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Discussion Starter #1
I've already posted the attached photo on the N scale forum, but I've re-posted it because I'm here asking for help. Not only do I have all of these cast resin structures, I also have 7 sets of figures (two of them dogs); maybe as many as 20 vehicles, most of them either Oxford Diecast or Classic Metal Works; 9 Woodland Scenics trees; and accessories like propane tanks. But I really don't know what to do next. My best idea is to get a piece of green poster board (to represent grass), glue it to my 14"x18" wood "art board" with Elmer's glue, use black Gorilla tape for asphalt and strips of blonde, fine grit sandpaper for "bare ground" around the structures - and then spray the whole thing with a couple of coats of flat clear Krylon to seal the sandpaper and hopefully take some of the shine out of the Gorilla tape. Once it's good and dried, then I can start sticking things to it - preferably with something like old-fashioned rubber cement so I can remove things if I want to try again or get enough "right-of-way" to rebuild the Plywood Prairie RR around it. All of the Atlas and Kalmbach books I have on "how to build a model railroad layout" are so old . . . well, one of them suggests looking for something at a "dime store". Any advice anyone here has would be appreciated. :)

Note that I have a large HO wooden crate "standing in" for one of my little cabins.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Are there materials or techniques that will look more realistic than those I've proposed using? :confused:
 
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Woodland Scenics makes a vinyl mat with grass material called Ready Grass. It's an excellent product that is easy to use. You can easily create roads, lakes, rivers, etc. This link will take you to the Ready Grass page on their website:

https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/item/1RGVM-GG

It's easy to glue the mat down to any hard surface for your base. You can use Woodland Scenics Mat Adhesive or just about any other glue. You can also use carpet tape.

This link shows how to make roads using their road kit. You can use the principles without the kit. There is also a water kit. Like the road kit, you can use the principles and methods without buying the kit. The kit has the convenience of giving you everything you need in one box.


I used Ready Grass on my layout. It's easy to use, looks good and is quite versatile.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
TY Country Joe - for the prices of the "project sheets" at hobbylinc.com, I could try the "Desert Sand" one for dirt roads and skip the asphalt. Next time I order I'll add that and a "Green Grass" one. :)
 
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GN, I think it would be easier to use the road method, wet and scrape away the grass where you want roads and put down either Soil or Earth ground cover. You can see both of them here:

https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/category/FineTurf

I think it would be difficult to cut the roads out of the Desert Sand mat and then glue them to the grass mat, but I've never tried doing it that way.

However you decide to do it please show pictures when you are done.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I was thinking of scraping away the grass with a plastic putty knife (as shown in the video) and cutting the sand sheet into strips as wide as the putty knife to fill the scraped away areas. Like I said, at the price (<$10 for both), I'm not out that much if it's an utter failure. :)
 
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Who knows, it may work out well. The only way to find out is to give it a try. I would scrape away the grass and put down earth or soil ground foam because it's the method I'm used to working with.
 

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Dirt, grass, and asphalt

I've already posted the attached photo on the N scale forum, but I've re-posted it because I'm here asking for help. Not only do I have all of these cast resin structures, I also have 7 sets of figures (two of them dogs); maybe as many as 20 vehicles, most of them either Oxford Diecast or Classic Metal Works; 9 Woodland Scenics trees; and accessories like propane tanks. But I really don't know what to do next. My best idea is to get a piece of green poster board (to represent grass), glue it to my 14"x18" wood "art board" with Elmer's glue, use black Gorilla tape for asphalt and strips of blonde, fine grit sandpaper for "bare ground" around the structures - and then spray the whole thing with a couple of coats of flat clear Krylon to seal the sandpaper and hopefully take some of the shine out of the Gorilla tape. Once it's good and dried, then I can start sticking things to it - preferably with something like old-fashioned rubber cement so I can remove things if I want to try again or get enough "right-of-way" to rebuild the Plywood Prairie RR around it. All of the Atlas and Kalmbach books I have on "how to build a model railroad layout" are so old . . . well, one of them suggests looking for something at a "dime store". Any advice anyone here has would be appreciated. :)

Note that I have a large HO wooden crate "standing in" for one of my little cabins.

GNfan;

I suggest using magnet tape "foundations" stuck to the bases of the structures, and trimmed to match the structure. If you stick a second piece of identical-sized magnet tape to the base, at each trailer's location, the structures will be firmly held in place by the two pieces of magnet tape attracting each other, but would still be removable.
Real-life mobile homes, when semi-permanently sited in a trailer park, actually do have "foundation" spaces under them. The trailer is supported on jacks or blocks, and some form of decorative skirting is wrapped around the bottom. I've done lots of appliance repair calls in "Mobile Home Estates" (AKA trailer parks with delusions of grandeur.) The trailers were always elevated. I had to climb up the stairs of a wooden "porch" next to the trailer, to reach the entry door.

