Experimenting in scenery modelling

The following is a post that I had mostly done in August, but never got around to posting for some reason. So here is is now!

As a warm up to making some larger scale train layouts, I thought I would try my hand at some very small test scenery. first step, “laying out” deciding how it will lay. Wasn’t too hard, and wasn’t too creative. I found a length of track that was exactly the length of the scrap plywood square i was going to use. SCORE

the raw design. nothing spectacular, some plywood and a perfect length of track

step 2, laying down the grass. It was pretty straight forward, cover the plywood with white glue wherever I wanted grass to stick, then cover in the grass material.

Ground cover applied. It looks pretty good actually. I was expecting something crap to happen the first time

Step 3, Laying the track. Much like laying the grass. cover where you want to stick the track in white glue, and press on the track. I’m not sure if this is how others attach track in full layouts, but it will work for this one I think.

the track in position

After the track is glued down, I clamped it down so the track is firmly on the baseboard. I guess this isn’t really possible on a large scale layout, but it worked for this mini layout. On a larger layout I guess I’d try to find heavy objects like books etc… to put on top.

Holding the track in place while it drys. Overkill? maybe. I don’t think i’ll be able to get these clamps on many areas on a proper layout

Then we have step 4, the ballast. I’m using some balast I bought at the model railway expo I went to over the weekend. The idea was simple, put the gravel on the layout where I wanted it, and cover the gravel with a watered down white glue mix. It worked, but I ended up with what I think is way too much glue on the track. You see, water surface tension meant the glue would sit on top of the ballast a bit, before it would soak in. That sucked, as it made it really hard to keep the glue where I wanted it. I ended up with glue up the inside of the track, and a little on top of the track too. Painful. I think I’ve heard of people watering down the whiteglue with methylated spirits instead of water. I guess that would make it dry quicker, and maybe reduce the surface tension issue. I might try that on another test layout.

Gluing the ballast down. Lots of glue!

After that point, i’m afraid my documentation jumps a little bit. With the glue dry, I drilled a hole into the board, and added a tree of my own construction. I made the tree from twisted copper wire, covered in a layer of solder to hold it all together, then painted brown. The foliage is made from purpose brought model greenery, kinda like green cotton wool (except synthetic). The tips of the tree got spots of white glue, and then the foliage placed into position. And then, once everything has dried, you have this:

I think it turned out rather well, and has given me some confidence that so will my future efforts

It looks nice. Maybe a little trim, or paint around the edge, and I’ve got a nice little display piece for my train.

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One thought on “Experimenting in scenery modelling

  1. Nice start to a large scale EMPIRE, Matt. You might have better luck with the ballast glue if you put a little detergent into the water/glue mix. Detergent breaks the water tension. Most of us use screws to hold the track down on a big layout, and usually something like “liquid nails” to hold it down.

    Nice job!

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