MODELING: Layout and Other Modelers


The above lead picture is the work of Lee Turner.  He is a very talented modeler as you can plainly see in this photo.   This photo ought to get Warner Clark and Tony Koester’s hearts beating a little faster.  The NKP Berkshires were one the most beautiful locos built during the age of steam.


Well, it was a nice surprise to see this picture of Robert Leners build on a Lionel Type-21 tank car.  I enjoy seeing a modeler trying his hand at my blog project.


Robert is also following my reefer build but is using it to do a Cudahy meat reefer.  The car has a nine inch channel as an end sill.  It is very close to the design to some of the Swift cars.  I will keep you posted with each of the builds.


Now that my knee has healed, I am back working on my layout.   The last couple days has been filled with pink foam chips covering the floor.  I have been applying Corning extruded styrene foam to form a scenery foundation.   This is my first shot at build scenery.  My last attempt was using a technique called “hard shell” using paper towels and hydrocal.   Foam is really much nicer than plaster and paper towels.   I have been using a tube adhesive made by Loctite for bonding foam.  I did some rough sanding using a coarse metal paper and rasps.  The dust is statically charged and will stick to your clothes.  I was looking like a pink snowman when I finished up the work.  A small vacuum made quick work of my flocking.


The foam is cut with box cutter with a sharp blade.  I am using one inch thick material which was available at Home Depot.  The white cardstock is intended roadway that will be added once the basic ground covering is done.


I am using Celluclay for ground covering.  It is very clean to work with and cleans up quickly.  It is slow to dry so there is plenty of time to work contours.  Celluclay is Paper Mache so it is readily available from craft stores.  This is a base surface to which I plan to add a flat latex paint and talc or dirt sifted on while still wet.

cover v3

I am following the basic techniques described in Gordon Gravett’s book on Modelling Grassland and Landscape Detailing.   This is the third in a series of books  and raises the bar on scenery building.   I would like to thank Trevor Marshall for mentioning this book on his Port Rowan blog.

mud v3

4 thoughts on “MODELING: Layout and Other Modelers

  1. Hi Gene,
    I was encouraged to also try the Celluclay technique by several modelers that I know. They also suggested mixing some vermiculite and flat latex paint into the basic mix which I did. Mixing was done by hand, sort of squeezing the stuff together like mixing dough. It mixed well and handled well, but I am having a lot of trouble with considerable shrink back. It pulled away from inserted rocks and developed large cracks that are unsightly and need to be patched. I like the texture but the shrinkage factor is driving me to reconsider going back to Structolite that I never had a problem with. So keep your eye on things for at least a couple of weeks.

  2. Gene,

    A surform, both the large and smaller hand size, can be used to shape foam. Sometimes resulting in less dust than the use of sand paper may produce. In any case the use of a mask is wise precaution. I’ve also used paper towels white glued to the foam as a base for scenery to follow. I brush white glue on the foam followed by paper towels in alternating layers with white glue. It is a controllable method with less mess than conventional plaster.

    Lee Gustafson

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