Part of the yard on Tom Harris’s Lakeside Lines model railroad is called Heinz Hill. Tom will demonstrate how he builds self supporting hillsides in this video. To start off, he establishes the top of the hill line. He will take some scrap pieces of blackboard that he didn’t use for his roadbed, and screws them up on the wall about where he wants the top of his hillside to be. He breaks the roadbed up into pieces and places them at slightly different levels to create a more realistic variety.
He has cut some plaster impregnated gauze to the right length to stretch between the top of the hillside and the bottom of the ditch. He attaches these with glue, applying wood glue right along the top of the hillside and also down in the corresponding bottom of the ditch. With push pins, he sets the gauze in place over the glue. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to use any support whatsoever.
Now that all the gauze is tacked in place to form the basic hillside, Tom will spritz it with water using an ordinary water bottle. This will cause the plaster to set up. After leaving it a few minutes to dry, he will take his fingers and run them down the seams to bond them together. Next with a batch of ordinary spackling plaster in a soupy consistency similar to paint. With this he paints the plaster right on the side of the hill, painting on a new coat every couple of hours until he has about six coats on it.
To see the finished product watch the full video, and check out more from Allen Keller’s Great Model Railroads series from the Model Railroad Academy archives.