Saturday, January 11, 2014

Repairing the Ballard Hill — Part 6

This post is a kind of reprise, with some shots from earlier in the process of repairing the hill. It could almost be seen as a follow-up to my Part 3, which is at: . I post these additional photos in response to some e-mail questions about the adding of an old piece of scenery to the layout, and my technique with plaster cloth plus paper mache.
     The piece of old scenery was classic hardshell, made with plaster-soaked paper towels, over window screen. The plaster in many places was embedded into the screen, making the entirety pretty sturdy, despite being separated from the layout. You can see this in these shots of my son Sylvan (at left) and me, lifting the old piece into place. There were some blobs of fresh paper mache underneath this piece—shown in Part 3, cited above—which would serve to attach the addition. (My wife took most of these shots.)

Another view as we wiggled the piece to get the best fit onto the mountaintop.

This was really just a matter of finding the best orientation, then pressing down on the old scenery segment to make sure it was “glued” with the paper mache beneath.
     I have shown previously how I made the major contours in areas that required a new surface, using Woodland Scenics’ Plaster Cloth material. Here is a view of a freshly made surface of that kind, on the right half of the photo. At upper left, paper mache contouring has already been done. This stage is similar to that shown in Part 4 of this series, which if you’re interested can be found at: .

     My approach to work with Sculptamold and Brandt’s Paper Mache (materials I’ve discussed in previous posts on this topic) to create all the new surfaces needed, is to place it with a putty knife, in most cases, then refine. Here I am working around some outcropping rocks (plaster castings already placed).

Once the fresh paper mache is in place, I use fingers, usually wetted so the paper mache only sticks minimally to the finger, to smooth and adjust the surface left by the knife.

And of course like all such scenery methods, I always say, “contour, let dry, and repeat” until it looks just like you want. You can always add a little more.
Tony Thompson

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