Saturday, June 1, 2013


Those of you who have been reading from the very first post on this blog may remember that one of the issues with my childhood model railway was that it was completely flat. The track was attached to a 6 foot by 4 foot piece of chipboard that lived behind my wardrobe. This meant that I couldn't have any scenery or buildings permanently affixed to the layout. Of course the real landscape is anything but flat, and so I was determined that my new layout, even though it is small, would have a gradient of some form and a rolling landscape of some description.

The track gradient was easily achieved using the 4% risers from Woodland Sceneics, which I blogged about a few posts back, and now those are in place I can start to add the landscape around the track. This is still most definitely a work in progress, but I thought I'd show the small corner of the layout that I've started to landscape as it shows the different construction materials/methods I'm using.

Essentially I'm going for the age old approach of plaster bandage (the stuff that they used to set broken arms with) laid over damp crumpled up newspaper; this is how the hillside on the right was formed. I'm supplementing this with polystyrene and cardboard formers to to help guide the plaster. So for example, I've built up the road way from pieces of polystyrene cut to size which will then have plaster cloth laid over it to form a hard shell. To add some extra interest I've also been casting light weight rock outcrops that I'll embed into the plaster (you can see a small piece to the left of the tunnel). These are again made using products from Woodland Scenics. Because my layout is quite small (it's just 74cm by 54cm), I've found that a lot of the Woodland Scenics Learning Kits come with enough materials to cover the entire layout. As they come with smaller bottles of paint etc. they are a economical way of making the landscape. So far I've picked up both the rock faces and the landscaping kit which together should give me almost everything I need apart from trees. Once the plaster cloth is all in place, I'll then cover everything in a thin layer of polyfilla to give a smoother surface and to fill in the holes in the plaster cloth.

Of course making the landscape in this way is a messy business so progress will be slower than it has been, as I have to wait for a fine day where I can move the layout outside -- making up plaster cloth and polyfilla in my study doesn't seem like a particularly wise idea!


  1. Good to see the progress. Have you thought of using aggregate for cliffs?

    1. Sorry Mark I meant little bits of stone.

    2. the problem with using little bits of stone, is that they look like little bits of stone, rather than cliffs. Apparently there has been a rash of Welsh slate quarry layouts, that have tried to model the quarry using pieces of Welsh slate and they look horrible. Plus real rocks can be quite heavy and I'd prefer to keep the weight down where possible. I might use some for small gravel for boulders at the bottom of the cliffs though, depending on how they look.

    3. Okay, question answered and solved.