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Saturday (March 6th) is/was the Pacific Model loggers conference on the Oregon Coast. I had planned on exhibiting a train made up of several of RSLasers wood old time freight cars behind a Atheran 2-8-0 I modified for wood burning… I had planned on a simple strip of track on some foam….. weeeellllll things kind of got out of hand and the Sunday afternoon before the show I decided to build a small sceniced diorama based on eastern Oregon high desert.
There have been a couple of questions about how to do scenery lately so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and do a short tutorial on scenery…
I built a base out of extruded foam, gluing it together with “Liquid Nails For Projects.” Later in the evening I formed rock structures out of crumpled news paper glued down with a hot glue gun. I then covered the newspapers with paper towels soaked in thin plaster.
I covered most of the foam and paper towels with latex molds filled with stiff plaster. The bare areas of foam were smeared with plaster. When It dried I sealed the plaster with a coat of earth color paint thinned 50% with water. HINT plaster wont stick to foam very well.. I roughed up the surface with a toothed saw blade.
I squinted the rock with a very thin Black Wash. This brought out the details.. When that was dry I decided which areas would be covered in soil and painted them with a mixture of earth color paint, white glue and water… then dumped soil over the whole diorama with the paint still wet… This sounds insane but it works.. The “Soil” I use is actually volcanic ash from central Oregon.. it is ground pumice. Dumping soil on the rocks and everything blends the rock and soil area…. I am modeling desert and the “pumice sand” looks great. In a wetter climate I would used very fine dry soil like off of a dirt road in summer. Word of warning : The ground pumice contains microscopic bits of silica. It will screw up your lungs… wear a mask… It will also get into mechanical parts if not sealed with a good coat of adhesive. (see below).
I turned over the diorama and dumped off the loose material.. Then added pumice sand at the base of the rock to form talus slopes. The loose mater is then wetted with “wet water” (water with a few drops of liquid soap in it) with a sprayer, Then I flow a 50% mixture of water and Matte Mod Podge over every thing loose. This stuff dries clear and dull.
I made trees and brush. The trees are dried weeds shot with spray adhesive and dipped in ground foam. When dry they are shot with hair spray. The sage brush is chopped up natural color lichen painted gray. The tops are dipped in white glue and then dipped in ground foam.
I glued down the track, sealed anything that looked loose and added trees and brush,,,
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