The DataBeaver's Domain

Model railway - Scenery

Although scenery is not the primary goal of my model railway hobby, nor is making it a strong skill for me, I do enjoy having something more than just plain tables to run my trains on. Since I like to change my layout every now and then, I can't build a large static scenery. Instead I've come up with a modular terrain system that allows the terrain to be modified along with the layout.

The basic unit is a 10×10×5cm half-cube made out of styrofoam. This can be cut in various ways to make half- or quarter-sized pieces and slopes of different grades. The pieces can be given a coating to make them look like grasss or sand or stone or other type of surface, and holes can be made for sticking trees into. The end result has a distinctive 90s-computer-game feel to it, but having played many of those games myself, I find it a nostalgic sort of desirable.

Even the gentlest slope I can reasonably make into a standardised piece is too steep for the trains though, so I have to use additional supports. In the future I may cut specialized styrofoam pieces to put under the tracks.

Earlier I tried to make larger self-contained and movable things, but ran into some problems. An entire hill is sort of hard to integrate seamlessly into its surroundings, so a homogeneous look would be hard to achieve. Anything larger, such as a mountain range, would be downright impossible without limiting its use to a particular layout. Building large things also requires a lot of time and space.

Below are some photos of the single hill I managed to finish. It has a styrofoam core, on top of which is three layers of newspaper and finally flock grass. A few cliffs are made with acrylic paint.

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