Welcome to the exciting world of realistic model railroad scenery. We are dedicated to the principle that all model railroaders, no matter what age or artistic ability, should be able to have realistic scenery on their layout. After all if you don't have some scenery on your layout you might get bored watching your trains running on bare plywood. All of our rock molds and castings are made by us with special care given to quality, as our family has over 50 years of model railroad experience. This enables them to be used without any mold release and also enables them to be molded to whatever contour your layout has even around corners.
A video can be found here:. All of the techniques are easy to learn and require no expensive equipment. Several branch and leaf pieces Model rock wall castings bundled together and the stems are coated with white caulking to represent the tree trunk, surface roots and bark. Gesso is designed specifically to accept paints and stains with ease, subtlety and control. About ninety percent should be cleaned away leaving white gesso exposed and some very strong contrasts of light and dark. Brush it randomly onto a rock casting.
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Both are very reasonably priced. Detail parts Model rock wall castings clutter and figures are available from a very wide range of sources. In Our Store. Sun, — everettrr Modeling general discussion Scenery - Structures. Debica sex back in a little bit with a black wash - a thin, watery tint to get into all the crevices. This area is part of the logging railroad in the mountains. Follow us: Facebook. Check out their site. Either are available from craft Mode hobby suppliers. So far so good. Here's a pic of one I have in progress. Just built mine, used thin cast rocks of plaster using rock molds and used liquid nails for projects and glued them to rough foam sheets, then filled any gaps with plaster and a little carving while wet, worked great!
This page includes suggestions for using our rock and wall molds as well as a list of scenery techniques.
- To color rock, I start with the base grey or brown color.
- One of the simplest ways of doing it is using Woodland Scenics pigments.
- I have an area on my layout that is in dire need of near vertical rock walls.
One of the simplest ways of doing it is using Woodland Scenics pigments. A video can be found here:. I usually start with a basic rock color, normally a dark grey for the area I model SE Pennsylvania.
Geared is the way to tight radii and steep grades. Ghost River Rwy. Looked really good. Here are some pictures:. This is a view leaving the Matthews Freight yard showing the carved rocks colored with the technique. The colors should be subtle to look realistic. Here's the same picture with some of the colors noted - your eye didn't see them before they were pointed out, did they?
I use basic colors such as Umber, green, orange, dark brown and yellow. Not all my rocks on my layout are the same color. Here by Hoovertown the rocks are a more tan color than gray. In this area of the mountain tunnel since this is a large area of rock I used more ground foam to cover the rocks as the were too "strong" to my liking.
Sorry for the focus issues on this one. After all, it's my world and my rocks! Here are the rocks by Ole' Man Skinnard's place. Thanks to all of you who responded. You have provided a lot of good ideas for me to try. The best part is I think I have everything alread in hand. First I made them starting from homemade rubber molds. I poured plaster the cheapest After that I choose the mid-tone of the final colour effect I wanted to get.
Before the second paint dries, I removed a portion of it with a sponge or paper, it works as well. That's incredible the effect it does! Next step is I use some lighter tone light brown, light gray, white This let the paint to adere only to the protuberance of the rocks, giving them more and more deep! When the hard shell and rock castings are in place it is time to paint your scenery. Painting the scenery is the most important step in making it look convincingly realistic. It is quick and easy to do if you use the right materials.
Scenery painting is often a little intimidating to model makers who have had little or no art training. We have developed a system that works and will give you professional quality results even if you have never held a brush in your hand. Just use the recommended materials and follow the steps below.
Before you begin painting, consider the lighting conditions under which your scene will be displayed. Colors appear many times darker in artificial light than they do in sunlight. They also look different under incandescent light than they do under florescent light. Whenever possible it is best to paint your models under the same lights that will be used for displaying them.
We do not agree with the common school of thought that suggests that rock work should be painted with flat latex wall paint or opaque spray paints. These paints are designed to be washable and to resist stains; they really are not an ideal primer coat for coloring model scenery. Colored, opaque latex wall paints are definitely not suitable for finishing model rock castings.
Gesso is designed specifically to accept paints and stains with ease, subtlety and control. It is what artists use to prepare a surface prior to painting a picture. There is very little difference between the inexpensive house brands of gesso and the more expensive name brands.
