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November 1999 - Page 51


areas. The same application techniques used for dirt are used for gravel . There is one add i t i on a l treatme n t . . . i n n a t u r e , g r a v e l (talus) t ends t o collect i n piles a t t h e base o f c l i ffs n e x t to b o u lders. To s i m u l ate t h i s effect, t h e gravel i s heaped in appropriate locations. When pleased with its appearance, spray the mounds with 1 00% isopropyl alco hol using a spray bottle set on m i s t . The alcohol wets the gravel w ithout moving it around so i t retains its shape. Wet water glue i s drizzled over the piles of gravel to bond them to the foundation. Grasses are adhered to the scene exactly a s the d i r t . B l e n d t w o or m o r e c o l o r s together u n l es s y o u are m a k i n g a m a n i cured lawn. The grass areas are allowed to dry before further detai l i n g takes pI ace. Even on a warm day it can take several hours for the glue to set - play i t safe and wait a ful l day ! Besides, when the ground textures are still wet they take on a m i l k y color w h i c h makes i t d i ffi c u l t to do the final texture detailing. At this point we have laid our base coat of textures and can now t reat the e n t i re scene as one area of work. Start by i nspect ing the ground covers. If any areas look too thin or patchy they can be improved. Often weeds, grasses and shrubs w i l l hide minor imperfections in this base coat. If the flaws are too obvious add more of the original textures. This time however, don ' t coat the surface with white g l u e . S i mp l y sprinkle the materials onto the scene. Use a spray bottle with isopropyl alcohol to dampen the added ground texture s . A g e n t l e m i s t of alcohol keeps every t h i n g in p l ace u n t i l a few drops of wet water are applied. (The alcohol step is critical. Without it the wet water would bead-up and run causing the del icate detail textures to move from where you want them.) Deta i l i ng the s c e n e is d o n e in steps. Begin with fi ne grasses, then work w i t h medium course textures a n d fi n i s h w i t h course textures. Move across the scene and add patches of texture, flowers, small rocks and even boulders. Add grasses and weeds and flowers to the dirt and gravel. Add some dirt and gravel to the grassy areas. The idea is to put different textures next to each other to develop a random effect. Nature does not grow t h i ng s in stra i g h t l i nes or u n i fo r m rows. Always adhere these new textures b y misting them with alcohol and applying sev eral drops of wet water. Now i s the time to add the trees. (The making of the trees is not i ncl uded in this article.) Punch a hole i nto the scenery with an awl , add a drop of white glue and then i nsert the tree. N ow, add l eaf o r n e e d l e d ebris under and around the tree. Use scis sors to cut fine fibers from the piece of rope to create the leaf scatter. Repeat this process f or each planting. Fal len branches and the occasional dead tree add realism to a grove or forest. These can be made from twigs. To make a dirt field or dirt road look wel l traveled take a piece of medium-grade sandNOV E M B E R 1 9 99

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p aper and rub it across the dirt. Using this t e c h n i q u e i t is poss i b l e to i n d icate foot paths, cow tra i l s or vehi c l e roads l eading through the scenery and to structures. I t is amazing how well the sandpaper wears away the soil and makes it look l ike a dusty path. The last bit of texturing should be shrub bery which can be made from course ground cover or from "fol iage netti n g " w h i c h i s available from Woodland Scenics and other companies. Shrubbery grows near trees (but not usual ly under them), along fences and next to rocks and buildings. S h rubs grow along pathways and next to roads. It is said that model railroads are seldom c o m p l et e d . T h e s a m e can b e said about ground texturing. Look at your work with a critical eye, if you think it could use more details, add them. I n a few years, depending on the environ ment and the dust level of your layout room some color fadi ng of the ground textures may occur. Don ' t worry, the scenery can always be refreshed widl the addition of new textures. With a l ittle effort, ground texttlring will add beauty to any layout. Expensive model trains j ust look better moving through realis tic scenery. Give ground texturing a try, it isn't difficult to achieve great results.

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