Messages From ldsig



#6822 Dec 23, 1999

Hey scenery builders:

> >I have switched from paper towel

> >hardshell to a much stronger scenery base of muslin fabric (Kelly Newton

> >and others have been using surgical gauze with good results also). If the

> >fabric is secured to the top edge of the fascia with yellow glue, it can

> >have sufficient strength to restrict movement in the masonite enough to

> >stop minor humidity-related damage. It's also far easier to fix than

> >traditional hardshell with paper towels. Once your fascia is put back

> >together, try patching the crack with a strip of fabric glued across the

> >joint and brush thin plaster on it.. If the scenery cracks again, it

> >should at least stay in one piece so it can be repaired easily.


> Bill Brown wrote

> Could you elaborate on this construction method? Has anything been published?

> Sounds interesting!


First, let me give credit where it is due. I developed my muslin fabric

idea from Kelly Newton's surgical gauze technique. Anyone interested in

trying these methods should find a copy of the Allen Keller video on Lee

Nicholas' UCW (volume 27, I think). The video contains a segment where

Kelly demonstrates the basics of how he does it.

I switched to the fabricshell method because I found it to be more

controllable and durable than traditional hardshell made from paper

towels. I still use a scenic form built from cardboard strips connected

with hot glue, but the fabric can be easily adapted to any foundation

you are comfortable using; screen wire, foam board, or whatever.

The general idea is to attach the fabric to the scenery base with a

small, cheap brush and some yellow glue. Allow the fabric to overlap

the fascia and glue it to the top edge of the hardboard. Trim it flush

with the fascia after the glue dries. After you have the entire scenic

base covered in fabric, brush on coats of very thin plaster until you

have a strong shell. Use your favorite methods for creating rock faces

and otherwise finishing the scene.

The fabricshell method makes it easy to change things later, such as

adding bridge abutments or tunnel portals. Just cut into it and add the

new item without worrying that the landscape could disintegrate. If the

shell cracks, bend it back to shape and fix it with more plaster. Don't

like the shape of that hill? Just bend it to a more satisfying contour

and re-plaster, or even add more fabric to expand the size of the hill

if needed.

Modeling a heavily forested area? Forego the plaster and just stiffen

the fabric with diluted glue or even a coat of latex paint and then

cover the whole thing with trees. No plaster dust where you drill for

tree trunks. Want more convincing cuts? Extend the fabric across the

tracks and plaster the hill with its "natural" shape. Cut the

appropriate areas out of the hill and add more fabric to the excavated

area. Finish to look like eroded dirt or blasted rock.

I like muslin because it is more tightly woven that the gauze (which

prevents plaster drips), it's cheap and available in neutral colors.

Just about any fabric will do, though. (Does your significant other

have an outfit that annoys you? Do you have a scene to finish? Imagine

the possibilities...)

Rob Spangler, Northern Nevada Railway


#6874 Dec 27, 1999

When I was a teenager I used burlap on a corrugated cardboard and wood

frame for my scenery base. Applied plaster over this.

Jared Harper



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#6879 Dec 27, 1999

In a message dated 12/26/99 9:00:54 PM Mountain Standard Time,

harper-brown@... writes:

< burlap on a corrugated cardboard and wood >>

Perhaps just a heads up here, but as a member of the Lansing MRC back in the

late 1950s, I experienced burlap in a negative way. The club had not

finished scenery and someone decided to staple burlap bags under the layout

benchwork as a catch all safety net.

I don't remember the net every having been put to use, but one of those

little burlap fibers wandered upwards and became entangled in the pistons and

gears of my Shay to the point where the HO loco was totally locked up either

forward or in reverse. It took a great deal of time to clear the burlap from

the engine.

I've always been leery of burlap since. Talk about nit picking . . .