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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've seen some of your tracks and I was blown away by some. They look almost real!

So here's where Im at now:


I want to build something like a dirt side hill/bank around the back side of the high banked corner and slope it downhill toward the left. up to the edge of the straight section that goes under the bridge. My question is what could I use as a base or frame to make the shape of this hill? I've never done anything quite like this so Im open to suggestions. I looked around Google checking out people's model train landscaping websites trying to see how they do this sort of thing but came up empty handed. Nobody wanted to give away their skills or secrets heh. I will probably cover it in moss or grass stuff to make it look more realistic. After I get this hillside done Im going to start piecing the grass stuff into the rest of the track. If anyone here has come across any helpful websites that deal in this sort of thing I would appreciate and ideas or links. Thanks in advance!
 

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Slotcar Fanatic
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Well, I see a good start. However, get rid of the original TOMY braces and use the styrofoam or wood braces on the banks for good support and stability. Looks good so far! :thumbsup: rr
 

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Go to the nearest home improvement outlet....buy a sheet or two of the pink insulation foam board....usually in 4ft x 8ft x 2 in...make a paper template of your base area (about halfway under the track at least)...

Cut the shape.....lay in in for fit...

You can easily gut this stuff with a hack saw blade...just tape a few inches for a handle.....you can then shape the edge angle a bit....

when you get the base you want....make another paper template of the top of the base....and repeat...

three layers of foam in 6 inches...

The stuff comes in 1 inch thick as well....so maybe buy on sheet of the two inch...and one sheet of the one inch...and play with it..

There are a couple ways to finish it off....

Some guys mix plaster and cover the foam with that....some guys just rough up the foam and paint it with a water based paint....this sides grey like rock.....and the top greenish brown...

You can even brush some glue on it and sprinkle some plain old dirt on it...

Or got some land scaping supplies from the nearest hobby store that has HO train stuff...
 

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What Crimnick said is dead on... the foam is perfect because it is light and sturdy, then you can do your plastering over the top and from there add their colors. I am into trains as well, and the best book I have that helped me along was "Scenery for your model railroad" from Model Railroader books. Also check out model building websites, there are some absolute geniuses at Armorama.com, the dioramas these guys make and the ideas they share are amazing.

These pictures are of my n-scale setup and the hills and river are built up with the foam board and plaster, it really doesn't take much to get them looking decent.



 

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Thanks! I just really wanted to point out how easy this stuff actually is, if I can do it, ANYONE can. =) A couple of rock molds and some lanscaping and you're there!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the help gents. Everyone seems to think the plaster idea is the way to go. Ive never touched plaster before and know nothing about it. I do have a load of 3" thick foam stuff that I could start with for the base. I appreciate all the advice, I'll keep you gents posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well I jumped right into the foam molding and here's what I came up with. Its 2" thick foam that I had left over from some other random project. I glued serveral sheets together and then contoured them into the banked hill I wanted. I also bought some water based paint to start playing with. Hopefully tomorrow I can get my feet wet with painting this foam crap. Hopefully it isnt as hard as I think it will be. Here's how it looks now:
www.designbydan.com/pt/100_0429.jpg

AND the paint that will hopefully work:
www.designbydan.com/pt/100_0430.jpg
 

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Model Murdering
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Alternatives

Landscaping can be accomplished many ways. Hit the hobby store and get a few books. If you take anything away from all of it - there's more than one way to skin a cat! I've done most of the techniques. To further add to your confusion check out post #2311 dated 7-25-06 on the yahoo groups t-jet site. I'd try and forward it to you, but my computer skills are remedial at best! In this post are some of my secrets for an alternative method that I developed. It may not be for everybody but gooey plaster and statically charged bits of styrofaom really left me wanting something else. The most important step in all techniques is good planning, sturdy benchwork and cribbing. Thats where the work is! The rest is all window dressing, and purely a matter of personal preference. Bill
 

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Hey, looks like you have a really nice start there, good job!

FYI, someone had a tip about sprinkling actual dirt on the layout... I have to advise against that one, real dirt has lots of little metallic minerals in it and can play havoc with an electrical system. Maybe it is less so with slot cars, but with trains it can cause big problems.
 

