Dried up cracked mud effect

 
  Luke Towan Locomotive Fireman

Location: Adelaide
I recently finished filming another tutorial style video on making a complete country road scene with a dried up cracked puddle on the side of the road.



I also made a tutorial style video on making the exact scene pictured above, from a block of foam to the completed scene including a detailed description of everything you can see.


I'm trying to get the feel of a high country dirt road maybe in Adelaide or Victoria somewhere. I'm actually trying a bunch of techniques in preparation for my modular railroad I'm building, it was initially going to be US based however after buying that P-class I just have to build a layout for it!

Here is the YouTube video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iD-Fba0NJYQ

Hope you enjoy

Cheers
Luke Towan

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  wolfpac Minister for Railways

Location: Over here...
That photo looks amazing! Had to take a double take to see if it was a model! Shocked

Will certainly have to check out that video tonight, my scenery skills are minimal, at best...

Wolfpac
  Luke Towan Locomotive Fireman

Location: Adelaide
That photo looks amazing! Had to take a double take to see if it was a model! Shocked

Will certainly have to check out that video tonight, my scenery skills are minimal, at best...

Wolfpac
wolfpac
Wow, thanks Wolfpac

When you get a chance to watch the video you'll realise just how easy it is to get the same results!
I used to procrastinate about doing scenery but once I developed a technique that seems to work I now really enjoy making scenes. Photographing the model outside in natural sunlight also helps a lot as well.

Thanks for the very inspirational comment.

Cheers
Luke.
  comtrain Chief Commissioner

Location: Near Albury Wodonga
Luke,
I am been trying to get rid of the dried up cracked look in my scenery Very Happy

I decided to save some coin, so every time I went somewhere, I took ice cream containers with me and bring back a few kilos of dirt for the layout. I then dried it out in the sun on sheets of corrugated iron, then sifted it into 4 grades of fine to course.
Unfortunately the first time I used it on the layout, I went like a bull at the gate and covered most of the open areas putting down a lot of dirt with slippery water and white glue. It looked very good but as the dirt and the plaster underneath dried out over a few months, I ended up with that cracked look all over the whole section I worked on.
So maybe using real dirt and a hair dryer/ heat gun will do what you need?
Cheers
Rod
ps I am downloading your videos. Learning a lot, so thanks for going to the trouble :
  wolfpac Minister for Railways

Location: Over here...
Wow, thanks Wolfpac

When you get a chance to watch the video you'll realise just how easy it is to get the same results!
I used to procrastinate about doing scenery but once I developed a technique that seems to work I now really enjoy making scenes. Photographing the model outside in natural sunlight also helps a lot as well.

Thanks for the very inspirational comment.

Cheers
Luke.
Luke Towan
Any time! Credit where it's due for sure.

Looking forward to watching it then Very Happy
And natural light always looks best for nature-y things like that, artificial light always looks artificial.

Wolfpac
  bjviper Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisvegas
That is an excellent tutorial video, so much so I've downloaded and saved it for reference.  Many thanks for taking the time to make and share it, looking forward to the next installment!
  michaelgreenhill Administrator That's Numberwang!

Location: Melbourne
I'm gobsmacked, I really am. That's an incredibly detailed and superbly presented video. Please, keep sharing your efforts! :)
  Radzaarty Junior Train Controller

That looks absolutely amazing! Be sure to keep us updated with the layout/diorama you make for the P class! Can't wait to see the results.
  railmod Chief Train Controller

great modelling there Luke, enjoyed the videos, hope to try out your techniques soon.
  bjviper Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisvegas
Luke, can you give some information on the foam you used and where you purchased it from please?

Many Thanks,
Brendan
  Luke Towan Locomotive Fireman

Location: Adelaide
Luke, can you give some information on the foam you used and where you purchased it from please?

Many Thanks,
Brendan
bjviper
Thanks all,

All these comments really inspire me to keep going and try harder!
I'm very excited to build the layout and run a few trains, I'm going to try using one of the Haskell backdrops, probably the Bonnie Doon or Hill Country backdrop.

