Modular landscape, tunnels removable tops for track servicing

NScaleKen Oct 7, 2018

  1. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    So this is the 1st section of a modular Cuesta Grade section of my layout. The entire layout is just a dream still, 4 levels of shelves with Port of Long Beach terminal Island on the bottom, 2 shelves of industries and stations along the way to San Luis Obispo, then Cuesta grade and San Ardo Oilfield on the top shelf. A fairly large chunk of the UP Coastal Subdivision and the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, a nice little local line along that section.

    To have that I need to go narrow and long with a lot of helix sections, and have a large amount of track both hidden and inaccessible from the back, so basically most of the landscape needs to be liftable to rerail trains etc.

    This is my approach on my first section, a frame of foam core and blue foam, covered in wire mesh then in plaster cloth, and eventually will be surfaced with plaster and molding compound to blend the junctions, smooth the dirt hillsides, etc.

    The second section I might go a little more with blue foam in slabs and less foam core framing, not totally sure, trying to preserve that blue foam till I really need it for something that requires a lot of negative feature creation like a stream bed or cliff face.


    Both hillside sections are removable/liftable to service the track or trains.

    comments and suggestions appreciated.

    edit: the tunnel and hill section are in this video at 1:58 or there abouts, its the last tunnel before the big cut and turn north out of the box canyon the pass is in. Watch the whole clip though and give it a thumbs up, the train vids dont get enough love compared to cats etc
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  2. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    With a few thin layers of plaster, some sculptamold, the seam will hopefully be hidden by the scrub brush and grass on the hillside. I will apply those to both sides with a glue barrier just at ground level. It should blend the different landscape section tunnel covers. Fingers crossed.

     
  3. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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  4. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    I've heard a lot of good about sculptamold, but I find it fairly expensive. How much coverage can you get with a typical 5 lbs package?
     
  5. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    I have a 4lbs package, it seems to go a long way I have used very little, about 1/10th of whats in the bag, on a few different landscape areas on this and a dinosaur fossil diorama. Some test forms as well. I dont use it to build up anything, only for surface to about 5mm-10mm depth in places, foam and wire mesh are what I get the basic form from. I use cheap foam core in 1/4 and 1/2 inch to make layer for things like the 3d printed scale fossil display (T Rex complete skeleton standing), I use it for framing for wire for layout and blue foam for sculpted areas. I am planning on using the sculptamold for edges of features and to build up specific areas like creek banks and small edges and rises like that. Working on this today will post pics of some rock and hillside small water erosion features I plan to do in sculptamold.
     
  6. Mike C

    Mike C TrainBoard Member

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    I use it and mix it 50/50 with vermiculite . Also add some white glue and some paint to tint it a tan color . 2 bags of sculptamold and 1 bag of vermiculite covered a 40" x 96" layout for me . Probably 30 bucks worth of materials with the paint.......Mike
     
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  7. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    That's what I want to use the stuff for, a final layer on top of a main structure of blue foam. I'll buy a bag of it and try it out.

    I'll also be following this thread if yours, I have several areas on my layout that I want to be removable, and I like what I'm seeing here.
     
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  8. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    Did not get to the water erosion features today. Coupler issues had me sidetracked. Did get some framing done on the new module and have some images of that simple process.

    Next section of the top profile going on

    Using scraps saves a lot of virgins, err, virgin materials!

    Checking fit before glueing the sections to the frame

    Checking the look compared to the rough topo plan sketch, looks OK so check that off the list

    Also a YouTube layout update was posted the other day, featuring a bit of N scale Athearn tank train railfanning.
     
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  9. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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  10. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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  11. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Looks like the YouTube video is throwing a 500...but they are having an international outage
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
  12. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    Yeah the whole world just freaked out over a sudden lack of visual distractions! It's back up, armageddon has been averted.
     
