Scenery (At last)

At this stage in the proceedings, you must have had some thoughts about what kind of scenery you would like on your layout. You also need a mental picture of the finished scenery to be able to make and finish it, this to my way of thinking is most important. To make a start, the edge of the baseboards will need some profile boards. (Can be made from hardboard or plywood if you  wish)  Cut the shapes desired for your contours and glue and screw these to the main board. See fig 2. Once all the boards have been cut to shape, you will have a better idea as to how to finish those mountains you have dreamt about.

Fig 2

Profile Boards


There are  numerous  ways of making formers to make your mountains, from elaborate wood carvings of the desired mountains to rolled up newspaper. Also expanded polystyrene can be used, these can be bought in 1/2" 1" or 2" thick which come in  8' X 4' sheets. They also come in various colours, white, pink, or blue. Also various textures of each. You could also use 1/2" insulation board (Sound board) broken up and placed one on top of the other to create a small hillside. My way of making hillsides and mountains are described below.

This first part of making scenery, covers just the rolling hills type. For the majestic mountains, the use of some formers and (under-coat-plaster) to finish the job will be required. Okay, lets make a start on the rolling hills.
Photo's 1-2 & 3 show the start using just a plywood base. I first of all screwed up some newspaper and stapled it to the plywood, winding masking tape around it to keep it in place.. This was followed by plaster-impregnated gauze bandage, which we call in the UK (Modrock)

Photograph 4 shows what is needed to use for ground cover. In my case I use: - mostly Woodland Scenics.
1 - Dark & Mid green "Foliage" 2 - Fine Burnt grass 3 - Green turf (Light and dark) 
From the bottom of my garden I use Dead leaves all ground up in the blender, (Waiting until the leaves are bone dry first. (I don't use water)
Also from the garden, natural soil. Dried then sieved to get the fine soil needed for the layout.


In some cases I mix up some of the grasses together i.e. Dark/Mid/Light grass and also add some ground up leaves so I can sprinkle it all on together. In this case I have not done that, to show my ground cover stage by stage.

This photograph shows the baseboard has now been painted an earth colour, I use a colour called 
"PEBBLE MOSAIC" bought at a colour mixing system of "DULUX"

This one shows my whitewood glue, along with the poly-fiber also used for ground cover.

Also I very often use horsehair bought from an upholstery dept.

Okay, lets make a start: -
The baseboard has now got a coat of whitewood glue (Mixed 50/50) with water.

Now that the whole area has been soaked in white glue, I sprinkle on some burnt grass first, just to give it a covering.

The next stage is to add some "Poly-fiber" and/or "Horsehair" (This is your choice) the Horsehair is very cheap to buy.

When I have placed it where I want it, I again soak it in whitewood glue, and leave it to dry.

When this has dried (Overnight) I again apply whitewood glue to the top and add some blends of grass to it.

Whilst this is still wet, I now add some dead leaves and press the lot down with my hands. (Messy bit)

Now it's starting to look like a reasonable facsimile of real ground cover. Now the fun can begin. 

I have used for making trees a product called "Ming Fern" and usually I buy it in a dried form, however, on occasions I have bought it as a living plant and let it dry itself. I have found that when it dries out, it turns a yellowish/brown colour and the leaves (If you can call them that) look like pine needles and fall off in abundance. I tend to use the pine needles as an effect for real pine needles sprinkled around the ground cover.

Utilizing some dried-up Ming fern and dead leaves together, I sprinkle it on. (Anywhere) 

Add a few small tree stumps, and the job is finished.

And here it is with the Pine needles.

Making Rockwork using Plaster (Under-coat-plaster)

Now is the time to make your mountains, I use various methods for making formers from plywood cut to the shape I desire to a simple grid made out of cut pieces of cardstock. Lets use the card method.

The plaster I use is NOT - repeat - NOT --"Plaster of Paris" -- I use for my rockwork a product called (In the UK) "Blue Hawk" Undercoat Plaster. This plaster takes on average overnight to dry out hard. When it's fully dried, it can, if needed, be drilled to accept trees. This product is mixed with water with nothing apart from a colour pigment added to it. I very often add an earth colour to the plaster when adding the water, this alleviates the need to paint it afterwards. I have done this with this project. The colour I use is called "PEBBLE MOSAIC" bought at a colour mixing system of "DULUX"

As I needed some sort of small mountain to demonstrate making rocks, I used an old tried and tested method of making mountains using interlaced card. The first photograph shows this card cut up into strips.

The only tools needed for this kind of operation are a couple of staple guns and brown parcel tape and masking tape

I just bent the card to make some sort of former

With the interlaced card complete, I used brown parcel tape to cover it.

The next stage was to mix up some plaster and spread it all over.

This to me is the fun part, carving the desired effect onto the wet plaster with a small knife.

Here's the finished carving, also the track in place ready to be ballasted.

The next stage for me is to dry brush white (Household emulsion) across the plaster side to side only. This 

The colours I use next are Burnt Sienna -Raw Sienna - Yellow Ochre and Burnt Umber. Some of these colours are in fact mixed together to create a slight difference. 

When I feel happy with the look of it all, I again dry-brush with the white over it once more side to side. With all the rockwork now painted, it is left to dry overnight.

Now it's time to add some greenery to it, and also ballast the 

Now that it's all dried out, a photo shoot can take place.