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Discussion Starter #1
Here's a not super great pic of flat pink foam with a bit of aluminum screen draped over it, painted and covered in ground cover "dust" (foreground).

Behind it are other similar efforts less the screen which are pan flat -- my issue to solve. (also this must be a non permanent layout...hence semi modular in nature)

Before putting down the screen I put some bumpy bits on it to add some undulations to it. I glued that down with gorilla glue. I didn't want a lot elevation change ... Just some so minimal bumpiness.

Anyway over that the aluminum screen. I pushed it down here and there, weighted it as appropriate and gorilla glued it down.

Then I used tissue paper glued to the screen from a spray bottle. TP being in demand. It worked but TP or paper towels may be better . Let that dry...

From there I slapped on some paint and sprinkled with the ground dust. I used two colors.

I let that dry, sprayed with a light glue mixture and hit it again. (Optionally repeat as desired)...

I wanted the top flexible since I'm only vaguely planning ahead, and so I'm not sure where the track will go... So the top remains flexible for future adjustments.

Another option would be to coat it with something like joint compound if you knew just what you wanted... Assuming that would harden into a shell.

So this is a structure, right ?

IMG_20200506_182545214.jpg
 

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A most interesting way to produce undulating low hills! I like the look of it. Thanks for showing it.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
I was quite happy with it. And I did a half *** job of it. more care and feeding, even better result!
 

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Looks quit real. But I don't get it. Is all that vast area going to be without tracks ?! If, IF you're planning trackage on it this is a big no-no unless you're going to put heavy O or G scale trains on it...In the hobby tracks are laid in before scenery, permanent or modular..Buy sorry if I'm not understanding your aim here..
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's not easy to show in pictures but that particular wavy ground piece ... Parts of it can be depressed flat. So I'm either going to run track over it there and weight or push it down underneath so that part is flat -- that's where the track will go. Or I'm going to float track over with some kind of low bridging. I haven't really decided.

Since that's a corner piece it will be an arc as I'm just making an oval to start.

I had an oval before I got the pink foam sheets. It was on the table tops on heavy green felt.

That was ok. Then I put pieces of 1/4" ply under that...in fact this was better.

Finally I decided to bite off making a little terrain...hence the pink foam.

I stuck with ovals as I haven't gotten to my switches yet.

You see when I was fiddling with o scale I had this elaborate layout plan, and I got sick of it and took it all down. So I'm going the other direction here.
 

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Me too! (can I still say that?)
You can still say it because it no longer means what it started out as. I'm sure we're both on the same page. ;)
 

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Typically, one would use the screen as a substructure and add hardshell -- plaster, Sculptamold, ground goop, etc, over it. However, I think it turned out pretty good without the hardshell, so maybe that's not as necessary as most people think. Does it still look good up close?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It looks ok, it's hard to get a good picture that also shows the undulations -- in the original above I took it at a low angle so the flat one behind could be used as a comparison.

I really think plaster etc... does make sense if you want to freeze the form to a shape. However I saw a vid of a guy who declined to do that with the idea he could make last minute adjustments easier to add -- this was a point he made and I filed it away.

So I thought I'd try that route, knowing that I have yet to lay track and don't even have a precise path through the panel yet. for it (I did have a kind of quasi-path through when I put down the screen... but in truth I'm not sure I see it now.)

Anyway it does have some flex as I said -- in places it can be pushed down to the panel underneath. I figure this is ok maybe depending on what I put on it beside track. Worst case scenario though is I rip it off and do it again having learned something.

I can also see spending a lot more time cutting out say long card board strips in a wavy pattern of interest (these would be on end so to speak, spaced out every inch say give or take) -- possibly planning for plateaus, hills, valleys and say train track berms -- and you know really planning it all ahead.

And then putting the screen down and forming to that more precise shape.

Well, that's sounds like a whole lot of work and I didn't want to start there. I'll leave that for the masters to sort out.
 

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I have to disagree with telltale here. First, the real world has the terrain in place, and from there the locating engineers and road crews find and build a path through it. Our modeler here could just as well file use ballast as fill and place rail elements atop it as the roads do in the real world. He won't be able to fashion roadbed, but he could still do it with 1/8
plywood or luan/masonite/MDF cut cookie-cutter style and fix it into place with gobs of drywall and/or PL-300.

I think the results look very natural, and it would take very little to have workable rails running over it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I was sort of thinking sand -- i'd have to have some kind of form to keep it laterally from spreading. and sand not because i think it's great but because i have 2 50 pound bags of and no real use for it. Well so I don't need 50 pounds -- but a scoop or two. anyway, the form is just is there to hold in place along my path of interest. then pour in the same and glue ... let it try and remove forms. oh wait, the forms might glue to the sand. well maybe I'll coat them somehow for that. but that's just an idea...

and then i can take my toy bulldozer and level it ... well you get the idea, it is a little like building a real road... I guess.

(& then gravel, track, glue etc... maybe some ground cover)

In truth I may not, maybe I'll hit upon another idea. maybe the drywall... but i don't have any extra of that sitting around though. I do have joint compound laying around.... and I have a small amount of plaster.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So here's a shot with some stunt bachmann track in place. You are right those undulations need some backfill... (I have cork road bed and micro engineering track)

IMG_20200507_185806569.jpg
 

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Some people, including myself when I used EZ-Track, paint the fake ballast with white glue and then sprinkle rock ballast over it to give a more natural and realistic look. If you elect to do that, you could use the same material, all 50 pounds, for fill below the plastic and you get to enjoy your nice terrain that way. Just sayin'...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I know. It's tempting. But I have this thing regarding it. I mean I love the look and ease of it and similar plastic road bed track. But it's noisy to my ears. I even measured it against the micro engineering with the cork ... a whole 10 db louder. So I'm inclined to try hard to make the micro engineering and cork work. Yet I reserve the option.
 

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Wow. You know, I was under the impression that this terrain was BETWEEN your rails and not in your entire layout, including where the track will be.

You're going to have to make that part solid, at the very least. You can't afford to have it flexing under your rails, evening you use roadbed track, like the Bachmann shown. Maybe filling with sand or something and gluing it down would work, but I would be concerned about the underlying support. The screen is going to want to sag under the weight of whatever you put there.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
the screen does flex in places and is solid in others -- it depends on what its resting on. at some points I glued it directly to a bump underneath, at others to the underlying flat pink foam. but there is some flex here and there though. my thought was to make a "berm" of some height that levels the track path and is heavy or firmly affixed enough there's no downward flex. Or... have some kind of platform over it. (i had a vague idea of adding water at one time ... but it was just a thought -- so the track would be on a low bridge or trestle.)

I think my advice would be that while this works to make undulating looking terrain, but it would be good to plan ahead and know your track path -- and build that in. Or as you say leave the wavy bit for off track. I mean I could still do that by changing my overall panels a little and adding some flat pieces into it. although that's probably not my first approach.
 

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I think that's very good advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I found my original path I'd made on the piece that is flat but I put it way too far over. Consequential I will have to build a new path through it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My first pass
IMG_20200510_102337841.jpg
attempt at flattening out the bumps. Half sand half joint compound mix ... roughly. Topped with a little regular joint compound. Letting it dry but not that easy to tell in the pic but needs as least one more pass, then I'll dust it with ground cover.
 
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