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Level baseboard but undulating trackside banks - Grass & Ground Cover - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Tue Sep 3rd, 2019 10:55 am
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Passed Driver
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Hi All.  Of course model Railway baseboards have to be level, for the track  and the trains to run, but in real life, the surrounding land can be far from level. I have had a long time playing trains, Shunting up and down, not getting any work done on the scenery, now it is time to roll up my sleeves and get dirty. There is my scenic break, rising. “Sheer”  from the equally flat baseboard ,  built like a brick wall, with a plumb bob . I need to knock off the corners and put bumps in the ground, before I can lay the grass etc. I have had plenty of advice, even reading how to break up ceiling tiles and glue the strips onto my plywood scenic break, but, which adhesive should I use??? Would the same ceiling tiles work for the bumpy ground too? Please advise. Best wishes Kevin 



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 Posted: Tue Sep 3rd, 2019 01:39 pm
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Hi Kevin,

The type of adhesive depends on what you want to glue down, and the surface you are gluing to.

General purpose adhesive should be fine. Styrene foams need special adhesives.

Cuttings usually alternate between embankments.

Nigel



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 Posted: Tue Sep 3rd, 2019 03:36 pm
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Hi Nigel.   Thank you for your reply . My very upright scenic break is made of plywood, and to give it a cliff/ rock face appearance I have read about  ceiling tiles, broken down into strips with the rough side facing out , which would mean a suitable adhesive for them, but I have never stuck them anywhere. The objective of my baseboard is being portable.     Half done? Now for the bumpy part, plaster is out of the question. And then the bumps have to be on the smallish side. Best wishes Kevin 



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 Posted: Tue Sep 3rd, 2019 04:09 pm
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Hi Kevin,

Baseboard cuttings, cliff side scenic break, lightness/portability. 

I'm not convinced ceiling tiles are the best choice for the board or the break. There are much lighter alternatives such as balsa or HD closed cell foam sheets. Can you buy single ceiling tiles? Or is it a box of 12? 

Adding scenery can double the weight of a board. I thought you had a clamshell design that folded up? Do you have a height limit on cuttings?

Nigel




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 Posted: Tue Sep 3rd, 2019 05:10 pm
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Hi Nigel.   AFAIK, having read various ideas in books and on the forum, the broken edges of the tiles in lines represent “Strata “ as seen in cliffs, with grass tufts glued and poked in the Strata. It isn’t so much cuttings as undulations, and that could be where my plan comes unstuck. And it is true that the clamshell approach will limit the scope for embankments.  Best wishes Kevin 



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 Posted: Tue Sep 3rd, 2019 07:32 pm
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PVA from Poundland all the way!



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 Posted: Tue Sep 3rd, 2019 07:42 pm
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Hi Chris. . Thank you for your reply. As it so happens, that is the very stuff I use, but, does it have a shelf life?Part of the thread is about bumps in the landscape, but I have really been hoisted by my own petard? with my idea for a lightweight and portable layout, as I am limited, but, a perfectly flat baseboard won’t work for me.
Best wishes Kevin 



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 Posted: Wed Sep 4th, 2019 02:01 am
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Hi Kevin,

I've seen it used for that as well. Problem for me is that it looks way too even. Real strata tends to be irregular.  Minor undulations up to track height can be done with balsa sheet, cork or even cardboard.

I thought you had a clam shell design. 

Nigel



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 Posted: Wed Sep 4th, 2019 08:14 am
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Hi Nigel.   Thank you for your reply. I have always used the term “Toolbox “ ( utilitarian) but, with a deep lid, which has a capability to allow some scenery but not limitless. Regarding the ceiling tiles, that is the general consensus of model Railway books and the forum.    Best wishes Kevin 



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 Posted: Wed Sep 4th, 2019 02:23 pm
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Hello Kevin,
While Plaster does increase the weight, it need not be a significant weight increase.  I think I sent you pix of how to make a lightweight rocky outcrop as part of a web page I wrote but have not (yet) transposed to google.

