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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I'm currently planning my first "big" (room size) setup.
However I'm quite big on things "looking" right, to me anyway, and I've come across my first stumbling block.

The plan for this setup is to recreate a WW2 desert airfield in africa, have the track round the perimeter with two different sidings at either side. One being a RAF side and t'other being German. Now I know that's not realistic at all and the chances of them sharing an airfield were low to put it politely, but I want to see both sides of the coin in my setup so to speak.

My biggest problem is getting some sand that looks like desert stuff.

The only Sand I can find available in my local shops, and on eBay is the Javis stuff which looks far too earthy to have a good desert feel to it.

Does anyone have any sand setups they could show the effects of and explain how they achieved it? or is there a better method to this?

Someone in one of the shops suggested painted emery paper, which would be fine for the flat plains but not much use for the ballast and general around-the-track effects.

All ideas and examples greatly received!

Alex
 

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A great idea. Please keep us posted as to your progress.

I would use expanded foam to mould the landscape, then plaster. Paint it sand-yellow, and then glue on a fine layer of the right type of sand when you find it.

Course building sand (river sand) is probably too coarse.

Go to a builders shop / DIY and look for fine sand or even powder that is uses in colouring cement.
 

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QUOTE (Robert Stokes @ 31 Oct 2007, 16:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Why not use real sand?

Why not - I know Brighton has pebbles but I have found that fine beach sand when washed and dried makes strangely eccective sand. I would agree as well with Doug's former plan for the main landscape. Good luck whichever way you go.

Regards
 

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Thanks for the replies so far guys, much appreciated.

I have been searching all afternoon and come across this site, which seems like others might find it useful too, they have a selection of different gravels and sand in lots of colours.

http://www.rista.co.uk/

The "Apollo" range of Black Gravel looks ideal for using as Coal, and at £2.40 for 400g its cheaper than the model stuff I have seen so far.

I think the one they have which would most match what I am after is the "Atlantic Range" in Yellow. I'm going to order a pot and do a test on a small bit of scrap wood to see how it comes out.

Now this is the big question, how do I apply it? you said just glue it to the plastered surface, is there a special glue I need to be using to keep hold of the sand.

Should I also wet the sand during the drying process with the mist from a spray gun as I have seen suggested? what are the benefits from this.

Sorry about all the questions but this is my first scratch build and I've got a big learning curve to conquer!

Alex
 

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QUOTE (Avionyx @ 31 Oct 2007, 17:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Now this is the big question, how do I apply it? you said just glue it to the plastered surface, is there a special glue I need to be using to keep hold of the sand.

Should I also wet the sand during the drying process with the mist from a spray gun as I have seen suggested? what are the benefits from this.

Just use a good quality white PVA wood glue spread out thickly with a paintbrush, scatter sand all over pressing it down gently. Leave to dry for 24 hours and vacuum off the excess. If you have "bald" patches just repeat the exercise.

Hope this helps.

Regards
 

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There is cleaned fine sand available in bagged quantities for use by children, playgroups etc. This is much finer than builders' sand. An 'Early Learning' or similar shop (Toys R'us?) might be able to supply it.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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The "beach" on my layout was made from fine sand bought from a pet store. I believe it is called Chinchilla sand. This is ultra fine and looks a lot more realistic than real sand. I used it like ballast and set it with PVA glue and water from a dropper. This is what it looked like once it had been set. It is now partially covered with epoxy resin to look like waves.

 

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Another possibility for you to explore is Warhammer. I know some of their races are desert dwellers and I have seen some good work. Just a thought.
 

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Hi Alex,

Great idea - I like it, but then again I've always liked the unusual or "what if" models.

The sand on Margate beach (the Clock Tower end) is very fine & may just do what you want. We will be in Brighton next year for show, so if you can wait we can always bring you a bucketful.

Please keep us posted on the progress in any case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi All,

Thank you very much for the replies, you've all been most helpful. From what I've seen builders sand is just the wrong colour so I'm going to rule out trade places for now.

