TimberSurf’s Model Railway  

Modelling tips & Model Railway Controls Guide

Lumsdonia Railway

A web page for my indulgence and sharing ideas and irregular updates on my Model railway

Lumsdonia Flag

Techniques for forming terrain

Terrain

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Construction material

Synopsis

Method

Advantages

Disadvantages

Resources

Source

Corrugated cardboard

Great starter technique, easy common materials to work with,

Cut vertical profiles of terrain, glue to board to create a contoured shape. Infill gaps with scrunched up newspaper. Cover with paper mache (laminate sheets of newspaper soaked in glue). Finish with mashed up glue soaked newspaper to add final roughness.

Readily available

Free

Sharp knife work involved.

Relatively smooth surface

Paper mache can be messy

Weak surface

Utility Knife (great care must be taken)

Scissors

Glue (PVA or Wallpaper paste)

Bucket

Mostly free (ex glue)

Wood and card

Great moderate technique, easy common materials to work with, sturdy construction

Create terrain profile with pillars of wood, nail/glue/staple strips of card between them, cross bracing by weaving at ninety degrees. Cover with paper mache (laminate sheets of newspaper soaked in glue). Finish with mashed up glue soaked newspaper to add final roughness.

Readily available

Free

Sharp knife work involved.

Relatively smooth surface

Paper mache can be messy

Weak surface

Saw

Utility Knife (great care must be taken)

Scissors

Glue (PVA or Wallpaper paste)

Bucket

Mostly free (scrap wood and packaging)

Chicken wire and Modroc

Tough hard surface, moderate technique, moderate difficulty

Create terrain profile with pillars of wood, nail/glue/staple chicken wire between them. Cover with paper mache (laminate sheets of newspaper soaked in glue). Finish with mashed up glue soaked newspaper to add final roughness. Or cover with several cross laid Modroc pre-soaked in water

Strong contours

Strong surface

Chicken wire is tough to cut and has sharp edges

Modroc can be expensive

Saw

Wire cutters

Scissors

Mixing bowl

Moderate cost (Modroc much cheaper if purchased in bulk)

Polystyrene Insulation

Available in several thicknesses. Very easy to work with, but weak surface so needs further coating on final surface.

Available in several thicknesses. Either carve from one thick piece or shape to contours and glue several layers up.

Can be sawn

Can be cut easily

Can be hot wire cut

Low effort to cut and shape

Filing with surform only

Most glues melt it

Needs special glue to bond it

Creates white snow of debris

Saw

Knife

Surform

Sandpaper

Lowest cost insulation (small pieces can be had from packaging)

PIR (polyisocyanurate) Insulation

Available in several thicknesses. Very easy to work with. Further coating on final surface may be desired.

Available in several thicknesses. Either carve from one thick piece or shape to contours and glue several layers up.

Can be sawn

Can be cut easily

Can be hot wire cut

Low effort to cut and shape

Filing with surform only

Saw

Knife

Surform

Sandpaper

Medium cost insulation

Phenolic board Insulation

Available in several thicknesses. Very easy to work with. Further coating on final surface may be desired.

Available in several thicknesses. Either carve from one thick piece or shape to contours and glue several layers up.

Can be sawn

Can be cut easily

Low effort to cut and shape

Filing with surform only

Saw

Knife

Surform

Sandpaper

Highest cost insulation

Aluminium mesh and car body filler

Similar technique to chiken wire and modroc, but with smaller work areas. Advanced technique

Create terrain profile with pillars of wood, nail/glue/staple mesh between them. Cover with body filler to seal open surface. Finish with more filler and create desired finish.

Exquisite fine detail possible

Strength

Very hard to work with

Thin construction

Sets extremely fast so only repeated small areas attemptable

Very time consuming

Cost

Saw

Scissors

Plastic spreaders

Extremely expensive (but cheaper if bought in bulk)

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