Gesso is available in art supply stores or by mail from Bragdon Enterprises. Apply the gesso full strength to the rock castings with an inexpensive stiff brush. Gesso is not needed on the bare hardshell areas that are to be finished with ground cover. As the gesso begins to dry, brush it out of any deeper pockets where it tends to accumulate in your castings. You will need a thin, even coat. Be careful not to cover subtle details in the rock castings with a thick layer of gesso or they will be hidden.
Allow the gesso to dry thoroughly before continuing to paint your scenery. Clean your brush with soap and water. Full size rock outcroppings in nature are large enough to create deep shadows and strong light and dark contrasts. Your miniature rock castings are too small to do this without some help. There are several ways of creating the illusion of shadow in miniature.
One commonly prescribed method is to first color the rocks and then spray them with a mixture of rubbing alcohol or water and India ink. The ink wash collects in the deeper areas and crevices and makes the detail stand out. The drawback of this method is that the ink darkens everything and is hard to control. A better, more controllable approach is to create the shadows first with black powdered tempera paint, before the other colors are added.
Dry tempera sorry, no tempura is available from Bragdon Enterprises and in some art supply stores. Dry tempera is the same material that is mixed with water to paint signs and decorations on store windows.
With a stiff one inch dry brush apply the dry powder to the dry gesso covered rock castings and brush it in. At this point the rocks will be gray-black; as if covered with a layer of soot. Then use a damp sponge and water and wash as much of the tempera as possible from the rock castings. Rinse or change sponges often. Leave the dark tempera only in the crevices and areas that would be in deep shadow.
About ninety percent should be cleaned away leaving white gesso exposed and some very strong contrasts of light and dark. When the scenery is completely dry it is ready for some color. This is your palette. These colors will vary depending on the region and type of rock being modeled. Fill the container about half way with water. Using a stiff one inch brush touch the tip of the bristles in one color, getting only a small speck of paint on the brush.
Then dip the brush in the water. Brush it randomly onto a rock casting. The acrylic colors will combine with a little of the black tempera giving a pleasing, slightly grayed look.
If the color looks too intense, brush on more water. The idea is to apply very, very thin washes of transparent color. Use several or all of the colors applying them randomly. Allow them to bleed and overlap somewhat. This first thin coat should dry before continuing. Add several layers of very thin, transparent washes in the same manner.
Use several different colors on each wash coat. Greater depth, subtlety and realism is created by building up the color with layers of washes rather than with on or two heavier coats of color. You cannot put on too little paint because you can always add more. Allowing the paint to dry between layers gives you more control. Vary the colors as you apply them over previous layers. In other words do not put yellow over yellow or brown over brown.
Which colors you use, and in what order does not really matter with the first couple of coats as long as there is some variety. When you apply the third or fourth coat think more about the final colors that you want and begin to define strata, streaks and other details. It is important to keep in mind that each layer of color is making everything darker; be conservative with the intensity. By applying the color in thin transparent layers the rock work will take on a luminosity, richness of color and appearance of realism that cannot be achieved in any other way!
The color can be lightened by washing it with rubbing alcohol. If you do not like the colors that have been applied, the scenery may be re-coated with gesso and painted again. It is not difficult to master these coloring methods with a little practice. We recommend learning on a small section of scenery or on a small diorama.
Practice until you are satisfied with the results. The thin film of color that you add to your model scenery is the most important single aspect of making your miniature world convincing to the viewer. When the paint is dry and finished to your satisfaction it is time to add ground cover, trees, water, figures and details.
If you have left areas of the foam hard shell without a covering of rock castings you can give them the appearance of bare earth or grassy hillsides by sprinkling granulated ground covering materials over a white glue or acrylic matte medium coated surface as described at the end of the section on making the hard shell.
Here are some pictures:. Magazine Home The thin film of color that you add to your model scenery is the most important single aspect of making your miniature world convincing to the viewer. Ha, they looked good when they went on, but seemed to darken when they dried. Therefore, I suggest you get some liquid latex and go looking for real rocks that provide scale rock faces. However, the resulting casting has a nice 'rough' rock texture to it and allows about minutes to 'work' before it really sets up.
Model rock wall castings. Painting rock wall castings
You might want to consider leaving space for warning fences wire fences that falling rock, boulders, etc would break and set red signals. Therefore, I suggest you get some liquid latex and go looking for real rocks that provide scale rock faces.
