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Discussion Starter #1
I have my foam terrain almost finished and a tunnel structure built. Is this the right order for things?

  1. Cover hills with plaster wrap
  2. Lay road bed/incline
  3. Paint foam and plaster with base ground color
  4. Lay track
  5. Ballast Track
  6. Add roads
  7. Add rock molds
  8. Add water effects to ponds/rivers
  9. Add Trees
 

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1. Plan. Scale diagramme;

2. Build the benchwork;

3. Paint or glue into place the backdrop;

4. Lay roadbed;

5. Lay track, at least the mains. Don't forget any interchanges;

6. Supply the tracks already laid with power;

7. Prove your joints, power supply, curves, and super-elevations by running all locomotives and rolling stock, forward and reversing, and in both directions;

8. Ballast the mains;

9. Terra-forming (I use hot glued strips of aluminium window screening overlaid with a 'ground goop'. Foam is fine);

10. Plant trees and telegraph/phone line poles along the right of way, except where you might still be working with scenery;

11. Lay the out the yard and any industrial tracks;

12. Complete the rest of the scenery, refine, improve; and

13. Start enjoying it, and take photos. Get the camera low into the scenery. The results will show you what you must change to improve realism.

I don't use block detection and turnout machines. I build mechanical linkages out of strips of wood and actuate distant turnouts via push/pull dowels. Works for me. I will soon install signals, but only to light them, not to be used with block detection. I just don't need it, and it wouldn't improve my enjoyment of the hobby or my craft.
 

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There is no "right" order. Only one that works for you. Well, okay, there are a couple of obvious ones: there's not much point in ballasting your track if you haven't laid it down yet; and it's a good idea to paint your terrain before adding ground cover.

I'll give you a couple of things that work for me, though.
1) Get your roadbed and track down first. Make sure everything runs well. That way, you don't have to rip out scenery if you need to realign your track. And if something quits working later, you can be pretty sure your scenery is what did it.
2) I save the fragile items that stick up (trees, fences, utility poles, and so forth) for newer the end, so I don't damage them when doing other things.

Other than that, I pretty much work on what I feel like working on. I tend to work on one area of the layout and get it fairly well done before moving on to another. I don't try to do all my painting, or all my grass, etc. at once.

Also, if you're using foam for your landscape, there is no need for plaster cloth. Use Sculptamold, ground goop, or something similar if you want a hard surface over your terrain.
 

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What about giving the foam an 'earthen' colored base coat of paint around the tracks before putting down the ballast? It seems like otherwise you run the risk or having a little pink foam showing at the transition between the ballast and scenery?
 

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What about giving the foam an 'earthen' colored base coat of paint around the tracks before putting down the ballast? It seems like otherwise you run the risk or having a little pink foam showing at the transition between the ballast and scenery?
I cover all the terrain, except where structures are going to go (and sometimes even that) with Sculptamold, so it would be white, not pink in my case, but yes, everything gets a good base cost before I start working on scenery (which includes ballast). That said, it's not too difficult to cover it with a little paint, ballast, or vegetation if it does show.
 

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I have my foam terrain almost finished and a tunnel structure built. Is this the right order for things?

  1. Cover hills with plaster wrap
  2. Lay road bed/incline
  3. Paint foam and plaster with base ground color
  4. Lay track
  5. Ballast Track
  6. Add roads
  7. Add rock molds
  8. Add water effects to ponds/rivers
  9. Add Trees
1. if the terrain is foam why cover it with plaster wrap?
2. I would install roadbed and track first before any painting.
3. before ballasting I would do initial pass of weathering the track - brown camo spray for rusty rails.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Don't you use plaster wrap to cover inclines and smooth out gaps in terrain from butt joints in the foam? I'm probably doing something wrong.
962A9764-FFB5-4FF9-BB56-079BC4CBD661 copy.jpg
 

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?

  1. Cover hills with plaster wrap
    Optional, right?
  2. Lay road bed/incline
  3. Paint foam and plaster with base ground color
    Paint roadbed grey
  4. Lay track
    Test all trains, all directions on all track
    Do it again
  5. Ballast Track
  6. Add roads
  7. Add rock molds
  8. Add water effects to ponds/rivers
  9. Add Trees
 

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Don't you use plaster wrap to cover inclines and smooth out gaps in terrain from butt joints in the foam? I'm probably doing something wrong.
I wouldn't say wrong. there are many ways to do things. you could cover with plater cloth if you want.
but If i'm sculpting things from foam I would sculpt not only rough shape but the entire shape as well and cover any irregularities with caulk, joint compound or spackling paste or stuff like that.

up to you. good luck
 

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Tankist is right: forget the word "wrong". You can do anything you want to on your layout that works for you.

But as far as foam terrain, instead of leaving that stairstep effect, most of us would carve the foam using a hot wire cutter, scaling knife, rasp, coarse sanding block, etc., into the more or less final terrain shape.

Then you only need a thin layer of something (my material of choice is Sculptamold) to smooth it out a little.
 
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