Scenery modeling - groundwork/terrain

04 Mar 2014

Average: 4.7 (9 votes)
22:55 - Modeling groundwork and terrain (2012)

Expert modeler Mike Confalone shows how he builds his groundwork and terrain on his proto-freelanced Allagash Railway St. Regis Paper mill project in this 2-part video. Chapters 5 and 6 from the Scenery Modeling Outside the Box DVD series from Model Trains Video.

•Part 1: Groundwork using his mud mixture (13:35)

•Part 2: Building terrain using florists' foam (9:20)

This HIGH DEFINITION version of our STD-DEF DVD content is available free to TMTV members (HD version costs extra to purchase and is only available as a download).


Mike's also putting his entire Allagash layout story in writing in his comprehensive 4-volume eBook series containing over 400 pages and hundreds of photos illustrating his points. Learn more about the Allagash Story eBook here.


I love Mike's work; however I'd like to see better editing of the videos to shorten certain elements.  I don't need to see "real time" the entire mixiing of the "mud" or "ground goop".  It's almost painful to watch 5 minutes of mixing when the idea can be conveyed with a few seconds of the start of the mixing and a few seconds of the ending of the mixing.  This holds true for other times in the videos where I would like to fast forward to the "meat".

This was Mike's first video and for volume 2 you will see he took the feedback to heart. The two most common criticisms on vol 1 were: need better audio and pick up the pace.

So yes, Mike heard you and so vol 2 (and beyond) uses a lavalier mike for better audio and Mike picked up the pace.

Wonderful!  That's one of the things that I love about TMTV & MRH - people listen to feedback and often make improvements as a result.  Keep up the great work!.


Regarding the Vermiculite that Mike mentioned, I bought a very large bag of Zonalite at last 3 feet tall, for around $20 a year or so ago.  It is finer than Vermiculite and the preferred product by many modeler's in this area for making ground goup.  Also, I've been told to add white glue when making a batch of this stuff.  I will have to try it without which seems a better way to go if it still hardens up nicely.  I'm lovin Mike's videos!!  Best, Andy 

I actually like to watch someone mix the materials the whole way through. Without the whole video, you might not see how Mike might add a little too much or too little and how he adjusts " on-the-fly" to get the right consistency. It is this fact-that you don't have to be a chemist or engineer with precision measurement that gets missed if you cut too much. Anyone in science will tell you that it's hard to replicate an experiment from what you find in a research paper's method section. You need to spend time watching in the lab or testing to get it right. That five minutes of video may be painful to someone who has the experience or skills, but they are invaluable to the beginner, especially after they get impatient and try then fail the first time. Experienced modelers can fast forward through those bits, but if you want to really teach beginners and show that results don't always come out perfectly immediately, then keep in the whole footage, warts and all!