Gary Hoover uses spackling paste or drywall mud to create plowed fields on model railroad layouts. To begin, he takes the drywall paste and the serrated furrow tool that can be purchased in the hardware store. A simple spatula is also needed to spread the spackling and compound down.
The first step is to apply the Interior Spackling Paste with the spatula. This particular type of paste must be laid down relatively thick to have enough depth to be able to create the furrow. An eighth of an inch thick is a good measurement. The paste must be spread out pretty smoothly and evenly across the surface, however small irregularities are not a huge problem since real fields are also not perfectly level.
Hoover has found that if the furrow tool is wet it works better for creating the furrows. When the tool is dry it tends to pull the paste with it. The furrows are created by pulling the tool across the paste as shown. After the spackling paste is dry, any irregularities like holes and bumps can be taken care of easily. The blobs can be removed with some sandpaper and a bit of spackling can be added to fill in any little holes.
The next step is to apply the color. Hoover uses an acrylic paint in Burnt Umber with a paintbrush. He likes to use the paint right from the tube with slightly wet bristles so the paint can spread easier. The white of the paste is completely covered with the brown. To make the fields look realistic potting soil is used after being sifted through some strainers to remove the coarse pieces. To apply this to the field, he brushes it on with diluted white glue and a brush. To learn how he adds the soil, watch the full video.