Apply a couple of coats of latex at the site, unless the rock is small enough to bring home: I have a garden full now , and peal off. Place cheesecloth on the back side, and apply several more coats of latex.
This will help pervent the mold from cracking later. I recommend Hydrocal B, based of 30 years experience with it. It should be mixed to a thick soup consistency, and applied to the mold, then pressed into place. I use screen wire for the base instead of foam, as it allows more room behind for other tracks. To this, I apply 2-ply kitchen towleing cut into 4" squares, and dipped in thin-soup Hydrocal. When dry, it should be misted with water to assure the hydrocal in the mold will adhere when pressed against it.
Coloring may be done with Acrylic paints, thinned to "washes". Be very sparing with the red, a toothpick-end worth will cause an amazing change in the color of your mix. If you have strata in your mold, consider brushing it with a slightly different color from adjacent areas, I recommend coloring with brushes instead of spraying, as it allows better control of color placement.
Some of my home-road work can be seen at www. I hope this helps. These are made using Bragdon Foam, from www. I used one of the Bragdon molds, too. The foam is a 2-part mixture. It sets up pretty quickly, but can be softened and re-shaped with a hair dryer. It's easy to cut with a knife. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you've actually used it, you may decide it's the way to go for those "signature" spots on your layout where only the best will do. The basic starter kit comes with instructions, and they will help you through it via e-mail if you have questions.
Wow, thanks for all the suggestions and pictures everybody. I'm just going to have to make up my mind which method I want to use and go for it. If it don't come out good, I'll rip it out and start over again. I'll second the motion for Bragdon molds.
The level of detail in the molds is wonderful I used white art plaster to cast them, letting the mix set up to the consistency of pancake batter before pouring into the mold. The mold can be applied to the scenery while still wet if desired, allowing the mold to follow the contours of the scenery base.
I let the mix set in the mold for about minutes before applying to the terrain I was working on. Thanks Don. I have a small box full of rock molds, some mine some belong to the club, but none of them have that level of detail. Don Z Jarrell,. I was going to suggest expanding foam in a can, carved and plastered or puttied - or clay-ed as I did mine,. I don't know whether this will help or not, because you're modeling Eastern rockwork and this is Western Sierra Nevada, which means the geology might be somewhat different, but here's a shot of the sheer Sierra Buttes that I'm working on still!
However, the resulting casting has a nice 'rough' rock texture to it and allows about minutes to 'work' before it really sets up. Tom View my layout photos! Tom, thanks for the picture, you're pretty much doing what I had envisioned.
I think I'm going to have to do some experimenting with the molds I have on a scrap piece of foamboard and see if I like it. I would definitely go with molds. Let me add my voice to the chorus of approval for Bragdon and others rock molds.
On my last layout I hand carved rocks, not on this one Here is recent wall using molds. Guy, what type base structure is beneath the 'rocks' and did you use the same plaster to attach them to that under structure? How long did you have to hold the molds in place before removing them? About how many different molds did it take? I love the way you used the painting of the bridge to add to the scene. This idea will be used on my layout. Here are a few work in progress shots of a steep almost versicle embankment leading up to a stone viaduct bridge.
The face is constructed of ground goop over red rosin paper. Most of my scenery is constructed using the red rosin paper and white glue method over cardboard skeleton. I wanted a little different look then the typical tree or brush covered hill side so i recalled asking a few members of the board who had experience working with ground goop as to weather or not it can be used on vertical surfaces. I cut the rock strata with an artist pallet knife You can color ground goop any color you wish to suit the type of rock or ground cover your modeling simply by changing paint color.
So far I am satisfied with the result. I use real dirt for ground cover with some fine black cinders thrown in here and there to simulate spill over. Sorry to say there is no rhyme or reason to my applying ground cover. I just start adding what I think will look right for the scene and hope for the best. I think they call it shooting from the hip. My one constant though is using real dirt. The base is two coats of Hydrocal soaked paper towels over window screen.
I hold the mold in place for a couple of minutes to get it to adhere to base. The mold is left in place and then removed when the plaster setting makes the outside of the mold warm minutes - it depends.
The plaster in the mold is enough to firmly adhere the casting to the base. The area in the photo is two molds one is flipped and used again. When using molds you can flip them over, use half of the mold etc to disguise the repetition. Try to avoid the same mold from the same angle right next to each other. I am fairly careful about using fresh plaster.
