Building the Northern Mountian Scenery with Rock Castings and Portals – Part 1

Now that the majority of the layout construction is complete I am moving on to more scenery projects.  This mountain ridge will be the hardest to build as it is difficult to reach, has to be removable, has to encompass three portals two of which are almost on top of each other and all in very little space.  Here is an image to help show the confined area.  Note my very artistic red portal graphics and the tight amount of space on the left side.

Similar to my previous scenery posts, I start by covering all the track with newspaper strips and then with some castings I poured, form the portal walls and plaster them in place.  This part kind of drags on as I have to wait for the hydracal plaster to dry before I can more on so everything is done is a series of steps and days.

Once hardened I can not proceed to start building up the frame of the mountain using thin cardboard strips.  I prefer them as once they are glued to the form I want, they will stay in place even with the weight of the plaster toweling.  Nothing is more frustrating when you are plastering and your crumpled up newspaper starts to cave in.  This step requires lots of small clamps as the next series of pictures will prove.

Let the plaster toweling begin.  I make sure when mixing the plaster to not have it too thin or too thick.  Too thin and it drips off, too thick and way to much is applied.  Once the toweling is complete I will brush on any extra plaster and even out the coverage.  I am not worried about brush marks at this point as another layer of plaster will be applied in a stippling fashion which will remove any brush marks and create some texture to the surface.

Notice that I an not doing the upper mountain yet.  This will be the removable section so I need to complete the portal sides and the lower mountain  first so the removable section will have something to sit on.  It is built the same way but I line the edges with plastic shopping bags cut into strips so that once the removable section dries, it can be lifted off.  You can see the plastic bag strips in the middle of the mountain.  Also you will see that that the other two portals have been installed and the frame work has started on the other end of the mountain range.

The next step will be applying rock castings and some color which will be covered in part 2.

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