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Quick & Easy Scenery for Your Railroad

QUICK & EASY SCENERY FOR YOUR RAILROAD


© 2000 H&R TRAINS INC.-Don Morris

 

 

WHAT IS SCENERY ?

SCENERY IS WHAT MAKES YOUR RAILROAD LOOK LIKE THE REAL WORLD. IT CONSISTS OF SOME SORT OF BASE MATERIAL, LIKE STYROFOAM, SCREEN WIRE OR SOME OTHER SUPPORTING STRUCTURE, HYDROCAL OR PLASTER OF PARIS. ON TOP OF THE BASE MATERIAL, THERE ARE OTHER ELEMENTS SUCH AS ROCK MOLDS, GROUND COVER, TREES AND SHRUBBERY, WATER ETC. THERE COULD ALSO BE STREETS AND SIDEWALKS, AND BUILDINGS.

 

WHY SCENERY ?

IT WILL BRING YOUR LAYOUT TO LIFE AND HELP GIVE YOUR RAILROAD THAT FINISHED LOOK. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ALMOST ENDLESS. SCENERY IS EASY AND FUN AS WELL.

 

WHEN SHOULD YOU DO YOUR SCENERY ?

SCENERY IS USUALLY STARTED AFTER ALL THE TRACK HAS BEEN LAID AND ALL THE TRAINS ARE RUNNING SMOOTHLY.

 

HOW DO YOU DO SCENERY ?

START BY DOING RESEARCH AND LOOKING AT PHOTOGRAPHS OR BY ACTUALLY GOING OUT AND LOOKING AT REAL LIFE SCENERY. KEEP NOTES ON SUCH THINGS AS SIZE, COLOR, AND LOCATION OF THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO MODEL.

 

THE NEXT STEP IS TO PLAN YOUR SCENERY SO THAT IT FITS IN WELL WITH YOUR RAILROAD AND THE THEME THAT YOUR RAILROAD IS BUILT AROUND.

THE SCENERY TECHNIQUE WE WILL USE IN THIS WORKSHOP IS THE HARD SHELL WATER SOLUBLE METHOD, USING HYDROCAL AS THE MAIN SCENERY SHELL.

BE SURE TO COVER OVER ANY TRACK OR OTHER AREAS THAT YOU NEED TO PROTECT FROM THE SCENERY CONSTRUCTION PROCESS. YOU COULD DO THIS WITH MASKING TAPE AND NEWS PAPER.

NEXT, YOU NEED TO PREPARE THE BASE THAT WILL PROVIDE THE FOUNDATION FOR THE SCENERY MATERIAL, OR HYDROCAL. THIS COULD BE DONE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS, HOWEVER THE TWO EASIEST AND QUICKEST ARE AS FOLLOWS.

THE FIRST AND EASIEST WAY IS TO WAD UP OLD NEWS PAPER AND PILE IT UP IN AREAS THAT YOU WANT HILLS OR MOUNTAINS. NEXT LAY FULL SHEETS OF NEWS PAPER OVER THE PILED UP PAPER AND SHAPE THE TERRAIN UNTIL YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH THE GENERAL CONTOUR. AFTER THE HYDROCAL HAS HARDENED, THE NEWSPAPER IS REMOVED FROM UNDER THE PLASTER SINCE IT CAN SUPPORT IT'S SELF.

THE SECOND METHOD WOULD BE TO USE SHEETS OF STYROFOAM AND GLUE LAYERS TOGETHER TO FORM THE GENERAL CONTOUR OF THE TERRAIN. YOU CAN SHAPE THE STYROFOAM WITH A SAW, FILES, AND SANDPAPER TO MORE CLOSELY REPRESENT THE FINISHED LANDSCAPE. THIS METHOD REQUIRES A MUCH THINNER LAYER OF HYDROCAL, SINCE THE STYROFOAM BECOMES A PERMANENT PART OF THE LAYOUT AND PROVIDES ADDED SUPPORT.