Clean them immediately after use. I keep a five gallon bucket of water nearby and as soon as the mold comes off it goes into the water for a good scrub. You can easily ruin a mold by skipping this step. With a little experimenting with the setting times and plaster mix, I think it is pretty easy to get great results from molds.
My previous HO layout had a lot of vertical rockwork, to the point that on my new layout now under construction I minimalized it. Be that as it may, it was a highlight of the previous layout, and I'd like to pass along a few thoughts on the subject gathered from my experience. We paid special attention to all the rock formations and frankly "anything goes". We saw some that "just didn't look prototypical", which just goes to show you can't go wrong no matter your formations or colors. I always make several smaller portions rather than large ones , and add a teaspoon of vinegar to retard setting.
This gives you about twice the carving or shaping time and minimizes waste. I did use a lot of rock molds, and applied some while they were setting up and others after they had hardened. Either way worked out, although I found the second method allowed me to more easily "design" the rock surface. I would fill in the edges of the rock molds with thick plaster, smoothed out with a 1 inch wet brush. If you are putting the rock surface in heavily trafficked areas I would do this, otherwise don't.
I was warned and knew better, but put on acrylics that were just too dark. Ha, they looked good when they went on, but seemed to darken when they dried. I urge you to go lighter than you want - for you can always go darker, but going lighter is hard to do.
You really can't go wrong, for I am convinced there is a prototype out there for any arrangement or appearance or color you can come up with. Just built mine, used thin cast rocks of plaster using rock molds and used liquid nails for projects and glued them to rough foam sheets, then filled any gaps with plaster and a little carving while wet, worked great!
I was mixing several scores of batches of Joe Fugate's goop, and felt that it could be carved for a rock face. I had wanted to model a small rock face on Horseshoe Curve, and it turned out not bad. The goop was greyish tan, but I stained it with black, brown, and umber heavy washes to what you see below.
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Latest User Videos. New Products. In Our Store. Current Issue. Sheer Rock Walls views. Order Ascending Order Descending. Member since November, From: US 4, posts. Posted by jacon12 on Sunday, October 31, AM. Thanks, Jarrell. Member since May, 4, posts. Phoebe Vet. I like Flexiwalls:. Dave Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow. Geared Steam. Jarrell These are made of rubber, and a little pricey Member since December, From: Gateway City 1, posts.
Posted by yankee flyer on Sunday, October 31, AM. Come back in a little bit with a black wash - a thin, watery tint to get into all the crevices. It sometimes takes a couple of coats to get the effect you want, because you're just not adding much color, but it gets in deep into the nooks and crannies.
Finally finish up with a very dry dry brush of white with just a hint of the base color added. Use a wide brush and a very light hand. As for plaster castings Don't use them at all. My rockwork is carved right into the blue foam with a wire brush and Xacto knives. Freelanced N scale Class I. N-Trak ,.
There are lots of good videos on youtube. Especially the ones on "Building the River Scene". Magazine Home Payment rates Contact us. Questions and answers Request an article, book, or video Submit magazine trouble ticket How to read the magazine MRH posting guidelines Contact us.
Model Railroad Scenery
Welcome to the exciting world of realistic model railroad scenery. We are dedicated to the principle that all model railroaders, no matter what age or artistic ability, should be able to have realistic scenery on their layout. After all if you don't have some scenery on your layout you might get bored watching your trains running on bare plywood.
All of our rock molds and castings are made by us with special care given to quality, as our family has over 50 years of model railroad experience. This enables them to be used without any mold release and also enables them to be molded to whatever contour your layout has even around corners.
Our castings are made from Hydrocal. This makes them about 3 times stronger than plaster castings. Using Howard's Hobby molds and castings you can create those wonderful scenes that are seen in your favorite railroad magazine.
Along with our rock molds and castings we also specialize in model railroad custom painting, model building and railroad photos. The first four pictures to the right are of a module showing the use of our rock molds and water that is made with Envirotex.
Most of the work on this module was done by our 6 year old daughter Megan. The fifth picture is on our layout showing one of our tunnel portals, our rock molds, Envirotex and one of our custom painted Housatonic Railroad HO GP9 engines. Click on any picture to enlarge. Howard's Hobby Silver Hill Rd. Ansonia, CT