Ultimate Scenery System

Recommended Materials

  1. Dow Blueboard Base — Use 2" extruded styrofoam instead of plywood for your layout base and instead of Hardshell for your basic scenery hill and mountain shapes.  Insulation grade styrofoam is dense, fine grained, and strong, yet very lightweight, easy to cut and glue together, and shape.

  2. Hydrocal Casting Material — Mix casting material with water (about one cup of water per two cups of Hydrocal).  Pour the material onto parts of your mold.  By partially filling your mold, you can make an almost infinite variety of relatively small, thin, lightweight rock castings from one mold.  Allow rock castings to dry for 15-30 minutes before removing them from the mold.  After drying, rock castings then can be puzzled together to make highly detailed, realistic scenery.

  3. Sculptamold Filler — Mix Sculptamold with water (about one part water per two parts Sculptamold to start).  Use a cup or small bowl.  Mud in your castings.  Spread Sculptamold on your scenery foundation and also on the back of your castings.  Sculptamold's slow setting time (about 30 minutes) allows you plenty of time to work with it.  Sculptamold is also ideal as your transitional material.  Use it to fill cracks between your mounted castings and to fill holes and cracks in your scenery foundation.

  4. Structolite/Gypsolite Ground Cover — After mounting the rock castings and smoothing out cracks with Sculptamold, mix Structolite with water (about one part water to two parts Structolite).  Spread a thin coating of Structolite to areas needing an earthy texture.  After drying, paint with earth tone latex and add ground foam of various textures and colors.


Diorama, Tunnel, or Beginner's Kit

Recommended Steps for Learning the Ultimate Scenery System:

  1. Glue extruded styrofoam blocks in desired location with water-based glue or contact cement.  Extruded styrofoam is strong and lightweight and doesn't crumble like "beadboard" styrofoam.  Hold in place with 2.5" nails.

  2. Use keyhole saw and rasp to cut and form styrofoam into rough shape desired.

  3. Apply latex compound to Master Castings to make your molds by following the Make-A-Mold instructions.

  4. Partially fill molds with plaster or hydrocal.  Make small, thin rock castings.  Fill retaining wall mold.

  5. Decide where you want to mount your castings.  Use a keyhole saw to notch the styrofoam as needed to help your castings to lay relatively even with each other.  Apply a coating of Sculptamold to the area where you want to mount your castings.  Also, apply a peanut butter coating on the back of your casting and some white glue for extra hold.  Puzzle your castings together, overlapping them as best you can.  Sculptamold's slow setting time and stickiness makes it ideal for mudding in your castings.

  6. Use Sculptamold and small, broken casting pieces to fill in cracks between castings and the scenery base.  Again, Sculptamold's slow setting time makes it a great transition material.  Also, spread Structo-Lite mud where needed to give your scenery base ground cover an earthy texture.  First rough up styrofoam surface with rasp to give Structo-Lite something on which to hold.

  7. Allow Rock Castings, Sculptamold, and Structo-Lite to dry.

  8. Using a plastic spray bottle, spray castings with a wash of highly diluted black water color.

  9. Paint castings and ground cover with desired earth tone latex paint with an inexpensive 1" brush.  After drying, spray castings again with a dark wash and dry-brush some high spots to help accent casting details.

  10. Spray a small amount of dilute white glue from a plastic spray bottle on areas needing grassy ground cover.  With a sifter, lightly sprinkle foam ground cover where desired.  Spray a small amount of dilute white glue onto ground cover to hold it in place.

  11. Lay and nail track to base.  Lay ballast, soak with dilute white glue.  Ballast and glue should hold track in place.

  12. Paint base edges or trim them with tempered masonite.

Have fun, practice, and soon you'll enjoy your own creation!

Good Luck!


Ultimate Scenery System

Welcome to a system that features more realism, less work, and less weight!  Don't try to imitate mother nature by carving; duplicate mother nature by using a Master Casting directly on your layout or as a master for making a highly detailed latex mold.

Instructions:  Ultimate Scenery Center latex mold compound can be painted on to almost any object you wish to duplicate.  It is specially formulated for use with any Master.  This compound will produce long lasting molds which can be used with molding plaster or hydrocal to produce beautiful, realistic rock castings.

