Tuesday, September 27, 2011

6/17/09 Started Building the Roads and the Terrain

I had some plaster cloth left over from covering up the risers so I figured there was no time like the present to get to work on the hills and terrain. First thing I did was take a left over piece of riser and ran it from the town to the edge of the layout (where the road can be seen in the photo). This provides a level surface for the road. Next I began wading up newspaper and filling in the gaps between the risers, following the plan drawn on the base of the layout. With the newpaper in place, I began covering it with plaster cloth. I had just enough plaster cloth to do the hills near the town, the lake bed and flanking the lower loop. 

As for the mountain, I stated by taking a single sheet of foam board and cutting it at a 45-degree angle, giving me two triangles. I the fastened these to the edge of the layout and glued a cardboard shelf to them to provide a roof to the tunnel. Next thing I did was cut an access panel into each triangle to facilitate retrieving stalled or derailed trains. At this point I ran out of both plaster and newspaper so on to the roads!

On the PR&Y I tried making roads out of pre-mixed patching plaster and the result was God awful to say the least. For this layout I was looking for an inexpensive, easy yet not sucking way of making roads. One option was to just paint them on with black poster paint but I never thought that looked any good. Another choice was to cut them out of black poster board but that made curves very difficult. This time I decided that I go with plaster again. However I would use Woodland Scenics Road System. The Road system consists of foam tape about 1/16 of an inch thick used to make a form from your road and a plaster product called “Smooth It,” which is basically plaster of Paris. What I did was pour one big slab for the town to sit on. I’ll paint it different colors for roads and sidewalks. And then I did the road leading out of the town. This system was quite easy to use and produced great results.

Now the road leading out of town needed to cross the lower line on a bridge of some kind. On the PR&Y I built my own and it was butt ugly. This time around I built a Rix “50 Foot Modern Highway Overpass kit.” At $10 this kit was a little spendy considering what you actually get but once I got it assembled and painted It looked awesome. I painted it Testors “Flat light aircraft gray” and then brushed on a coat of weather wash (a few drops of India Ink added to a bottle of rubbing alcohol) and finally a shot of Dullcote. The road then crosses the two upper lines at grade.

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