Hi Brendan,
the foam is called Knauf Insulation XPS foam board, it actually says on the sticker that a popular use for the foam is model train layouts!
I purchased the foam from Bunnings, not all Bunnings stores stock it however and when they do get it, it goes very fast!
I really enjoy working with it because its so easy to carve, the only down side I see so far is installing slow motion switch machines, not necessarily a problem it's just more time consuming as opposed to having a plywood base.
  bjviper Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisvegas
Thanks Luke.  I checked Bunnings and Masters near me today but neither had any.  Will keep an eye out in the future though.

Here's the product page for the foam - http://www.knaufinsulation.com.au/en-au/insulation/climafoam-xps-board.aspx
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
I believe the only way to add a switch machine in foam is to cut a hole and make a ply top piece to mount the motor to. Masters doesn't stock it and last time I checked at Bunnings they were deleting the entire line.  

I'd like a separate text list of all the items you use, specifically the paint shades used. I suspect the wash and other methods used could be duplicated with some Vallejo products I've got on hand.
  LiverpoolRange Locomotive Fireman

Location: Port Macquarie NSW
Thanks Luke.  I checked Bunnings and Masters near me today but neither had any.  Will keep an eye out in the future though.

Here's the product page for the foam - http://www.knaufinsulation.com.au/en-au/insulation/climafoam-xps-board.aspx
bjviper
Brendan,

I recently ordered a bulk lot of the 30mm sheets from Bunnings in Port Macquarie.  They used to carry it in stock, but it has to be special ordered now.  Only very recently they actually added it to their catalogue with item numbers.

http://www.bunnings.com.au/knauf-insulation-xps-1200-x-600-x-30mm-multi-use-foam-board-_p0811027

http://www.bunnings.com.au/knauf-insulation-xps-1200-x-600-x-50mm-multi-use-foam-board-_p0811028

Your local Bunnings should be able to get it in.

Cheers,

Ian
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
I believe the only way to add a switch machine in foam is to cut a hole and make a ply top piece to mount the motor to. Masters doesn't stock it and last time I checked at Bunnings they were deleting the entire line.  

I'd like a separate text list of all the items you use, specifically the paint shades used. I suspect the wash and other methods used could be duplicated with some Vallejo products I've got on hand.
ARodH

A little OT here, but there are other options. On my last layout (which used a 2"/5cm foam base), I glued thin pieces of wood (3/16"?) to the bottom of the foam, abutting the throw wire hole, to mount the tortoises. You do need a slightly heavier gauge throw wire (0.03-something, rather than the 0.022" that comes with the tortoise) but it works just fine as long as you're careful with predrilling and tightening the screws (since there's so little wood for them to attach to).  However there's no reason you couldn't use thicker wood.

I was mounting the tortoises first with Velcro and then screwing them in, but found that the Velcro alone was often sufficient in this setup which indicated that the stresses were not that great.

The main downside is that the foam is weak in extension, and if the tortoise is well attached to the wood, the foam will tear off above the glue joint if you apply enough pressure. But that's a given weakness of foam, not the mounting method. The next layout will have a full sheath of thin ply under any foam to make mounting things easier.
  Luke Towan Locomotive Fireman

Location: Adelaide
I believe the only way to add a switch machine in foam is to cut a hole and make a ply top piece to mount the motor to. Masters doesn't stock it and last time I checked at Bunnings they were deleting the entire line.  

I'd like a separate text list of all the items you use, specifically the paint shades used. I suspect the wash and other methods used could be duplicated with some Vallejo products I've got on hand.

A little OT here, but there are other options. On my last layout (which used a 2"/5cm foam base), I glued thin pieces of wood (3/16"?) to the bottom of the foam, abutting the throw wire hole, to mount the tortoises. You do need a slightly heavier gauge throw wire (0.03-something, rather than the 0.022" that comes with the tortoise) but it works just fine as long as you're careful with predrilling and tightening the screws (since there's so little wood for them to attach to).  However there's no reason you couldn't use thicker wood.

I was mounting the tortoises first with Velcro and then screwing them in, but found that the Velcro alone was often sufficient in this setup which indicated that the stresses were not that great.

The main downside is that the foam is weak in extension, and if the tortoise is well attached to the wood, the foam will tear off above the glue joint if you apply enough pressure. But that's a given weakness of foam, not the mounting method. The next layout will have a full sheath of thin ply under any foam to make mounting things easier.
SAR523
I'm currently building a small switching layout and I've basically done what you've suggested, I have a large sheath of 6mm plywood covering the foam base. Should make it a little easier to install the switch machines.

