Sydney scenery

 
  markmeow Locomotive Driver

Hello,

I am starting to develop my model rail layout.

I am basing it on the area west of Sydney (around Kingswood).

What I am looking for ground scenery similar to that kind of area, the light brown soil with with tufts of grass.

I am thinking minatur for the tufts, but what do you all suggest for the light brown soil - an underlay mat or artificial loose soil? can anyone suggest who produces this kind of mat or loose soil?

Thanks.

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  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
Hello,

I am starting to develop my model rail layout.

I am basing it on the area west of Sydney (around Kingswood).

What I am looking for ground scenery similar to that kind of area, the light brown soil with with tufts of grass.

I am thinking minatur for the tufts, but what do you all suggest for the light brown soil - an underlay mat or artificial loose soil? can anyone suggest who produces this kind of mat or loose soil?

Thanks.
markmeow
Hi Mark,

I can't speak on your specific area as I am not that familiar with that part of Sydney. BUT as a generalisation, most commercially available scenery products are really aimed at Europe or North America. Australia tends to have a "red" landscape as our soils are more highly weathered and have a high iron content and our grasses are more "yellow" than green due to our dryer environment. Remember, this is a generalisation and will vary from region to region. Tropical coastal Queensland will be a lot greener with more organic matter in the soil than the mid-north of South Australia for example. So when looking at products, keep these basic rules in mind.

What many do for soil is to paint the base layer in a suitable latex paint colour. Some then sprinkle earth from the area they are modelling onto the wet paint or glue it down. The problem with this technique is that the earth is at 1:1 scale whereas you really need a very fine sifted soil to more accurately represent whatever scale you are modelling in. Unfortunately, nature doesn't scale very well! Chucks Ballast may have a suitable "soil" in their range.

As for tufts of grass, Orient Express in Adelaide and All Aboard in Mittagong both sell very good scenery products. They are probably good places to ask.

Good luck!
  Fairlight Station Master

Location: Always watching....
I spent many years around the Kingswood/ Werrington area whilst at uni out there .
To actually describe the area scenery wise along the railway line would be fairly flat.
The ground out that way is fairly brown and dry from what I remember. There a plenty of tall grasses along the perimeter fences with quite tall gum trees on either side of the line.

Sounds like an interesting project.....and a good chance to run trains at speed as I think that section of line is part of the 'speedway'.
  Iain Chief Commissioner

Location: Concord, NSW
I spent a fair bit of time at the State Archives at Kingswood in the mid to late 1990s- it was mostly grass with pods of urban areas with trees replanted on the creeklines. The Four Winds Tannery site was covered in bamboo and many other disused sites were covered in bamboo or other shrubby weeds.  

Iain
  Indefatigable Assistant Commissioner

Location: Sydney
G'day Mark,

Sounds like an interesting subject for a layout. One thing I recommend is taking photos of the scenery beside the railway line as you go past it in the train, and printing off those photos for reference. Two things I noted the other day when coming past from the Blue Mountains:

1. The scenery is a lot greener than your average NSW country lineside stuff, as there is a lot of little creeks plus irrigated grassy areas - the archery field on the northern side of the line between Werrington and St Marys, plus the land being turned into a housing estate on the southern side of the line at the moment between Kingswood and Werrington.

2. What Iain said above. Everything is pretty spread out, even in 2015 still. You could believably model lineside suburban streets with houses, then a gap of scenery with no built environment except maybe power transmission lines, then houses or the back of factories/light industrial units, like on the northern side of the line, east of St Marys.

Model Railroad Craftsman at Blacktown have a really good stock of static grasses and mininatur grass tufts too for when you start on the scenery.

Cheers,
Ben
  a6et Minister for Railways

Hello,

I am starting to develop my model rail layout.

I am basing it on the area west of Sydney (around Kingswood).

What I am looking for ground scenery similar to that kind of area, the light brown soil with with tufts of grass.

I am thinking minatur for the tufts, but what do you all suggest for the light brown soil - an underlay mat or artificial loose soil? can anyone suggest who produces this kind of mat or loose soil?

Thanks.
markmeow
I lived in the west for pretty well all my life in Sydney, at Mt Druitt for the last 10 prior to moving.  A couple of things to consider first up, 1: what era are you looking to model?  If modern/today then you have no issues with how to get photo's of the scenery around the area.

