The scenery on the layout is mostly made from readily available commercial products. Where there are hills or rises in the terrain, the hard shell base is nothing more than plaster cloth spread over a cardboard lattice. In a few places it’s just carved polyurethane foam board covered in plaster or Sculptamold and painted with cheapest latex paint I could find. Just about all the ground cover is various sizes and colors of Woodland Scenics turf and foliage materials. There are a few areas where real dirt and rocks were used.
The trees are a mixture of Woodland Scenics tree kits, Scenic Express Super Tress and some homemade ones using a variety of materials for the trunks and branches. The Woodland Sceneic trees are mostly used in the background, while the Super Trees are in the foreground. There are a few trees where I used a basic WS tree and added branches using Super Tree bits and pieces. There are also some larger trees made with natural sagebrush trunks and Super Tree limbs. In addition, there are trees made from dried oak leaf hydrangea flowers, twisted wire, wooden dowels with WS fine-leaf foliage limbs, and a number of background trees made with wooden skewers covered in poly fiber. There is a clinic I gave on making these trees in the How-To section of this site. All of the trees on the layout are covered in either WS turf or Noch leaf foliage.
For ballast, I used primarily Woodland Scenics materials. I used medium ballast for the main lines and fine, or a mixture of medium and fine, for the yards and spurs. I used slightly different colors for the Birmingham Southern main and the Class I main. In some places the spurs were a different color from the adjoining main, depending on the industry. I have also used some ballast made by a local model railroader from natural rock materials. So far I have used this in some of the industrial spurs.
There are two water features on the layout, the Warrior River at Birmingport and Short Creek under the branch line going to Birmingport. For both of them I used a product called Magic Water by Unreal Details. It is a two part epoxy product and works very well. The ripples and rapids were made using a gloss heavy gel medium.