Dan Becker's Model Trains - Streets and Sidewalks

Some newly paved highway
Some newly paved highway
Welcome to part 7 of a series of articles on my N scale model train layout.There are links to other articles in this series at the bottom of this page.For those who have read or glanced at the previous articles, you cansee from the photo at right that I have completed installing someroads and sidewalks.

Most of this article is a rather detailed rambling on theWoodland Scenics Road Systemwhich consists of foam sticky tape, a fine grain plaster product, andtwo water-based colors of colorant (black asphalt and gray-green concrete).This article shows the rather messy and time consuming process,but the net result are some nice looking road and walkways.You can see in this photo that the roads have received some sanding and some paint in orderto get the tones to match.I did not achieve any sort of uniformity, but this is fine, because very few small townswould have any matching pavements either.There would be potholes to fix, sections to repave, and numerous accidents and repairs - allthis leads to a crazy patchwork of different colored asphalts.
Roadway to factory
The roadway to the factory
The photo to the right shows some of the back streets heading to the factory.The roadway ends at the factory with the numerous trucks having to navigate and parkon some unpaved mess.This might never work in the modern world, but perhaps 50 years ago it was a usefulcost-cutting method for the factory.Also note the two branches off the factory road which will lead to my poorsections of town.You can see a few rusty roofed housed there.These will be the low income houses on "the wrong side of the tracks."The one branch needed a small bridge to cross what will be a river stream.
The roadway through the town
The roadway through the town
This photo shows a view of the roadway leading through town.I somewhat underplanned the railroad crossing leading to the front of the layout,which is on the extreme right in this photo.Unfortunately, the road crosses the out track loop right at a rail junction.Normally you want to have the crossings away from the roads.Here a little more planning would have done me well.

Notice how different my layout is from the original Woodland Scenics Scenic Ridge layoutat this point.The major differences are 1) a complete outer loop, 2) a second bridge and tunnel leadingto the factory area, 3) an extra couple of areas for housing behind the bridges near the factory,and 4) a highway bridge leading out of town.
Masking off the sidewalks
Masking off the sidewalks
This photo shows how to use the Woodland Scenics Road System.It's rather easy to start.First, mask of areas where you want a roadway or sidewalk with the foam sticky tape.This tape helps you achieve a uniform thickness to your plaster pouring.
Pouring the sidewalks
Pouring the sidewalks
The second step is to pour a rather thinly mixed plaster mix into the taped up areas.Here I had to mix two batches of plaster for the fore and back areas of town. I did notachieve a tight color match.However, you can touch this up with some paint after it dries, or you canleave it be and call it "realism." In very few towns do all the sidewalks match color.Once this dries, you can sand it down to make it flatter.
The highway out of town
The highway out of town
Here is a scene of the highway bridge that leads out of town.The modern bridge is a product of Rix Products.They have both modern and mid-1950s type concrete bridges both of which look good.I cut off a spare span of the bridge to make the ditch crossing near the cafe.Both my town and factory have a big ditch running around them.

In this photo you can also see the Santa Fe Super Chief in the foreground,and a Union Pacific GP making a short freight haul in the center.Notice how the roadway has to cross two tracks to make it into town.This is easy to do with the plaster roadway.Just pour right up to the track. When it dries you can take arazor knife or a small screwdriver and cut out a slot for the train wheels to pass.Clean up the top and inside of the track with a pin or knife.You do not have to clean the outside of the rails.
Some yellow and white stripes
Some yellow and white stripes
This photo shows some stripes added to the roadway.I use Crayola colored yellow and white pencils to add the lines.The pencils are a little harder than I would like.If you want more robust, highly-visible lines, then I suggestyou go to an art store and get some chalks or oil crayons.For me, again, I like the faded and well used look of the roadsand the lines.The lines were drawn in free- hand. You may prefer to use a straight edge.

Note the problematic rail-junction roadway crossing to the right.In the back there is another crossing where the sidewalks endand a MP-15 is about to cross the road.I hope that classic little red Corvette is braking for the train.

A small retaining wall was made with plaster Hirst Arts bricks in frontof the gas station.We wouldn't want any cars to drive off into the stream bed.
Main Street USA
Main Street USA
Here is a view looking at the entire length of Main Street leading through town.This looks a lot like many small towns outside of Austin Texas. There will soon be a stop light in the center to slow down the pace of traffic.And hopefully the sidewalks become crowded with shoppers and workers.Thanks for reading my articles. More train layout photos and articles will be posted in the near future.

Other articles in the train series include:[an error occurred while processing this directive]


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Last modified: Thursday, 09-Jun-2011 13:08:11 MST.