Well, there is some progress to report, with something produced that looks like it might be a layout one day. The first task was to raise up the track, so that the tippers can tip stuff down into something. The material I chose to do the raising with was florists foam – the gray-brown non-absorbent stuff for use with dried flowers. I found a place on the Internet where I could get a box of 20 'bricks' 9"x4"x3" for under £13 – I think the box weighed more than the foam! The foam blocks are easily damaged, so careful handling is required, but they can bear quite a weight if it is spread over an area.
I started to stick the foam to the board with Instant Nails, as recommended on the web site, and found that they were quite rigid once the stickum had dried. I began at the back, laying the bricks on edge to raise the track by 4", and worked my way towards the front over the next couple of days. I staggered the joints like laying brickwork, but found that the blocks are rather 'nominal' in the measurements, so there were a few gaps to be bridged by the Instant Nails. There will be a roadway at the front of the board, so the blocks stopped short there.
The first row of foam blocks stuck down
Blocks laid with staggered joints, and gaps apparent
Once the blocks were firmly down, dried and leveled, I cut out a trackbed from a piece of hardboard I found in the back of the garage, and stuck that on top with more Instant Nails. It was well weighted down with some bricks, and left to dry over a couple of days. The plan is for the terrain to start high at the left rear, to mask the entry point of the track, and fall towards the right front. There will be track on piers running alongside the road for the tipping, and the curved section of track will run on an embankment. The remaining bricks were used to build up the contours above track level at the back, and the line of the final ground levels marked on the sides.
Trackbed of hardboard stuck down.
More blocks to build up the contours above rail level. Some small pieces will be needed to fill in between levels for a smooth surface.
The next job will be to carve the blocks to form the relief. I suspect that it will be a messy job, so gloves will be worn. The web site says that the foam particles sting like fury if they get in your eyes, so goggles will be required. Once the foam has been shaped it will be sealed with PVA and back and side boards will be fitted to protect the blocks. The sealing will be necessary to keep particles of foam from getting into everything, and then I can put down a layer of ground cover – but I get ahead of myself.