Author Topic: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery  (Read 3406 times)

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jweir43

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The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« on: June 03, 2017, 11:27:40 AM »
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What I'm looking for (hopefully online) is the bonehead simple beginner's lessons to basic scenery.  I need to make (for example) a two lane road.  I don't CARE if it doesn't exactly model the 1946 country roads in East Undershirt, OH.  I care that there is a simple technique that I can think about and modify to my own desires, but I need a starting spot.  Trees, hills, water ... the whole spectrum.

Thoughts appreciated.

Thanks,

Jim

davefoxx

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2017, 11:59:33 AM »
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One place to start is to dig down for the "Best of" threads in this Scenery Techniques Forum that you posted this thread to here on TRW.  It won't take you long to find those threads, as there are only four pages of threads in this particular forum.  There is a plethora of information in those threads.  Also, you might go through some of the layout threads in the Layout Engineering Forum.  Generally, modelers are posting their techniques in their threads.

Hope this helps,
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tom mann

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2017, 01:02:55 PM »
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Agree with Dave Foxx.  There are so many ways to do one particular thing, but browsing through the threads here is a good start and will give you ideas.

jweir43

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2017, 03:02:27 PM »
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I appreciate your comments, fellers, I really do.  I looked at all the "best of" and I agree, they really look great.  But they are about two to three levels beyond what I need.  They talk about stuff that I can only scratch my head and try to figure out what they are saying.  I really need this stuff dumbed down.  Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Jim

Spades

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2017, 03:06:18 PM »
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Lance Mindheim website is a great reference http://lancemindheim.com/about-us/  From the How to Menu  select the topic you want, say roads. Simple text and the oh so important pictures.  Lance is a national treasure. (For model railroading)

pdx1955

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2017, 03:13:10 PM »
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Try the Kalmbach publication , "How to build Realistic Model Railroad Scenery" by Dave Frary. You should be able to find this used or updated versions in hobbyshops. It covers all of the basics with easy step by step processes. Once you get some work under your belt, you can try the more advanced techniques.
Peter

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Missaberoad

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2017, 03:49:54 PM »
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I second @pdx1955 's suggestion, both Kalmbach and Carstens have produced some very valueble content over the years, especially in the 1980s/90s period...

Using the techniques in the books on scenery (the yellow cover scenery tips and techniques and Dave frary or Lou Sassi's books are very much worth while) will give you a good start, and combining them with more modern techniques found on the Railwire or scale modeling forums will make for some top notch scenery... 

Other things worth searching would be wargaming terrain, miniature bases or german model railroad forums... A quick google search should open up a rabbit hole of scenery techniques...
Ryan in Alberta

jagged ben

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2017, 11:09:08 PM »
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My advice...

Don't try out the techniques on the most important scene on your layout.  Start in an area that won't be seen as much, or even try your techniques on a test bed that isn't on the layout at all.  When your satisfied enough that you're getting the hang of it then tackle the scenes that are important to you.   

(Aside from trees that is, those can be easily moved or replaced.)

Blackout

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2017, 05:06:23 AM »
+1
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migalyto

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2017, 07:42:38 AM »
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Another option that worked well for me was to take scraps of wood, foam, cardboard, and practice off the layout. This way you can try several methods, and pick the one that's right for you. It just takes some practice. There's not many of us out there that hasn't torn something out, to retry.

160pennsy

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2017, 12:53:49 PM »
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What I'm looking for (hopefully online) is the bonehead simple beginner's lessons to basic scenery.  I need to make (for example) a two lane road.  I don't CARE if it doesn't exactly model the 1946 country roads in East Undershirt, OH.  I care that there is a simple technique that I can think about and modify to my own desires, but I need a starting spot.  Trees, hills, water ... the whole spectrum.

Thoughts appreciated.

Thanks,

Jim


Hello Jim,

Please check the below link for excellent scenery tutorial videos available free (YouTube) from Luke Towan (Boulder Creek Railroad).
My recommendation is starting with the series titled - Realistic Scenery Volumes 1-6 and then browsing thru the others covering detail items.
Luke does his modeling in HO scale but the materials & methods work the same for N Scale.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjRkUtHQ774mTg1vrQ6uA5A/videos

The production quality, editing and detailed closeups in his videos is amazing and really puts to shame the glut of other amateur model railroad tutorials available for no cost online.
IMHO with Luke's tutorials you're getting a heck of a lot more bang for your buck  - they are free, he gets to the point quickly and avoids droning on endlessly describing the techniques.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 01:10:12 PM by 160pennsy »
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MVW

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2017, 01:27:44 PM »
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I appreciate your comments, fellers, I really do.  I looked at all the "best of" and I agree, they really look great.  But they are about two to three levels beyond what I need.  They talk about stuff that I can only scratch my head and try to figure out what they are saying.  I really need this stuff dumbed down.  Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Jim

Looks like you've already received great advice on where to look. A suggestion, though: When you get around to doing the modeling, document it and post updates here. You'll likely get more comments on how to improve. Plus, those threads are good for a lot of us.

Good luck!

Jim

p51

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2017, 05:06:54 PM »
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I really need this stuff dumbed down.  Any suggestions?
Some have suggested going with older scenery books written by the MR/RMC folks. I would strongly suggest against any of them as scenery elements have changed a LOT in the past 15-20 or so years.
Go with any basic scenery primer book written within the last 5-10 years at the most. That will likely catch you up with the newer techniques.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2017, 10:46:15 PM »
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Some have suggested going with older scenery books written by the MR/RMC folks. I would strongly suggest against any of them as scenery elements have changed a LOT in the past 15-20 or so years.
Go with any basic scenery primer book written within the last 5-10 years at the most. That will likely catch you up with the newer techniques.

This is very true.

Just today, Dr. Hotballs and I were discussing why it is that European modelers so often excel at capturing American landscapes while we ourselves often fall short.

I think the answer is that many of us came up reading outdated texts about how to build scenery. Stuff that includes things like "puffball trees" and that, in many cases, just boils down to "buy these products, apply the products". Sure, that can be helpful, but it also trains people in some bad habits that result in scenery that's not all that realistic (like, fields of solid green ground foam).


Dave V

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Re: The Compleat Idiot's Guide To Scenery
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2017, 11:24:33 AM »
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This is very true.

Just today, Dr. Hotballs and I were discussing why it is that European modelers so often excel at capturing American landscapes while we ourselves often fall short.

I think the answer is that many of us came up reading outdated texts about how to build scenery. Stuff that includes things like "puffball trees" and that, in many cases, just boils down to "buy these products, apply the products". Sure, that can be helpful, but it also trains people in some bad habits that result in scenery that's not all that realistic (like, fields of solid green ground foam).

QFT.  One need only browse the Scenic Express website to see what's available now.  Of course it's more expensive than some of the traditional techniques, but the cost difference is clear in the results.  The biggest issue I have with most American-style scenery you typically see is the lack of texture variation.  A uniform coating of ground foam sure beats the unfinished sub-scenic base but doesn't go far enough.  The real world is filled with weeds and scrub and dirt of varying grit.  The trick here is to be random in your application of scenic materials to the point of being almost sloppy, and apply it in multiple layers.  This is a very different mindset than the old "zip texturing" or even Dave Frary schools of scenery.  Both were the shizzle in their day, but no more.  Now we can have scale bushes, scale leaves, grass that stands up on its own, etc.

My best advice is to look at what you want to model with all of its vegetation (because even the desert Southwest is covered with vegetation) and then take a look at Scenic Express and see what you can do to match it.