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  • Half-Hour Hill

    The quick way to landscape your railroad

    1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 42 1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 43

    Model Railroading is supposed to be one of the few hobbies that you can pursue for a lifetime and never become bored. There are so many details to add to even the simplest layout that it can take years to finish them all. You can spend months building and detailing the line's engines, rolling stock, and structures - but you don't HAVE to! You can build a complete operating and sceniced model railroad in less than a week's evenings. We don't claim your layout (or ours, for that matter) will be a super-detailed gem but it can be complete and that is far more than many model railroaders can claim after years of work. One of the last things most model railroaders add to their lay outs are hills and valleys. Scenery either scares the modelers used to precise kits and angular equipment and struc tures or he puts off the scenery with the excuse that he may want to change the track soon and he doesn't want to have to tear into the "hillsides" to do it. Fine, we can certainly understand both men. There is, however, a middle road for all of us; temporary scenery. We wanted to mockup some of the hillsides on our "project" layout and, in looking for a way to do it, found an excellent set of materials for any modeler.

    Our hills are constructed from a special paper that Life-Like sells under the name "Make-It Sparkle Paper." A 29 x 60-inch roll sells for a dollar. The material is similar to plain brown wrapping paper that has been colored with a varigated pattern of "earthy" colors and then soaked in some kind of water-soluable glue. To use it you simply wet it and lay it in place. When it dries it retains the same shape you formed it into. We made a paper wad hill to get the shape we wanted and then covered it with the wetted "Make-It" paper - that's all you need. We brushed on a thin coat of the same color we had used to bond our track to the baseboard so the tabletop and hills would blend together. When the paper was dry we poked a few holes in, placed some of ConCor's N scale trees in them, and glued on a few clumps of ConCor's Lichen moss to serve as small trees and bushes. We're sure we (or you) could do a better job of mountain making now that we've had the experience with our temporary scenery but we have something far better than flat land in the meantime - we have a reasonable enough mountain to hide our "fiddle yard" while we operate the railroad, build structures, and do other detail work.

    1. Our "mountain" begins with a pair of boxes over the soon-to-be-hidden "fiddle" yard to be sure that the mountain is high enough to clear the trains below. The rest of the mountain will be paper wads. 2. The mountain is shaped with more and more wads of newspaper until it reaches more or less the contours we wanted. If you want the backside to be flat you should cut out a contoured piece of corrugated cardboard to support the backside of the mountain. 3. Life-Like's "Make-It Sparkle Paper" is a pre-colored scenic paper that will retain its shape after it is wetted. Each dollar roll has a 29x60-inch piece. Fit it in place and tear it to size if necessary". We ripped a slot up one side to serve as the roof and walls of a tunnel mouth. 4. & 5. Wet the paper, then wad it to wring out most of the excess water but not the brown colored glue. The paper is then laid in place over the newspaper wadding contours. The tabletop edge should be stapled or pinned in place with common straight pins.
    1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 44 1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 45


    6. We rolled up another wad of newspaper to fill the mouth of our tunnel while the paper dries. Be sure the tunnel mouth is large enough to clear your largest locomotive or car. One of the commercial tunnel portals like Campbell's or Walthers' could be used instead. 7. We coated most of our mountain with the same Latex paint mix we used around the track so the colors and textures would be a close match. The paper is coated with a variety of earth colors that can be left as is. 8. An aerial view of the layout with the track lowered into the baseboard, ballast in place, the "ground" textured, and the temporary paper mountain. The "road" was painted a lighter shade of beige.
    1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 46 1001 Model Railroading Ideas - Winter 1971 - Page 47







    Article Details

    • Original Author 1001 Model Railroading Ideas
    • Source 1001 Model Railroading Ideas
    • Publication Date Winter 1971

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