Doug Hodgden has been able to perfect his hardshell scenery technique. In this video, Hodgden demonstrates his unique technique for creating realistic model scenery and provides more tips on creating scenery. On a 1-by-3′ diorama of half-inch plywood, Hodgden cuts the profile board and backdrop panel and draws the horizon line. Using metal screen from a hardware store, he staples the crumpled screen to the horizon line. Next, he folds the screen back along the staples and adds a coat of hot glue to hide them. Then he folds the screen behind the subroadbed and attaches it with hot glue, always holding it with a stick until it cools. With metal shears, he cuts a seam in the wire to create a wash and attaches the piece to a riser with hot glue. He staples the screen to the bottom of the wash to create the wash area.
The next step is to apply the joint compound. He prefers to use this instead of modeling plaster because it dries more slowly, which makes for a longer work time. Using an artist’s palette knife is a great way to apply to the screen to add strength and cover odd creases for more realistic model scenery. After allowing to dry overnight, it is time to brush on the plaster base coat using joint compound, white glue, sifted sand, a few drops of liquid soap, and water. Again allowing to dry over night, he then adds two coats of plaster, which is made from the same formula but uses concrete compound instead. He completes the base foliage with a mixture of ground foam, static grass, pencil shavings, dirt, and sand. Hodgden brushes thinned-out white glue and presses down the mixture on the model. For realistic model scenery on the top foliage, he uses static grass and netted ground foam.