  13. JoeTodd

    JoeTodd TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you for the view of the layout. Is that your airbrush booth in the layout?? That is so cool. Jt
     
  14. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    Thanks Joe :) No that is an old Ikea cabinet that was used for small tool and electronics parts storage for hobbies, still has the skill saw, files, soldering iron and other stuff stored below the layout. I'm using the upper area as foundation for layout and train car storage. I would not want to over spray that close to the layout. My airbrush station is directly behind where I am standing to film, very close. I do want a section of layout over the airbrush station, but that is way down the road after this section is mounted higher up the wall and the layout on this wall is 3 sections high up to about 7' off the floor, then I can think about extending it around over the closet door and hallway door to the opposing wall.

    The layout does pass through my computer workstation area. the yard end and a helix are behind the desk space to my right when I am working at my PC. The main line and the helix entrance line are right next to my monitor, they curve past it. will post pics over the weekend.
     
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  15. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    Favorite section so far, the erosion features carved into the sculptamold when it was about half dry came out nicely I think.

    This are needs work but is coming along. it is my first rodeo and I was thrown quite a few times by ground textures and static grass application.

    Overview of the 2 modules getting closer to a 'done for now' state.

    Yes that is the world's most 'wonky' static grass applicator. it works, but it will be improved. also, after one attempt I seem to suck at applying static grass lol. Practice is/was needed. I need to flock some scrap material and learn. the ion gen is heavy enough I am debating its going in the handle of the unit, or keeping it all on a remote pack and the screen/grass holder and the terrain probe separate on a long set of wires (how I have it set up now).
     
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  16. eposte12

    eposte12 New Member

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    nice work/do you still want ac been trying to reach you
     
  17. eposte12

    eposte12 New Member

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    also what grass system are you using? i was thinking about getting one
     
  18. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    in the image its woodland scenics harvest gold, using that as a base and layering WWS embankment kit browns, patches of the greens sparingly. but right now it's just the harvest gold which does OK california hillsides base, too short the way I am applying it now a lot lays down. I haven't learned the techniques yet. distance matters for the static field effect and I need to go slower as well. I have got enough upright it looks ok, but its not as thick as it needs to be.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  19. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Looking good so far, I found a source for sculptamold here in Canada at a good price so will definitely try it out.

    I have an ion generator I bought from Poland (well, from amazon.ca, but the seller shipped from Poland) - looks a lot like yours! I haven't assembled it yet however. I'm not able to fit the generator into a typical pipe like I see in typical DIY static grass gen, but I found it fits great in a Kraft's 500g peanut butter jar.

    Also, mine came with an instruction booklet for making the static grass. Apparently voltage matters. The one I have is rated up to 16v, with a general note that it works best from 12 to 16v.
     
  20. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    thanks for the tip Stephane, voltage does seem to matter. I am using a 12v 2000mah wall adaptor now and its functioning much better, the distance the static field extends and covers is much greater than with a battery. Mine is only good to 12.7v or so according to the instructions, to bad since i have a few RC 14v high capacity lipo battery packs I wish I could use with it. My unit does not fit in a handle size tube as well, and it's heavy enough I dont want to have to hold it and shake it while doing the grass, so I am keeping mine as remote unit. the nice part about that is I can make different dispensers and attach the alligator clip to the mesh, nice for areas that are hard to get the right coverage and require a tiny applicator. A small measuring spoon with the alligator clip attached and a non conductive bit of blue foam to hold it, to get in a very hard to reach spot, anything is possible with a unit that has alligator clips on wires not a dedicated container attached.

    Sculptamold takes a long time to dry compared to plaster, which I find a good thing. Much more working time. The erosion features I did after a full 8 hours of drying when it was still damp and workable, a point I like to work it as it is sculptable but it will break off sections and create natural looking ragged 'dirty' edges and have some grain to the revealed surface. when fresh its sculptable but everything will be smooth and have a wet mud look, separating bits look like pulling apart wet clay, so waiting to work it till its more dry has advantages in surface texture available from the process.
     

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