheartening to see my almost completed input on this topic disappear, but I'll take another run at it, if I can find the photos that I was using to illustrate things.

I use aluminum window screen, stapled to either the sides of plywood sub-roadbed, or other elements of the layout's construction, and also add temporary pieces of 1"x2" uprights where more support might be needed.
I then use a putty knife to apply Durabond-90 (a patching plaster that hardens in roughly 90 minutes) to create landforms atop the screen.  There are other faster versions of Durabond, but I prefer the "working time" offered by the slower setting version.

Once the Durabond is fully hardened, I paint the landforms using watered-down latex house paint.  In many instances, I need to use one hand to support my weight atop the plaster while applying the paint.  I don't have enough bravado to try standing on it, but I wouldn't be too surprised if it actual could support my weight.

Here's some of it destined to eventually become sceniced....

...and later, with a little more scenery...

...here's a "field" with a tree and some temporary ground cover...

..and later with some better ground cover, and some livestock...

...this view is in the same vicinity, but with more foliage...

...and a hint of water.

Here's the same area from a different viewpoint...

...the "water" is more Durabond-90, applied over a plywood riverbed.  I used a putty knife to tease-up the "white water" and also to create some ripples.  The "water" was painted using latex house paints (unthinned), then, once dry, coated with a clear gloss finish, also applied with a wide 4" brush.

Here's another riverbed awaiting the flood...

...and after the deluge...

Durabond 90 is also useful for creating piers and abutments for bridges...

...and the moulds are easy to make and are also re-useable...

...with the mould upside down, you can easily vary the height needed for various sites, simply by filling the mould only a little more than the required height, then flip the hardened casting and trim the bottom to the exact needed height, using an  ordinary mill file.

Wayne

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Posted by Track fiddler on Friday, December 2, 2022 8:44 PM

Hi Wayne.  First of all, beautiful photos, as I always admire your work every time I see them.

Funny,  I had both USG products on deck and actually posted the Durabond first instead of the Easy Sand.  Then I got to thinking, GN24 is a young high school Kid with a model railroad as a school project.  He stated he doesn't have a lot of time or money. 

You as I know, Durabond dries hard as a rock and does not sand, shape or sculpt at all well after it has hardened.  Good stuff, I've had to take a cold chisel or a grinder to it in past change orders in construction. 

Just figured a young high school Kid, more than likly wouldn't have a fine tuned, experienced skill set, to put a shell on quite smooth enough.  He would probably need to shape it a bit, to get it to look good after it set up. 

Both Durabond 90 and Easy Sand 90 are Superior products, but certainly have different applications of uses and usabilities.  Skill level can definitely play a role between both mediums as well.

 

Respectfully TF

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, December 2, 2022 10:42 PM

Cardboard strips with hot glue and plaster cloth.

 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, December 2, 2022 10:50 PM

I have to agree with TF. Cost is one factor, but I also think the life expectancy of the diorama should be taken into account. It probably doesn't have to last more than a month or so.

My recommendation would be to go with crumpled newspaper with plaster impregnated material overtop. You could ask if your mom has any old bed sheets that she would be willing to part with so you don't have to pay for paper towels.

- You could ask your local paint suppliers if they have any mis-tints in light to medium brown tones and/or medium to darker greens.

- You could make simple trees out of mesh filters and wood skewers.

- If you want buildings, you could get some heavy paper card stock or light cardboard to make the walls and roofs, and use cardboard strips or wood skewers to reinforce the structure. You can use clear packaging for the windows, and if there isn't going to be an interior, paint the inside black or use black electrical tape to blank out the windows. For scaling the doors, a single man door in HO scale is about 7/8" tall x 3/8" wide. You can judge the size of the rest of the building from there.

- You can use craft paints for adding colour. They are cheap.

- You could ask your dad if he has any scrap plywood or foam sheets for the base (stay away from 3/4" ply - it will be too heavy). You could also ask your friends to ask their dads if they have any plywood or foam or other usable materials. Somebody might have a bag or a bucket of plaster or drywall compound sitting around which is going to end up in the dump.

Sounds like a great project!!

Good luck.

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, December 3, 2022 9:04 AM

Good morning

doctorwayne

I had looked inside your mold last night while admiring your work and seen the scribing I hadn't noticed before.  I have been recently constructing some piers using a different method to achieve a very similar effect.  The piers and abutments had five different shapes and sizes, otherwise I would have gladly adopted your method.  I have always seen them as a really good idea through the years.

