In my last post I left off with some new landforms in place drying between the trestle and box factory areas. Since I'm experimenting with "ground goop" in this first area to have ground cover applied, the next step, after the plaster dries, is to paint the stark white plaster cloth with my earth color, a flat latex paint. The point of this is to make sure none of the white can show through later layers. Also, before applying the "ground goop," I try to protect the track, backdrop painting, and and other areas such as, in this case, where the background box company building is going to sit with blue tape and wax paper.
scenery books and videos. It is made up of:
+ one part vermiculite (home and garden store: Home Depot))
+ one part CelluClay (art or craft store: Hobby Lobby)
+ one part flat brown latex paint (paint store: Sherwin Williams)
+ two thirds part white glue (art or craft store: Hobby Lobby)
+ one capful of concentrated Lysol (Dollar Store)
Mixing it up in a sealable container allows the unused potion to be saved for later use. Adding the Lysol prevents mold from growing. After it is mixed, it should be the consistency of peanut butter. I add a few teaspoons of water, if it is too thick initially.
Applying a thin layer of "ground goop" works best with an artist's pallet knife and accomplishes several goals. It covers the gauze pattern of the plaster cloth, hides any gaps or patterns from the plywood, provides a surfaced in which to imbed plaster "rocks," creates a naturally irregular surface, and allows me to treat mainline and non mainline tracks differently. In an earlier post and an even earlier post I discussed differentiating the different kinds of trackage. In addition to rail size and tie regularity, I can use the "ground goop" to emphasize the differences. To do this I can spread the "ground goop" gradually right up to the top of the cork on the siding, so it will appear that the track is laid directly on the ground. On the mainline, I leave a narrow "ditch" of uncovered plywood and create a bank opposite the edge of the cork emphasizing mainline drainage.
On the other hand, one minor problem with the "ground goop" is that some of the vermiculite particles don't absorb the brown paint and their light, almost metallic, color telegraphs through. The worst of this can be hidden later with clump foliage or static grass clumps; adding additional texture is a good thing! Also, I am not that happy with the closest layer of backdrop painting in this area of the layout. The green in the backdrop trees don't "go with" the ground foam colors I am using. While the short ridge disguises the right angle between baseboard and backdrop, the painted trees directly behind it will need to be redone as I develop the plan for the 3D trees on the ridge.