In essence,

1.    Using white foam "blocks" from scrap packaging, glue some layers together to build height with white glue and allow to dry.

2.    Using a surform or any rough cutting, cut and file out a landform shape to the approximate outline you think fits in your space well and looks close to what you envisage.  Keep one surface as flat as you can to go up against that partition wall you want to put in.

3,  When the shape is right put a THIN coating layer of plaster over the "outcrop" and using some tree bark, while the plaster is drying, impress the edge of a treebark chip (pine bark works well in this country as it can be up to about 10mm thick but I am sure you have similar barks available) into the drying plaster while it is still wet enough to work but dry enough to hold. 

You have about 5 minutes working time but you are only dealing with a small area so it should not be hard. Successive presses of the bark edge (or broken tiles etc) at random pressures, angles and "facets" should reflect the strata effect you are looking for and hold when the plaster is no longer workable after the 5 minutes. The quantities we are talking should not go anywhere near doubling the weight of the plank.

Any thin pieces you shave off the foam could also be laid and glued onto the surface of the layout to give a varying texture to the "level" at ground level  and the same thin plaster coating style applied.

If some of the foam "breaks through the surface" it can be representative of granite outcrops with its "aerated texture"...

Hope this helps

Regards

Trevor


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 Posted: Wed Sep 4th, 2019 02:58 pm
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Hi Trevor.  Thank you for your reply. You do it a lot of very good ideas. And they are very interesting. I will study your ideas carefully, think about it, and then have a go. Best wishes Kevin 



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 Posted: Wed Sep 4th, 2019 06:10 pm
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Passed Driver wrote: Hi Nigel.   Thank you for your reply. I have always used the term “Toolbox “ ( utilitarian) but, with a deep lid, which has a capability to allow some scenery but not limitless. Regarding the ceiling tiles, that is the general consensus of model Railway books and the forum.    Best wishes Kevin Hi Kevin,

I am not proposing one method or the other. Cork, balsa, HD styrene foam and ceiling tiles all have good and bad points. And General Consensus is always a moving target, and often unsubstantiated. At one point the consensus was that dyed sawdust was the ideal material for ground cover. Ditto teddy bear fur for grass. Same for chicken wire, paper towels and plaster slurry for embankments, hills and dales. Homasote for baseboard tops. 15" radius for OO track.This hobby is continually on the move. 

Soft white packing foam is, well, soft, and cutting it with a saw or Surform will generate particles that you will be still cleaning up 6 months from now as they will stick to anything. And it will blunt the bread knife beyond recovery. use the proper tools - hot wires and blades. As Trevor says it will need a coat of plaster to protect (several costs of the plaster bandages is required). All that generates weight. Which I suspect is what you are trying to avoid. 

Ceiling tiles with any substance usually contain plaster. They are not that light. They also can contain fire-retardant chemicals, and glass fiber or other binders such as rock wool (old ones can contain asbestos). They also need a coat of waterproof paint, otherwise the plaster will crumble. It is difficult to get strata layers of different thicknesses.  

Cork comes either as sheets of various thicknesses or as bark, which actually looks like rock when appropriately weathered. Getting lighter here. And it looks like sedimentary rock. Cork bark is expensive though.

Same for balsa.

HD styrene foam comes in various thicknesses, and can be cut to shape and size using a hot wire or knife. Strata can be made using a sharp point. Sands well with #320/#400 paper. About as light as you can get. paint and scenic directly. Needs special adhesives. Hot wire and hot blade cutters are an additional cost. 

Ever noticed those black foam packets that meat and the like comes in? They are reasonably dense food-grade foam and can be "rocked" using a dead ball point pen or similar.

One material not mentioned is Plaster of Paris using moulds made from real rocks. DIY or commercial offerings. After drying the pieces are actually surprisingly light. Glue together well using a bit of wet PoP slurry..

I know you like internet methods, so have a look at pacificcoastairlinerr.com

Nigel



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