Building the Hitop, Part 8

So today we tackle the ridges and mountains on the layout. What I used for these was the same material MR used: Owens-Corning pink foam. Since I wanted all three tracks going into the mine, and wanted more room in Hitop, this meant moving the mountain that Hitop mine goes back into closer to the front of the layout. So first we’ll start with the ridgeline on the front side of the layout.

As you’ll see here shortly, I sort of “layered” the pink foam in front behind Dickinson yard. I stacked several layers vertically at different heights all along the raised portion of the branch, between it and the backside of Dickinson yard. I hot glued all the foam in place here. Photos here:

Again, you can see the several layers and the different heights I used on the foam. I used the foam also around the front curve where MR had their girder bridge, but where I had decided to use retaining walls from Woodland Scenics. This would give me an extra spot to glue the retaining walls to as well.

Also note when this was dry (hot glue), I added a strip of the foam rock all along the front of the ridge, and painted this later again with battleship grey paint. I then weathered the rock faces with black powders from Bragdon. The seams between the pieces, as well as the top of the foam rock I sealed with Sculptamold, which is pretty lightweight, and easy to work with.

You’ll notice above in the left hand photo the piece of foam in the far right corner matches the height of the retaining walls. This was meant not to be even with these, so at this end, I had to place a separate taller piece of foam which I had already tapered down with a hot knife, so as to make the ridge line taper down as well, if this makes sense.

Again, in the photos above, you can number one, see the foam behind the retaining walls, covered with plaster cloth, and painted an earth brown. You can also see where I contoured the top of the ridge line, this again being done with a hot knife. Again, when doing all this sort of scenery work, be sure to cover the tracks, as you can see I did with 3M painters tape. Once the foam was tapered with the hot knife, I covered the entire ridge with two layers of plaster cloth from WS, then again painted over this with the earth brown paint. I must back up at this point however, as I believe I stated I used Polly Scale paint for this job, but I did not. I actually used a dirt colored brown paint by Behr that I had mixed, as I would have needed a ton of Polly Scale paint!

Now for the BIG job, which was the mountain the mine sits by, what MR I believe called “Hunter Mountain” on their layout. The mountain is a huge pile of crumpled newspaper taped and glued down with a lattice work of cardboard strips, then again covered with plaster cloth and painted the same earth colored paint to help seal it, plus give that ground cover look in case anything showed through. I placed a strip of the foam rock once again along the bottom of the mountain on the mine side, and placed a piece about halfway up the side, also on the mine side. Along the branch line itself, I placed another strip along the curve. You can never have too much exposed rock when modeling the coal fields of West Virginia! Photos here:

In the left photo above, you can see where I made a sort of ledge for the rock outcropping to sit on. Also in the left hand photo, you can see where the track curves up around the mountain, and the rock in place along the bottom of this track. This is also foam rock from Mountains In Minutes, cut to fit this curve, and glued into place. After gluing, the top seam was sealed with Sculptamold. This was continued along the front of the branch line as well, however, along the front, I used foam covered with plaster cloth glued into place as a base for different sizes of foam rock to go into here. Once again, the top seam was sealed with plaster to hold it into place. Photos here:

I had tight quarters along the backside of the ridge line, so as I recall, I used a single piece of foam stacked vertically between the raised plywood and the base, again hot glued into place, then covered with plaster cloth. You can clearly see this in the right hand side of the photos above showing the mine area.

Finally, the bottom photo above shows how I made the hill on the Morris Fork side, at the end of track. As you can clearly see, crumpled newspaper was also used, secured by a lattice work of cardboard strips, which was then covered with plaster cloth, then painted. Note that open strip on the left between the foam pieces. This was so close to the tracks I had to eliminate a piece of foam here, so I simply covered this small area with multiple pieces of plaster cloth. Of course the plaster cloth is what I mounted all the puffball trees to.

This I’ll cover next time. Stay tuned!







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