REGARDLESS OF WHICH METHOD YOU CHOOSE FOR THE BASE MATERIAL, THE HYDROCAL IS APPLIED IN THE SAME MANNER.

1) YOU SHOULD SPRAY THE ENTIRE AREA THAT THE HYDROCAL IS TO BE APPLIED TO WITH WET WATER TO HELP PREVENT THE UNDER LYING AREA FROM ABSORBING MOISTURE FROM THE HYDROCAL.

2) PREPARE PAPER TOWELS BY TEARING THEM INTO SMALL PIECES THAT WILL ALLOW THEM TO BE DIPPED INTO THE HYDROCAL. A HEAVY DUTY, COMMERCIAL GRADE PAPER TOWELS WILL WORK BEST.

3) MIX THE HYDROCAL. ( MIXING INSTRUCTIONS ARE INCLUDED ON A SEPARATE SHEET.)

4) DIP THE PAPER TOWELS INTO THE HYDROCAL, COVERING BOTH SIDES, AND APPLY IT OVER THE STYROFOAM OR NEWSPAPER BY OVERLAPPING EACH PIECE AS IT IS APPLIED.

5) USE YOUR HANDS TO SMOOTH AND SHAPE THE SURFACE AS YOU GO. IF YOU HAVE USED WADDED UP NEWSPAPER AS YOUR BASE, YOU WILL NEED TO ADD A SECOND LAYER OF HYDROCAL AND PAPER TOWELS IN ORDER TO ADD ADDITIONAL STRENGTH.

6) BE SURE TO KEEP THE PLASTER WET BY SPAYING IT OCCASIONALLY WITH THE WET WATER BEFORE YOU APPLY EACH LAYER.

7) THE NEXT STEP IS TO APPLY A THIN COAT OF MOLDING PLASTER OVER THE HYDROCAL. THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO ADD TEXTURE OR CARVE DETAIL INTO THE TERRAIN. ( INSTRUCTIONS FOR MIXING THE MOLDING PLASTER ARE INCLUDED ON A SEPARATE SHEET.)

8) IF YOU ARE GOING TO USE ROCK MOLDS TO ADD REALISTIC ROCK OUTCROPPINGS TO YOUR LAYOUT THIS WOULD BE DONE AT THE SAME TIME YOU ADD THE LAYER OF MOLDING PLASTER.

9) SOAK THE ROCK MOLDS IN WET WATER BEFORE YOU FILL THEM WITH MOLDING PLASTER. ALSO BE SURE TO SPRAY THE LAYOUT WITH WET WATER BEFORE YOU ADD THE ROCK CASTINGS TO IT.

10) YOU WILL KNOW WHEN THE ROCK CASTING IS READY TO APPLY TO THE LAYOUT BY SLIGHTLY BENDING IT AND LOOKING AT THE SURFACE OF THE PLASTER. WHEN THE SURFACE BEGINS TO LOOK DULL OR SHOW SIGNS OF VERY SMALL CRACKS, IT IS READY TO APPLY THE ROCK CASTING TO THE LAYOUT. HOLD THE MOLD IN PLACE ON THE LAYOUT UNTIL THE MOLD HAS SET UP. USUALLY YOU CAN TELL WHEN THE MOLD IS READY TO REMOVE BECAUSE IT WILL GET WARM FROM THE CHEMICAL REACTION OF THE PLASTER HARDENING. WHEN IT STARTS TO COOL, ITS TIME TO REMOVE THE MOLD.

11) NOW WE ARE READY TO ADD SOME COLOR AND GROUND COVER. ALL THE MATERIALS WE ARE USING ARE WATER SOLUBLE SO THERE IS NO NEED TO WAIT FOR THE PLASTER TO DRY. PAINT THE ENTIRE SURFACE WITH A COAT OF VERY CHEAP WATER BASE OR LATEX PAINT. NEXT ADD COLOR TO ANY ROCK OUTCROPPINGS, OR VERTICAL SURFACES.

