MODELING: Layout Work

Well, it has been a while since the last report on my layout build.  My recent work is on south wall area.  It involves adding a fascia, rework the backdrop, and add ground cover.

The first area to report on is the fascia.   I used tempered hardboard help in place with screws with built-in washer.  The surface was finished with shellac.  I got the idea from Tony Thompson’s blog on Modeling the SP.   He used the hardboard for his layout fascia.   I did some contouring on the top edge follow the flow of the scenery.

layout facia

The yellow tape was applied to protect the upper portion from overshoots on subsequent scenery.  The fascia was a convenient place to hang the heat pump controller.

layout backdrop

My next focus was to redo the clouds on the backdrop.  The “sponge” clouds that I created didn’t appeal to me.  I made them worse by trying to soften them with a rag.   This time I resorted to my airbrush using a #5 tip ( big) and Tamiya white paint with a touch of gray.  The off-white adds depth to the clouds.

layout paint

I started to add the ground cover to the layout.   I used a brown (nutmeg) latex paint as the initial bonding agent for the ground cover. I borrowed this idea from Tony Thompson’s blog as well. If want to create the look of dirt, why not use dirt.  I used dirt I collected off the former Southern Pacific Placerville branch.  The dirt was sifted to a fine consistency.  I used a small sieve to sprinkle the dirt over the paint.  I had some coarse material that I dropped into the paint before sifting on the fine.  Vacuum up the loose material once the paint has set.

layout paint dirt

layout dirt

The picture above shows the dirt installed over the base.   The roadway was made from Bristol Board that was coated with shellac before bonding to the layout.  I will be adding color and texture to the road surface using techniques outline in  Gordon Gravett’s  Modelling Grasslands and Landscape Detailing – Volume III.   I first provided information on the book in a June, 2014 posting.  It is a super how-to book by a master.  The road surface with be painted with a gloss enamel paint and dusted with talc and Chinchilla Dust (?).  I actually found that at Amazon.   More on this technique later.

cover v3

The dirt will get a blanket of electrostatic grass shortly along with bushlayout rail alignmentes and a tree or two.  Before I do that I want to finish the back of the layout where a feed mill will be installed.   Once I am happy with that, I will plant the foreground.

I one last topic is a solution to a problem related to laying track on a curve.  I have been trying to site the rail around a 60″ radius with any kinks.   Since the track is near the back and 60″ off the floor made to hard to “site” the curve.   The thought of using my cell phone came to
mind.   It turned out to be a real help as opposed to working off a elevated platform and bending over.

Happy Trails,



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