With that said, I can appreciate the scribing or imprinting you did on the styrene inside the mold.  If you wouldn't mind sharing the method you used, I would be quite interested.

 

 

TF

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, December 3, 2022 9:50 AM

Over the years, I've tried most of the popular methods. I've settled on making the contours with a web of cardboard strips, covered by a heavy paper. I use red resin paper which comes in a huge roll but brown wrapping paper should work too. In the foreground I cover the paper with plaster for strength but in the background I'll use joint compound over the paper. I buy the bags of dry joint compound and mix it to the desired consistency. From there I paint and apply the desired ground cover. 

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Posted by dknelson on Saturday, December 3, 2022 12:29 PM

hon30critter
Cost is one factor, but I also think the life expectancy of the diorama should be taken into account. It probably doesn't have to last more than a month or so. My recommendation would be to go with crumpled newspaper with plaster impregnated material overtop. 

The old Linn Westcott "hard shell scenery" idea.  Crumpled up newspaper held in place with ordinary masking tape, and he used industrial paper towels dipped into a hydrocal plaster mix, but variants use old bed sheets cut into swaths, and if you have access, the old plaster fabric rolls that used to be used for broken arms and such.  Westcott would reach under and remove the crumpled newspaper once the plaster had set.

If you have access to cheap styrofoam -- perhaps an appliance store discarding the packing material -- that is another method.  And again if this is going to be a quick and dirty and rather short life span scene, don't forget the old time honored elementary school paper mache mountain.  

Dave Nelson

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Posted by snjroy on Saturday, December 3, 2022 2:27 PM

For mountains, I prefer cardboard strips. But I believe wire mesh is stronger,  if portability is a factor.

Simon 

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Posted by cowman on Saturday, December 3, 2022 3:51 PM

Lots of good ideas above.  Some economical thoughts.  

Look for foam insulation at job sites,  ask the supervisor ifyou can reduce their trash by picking it up.  I've gotten a lot of trash bags full that way.

A roll of heavy duty tin foil will make nice forms for casting from plaster of paris or thinned Sculptamold.

For piers or retaining walls cut a piece of extruded foam to shape, then scribe in lines for blocks or leave smooth for concrete.

Just a couple ideas.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, December 3, 2022 10:10 PM

Track fiddler
With that said, I can appreciate the scribing or imprinting you did on the styrene inside the mold. If you wouldn't mind sharing the method you used, I would be quite interested.

You kind comments are much appreciated, TF, but there are days when I have trouble remembering my own name. 
As best as I can recall, the scribing was done using a framer's square on the .060" thick sheet styrene, before the sheet material was cut into the tapered shapes.  I used a utility knife, and periodically flipped it over to create deeper and/or wider grooves. 

Once enough of the sheet had been done, I used the utility knife to cut it into various shapes, depending on the type of bridge supports needed, and also the varying abutments at each end of the bridges.

I have a box full of those mould parts, but probably will never need them again, as all of the layout's bridges are done, even though the scenes around them are not.

I'm going to add pictures of the various moulds that I have, but some may be duplicates

Before assembling the moulds, I used a paper towel to apply a very light coating of vegetable oil on the inside of the moulds, in order to ensure that none of the Durabond would stick to the inside of the mould when it gets taken apart.

I used coarse body-files to remove any excess height from the bottom of the castings, so that they'd slip perfectly under the bridges that they were supposed to support.

The piers and abutments were brush-painted with Pollyscale paints, usually a mixture of colours to create the look of concrete, and then later added some rust streaks where appropriate.

Wayne

 

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Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, December 4, 2022 10:13 AM

Thanks for getting back to me with all the feedback Wayne.  Those piers and abutment molds sure are an Innovative idea of yoursYes 

Enjoyed checking them out and reading you're provided info on them this morning.  Was glad to see the example of the abutment molds, as I'm looking forward to trying it out on bridge #4.

 

TF

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 5:30 PM

Old window screen and Plaster of Paris might be the easiest and best bang for the buck.  If you can find a local guy who repairs screens, he may even give you a pile that he's pulled out of customer frames and replaced.  It will be a bit heavy and you don't want to build a mountain like this over track like a tunnel, but it will work.

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

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