12) NOW IT IS TIME TO START ADDING THE GROUND COVER. IF THE PAINT IS STILL WET YOU CAN SPRINKLE THE GROUND COVER DIRECTLY ON THE PAINT. YOU WILL NEED TO SPRAY THE GROUND COVER WITH MATTE MEDIUM AS YOU CONTINUE TO ADD LAYERS OF ADDITIONAL COLORS. START WITH THE FINEST MATERIAL AND THE LIGHTEST COLOR, AND BUILD IT UP IN LAYERS USING THE DARKEST AND COARSEST MATERIALS LAST. THE MATTE MEDIUM WILL DRY CLEAR AND WILL HOLD ALL THE GROUND COVER IN PLACE.

13) THE LAST STEP BEFORE YOU ADD BUILDINGS AND OTHER DETAIL WOULD BE TO ADD TREES AND SHRUBBERY, AND WE WILL DO THAT IN A FUTURE WORKSHOP.


MATERIALS, TOOLS AND OTHER EQUIPMENT

1) STYROFOAM OR NEWSPAPERS

2) HYDROCAL, AND MOLDING PLASTER.

3) FLEXIBLE MIXING BOWLS

4) WATER SOLUBLE PAINTS IN SEVERAL COLORS.

5) WOODLAND SCENICS SCENERY MATERIALS

6) MATTE MEDIUM SCENERY CEMENT

7) OTHER TOOLS & EQUIPMENT: SPRAY BOTTLES, LIQUID DETERGENT, ROCK MOLDS, TWEEZERS, SCISSORS, RULER, HOBBY KNIFE, DRILLS, PAINT BRUSHES, FILES, SAND PAPER, WIRE BRUSH, PUTTY KNIFE AND OTHER CARVING TOOLS, A HAIR DRYER, AND PAPER TOWELS.

 

REFERENCE MATERIALS

1) "SCENERY FOR MODEL RAILROADS "BY BILL MCCLANAHAN ( A KALAMBACH BOOK )

2) "HOW TO BUILD REALISTIC MODEL RAILROAD SCENERY"BY DAVE FRARY ( A KALAMBACH BOOK )

3) "QUICK AND EASY SCENERY" (VIDEO) H&R TRAINS INC.


 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR MIXING MOLDING PLASTER

NOTES BEFORE YOU MIX:

1) MIX ONLY SMALL AMOUNTS WHICH YOU CAN APPLY TO YOUR LAYOUT IN THREE TO FIVE MINUTES.

2) ALWAYS ADD PLASTER TO THE WATER, THIS WILL HELP TO REDUCE LUMPS IN THE PLASTER. THE EXACT AMOUNT OF WATER AND PLASTER IS NOT CRITICAL, BUT IT WILL WORK BEST IF THE CONSISTENCY IS SIMILAR TO A MAYONNAISE. AS A STARTING POINT YOU CAN TRY TWO PARTS PLASTER, TO ONE PART WATER.

3) IF YOU PLAN TO ADD COLOR TO THE PLASTER ADD IT TO THE WATER BEFORE YOU MIX IN THE PLASTER

4) IF YOU WANT TO SLOW THE HARDENING TIME OF THE PLASTER, YOU CAN ADD A TABLESPOON OF VINEGAR TO THE WATER BEFORE MIXING IN THE PLASTER.

5) IT WOULD BE BEST TO USE A FLEXIBLE PLASTIC BOWL TO MIX THE PLASTER IN.

6) BE SURE TO DAMPEN THE AREA WHERE THE PLASTER IS TO BE APPLIED.

 

NOW YOU ARE READY TO MIX:

1) POUR A CUP OF COLD WATER IN YOUR MIXING BOWL.

2) SPRINKLE THE TWO CUPS OF PLASTER INTO THE WATER.

3) ALLOW THE WATER TO BE ABSORBED INTO THE PLASTER BEFORE YOU START TO STIR.