For the base, I suggest using a tan/brown "dirt" color poster board, rather than green. After all, you're modeling a trailer park, not a golf course.
Or, to make things look even more realistic, you could skip the colored poster board altogether. Instead, just paint the wood art board, (or foam core) base a dirt brown color, and then coat the surface with white glue. Then sprinkle on a thin layer of finely-sifted real dirt.
In the real world, ground is rarely a perfectly solid green. For my grass I use commercial, "fine" green ground foam. Sprinkled on lightly, it lets some of the dirt color show through. (Look at the slope to the left of the covered bridge, and just above the wooden retaining wall, in the top photo.)
I actually use finely-ground real dirt for both soil, and asphalt. (The latter airbrushed black. see top photo)
With your disabled arm, digging and grinding your own dirt may not be practical. By the way, I recently broke my left wrist. Now it's in a cast for three months. Doing everything one-handed sure sucks! :mad:
Instead of "harvesting" dirt from your back yard, and grinding it to a fine dust, you might use pulverized granite. It's available, in very fine textures, at sand & gravel dealers, and probably online. It makes excellent dirt, since that's what it actually is. No digging or grinding necessary! :D

For roads, I suggest using very fine grit, dark gray, 3M "wet or dry" sandpaper, rather than shiny gorilla tape. The 600-1200 grit sandpaper is available at Walmart in the automotive section. It can be glued down with a thin, even, coat of minimal white glue, contact cement, or else stuck down with thin, double-sided carpet tape. Work slowly and carefully from one end. Try to avoid bubbles & bumps. If you use glue, set a brick, or other large, flat weight, on top of the sandpaper until the glue has dried overnight. I hand-painted the white center-line in the road approaching the covered wooden bridge, with a fine artist's brush.
The vehicles, figures, and detail parts can be attached with super glue, though this would be permanent, with possible damage to the base surface if they are removed. I don't know that rubber cement, or white glue, would hold them in place very well.

If your trailer park is to be of the rundown, "redneck riviera" type, you might want to throw in a bunch of "weeds" made from cut hemp rope fibers possibly growing along the edges of a "crick" (creek) bordering one edge of the "Mobile Home Estates." (Look carefully at the riverbanks in the second photo. I used rope fibers for the weeds.)
Don't forget to have some rusting wrecked pickup trucks and discarded appliances, tires, toilets, stolen road signs peppered with bullet holes, & whatever, sprinkled here and there! Oh yeah, you'll need a lot more dog figures. At least ten per household, living under the porches! :laugh:

Good luck, & have fun!

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

Allentown covered bridge.jpg

Combined outflow of Black and Green rivers.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
<laughing> Two of my trailers have "skirts" (the third does seem to be on its wheels) and they all have steps already; I have a Woodland Scenics "Rusty's Regret" and I saw N scale cinder blocks somewhere; and I've already got the Woodland Scenics "Dogs & Cats" and the Noch "Dogs" sets. There's a Preiser set called "Hounds" at hobbylinc.com. Maybe I should get it. I was going to use my Woodland Scenics "Wooden Shed" as a chicken coop, but I couldn't find N scale chickens - so it's a big doghouse. :D

Update: The N scale cinder blocks were at hobbylinc.com, but they're OOS like almost everything scenery from Atlas/BLMA. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #12
TY Michael E. If I go to using blonde sandpaper for "dirt", that's a better option for asphalt than Gorilla tape. :)
 

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I'd go with Traction fan's ideas. If you want something that looks realistic, green paper isn't a good route.

Those grass mats will work fine, or you can do what Traction fan suggests. The only thing I'd do differently is to skip the white glue. Paint your surface with dirt-colored paint, then sprinkle the ground foam grass on while it is still wet. You can add more later using the white glue method if you want, and add trees, bushes, and other ground cover as well.

I get a little more finicky with roads. I use strip styrene to make a frame, which I fill with drywall mud -- this has the perfect texture for HO asphalt. Each lane should be about 13 scale feet wide. Level the drywall mud with a scraper made from styrene (for ultimate realism, it should have a slight crown (about 6 scale inches) in the middle. Airbrush it any shade of gray (new asphalt is almost black, it weathers to a very light gray). Add patches of a different shade, make cracks with a Sharpie, paint the pavement markings. You can do a lot to make roads look realistic. Finish up the edges with a little fine ballast to simulate the crushed stone road bed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you everyone. I think next time I order from hobbylinc.com I'll get a Woodland Scenics Grass mat and a "Desert Sand" mat and see what I can do with them. To quote one of our fellow members: "If no one has ever done it that way, it might be fun to try." - Lee Willis :)
 
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