Materials Needed:

  • Master Casting
  • Ultimate Latex Rubber Mold Compound (Liquid)
  • Two inexpensive 1" Nylon Paintbrushes
  • Bandage Gauze or Cheesecloth
  • Water (Distilled Best)
  • Scissors
  • Ultimate Mold Release Concentrate
  • Ultimate Mold Dressing Concentrate

  1. Apply a coat of diluted Mold Release to the Master Casting with a paintbrush or spray bottle.

  2. Heat oven to 250 degrees, open oven door. Place your Master Castings on the open oven door (not in oven). Gently heat the Master Castings (a heat lamp, hair dryer, or direct sunlight can also be used as a heat source to speed up the latex curing process). Allow Mold Release to dry.

  3. Apply a thin first coat of Liquid Latex to the Master Casting with a paintbrush and allow to dry thoroughly. Brush excess latex out of cracks and crevices. Blow on the first coat to release any air bubbles in the compound.

  4. Between coats, soak the brush in a cup of distilled water with a few drops of dishwashing detergent added to keep the brush clean. Wipe off the brush before adding additional coats.

  5. Apply two additional thin coats of Liquid Latex, allowing latex to dry thoroughly between coats.

  6. Apply fourth coat. Allow to dry to a tacky state. Lay gauze on tacky latex. Press gauze into cracks. Apply another coat of latex on top of the gauze. Again allow to dry thoroughly.

  7. Apply another three coats of latex, allowing to dry between coats, for a total of eight coats.

  8. Allow finished latex Rock Mold to dry thoroughly. If adding heat, do not let the Rock Mold get too hot!

  9. When completely dry, peel Rock Mold from the Master Casting. Trim excess edges from the Rock Mold with scissors.

  10. Clean mold with an old toothbrush and dilute Mold Dressing before making castings. Leave mold damp. (The "wetting" agent in the dressing will greatly reduce the number of air bubbles in your finished castings.) Pour plaster or hydrocal into parts of the mold. Allow to dry.

Helpful Hints: Painting with water colors

  1. Cover the entire casting with a flat black wash of water-based paint. Use a hand spray bottle. Mix the black wash about 5 parts water to 1 part flat black to start. Experiment with more or less water until you get a suitable shade.

  2. Apply flat earth tone water colors with an inexpensive artist's brush (POLLY-S brand paints, available at most hobby shops, are highly recommended). Mix your paint on a pallet or old dish, adding lots of water. Apply "watery" coats on a small area, again experimenting with more or less water. Allow the black to show through in some areas (shadows), and allow the first coat to dry. Add more coats, remembering that several thin, watery coats will look better than one heavy coat. It is the variations of color that you are looking for!

  3. "Drybrush", or highlight, some raised areas with small amounts of full strength, unwatered paint.

Colors: For most Western scenery, use tans, earth yellow, etc. for your base colors. Highlight with rust, red earth, etc. and a little white or light gray. For most Eastern scenery, use grays for your base color. Highlight with rust, browns, yellows, and a little white or gray.

Helpful Hints: Spray Painting

Begin by cleaning all flash found around the edge of the polyurethane casting.  Use a rasp (course file), sandpaper, or a hobby knife.

Next, inspect the casting for holes or air bubbles.  A few are unavoidable in polyurethane foam castings.  Usually their presence doesn't matter, as it is the overall appearance of the painted casting that is important.  However, if required, large or noticeable holes may be filled with Sculptamold.  Now consider your basic colors.  Flat blacks, grays, and tans to start.  Flat light grays, earth, and mustard colors to follow as highlights, depending on the colors in your area.

To begin, completely cover the casting with flat black.  Be sure you get down into any deep cracks or crevices.  Next, partially cover the casting with a flat medium gray, spraying at an angle so you cover the high spots on the casting, leaving the black showing in the low spots.

Next, highlight with dark tan, mustard, or other earth colors, several of the outstanding features of your casting.  Allow to dry.

Lastly, soften dark colors with a little gray or flat white if needed.

Remember, if you don't like the results of your first effort, you can cover it with flat black and try again!  With some practice, you'll soon be getting beautiful, realistic results!

P.S.:  Most importantly, have fun!