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Model Murdering
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Yeah what Marty said! Drag a good magnet through any bulk landscaping material(man made or natural) you intend to use. You'll be surprised!
 

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....Just to make sue there wasn't any confusion,... when "Crimnick" mentioned using plaster, he most likely meant dipping paper towels in plaster and laying THOSE over top of the styrofoam. I was just wondering if the idea of 'slopping' wet plaster over top of the foam is what scared you off from this process because the plaster dipped towels are very easy to work with. ..although your end result came out alright too...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The reason I went with the painted foam is I had a nice supply of it laying around and I didnt want to waste money when I know for a fact this foam would just sit around going to waste for another 10 years. So I cleaned one more spot out of the garage and have a good result. Only problem is the foam is like fiberglass and Ive got all kinds of tiny splinters and it hurts. Yes I know, Im a big girl haha.
 

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The reason I went with the painted foam is I had a nice supply of it laying around and I didnt want to waste money when I know for a fact this foam would just sit around going to waste for another 10 years. So I cleaned one more spot out of the garage and have a good result. Only problem is the foam is like fiberglass and Ive got all kinds of tiny splinters and it hurts. Yes I know, Im a big girl haha.

Splinters from foam?????????

Not sure what you used, but I never seen foam of any kind give a splinter:confused:
 

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Only problem is the foam is like fiberglass and Ive got all kinds of tiny splinters and it hurts. Yes I know, Im a big girl haha.
That hill looks great. you should save some area of that nice blue basecoat for a small pond. Sounds like your hill is made of INSULATION.:(
hojoe
 

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Plaster Cloth...

Thanks for the help gents. Everyone seems to think the plaster idea is the way to go. Ive never touched plaster before and know nothing about it. I do have a load of 3" thick foam stuff that I could start with for the base. I appreciate all the advice, I'll keep you gents posted.
by Woodland Scenics, it's available at Hobby Lobby. It will cover all shapes and easy to use. It's usually then painted brownish to greenish and then covered with other Woodland Scenics materials of your choice. Detailing your ho layout can add a whole new hobby to your hobby. Add trains, and then you're really have'n some fun!
 

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Awww-right, Wooff!!!

Love those aerial shots. And the rounded landscape shapes in the last pic are really terrific.

What a combination of craftsmanlike realism and old-toy fun! You ought to send some photos to Model Railroader magazine and ask them if they'd like to do an article on the layout. They've gotten so very, very serious-serious in the last few years (okay, decades) that they could do with a retro-style reminder that it's all supposed to be fun.

I'm glad you mentioned the Woodland Scenics plaster cloth. Working with bowls of mixed plaster is a pain. I never want to have to dig that stuff out from under my fingernails again.

Thanks for the day-brightener. :thumbsup:

-- D
 

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Ever frost a cake?

There's several ways to skin this cat. The main method I chose I myself learned from BobZilla. Sculptamold spread over bubblewrap. Its cheap enough even fer a skinflint like me. One component of the method I added was to use synthetic pillow stuffing from a craft store to fill underneath the bubblewrap. Synthetic is important because if it happens to get wet it wont rot or get moldy like newspaper might. Hot glue holds the bubblewrap down over the stuffing (bubble side down). The Sculptamold mixes easy like tunafish (not too wet though). Painter's tape over the track as you go along. You spread it over the bubblewrap with an old spatula like frosting a cake. Careful not to go too thick... you don't need to. Pull the tape up after you spread an area. Can be smoothed with a wet sponge and when dry can be dremeled/drilled/sanded. The pics below are the best I could do for some before, during, and after shots. Also one other method I used you'll also see on my rock faced areas. You just glue chunks of Owens pink Styrofoam board together into whatever shape you want. Stack'em, hack'em, cut and sand as needed. You can paint thinned taping compound over the chunks and just let it dry (thin with water like pancake batter). I had a limited budget so using the above methods worked out for me. Not to mention I already had some left over stuff kickin around the basement from some home fix-up projects. nd











 

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Duke Dave of Sealand
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Excellent pics ND, someday I may get some work done myself..lol..


Dave

Cool outcrops btw...
 
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