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Layout In A Box – Demo Micro Layout Project (part 12) The Lineside Embankment

Scale Model Scenery Demo Micro Layout Project

Part Twelve 

Following on from part eleven of this series in which we looked at now scratch building a small platform, we now turn our attention to making an embankment. The embankment will act as away of hidding the change from the baseboard level top onto the backscene boards. It will also add some form of scenic landscape intrest as well.

Land forms for model railways can be created using various methods suchas, papier-mache, wood/card formers overlaid with chicken wire plaster cloth & palster layer, foam/polystyrene sheets carved to create a slope & overlaid with plaster cloth & plaster. The method we are going to look at today is the Woodland Scenics Shaper Sheets system. This is a quick & easy way of making hills for your layout & diorama’s. 

The shaper sheets can be used on their own, used with plaster or Woodland Scenics Shaper Sheet plaster & lightweight Hydrocal plaster. It can also be used with the tradtional plaster bandage method as well. The Shaper Sheet is avalable in several different sized sheet rolls these being part number C1178 9″ wide roll & C1179 18″ wide roll. We’ll be using the C1179 18″ wide roll as this is what I had ready to hand. For the plaster layer, we’ll be using the Woodland Scenics Shaper Sheet Plaster, part number C1180.

Lets get started…

Lets get started…

Tools you’ll need are:

  • Mixing bowl  
  • Measuring jug
  • A stirrer (we are using a wooden one that came with Woodland Scenics Deep pour water kit) 
  • An old paint brush (size is down to your personal choice) or Woodland Scenics Plaster Brush.
  • Fast set super glue
  • Sissors
  • Pen or pencil for marking out
  • Plastic binliners or plastic sheet to act as dust sheets
  • Water plant misting spray bottle

We start by measuring the area that the embankment will cover & mark this out on the shaper sheet. It was cut around 1/4 to 1/2 inch bigger than the size we needed, this gave us a bit more to work with. The piece of shaper sheet was then cut out using a pair of scissors. 

Once cut out, the piece of Shaper Sheet can then be bent into any shape you want. With one side being a foil type material (this is the underside) & the other being an engineered white that fabric material, the beauty of this system that the Shaper Sheet is self supporting. So was bent to shape it’ll hold that shape, but can be rebent back to flat or any other shape you require.

In the photo right, we’ve bent the Shaper Sheet to form an embankment making sure that the extra area that was cut bigger than needed, is folded back to form an L shaped lip. This lip allows the embankment to sit level against the backscene & along the track side. Once happy with the required shape, apply the likes of a fast setting PVA glue or super type glue to the lips, & then place the Shaper Sheet on to the layout. You can as we have done here, added extra pieces of Shaper Sheet to the first one to create more smaller or larger sloped, flat sections etc. 

If needing to expand the hill/embankment area, simply cut & glue more Shaper Sheets sections to the end of first one, to give you the coverage required to create the terrain you require. Once the glue has set, then it’s time to move on to the next stage which is the plaster layer. To prepare for the plaster layer, cover the area around the embankment with plastic sheets or as we have used, plastic black bin liners.

Lets get plastered!!

Now on to the messy bit which is plastering the the Shaper Sheet. So first you’ll need plaster (which we have mentioned at start of this article), measuring jug/container, mixing bowl.

The plaster has an instruction guide on how to mix & ratios etc, but we’ll cover this now below.

The plaster we are using has a working time of around 20 minutes. 

  • Pour 8fl oz of Shaper Sheet plaster slowly into 3fl oz of cold water. Woodland Scenics recommend a mixing ratio of 2.5 to 1. Let the mixture stand for two minutes then stir thoroughly for around 1 to 2 minutes. 
  • Let the mixture stand again for a 1 to 2 minutes. If you need to adjust the consistance of the plaster, add more water to thin it down or more plaster to thicken it up. Be sure to throughly mix & let stand for 1 to 2 minutes for the mixture to settle.

Lightly mist water over the Shaper Sheet, then whilst the Shaper Sheet is still wet, apply the plaster on to the Shaper Sheet.  

Using an old paint brush or plaster brush, brush smooth the plaster taking care to get rid of any lumps etc. Once happy leave to dry & set. If needed, you can also apply another layer of plaster once the first layer has set.

Leave the plaster to dry for a full 24 hours before painting. 

For painting we’re using Woodland Scenics Earth colour Undercoat paint part no: C1228. Woodland Scenics also produce other undercoat paints in various other colours. However, you can use any brown or dark coloured emulsion paint, artists acrylic paints such as burnt umber.

Simply brush paint the undercoat on and leave to dry. Once dry, apply a second coat of undercoat paint (or similar).  

For painting we’re using Woodland Scenics Earth colour Undercoat paint part no: C1228. Woodland Scenics also produce other undercoat paints in various other colours. However, you can use any brown or dark coloured emulsion paint, artists acrylic paints such as burnt umber.

Simply brush paint the undercoat on and leave to dry. Once dry, apply a second coat of undercoat paint (or similar).  

Whilst the second coat of paint is still wet, sprinkle on the first of the scenic scatter matterials. Here we are using a a mixeture of fine & coarse earth coloured scatter material. You can however let the second coat of paint dry before applying the earth scatter material. This though will need a 50/50 mixture of water & P.V.A glue brushed on to the embankment & then the scatter eart material sprinkled on top.

Allow time for the glue or paint to then dry before moving on to the next stage. 

Whilst the second coat of paint is still wet, sprinkle on the first of the scenic scatter matterials. Here we are using a a mixeture of fine & coarse earth coloured scatter material. You can however let the second coat of paint dry before applying the earth scatter material. This though will need a 50/50 mixture of water & P.V.A glue brushed on to the embankment & then the scatter eart material sprinkled on top.

Allow time for the glue or paint to then dry before moving on to the next stage. The photo on the right shows the earth scatter material after applying & the paint/glue has set & dried.

In the next part we’ll look at adding the grasses & other vegetation to the embankment.

Happy Modelling.  

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2 Comments

  1. wicky0570

    Another very interesting read. The layout is looking fantastic!

    • Iain

      Thank you 🙂 You’ll be able to see the layout this weekend 🙂 See you at warley.

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