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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of building a long mountain to disguise my two level layout changing levels. The wire mesh and plaster of Paris are in in place and its now down to colouring and scenery. Does anyone know of a problem is using very fine top soil to cover the area before adding some "artificial " colours.
My thoughts were to add some fine top soil and then spay a mix of PVC /Water & fairy liquid to try to give the mountain some realism.
Is there any reasons why this cannot be done i.e does the soil decompose or smell after a period. I have looked a various book on adding scenery and have never seen anything that refers to this.
Any good advice would be appreciated
 

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QUOTE (stmartins @ 8 Jan 2009, 21:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I am in the process of building a long mountain to disguise my two level layout changing levels. The wire mesh and plaster of Paris are in in place and its now down to colouring and scenery. Does anyone know of a problem is using very fine top soil to cover the area before adding some "artificial " colours.
My thoughts were to add some fine top soil and then spay a mix of PVC /Water & fairy liquid to try to give the mountain some realism.
Is there any reasons why this cannot be done i.e does the soil decompose or smell after a period. I have looked a various book on adding scenery and have never seen anything that refers to this.
Any good advice would be appreciated

The soil could contain organisms which could later cause trouble not to mention the fact that you might have real weeds on your layout. I would paint the plaster surface a brown colour using household emulsion. That would form a good base for further detail work.
 

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*** No reason not to use it - I've done it and it works.

However don't just lift from the garden and use.

It needs to be perfectly dried and seived afterwards to get rid of nasties. A wee while in the microwave + an hour in the oven also kills most organisms (and you too probably if you don't wait till the wife is out :) ).

apply it both before and after artificial stuff - very very sparingly/finely in the last bit to just "tone" and soften the overall look.

Don't mist it too much (if at all) after applying unless you want mud - you will lose the natural soft texture. Best to apply to a damp surface (perhaps weak glue/water mix) and just leave it. Also as Brian said use a neutral gray/brown base painted on under it...not too reddish, as most earth is quite pale/neutral in colour when dry. water based acrylic thinned with meths and water will flow on well and soak in a bit too, killing any smoothness which is waht you want. you could actually dust it straight onto the wet paint - that also works well.

if you are really brave at using the appliances grind it to the finest possible powder and also use as an overall layout weathering powder - after all blown dust is a major source of grime on everything around it and if you use a "basic layout tint" for this as a final weathering "toning layer" over all on the layout, its always very natural.

Richard
 

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The ballast is a mixture of garden soil and WS products, both of which are organic.

I used many natural products on Grafenwalde without issue (however they were sieved and organic material irradiated) but please do not rely only on man made material, use whatever feels right for the purpose. Scenery is the one modelling discipline in which artistry is more important than rigid rules, just as long as it looks like the real thing.
 

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Well, after reading Richard & Tim's posts I'm looking at this in a new light. To be honest, I'd just not thought about preparing the soil at all, so there is really no need to dismiss the idea - does this mean I lose a housepoint for being wrong ?

Tim - the ballast looks superb & thanks for the picture.
 

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***Nope, you gain two for being open to new Ideas.

Yes, I agree, Tims use of soil with the ballast is excellent - of all the times I had used real earth the one thing I'd not done was add it to the ballast surface and looking at Tims results, I'm really kicking myself as it does exactly what I've been hunting for in the look!

Thanks very much for posting that Tim - and BTW I also really like the way the track flows - it gives a lovely "feeling" to the whole scene.

Regards

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Many thanks to all who replied.
What a great helpful site this is, not like some of the unpleasant ones on the Internet where you ask a dubious question and you are shot to pieces and verbally abused.
I think the micro wave & oven will be running on overtime when my better half is out shopping.

Regards

Tony
 

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I have previously "cooked" the soil in the oven (SWMBO must not be present when doing this!) and had not thought about using the microwave!

One thing that was pointed out to me many years ago was the best place to get soil from for this process. Rather than use soil from out of your garden, use the soil from under the house. You can just generally brush it up rather than digging a clod and breaking it up etc

Another useful place is the desert road in the middle of the north island of NZ. It is a volcanic region and although it is rock rather than dirt the amount of colours is quite huge.

I dont think many countries will let me post any though!

John
 

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What a great idea to use the microwave oven. I was just thinking of going out in the garden with a shovel. I had thoughts of all sort of funny things appearing after a short while. I will have to look into this a bit more. Thank for the great ideas.
 
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