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"Help with modeling a 28mm forest trail/track" Topic

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TBeyer17 Sep 2019 8:22 a.m. PST

I have some MDF board that I have mounted some plastic trees on, and I would like to model a trail or track thru the trees, something that I could imprint some horseshoe or footprint tracks in. Any suggestions for modeling clay or some other substance I could use to do that – hopefully something from Hobby Lobby or Michaels? Thanks!!! And any ideas on how to put horse tracks in the trail would be appreciated too.

HMS Exeter17 Sep 2019 8:44 a.m. PST

The grand poobah of gaming, Duke Seifried, would probably recommend Durham's Water Putty. It was his go to scenic material.

Depending on the scale, you probably don't want to get too much into individual horse tracks. They'd normally be too small to detect at game scale. Better stick to ruts for the carts.

Be sure that the trees are set on higher ground than the track itself, as the traffic tends to compress that ground. Think sunken road in training.

Just some ideas…

Hlaven Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2019 9:01 a.m. PST

I have been using plumbers tub and tile caulk for many years. Spread it on the board whatever length and width I needed. Then spread on model railroad ballast either fine or course pushing itinto the caulk. I let it dry and then paint a dark brown or black color. Let dry and dry brush. Then add any grasses or tufts on or around. I base my figs like that also. Also it is the caulk that has silicone in it.

Hlaven Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2019 7:32 p.m. PST

Oh forgot
You can push on wagon tracks or horse prints when the caulk and ballast are almost dry but not enrirely.

TBeyer18 Sep 2019 7:59 a.m. PST

Thanks Hlaven and KPinder, that is just what I am looking for! I will check out both of those products. Thanks for the modeling tips too, I was thinking horse tracks, not wagon tracks, since I wanted a very narrow path, just 1 horse or a couple figures abreast but if this works I may expand my ideas up to a wagon track. Thanks again!

Sgt Slag18 Sep 2019 9:16 a.m. PST

Be sure to use caulk which states, on the label, that it is "paintable"… Many flavors of silicone caulks are not paintable, the paint will just bead up, with zero coverage.

Bear in mind that animal tracks, through woods, are extremely curvy… Roads built in the past 1,000 years, through wooded areas, largely followed animal trails, curving and winding their way through woods, until the invention of heavy, earth-moving equipment. Iowa City, Iowa, is a classic example of roads following cow paths through the woods… It is not fun to drive those roads in a car, even in the Summer months, never mind the snowy Winters!

That is reality, however, reality is not always playable. Just an FYI for your consideration. You can always make them somewhat curvy, or you can make them straight as an arrow. Whichever will be the most fun and interesting to play with, is what I go for. YMMV. Cheers!

Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 10:35 p.m. PST

Yes curvy, think state park hiking trails in rough terrain.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 10:53 p.m. PST

Durham's Water Putty is great, and so is caulk. But I'll add another potentially useful product: Elmer's Wood Filler, available for reasonable price at Home Depot and local hardware stores and/or lumber yards. comes in variety of sizes from very small to large, depending on how big your project is, and if skeptical you can buy the tiny size to try out. It also comes in different "strengths." I always get "Interior/Exterior" since that dries the strongest. I like it because it's "premixed" and ready to use right out of the container, and I find it relatively easy to apply, shape and mold.

It's water soluble, easy to paint (once dry), and easy to glue other stuff to, sandable, and dries very strong. I've used it for tons of terrain projects over the past decade, and never had any issues. And the very first thing I ever used it for was adding a track/road to the ground-cover of a terrain board.


HMS Exeter19 Sep 2019 10:08 a.m. PST

+1 Mad Guru

For the longest time I used Elmers filler on my troop stands to hide their bases. It worked well on smaller 1" square stands.

Be careful, tho. While it resists shrinking, it will. Apply some, let it set, them apply some more. I had a pontoon wagon stand I used this on and it arch/buckled the whole thing. You could push down on one end, and the other would come up about 1/8". Not fatal, but annoying.

If applied in stages, it should be avoidable.

Also, apply with disposable tools. Plastic ware, that sort of thing. Once it sets on your tools its super hard to get off. I applied it with my fingers then shaped it with flat toothpicks. My hands washed up mostly. The residue wore off.

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