Scenic Mountainous Rocky Coloration

Something that has always intrigued me has been the shear number of colors seen in nature. Trees are not just green. Deserts are not just sand-colored (tan), but contain multiple shades of a variety of colors: yellow, pink, grey, black, etc. Earth tone colors are readily available in many great tones: Umber, burnt umber, greens, greys, black, tan, yellow, and more.  For this project, I looked at hundreds of images I had taken of the Mojave and deserts of AZ and NM. I went with umber, black and yellow tones. I splotched the colors somewhat randomly all over the mountains then washed it all over with a damp brush.

Colors Get Splotchy

Splotched with water wash

The result is pretty astounding in the end. The next step was to add sand to the yard side of the layout, a process I was not all that much looking forward to… (yeah – good grammar there).  Sand gets into everything, and this side of the layout contains all the switches and small mechanics. It was time to use masking tape! Available now are tapes which have a light sticking power, meant for the fine paint work people are doing in their homes. I got some of the blue tape, for delicate surfaces, then taped over all the track, switches and switch levers.

Blue tape to the rescue

Sand getting into the smaller sections between tracks

I used a thick layer of white glue painted on was the base for this mess. The tape actually worked pretty well. The process: paint glue down. Dust sand onto the glued sections. Let that dry over night. Spray the whole mess with a mist made from 1:1:1 water, glue and alcohol. Let that dry overnight. Apply more spray as needed. Remove tape when dry. The end result is a nicely operating layout that has some minor grit issues in switches… all nicely cleaned out with a shop vac and some tender loving care. It’s beginning to look a lot like a completed scene! ALl it needs now: plants and details.

Sand complete

Yard Operations


About johnb

- Director of Grainger Observatory, Phillips Exeter Academy. - Variable-star-crazed astronomer, but have done research in other areas. - Drummer, archer, pilot, chef, friend, pet owner, husband, father, Train-nut.
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