The Warhammer idea was great and I actually have a friend who is rather into his warhammer modelling, I just gave him a quick call and he says yes they do have sand, however its about £5.99 for a smallish tub, which could make it a bit cost-prohibitive.

I also feel a bit like a total idiot at this point because I know exactly the colour sand I want, and I've been racking my brain for days trying to think where I've seen it, until I realised it was staring me in the face......... Its in my fishtank, you know, the big 380 gallon one that you can't miss in the corner over there.

However, to my defence, this is seriously expensive stuff, it cost me £60 just to put a layer on the bottom of the fishtank.

What I'm going to do is take some out of the tank spread it out on the board and work out how much it would cost me to do it in fishtank sand. Then I'll go compare it with some stuff from the craftshop.

In Brighton on the pier there is actually one of those stands that does the "Crazy Sand" you know where you put coloured sand in a bottle to make patterns? I'll go see how much theirs is and see which works out cheapest.

We still haven't had a decision on if I should use a dropper/spraygun to wet the sand, it seems there's a 50/50 split. What are the benefits, and reasons, for wetting?

Thank you all so much, the help really is appreciated!

I'll certainly keep you posted as I go along.

Alex
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 1 Nov 2007, 09:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The sand on Margate beach (the Clock Tower end) is very fine & may just do what you want.

The very stuff I was referring to in post #4.

Regards
 

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If it were me i would use silver sand, this is very fine, but make sure you glue it down well, dont want any gettiing into the loco mechanisims, or it will realy wreck them.
 

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Chinchilla Dust is very, fine sand used to dry clean Chinchillas. I have used it to represent sand in HO and it is sold in 2kg plastic-bottle containers which are detritus-free and reasonably priced.

I bet you never thought of that!

72C
 

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QUOTE The plan for this setup is to recreate a WW2 desert airfield in africa

might be an idea to actually get a good look at the real thing?

is 'sand' really going to be what is wanted?

Or would it be rock and scrub?

[don't recall much 'sand' sand around Tobruk when I dropped by back in late 60's?]

I be inclined to take a look at the US model railroad scene...there are numerous excellent books on scenery construction....check out the Walthers website?
Because, desert railroading, especially narrow gauge, is a popular US subject.

I feel the issue will be colouring, and texture?

[years ago, I built a little OOn9 layout, based on railways in German South West Africa [Namibia]...to run a ''Zwillinger'' back-to-back loco I had built........bit of a snakes and ladders layout..didn't survive....lots of nude rock landscape...emulsion paint over plaster, with talc sprinkled on....smelt nice too!]]
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 1 Nov 2007, 23:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Or would it be rock and scrub?

[don't recall much 'sand' sand around Tobruk when I dropped by back in late 60's?]

Because, desert railroading, especially narrow gauge, is a popular US subject.

I feel the issue will be colouring, and texture?

[years ago, I built a little OOn9 layout, based on railways in German South West Africa [Namibia]...to run a ''Zwillinger'' back-to-back loco I had built........bit of a snakes and ladders layout..didn't survive....lots of nude rock landscape...emulsion paint over plaster, with talc sprinkled on....smelt nice too!]]

Chinchilla sand sounds interesting as it is particularly fine. The areas which had railway tracks were more likely to be built on rockier ground as were many of the areas where combat took place. Only lighter vehicles could operate well in the deep sand areas. A bit like a Martian landscape in some ways? - Now theres a thought! I once read a SF short story (ethical engineers?) about a railway system built on the only stable areas of land - extinct volcanos and powered i think by fermentation and one about a desert planet which had to build underground 'The Subways of Tazoo'.
Back to the proper subject; Textured masonry paint is available in a suitable base colour and other water based paints can be used to add tints etc.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks again for all the replies guys,

I've done some tests today, They are currently drying. I went to a rather well stocked model shop today and managed to get hold of some of the Javis "Fine Yellow Grass"

I've also got some superfine sand from the pet shop, we'll see which comes out nicest once its dry and sealed.

So far it looks like the Javis stuff is the most realistic.

Alex
 
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