Building scenery on a three thousand square foot layout can be an intimidating task for Ken McCorry. It can also take a lot of time. Luckily, he has found some shortcuts to speed up the process to get a lot more done in a short period of time. Ken uses Woodland Scenics plaster gauze and some foam for scenery. Most people use plaster gauze by cutting it in varying sizes, and applying it wet. Ken has found that by laying the cloth out dry and cutting it to shape, he can speed up the process. The next step is to wet the gauze with a spray bottle full of wet water to make it form to the surface. He then uses a small paint brush and very gently brushes out the plaster gauze with more water. The next piece is applied in the same fashion, overlapping the other piece by about an inch. The method is easy to set up and easy to clean up.
Ken and Allen Keller go on to talk more about operations on the Conrail railroad. In the area where Ken lives, there are many layouts, but the crew size has not grown accordingly. This means many people do not have the time to help him run an operating session. It takes about twenty people to run an operating session on his massive layout. He has people come in from as far as four or five hour drives away to help him operate. Surprisingly, he has found it to not be too difficult to get that many people over. He has an email list that he uses to give people notice and also tries to set up dates up to a year in advance, operating on the second Saturday of every month. For more on model train scenery plaster techniques, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.