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New Member
I figured out where to start again after all these years. I picked up a simple plan I sketched some years ago. It is a lazy little branch line of some as-yet unnamed prototype. It tunnels through a mountain here, bridges a river or two there, has a small town, one small (but lively) industry and a junction where the branch meets the main.

The 3D model in the picture displays the first module of many I will construct. I chose to start with this one because it has a little of everything. If I get bored or frustrated with one subject I can just do something else for a while.

The image is fairly plain. It doesn't show trees, people, cars, undulating terrain, track or anything like that, but the measurements are accurate to within a millimeter (except for the buildings, which will have to be bashed somewhat to fit).

Comment are appreciated. :)



New Member
No planning software. I drew and rendered it using Rhinoceros 3D. I find it easier since I can draw in 1:1 scale (in this case, 1:1 means the actual layout as it will be built, not a scale drawing of it) and let the computer do all the math. Rhino isn't for everyone, it's professional-grade software for small projects. Me, I'm no professional, I just have too many interests to be investing in new design software packages every other week. So I spent the big bucks (very big) on Rhino and now I can do anything.

Once I finish climbing the near-vertical learning curve, that is.

Meanwhile, back in the roundhouse...

This module is currently in the material gathering stage. I have the wood, blue foam, glue (for both foam & wood) and the necessary tools.

Just pondering some of the "new-to-me" products out there for the rest. I remember using Woodland Scenics foam roadbed years ago and liked it quite a bit. It wasn't much use on tight turns, but there are no tight turns on this layout so I might use it again. Besides, cutting roadbed with scissors just feels more civilized.

Plaster impregnated gauze is definitely a go. I've used this stuff for dozens of projects, even broken bones. Heh. Clean, neat and easy to place accurately. Lightweight too, an important concern for a portable layout.

Water is still up in the air. Might try that sponge technique I read in MR. It had nice wave action and no chemicals to worry about. Just putty, water and a sponge.

Speaking of terrain, I suppose I'll go with what's available. I live in the high semi-arid desert region between the Rockies and the coastal mountains of British Columbia. If I stick with this I'll have a lot of natural (read: free) materials to work with.

Of course, sticking to this region means redesigning that town. Brick buildings and sidewalks are rare in small towns around here.

Oh well, sounds like I still have some thinking to do. I do my best thinking while working with Rhino (something about the brain being numb?). Maybe design a spaceship or something.



Grand Trunk of Maine
Do you remember what issue had the water and sponge technique? I'm returning to modeling after 25 years, so I'm playing some catchup <grin>.

Good Luck with the plan, I'd love to hear about how the building is going and any new tricks that you discover.


New Member
I don't know which issue it appeared in. I found the article in one of Kalmbach's books on scenery. Wait a sec, I'll go find it...

OK, the book is "Scenery Tips & Techniques". The article is by Jim Kelly. The technique involves the use of joint compound (the 'mud' that drywallers use). Jim explains his preference for it due to the ability to use a wet sponge to smooth it, even after it has dried, no messy sanding!. He likes it for realistic roads as well ( I'm going to try that too).

I hope my sparse info helps you find the article. If not, just buy a bucket of 'mud' and try it out. Supposedly the stuff is reasonably priced.


P.S.: The water technique is really simple, BTW. Use the wet sponge to make the surface perfectly smooth and level. Before it has a chance to harden (no rush), just dab the surface repeatedly with the sponge (different sponges produce different 'scale size' waves). Allow to dry and paint using your fave technique. That's it. Cheap, quick and easy.
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