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Pine Canyon Scale Models


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Diorama Step 1, Building The Base

Supplies:  Available from your local handy-man store.  Two, 8 foot pieces of 3/4 inch thick by 2 foot wide foam insulation board.  1 inch thick would be better if available.  One large (calking gun type) tube of Liquid Nails Latex Adhesive for foam.  One 10 pound bag of Plaster of Paris.  Use Hydrocal or Casting Plaster if available, but Plaster of Paris will do nicely.  One roll of strong paper towels from the grocery store.  Later, we will also apply scenic materials from Woodland-Scenics available from your local hobby shop.

The overall dimension for the base is 53 inches by 2 feet.  This dimension was established by measuring the inside of our mid-sized car.  We wanted to be able to transport the base in the back seat, so it would not require a truck or van.

Purchase two, 8 foot pieces of 3/4 (or 1) inch thick by 2 foot wide foam insulation board.  If you do not want to have hills in the background, one 8 foot piece will do.  This board usually comes in blue color, but our local Home Improvement Center only stocks the pink color.  It appears to perform about the same.  Just do not use the white insulation board, that makes all the little balls when you cut it.  Too much mess.

If you would like to closely duplicate our diorama to display your Hot Wheels or Johnny Lightning collection, scale from the photos shown.  This diorama could also drop into an S-scale model railroad.  Our scene is mostly flat with just a small hill at the back to break the line when a backdrop is added.  The earth around structures and where cars will be present shall remain flat to represent a well worn texture.

Layout the highway for an old two lane highway at 4 inches wide.  This highway was built back when their was not much of a shoulder.  Route 66 was a concrete highway 18 feet wide, so this will leave us space for drainage.  Establish the front edge for the highway at 3 inches back from the front edge of the board.  Place the structures as desired.  Trace around the base of each structure and then place them in a safe place.  The footprint for our Cafe is approximately 5-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches.  The purpose of this diorama is to display our car collection.  So we planed extra space in the cafe parking area for a car show.  This will be a good place to park those customs and hot rods not commonly seen on a layout.

Using a utility knife, cut and layer the foam board to form hills and washouts as in the photos.  Using Liquid Nails Latex Adhesive for foam, glue the foam board layers together.  The hills and washouts do not have to be exact, just have fun creating the base for interesting terrain.

We placed retaining walls along the highway and along the wash at the cafe wall.  These retaining walls can be your choice of purchase from your local model supply store.

We used a fine-tooth saw to cut the hills to a more reasonable shape.

Step 2, The Plastering Process.

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