I'll just have to do my best to drill a straight hole down from the top of the foam to the plywood base, about 2 inches. I thought I might be able to use the drill press to get a straight down hole but it won't reach the switches close to the middle of the layout. I suppose I could make some sort of wooden jig to hold the drill and have a guide to help it drill straight down??

Any suggestions?

Cheers
Luke.
  Luke Towan Locomotive Fireman

Location: Adelaide
I had a few people ask not only about the foam but also some other things that I used in the video like specific paint colors and static grass types, so I have updated the YouTube video to include a detailed products and materials list in the description which is viewable on the YouTube page or you can view it on the webpage just below the embedded YouTube video:

http://www.bouldercreekrailroad.com/scenery.html

Nothing fancy, just a bit of extra info that's not in the video, I also included the shops where I purchased each item where appropriate.
Thank you to everyone who has commented and also a big thank you to everyone who watched the video, it's been quite popular so far with an overwhelming positive reception.

Cheers
Luke Towan
  flewy69er Locomotive Fireman

Hi all,

In-regards to the foam. Bunnings can special order it in for you and you DO NOT have to bulk buy it. (I'm a sales rep for Knauf in bunnings stores) . If you are having trouble locating it, try bigger, more popular stores. They will have it with the other insulation or if not try the timber yard. Ask a team member to look up other locations near you if they dont carry it and you don't want to wait. Regional stores have about a week delivery time but metro stores around 3-5 days max so not too long of a wait. I've used it before and it is a much cheaper and good material compared to other stuff on the market for modelling especially stuff on eBay ( which is ridiculously over priced).
If you are in Sydney Metro area and want to know if a store has it, just ask I might be able to look it up for you without you having to go hunting.


Cheers
Michael
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
I'm currently building a small switching layout and I've basically done what you've suggested, I have a large sheath of 6mm plywood covering the foam base. Should make it a little easier to install the switch machines.

I'll just have to do my best to drill a straight hole down from the top of the foam to the plywood base, about 2 inches. I thought I might be able to use the drill press to get a straight down hole but it won't reach the switches close to the middle of the layout. I suppose I could make some sort of wooden jig to hold the drill and have a guide to help it drill straight down??

Any suggestions?

Cheers
Luke.
Luke Towan

Yes, attaching wood underneath the foam solves some problems and then creates others Smile.  

Depending on the size of the hole you want, there are various options; the main issue is making sure the hole in the foam is clear if there is mechanical movement through it.  You can use something like a knitting needle to punch through the foam and then drill out the ply with a sufficiently long drill, or you can use the drill by hand.  My hand drill has a level bubble on the end so I use that to keep the drill bit vertical, but a drill press would work well (in fact, probably better).  I mostly use a 3/16" drill (4.7mm) as that's the first drill bit that's normally long enough to get through with a stock length.  

Alternatively for things like feeders, longer thinner drills are available online quite inexpensively; search for long 1/8" (3mm) drill or go to any good tool shop (at least here in the US), or if you can plan ahead enough, precut spaces in the underlying ply.

Another solution for smaller holds on top (e.g. under a turnout throw rod), I file or cut down the roadbed and slip a (pre-painted!) thin piece of styrene with the desired small hole under the ties, over the larger hole.



That aside, let me join in congratulating you on such a professional and useful video.  It's easily as good as anything that's currently behind a paywall, such as MR Video Plus or Trainmasters on MRH.  

One question I had is mixing the grout and and soil 50:50. Is that something you tried and it just works, or do you prefer the properties of the soil (for texture / colour etc) over plaster?  Reason I ask is that there's very little light tan dirt where I live (it's all nice and brown or black) which has been an obstacle in getting nice scorched Australian scenery for me Smile.
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
I've a paint a similar shade to the base paint you used, but it's a polyurethane primer not an acrylic like what I believe the Jo Sonja’s Background Colour paint is. http://www.acrylicosvallejo.com/en_US/primers/family/22 is what I like using on metal, resin and plastic, the colour in question is desert tan and it's pretty much a hobby & wargaming shop staple paint range.

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