Projects-admin

Dig it! A Swimming Pool


A swimming pool is certain to add interest to your layout

A swimming pool is not something you see on every layout. Lighted from below, it attracts your attention immediately, and it is so unique that I gave it a central location on my layout. The people you see in the water are 1:48 scale white metal figures by Arttista. The people standing around the pool are1:43 scale by Preiser. But you really don’t have to build a large community pool to use this technique. This method can be used for a backyard pool, a fountain or any small body of clean water.

Time and Difficulty

This swimming pool is easy to make, but will probably take a couple of days to construct.

What You’ll Need

  • foam core board
  • hot melt glue
  • a sheet of blue translucent acrylic, slightly textured
  • a small white LED or light bulb
  • heavy card stock
  • poolside figures
  • poolside graphics

Build a Box

For the pool structure, cut a rectangular pool deck to the dimensions of your overall pool area (pool opening and surrounding pavement) from foam core board., My deck is 6″ x 9″. Cut an opening in the pool deck the size of your pool. My pool is 4″ x 6″ (a scale 16′ x 24′). Cover the entire opening of the pool deck with the blue plastic sheet. Cut four pool walls, and construct an open box that will fit within the dimensions of the pool deck opening. In the center of the back wall, make a small hole for the bulb. Place the pool deck on the layout board and mark the dimensions. Cut a hole in your layout board slightly larger than your box dimensions and glue the box inside. Alternately, you can glue the box underneath your pool deck and fit it inside the hole., with accurate measuring and cutting, you can glue the foam core box flush inside the pool deck opening. Hot glue holds well and you only have to tack it; the foam core is not very heavy. You don’t have to worry about small gaps, you can cover the foam core deck with an optional heavy card stock “deck pavement”.

Pave the Pool Area

Cut heavy card stock to make the pavement around your pool. Cut an inner opening the size of your pool. I would make a the outer dimension a minimum of four feet (one inch scale) for a home walkway or up to six feet (3/4″ scale) for a commercial/public pool. Twelve feet (3″ scale) makes a good-sized area for sunning. For finishing details, you can add figures, a cooler, beach towel graphics, a fence, and wooden decking. Then pour yourself a PiƱa Colada and enjoy your new pool.

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Projects-admin

Stack some Firewood


A stack of fire wood is a simple detail that can be repeated in numerous places on you layout, and yet they will never be out of place, and it will never seem like there are too many. A stack of fire wood works nicely beside any residence, a campground, or an outdoor business, like a produce stand or flea market,

Time and Difficulty

A super-simple project that can be completed in a few minutes.

Select Hardwoods

The best looking fire wood is made of real wood. There are two criteria I look for a natural wood twig to use for firewood. First, a tight grain and second, an outer layer that looks like tree bark. A tight grain is necessary so the the cut wood retains its solid, wood-like appearance. Some twig varieties will fray or split on the ends giving an unacceptable appearance. The second quality is a nice outer bark. Not only should the outer layer look like actual tree bark, but it should not fall off when it dries.

I have found three plants varieties that produce tight-grained non-fibrous twigs with an outer layer that resembles tree bark. The three varieties I recommend are:

  • Maple
  • Dogwood
  • Azalea
The twigs of the Azalea and the Dogwood (right) have an amazing looking bark that looks very natural and to scale.
The Dogwood tree produces twigs that can be split open to look exactly like split logs.

Once you’ve selected the wood, use a jig to cut it to length. Wider pieces can be split, just like real wood. Use carpenter’s glue to stack and secure your woodpile.

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