4) STIR THE PLASTER INTO THE WATER UNTIL YOU HAVE A SMOOTH MIXTURE THE CONSISTENCY OF MAYONNAISE. YOU CAN ADD MORE PLASTER IF THE MIXTURE IS TOO THIN, AND YOU CAN ADD MORE WATER IF THE MIXTURE IS TOO THICK.

5) WORKING QUICKLY APPLY THE PLASTER TO THE LAYOUT, OR THE MOLD AS APPROPRIATE.

6) IF YOU ARE USING A MOLD, IT IS READY TO APPLY TO THE LAYOUT WHEN THE SURFACE OF THE PLASTER SHOWS SIGNS OF SMALL CRACKS IF YOU TRY TO BEND IT IN THE MIDDLE.

7) AS SOON AS THE PLASTER STARTS TO HARDEN, YOU NEED TO WORK QUICKLY TO CLEAN YOUR BOWL AND MIXING UTENSIL.NOTE: AS THE PLASTER CURES IT WILL BECOME WARM, THIS IS NORMAL.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR MIXING HYDROCAL

NOTES BEFORE YOU MIX:

1) MIX ONLY SMALL AMOUNTS WHICH YOU CAN APPLY TO YOUR LAYOUT IN THREE TO FIVE MINUTES.

2) ALWAYS ADD HYDROCAL TO THE WATER, THIS WILL HELP TO REDUCE LUMPS IN THE HYDROCAL. THE EXACT AMOUNT OF WATER AND PLASTER IS NOT CRITICAL, BUT IT WILL WORK BEST IF THE CONSISTENCY IS SIMILAR TO A MILKSHAKE. AS A STARTING POINT YOU CAN TRY TWO PARTS HYDROCAL, TO ONE PART WATER.

3) IF YOU PLAN TO ADD COLOR TO THE HYDROCAL ADD IT TO THE WATER BEFORE YOU MIX IN THE HYDROCAL.

4) IF YOU WANT TO SLOW THE HARDENING TIME OF THE HYDROCAL, YOU CAN ADD A TABLESPOON OF VINEGAR TO THE WATER BEFORE MIXING IN THE HYDROCAL.

5) IT WOULD BE BEST TO USE A FLEXIBLE PLASTIC BOWL TO MIX THE HYDROCAL IN

6) YOU CAN USE PAPER TOWELS AS A FOUNDATION TO STRENGTHEN THE HYDROCAL. TEAR THEM IN SMALL PIECES TO MAKE THEM CONVENIENT TO DIP IN THE HYDROCAL AFTER IT IS MIXED.

7) BE SURE AND DAMPEN THE AREA WHERE THE HYDROCAL IS TO BE APPLIED.

 

NOW YOU ARE READY TO MIX:

1) POUR A CUP OF COLD WATER IN YOUR MIXING BOWL.

2) SPRINKLE THE TWO CUPS OF HYDROCAL INTO THE WATER.

3) ALLOW THE WATER TO BE ABSORBED INTO THE PLASTER BEFORE YOU START TO STIR.

4) STIR THE HYDROCAL INTO THE WATER UNTIL YOU HAVE A SMOOTH MIXTURE THE CONSISTENCY OF A MILKSHAKE. YOU CAN ADD MORE HYDROCAL IF THE MIXTURE IS TOO THIN, AND YOU CAN ADD MORE WATER IF THE MIXTURE IS TOO THICK.

5) WORKING QUICKLY DIP THE PAPER TOWELS IN THE HYDROCAL COVERING BOTH SIDES.

6) PLACE THE PLASTER COVERED TOWELS ON YOUR LAYOUT, OVERLAPPING EACH PIECE ABOUT HALF WAY.7) AS SOON AS THE HYDROCAL STARTS TO HARDEN, YOU NEED TO WORK QUICKLY TO CLEAN YOUR BOWL AND MIXING UTENSIL.

NOTE: AS THE HYDROCAL CURES IT WILL BECOME WARM, THIS IS NORMAL.

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