Thursday, July 13, 2023


With WOOPS completed for 2023 and the Eugene and Springfield industrial scenes settling in, it was time to return to the mountains on my railroad for the next stage of scenery.  In January 2020, I completed the base terrain around the railroad with one small exception at Salmon Creek.  The terrain formation involved making the basic landform using insulating foam and then covering it with colored Sculptamold.  It was time to start adding a dirt covering.

I considered several techniques for dirt, beginning with actual dirt.  I discarded that as too much work, especially given the size of my railroad.  Further, I did not feel I had a good long-term supply of dirt.  Real dirt requires sifting for size and should be baked to ensure any micro-organisms are dead/inert.  My past experiences with dirt have seen color shifts as the dirt gets wet and mixes with glue.  


I also considered Woodland Scenics ground foam.  I was not entirely satisfied with the color range available.  I may revisit this as I proceed, but for now, I need to get the basic “dirt” covering onto the tinted Sculptamold.


My solution has been sanded grout.  This is available in quantity and in a wide variety of colors.  I selected three colors that seemed to match photos of the terrain alongside the SP Cascade Line.  I selected colors that I name (for convenience) sand, mocha and gray.


Basic sanded grout colors: sand, mocha and gray.


When I did a test application using sand and mocha, I found the colors a bit too intense.  I found simple mixes to provide a better color selection for most applications.  I chose a 1:1 mix of sand and mocha as a good, basic, dirt color.  A 1:1 mix of mocha and gray provided a good transition to rocky areas.  I can see a 1:1 mix of sand and gray will be useful in transitioning to the slide areas under Noisy Creek and Shady Creek trestles (viaducts).  


Earth mixes: sand+gray, sand+mocha, gray+mocha.


I chose my Cruzatte scene as the first area to receive the dirt covering.  Most of this used the sand+mocha mix, though I used a bit of the gray+mocha mix leading to rock areas.  Note to self: get on to the rock castings!  


Beginning the earth (dirt) covering at Cruzatte.  I painted a slightly diluted (with water) mix of white glue onto the surface and then sprinkled the earth grout mix onto the wet surface.


The photos below show my efforts so far at Cruzatte.  In both cases, I stopped short of significant rock areas.  This will be particularly true for very steep slopes leading down to the Wicopee scene below.


Cruzatte with dirt applied.


RR-East Cruzatte with Wicopee below.  The gray expanse of very steep terrain slope connecting the two scenes begs for rock treatment!


Scenery treatments have begun on my railroad!

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