Allen Keller models many cotton fields on his Bluff City Southern model railroad layout because the area he modeled of the south in the 1950s was primarily a cotton growing area of the Mississippi Delta and West Tennessee. He goes on to demonstrate how he creates these fields.
To start, he takes a piece of cardboard of the approximate size he wants for the field and peels back the top layer to reveal corrugated material which is perfect for the nice straight rows of the fields. To peel back the layers, he soaks the cardboard in water so it comes apart. With white glue or construction adhesive, he lays the corrugated layer down and covers it whatever dirt is appropriate for the area that he is modeling.
After this, it’s time to add in the plants. Allen Keller shows an area of field on his layout without plants as an example. For the plants, he uses Woodland Scenics foliage clusters in medium green. He tears the clusters apart into smaller pieces and with tweezers dips the small clusters into glue and simply places them onto the rows.
All of the cotton plants on his layout are individually placed on his layout. He hasn’t found a better way to do this other than individually placing, so it is rather time consuming. After the glue is dry, he adds on the cotton balls. He uses titanium white and with a toothpick begins to paint the cotton balls onto the plants in about three or four globs of white paint.
Watch the full video to learn how he makes his cotton look so realistic or discover more from Allen Keller’s Great Model Railroad series.