A Bunch of Questions

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airport1246

Station Agent
Okay, so I'm ready to begin turning a sheet of pink foam into a city. I have a slew of questions, so feel free to just quote, and reply, if it's easier.

1. I'm modeling downtown chicago, so won't have much grass. What do I do to fill in the areas that won't have roads? (IE: concrete)

2. What do I use for realistic roads? They have to be cheap, because I have a LOT of roads.

3. How about retaining walls for my yard? Is there any alternative to the Woodland Scenics ones that are cheaper? (IE: Homeade)

4. Last one. I know I've posted about this before, but I will have a highway, so what do I use for that? Again, cheap is best.

Thanks
 

RW&C

N Scale with Stone Tools
1. Like, vacant lots? Maybe check out grass mats. Scenic Express makes irregular mats that look more like dry dirt with weeds (rather than the usual green carpet stuff). Add a few broken beer bottles (bits of Christmas lights, maybe?) and some other garbage, and you've got a vacant lot. A little unscented kitty litter (or proper ballast rock) could stand in for rubble.

2. You can pour roads from plaster. Woodland Scenics makes a whole system for it, but being WS, it's pricey. A box of hardware store plaster and a roll of thick foam tape (to make the edges) should do you fine.

3. You can carve your own (sounds like a lot of work). I've seen guys make great retaining walls from dowels (cribbing). You could also use strip wood like railroad ties. If you're going for the cast cement wall look, just pour some plaster (or cut some styrene and paint it). Also you can probably find a rubber mold, which allows you to cast as many pieces as you need.

4. Again, you can pour, or you can use styrene (just cut to the right width and score for expansion joints/cracks/etc). A few guys on here have done outstanding roads, but I don't remember exactly how.

Before doing it on the layout... try it on scrap. Best to make your mistakes on an experimental bit that can be easily pushed under the rug. Scrap foam, cardboard, whatever's handy.

Also keep in mind that I've never gotten as far as you have. :D
 

Rotorranch

MRR Refugee
Maybe roofing felt for cheap roads? It's easy to cut to shape. You can paint lines with a pin stripe roller. Plaster also works, as mentioned above, and can be tinted with latex paint to the color(s) you prefer.

Rotor
 

jdetray

Well-Known Member
For REALLY cheap retaining walls, you could try something like this.



This is a piece of 0.25-inch blue foam. I created the pattern of "blocks" by pressing on the foam with a metal straightedge and a flat blade screwdriver. Then I applied gray acrylic paint, then a few washes of thinned black acrylic to emphasize the texture.

With additional weathering, I think this technique will be good enough for my layout. As a bonus, it is extremely simple to do.

- Jeff
 

Rotorranch

MRR Refugee
For REALLY cheap retaining walls, you could try something like this.



This is a piece of 0.25-inch blue foam. I created the pattern of "blocks" by pressing on the foam with a metal straightedge and a flat blade screwdriver. Then I applied gray acrylic paint, then a few washes of thinned black acrylic to emphasize the texture.

With additional weathering, I think this technique will be good enough for my layout. As a bonus, it is extremely simple to do.

- Jeff
Now that's way cool!

Rotor
 

airport1246

Station Agent
Thanks for all the help. I would have never guessed that that retaining wall was foam! Definitely going to try that.

Thanks
 

jdetray

Well-Known Member
Thanks, guys. What I like best about the foam retaining wall is that you can cut them to the exact size and shape you need. You can even make them curved.

- Jeff

 




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