Building the Northern Mountian Scenery with Rock Castings and Portals – Part 2

Once all the plaster has completely hardened, I carefully removed the lift out section and cleaned up the edges and made sure it fit properly.  I also glued two wooden blocks to the underside of the lift out section and screwed two screws from the top side into the blocks leaving about 3/4″ of length exposed.  These two screws will be how I grab onto the lift out section to remove it.  You may be able to see the screws in the below pictures.  Once the tree cover is added they will not be visible.  Then with additional rock castings, I plaster them in place where I want to create the look of the mountain being blasted away to fit the railroad.  Key thing to remember when doing scenery is that you have to remember that the scenery was there first and the railroad came second.  Once all are in place and the plaster has hardened, I used a watered down brown acrylic paint wash to create an earth like color so that the stark white plaster will not show through the coloring in the final stages.  The rock castings get a wash of greyish black dye.  It is important when using dental plaster that you wet the casting first before applying the color as if you don’t, the casting will suck up the color and it will lock it in almost instantly so it can’t be changed.  By wetting the casting first the coloring bleeds naturally in the contours of the casting and it can still be darkened or lightened by spraying on more water.  The below pictures show the brown wash and the first wash of the castings.

At this point I like to let everything dry overnight as the castings will get lighter and I want to make sure the color applied gets locked into the plaster before I start the next layers of color.  I follow the same process of adding color to the castings.  I use browns, some yellows, some reddish browns, greys and finish off with two or three variations of greens to represent mosses, etc…  Here is a sample of the final coloring.

Then on to applying the ground coloring.  I use Woodlands scenic fine turf and a fine sive and lots of watered down white glue.  First I prep the area by spraying on what I call wet water.  LOL Wet Water… Really….  Yes.  What I do is fill up a spray bottle with water and put a drop or two of regular dish soap in it and shake it up.  What the dish soup does is break down the surface tension so that when you start to add the watered down glue it does not bead up and move all the coloring you just put down.  Same technique is used for ballasting.  It really works well.  I then sift on the green turf coloring and once I am happy with the coverage,  I respray the surface with wet water and start with an eye dropper applying the watered down glue.  I do not worry about perfect coverage as I will still be placing trees, foliage and other coloring and aggregate.

Once I have completed the turfing I let everything dry overnight before I move on to the next step adding trees and foliage which I will cover in part 3.

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