The section of track from Blacktown right through to Penrith has dramatically changed over the years, with the amount of developments & suburban sprawl.  The sports areas are relatively new but certainly in the last 20 years were developed, prior to that it may well have been very different.

2 Soil colour.  Get a small sample of the soild you want to match, around a 500gr tub full, but get a fine sifter & sift the soil into the tub, then see how the colour of sifted soil matches the normal soil you may be surprised at the difference. Glue some of the sifted sand onto a thin piece of card or spare styrene, once dry take to a colour matching paint source & get a sample pot of that colour & try it out on a section of ply that you would be using for the baseboard.

It may be a bit fiddly but the best way to match the ground colour, this is what a local modeller with a very large layout has done for his layout to enable him to match the scenery area of his layout.  Once he was happy he now uses that paint over the terrain & up to the  ballast area of his layout.  

Once the paint is on, you could sprinkle ground foam over the damp paint & it acts as a glue.

As for the tuffs, do some online searches before just picking one brand, will the minatur tuffs & other items a good they are not cheap & there are other options out there.  Check out the range from http://scenicexpress.com/ but watch the postage if ordering.  The eco packs are excellent products as is the price.
  viaprojects Train Controller

Hello,

I am starting to develop my model rail layout.

I am basing it on the area west of Sydney (around Kingswood).
markmeow
which period 70' ,80's  or current as there was a lot of earth works done over time.  ie kingwood station with the rail crossing  or after it was removed. as the surface areas have changed from stone - clay - garden - car park.
  rgmccau Junior Train Controller

Location: Canberra
I use whatever "brown" colour "reject" sample pots of paint I can get from my local "Bunnings". I can usually get them for $1 per pot, but some places still charge $7-$8, so shop around.  It doesn't have to be the same colour over the entire layout, there is no such thing as "one" earth colour, so as long as the general tone is right, it will work.  Any interior or exterior paint should work - except enamel, because you don't want a smooth finish; in fact roughing up the finished surface with a metal brush is a good idea, as it gives the ground cover something to stick to.  You can also use cheap acrylic paint to provide highlights.

Sifted dirt as described above - very finely sifted.  Again, colour variations don't matter.

A (bad) example from my layout below - meant to be a "typical" sandstone rock face.  I'm unhappy about the colour though; it's too bright, so I think I'll be applying an overall wash of black/grey acrylic to tone it down.

https://flic.kr/p/qERUMT

Ross McConchie
Canberra
  a6et Minister for Railways

I use whatever "brown" colour "reject" sample pots of paint from my local "Bunnings". I can usually get them for $1 per pot, but some places still charge $7-$8, so shop around.  It doesn't have to be the same colour over the entire layout, there is no such thing as "one" earth colour, so as long as the general tone is right, it will work.  Any interior or exterior paint should work - except enamel, because you don't want a smooth finish; in fact roughing up the finished surface with a metal brush is a good idea, as it gives the ground cover something to stick to.  You can also use cheap acrylic paint to provide highlights.

Sifted dirt as described above - very finely sifted.  Again, colour variations don't matter.

A (bad) example from my layout below - meant to be a "typical" sandstone rock face.  I'm unhappy about the colour though; it's too bright, so I think I'll be applying an overall wash of black/grey acrylic to tone it down.

https://flic.kr/p/qERUMT

Ross McConchie
Canberra
rgmccau
Go to Bunnings & get a bag of playground sand. $8.00 for 20Kg while there get some brickies mortar yellow sand colouring, add some of both to the plaster mix which will give you the right base colour as well as having the gritty sand affect in it as well.

If you are doing dirt & not worried too much, use the brickies dark brown mortar colouring for the plaster, it dries a lot lighter than the powder, you can also use the same sand in that mix as well.  As I ran out of it, I now use spent ground coffee beans from my Cappucino maker, darl brown & adds a rough texture to the plaster.
  MtBeenak Train Controller

While at Bunnings, have a look at the Suede Effects range.  They have textured paints which mimic stone or sand and they will tint them to a range of colours.  Ask for a sample pot of the finish you like and they will tint it to an earthtone from one of the colour charts.  They cost a few dollars, but a small pot goes a long way and the effect is quiet good on its own or with other coverings.  I also use one of the stone effects on fascia boards instead of flat paint.  It looks like the fascia is cut away earth!

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