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Enhancing The Winter Diorama, Part 2

In the previous installment I leveled the area around the station house to make way for the new parking lot and road. Now the time has come to actually lay the road.


I will lay the road using the Woodland Scenics Road System

Making A Road

I have laid the plaster cloth and the plaster has had some time to dry. To lay the road I have bought the Woodland Scenics Road System Learning Kit (Woodland Scenics #LK952). The idea is really simple: You lay a special tape called Paving Tape, which is really some kind of high tape to form a mold for your road. Using a pencil I marked the area for the road and parking lot directly onto the plaster.


It is easier to visualize the road if you draw the contours on the plaster.

When the Paving Tape is laid I mix the plaster product from the Learning Kit with water. Woodland Scenics calls the product Smooth-It. It is a special fast drying (very fast drying) product that is perfect for roads, sidewalks etc. You have about 10 minutes of working time, so you need to be fast. I would advise you to practice a bit before using it on your layout. That is what the learning kit is for in the first place.

I separated my parking lot and road into managable areas to ease the paving proces. I really recommend using this technique because you can concentrate on small pieces at the time.


The first part of the parking lot is taking shape. The road outline turned out a bit too wide, so I narrowed the road a bit.

A little spreader is included with the learning kit, so you can get started without any tools. Don't worry about Smooth-It running out of the mold, just make sure that you have a bit of masking tape for easy removal when you are done paving. 


The road is taking shape.

The consistency of the Smooth-It is fairly runny because you will want it to get into every corner of your mold. Do not worry, it will dry very quickly (about 10 - 15 minutes of working time).

For the corner between the road and the parking lot I took advantage of the fact that the Smooth-It had almost dried. I simply used the already paved parts as the mold and only used paving tape where needed.


Use existing road parts as molds when you need to connect your small working areas.

Tip: Remove the paving tape as soon as the Smoot-It starts to set. That way you will not risk pulling any road parts up. If you wait until the Smooth-It has completely dried, you may rip of pieces of road.

The paving is done and the station house is put back in place. It does look kind of cool, don't you think?


The paving is done.

Tip: After the Smooth-It has completely dried, it can be sanded using fine sand paper or a sanding block.

The new and improved diorama is taking shape and I am already starting to like the way it looks. It is much better and more realistic looking than the old scenery.


Looking at this picture, I can almost feel the cold German winter, brr!

If you have not yet tried the Woodland Scenics Road System, I really think you should. I was amazed on how easy it was, and how great it looks. The Learning Kit also includes black asphalt paint.

In the next installment I will look at painting the road to give it an even more realistic look - and using a cool product from Woodland Scenics to create snow drifts and blending the new scenery into the existing one.

Happy Modelling!

Enhancing the Winter Diorama, Part 1

Last year I built a winter diorama to have a nice display for Christmas. I think a model winter landscape is a fun way of displaying trains in the holiday season.


The back side of the station did not really have a realistic landscape. I wanted to change that.

I never really liked the way the backside of the station house turned out. It did not seem realistic and I wanted to do some more. Thankfully the winter diorama was built using the technique of foam sheets, newspaper wads and plaster, which makes it really easy to change should you ever want to do so.

For this installment I will show you how I took away the part of the landscape that I did not like, and added a flat surface for the new station square with a parking lot.

Removing The Old Landscape

This process is the messy one. Since I was using plaster cloth (Woodland Scenics #C1203) it was quite easy to cut the part of the landscape away. Simply use a knife and cut a hole in the plaster, tear the plaster away a long with the landscape. Easy!


The plaster cloth is gone, and you can see the foam sheets underneath.

With the plaster cloth gone, I could start on building the new foundation for the parking lot. Because there is a difference in height, I had to add additional height to the surrounding landscape to bring it into level with the station warehouse.


Scrap foam sheet is used to bring the parking lot up to the same height as the station house foundation.

I used scrap pieces of foam sheet to bring the parking lot up to about the same height as the station house foundation. This will create a level surface for the parking lot. I then used Foam Putty (Woodland Scenics #ST1447) to fill in the gaps and create a smooth transition to the remaining scenery.


Foam Putty is great for filling in the gaps when you use scrap foam pieces.


The station parking lot is now level and the Foam Putty is drying.

I also used Foam Putty to form the foundation of the road that is leading towards the parking lot. Foam Putty is great for this purpose.

When Foam Putty has dried it will have the same consistency as foam. You can sand it with a sanding block or some fine sanding paper. This way the surface will be smooth and ready for the new plaster cloth to be added.

In the next part the parking lot will take shape.

Happy Modelling!