Scenics – Rocks (part two)

Scenery – Rocks (part two)

In this second article we’ll look at adding/creating rocks to your layout using the cast moulding system.  So as before adding  rocks & cliffs to your layout gives an interesting scenic feature. A few examples where rock/cliff scenic features on a layout could be used are:

  • Railway cutting
  • Railway embankment
  • Seaside scenes
  • River scenes
  • Mountain scenes
  • Quarries
  • Deserts
  • Inside tunnels
  • Mines

So how do you use rock cast mouldings, lets take a look…

Rock Casting Moulds

Rock mould castings have been on the market for many years, the likes of Noch & woodland Scenics amongst others are worth looking at. Both are very similar systems so the method shown below works well with both systems.

So what do you need? We’ll take a look at the Noch Rock Moulding system.

Noch offer a number of different rock mould designs which contain large, medium, small & mix of different size rocks. So you’ll need one or two of these rock casting moulds. Next up you’ll need one of those spray pump bottles which you can pick up from model shops, diy shops, the likes of Wilko’s & garden centres as well as online.

A flat spatula type tool, a mixing bowl, a measuring jug & some kind of stirrer. Be a good idea if you put some plastic type sheets down to stop any spillages etc. In the gallery below can be seen various different moulds & some other items needed.

Lets begin…

If using the Noch rock moulds, take the card backing that comes in the mould pack. Following the instructions supplied, cut the card backing into half. Then fold the two card pieces into a U type shape. Next  join the tow pieces together to form a rectangle & use sellotape to join them together as shown  on the right.

This gives a nice level frame for the mould to sit in which is essential whilst pouring the mix into the moulds.

Now we’ll prepare the mould. Using a spray bottle filled with water & some detergent (washing up liquid), spray the moulds with the water & detergent mix. This acts as release agent & prevents the plaster mix from sticking in the mould.

Following the mixing instructions on the plaster compound packet, first fill a measuring jug with the required amount of water. Pour the water into a mixing bowl.

Again following the mixing instructions on the plaster compound packet, pour the required amount of plaster compound into a measuring jug. Then pour the plaster compound into the bowl with the water.

Now mix the plaster compound & water until it reaches the consistence of looking like porridge. It’s worth leaving a few minutes to settle allow air bubbles in the mix to escape. Then mix again for a few more minutes.

With the mould siting level on the rectangle frame, begin pouring the mixture into the mould. Don’t over fill the mould!!

Unless you’re only wanting part filled rock moulds to make some smaller rocks, always best to used the rectangle rest frame to support the mould. Other wise the mixture can run out of the mould and create a mess as shown on the right.

Once the mixture has been poured, agitate the mixture with a flat bladed tool to release any air bubbles that might still be in the mix.

Again following the instructions on the packet, leave the plaster mix to fully cure & set hard. Once set, carefully release each plaster cast rock from the mould by folding back/ peeling away the rubber mould. Carefully extract each cast rock piece.

Decide upon where you want to place the cast rocks on your land form that you’ve created prior to making the rocks. (we’ll look at making land forms in another article).

Using a hot glue gun, apply the hot glue to the rear flat face of the rock & then place onto the land form. You may need to hold the cast rock whilst the glue sets a few mins.

Once the glue has firmly set on the cast rock pieces, then it’s time to blend the cast pieces into the land form. Either using  plaster compound mix or model filler, apply onto the land form around the rocks & the hillside the rocks are on. Be sure to carefully blend the filler/plaster mix around the cast rocks. You’re aiming to hide & blend the joint line around bottom of the rocks.

Once having completed applying the filler/plaster mix, use a wet brush soaked in water to stipple & smooth off the filler/plaster mix to create a natural looking landform finish. Leave to dry & set hard for at least 24 hours.

Having allowed time to dry & set hard, you should have your rocky hilly side looking something like in the photo right. The next job is to paint the rocks & land form. This we’ll take a look at in part three which will follow next.

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