Here are some photos of my latest project, a diorama that will eventually become part of my layout. The diorama, when completed, will be of a river landing and collection point for the tie rafts that were floated down the Osage River in the early 1900's. My first task has been to prepare the base. Because the whole scene is of a river landing with structures at different elevations, I needed to create different levels as well as depict an eroded shoreline. I also wanted to model a stone retaining wall and seawall. I used 1/2 inch pink foam and laminated it with hot melt glue. After carving it to suggest a shoreline (the plywood base will be the water level), I made plaster forms from strips of pink foam. These were attached in place with Elmer's Squeezable Caulk (it's a semi-liquid latex caulk in a squeeze bottle). I then poured plaster of Paris behind the forms. After the plaster had set for about a half hour, I pulled the forms off and scraped up the caulk with a putty knife. The next step was to create what would become the rock faces on the wall. I mixed a soupy batch of plaster and stippled it on the surface of the wall with a stiff-bristled brush. After the plaster was nearly dry, I started carving in the stonework. Actually, all I carved were the mortar lines because the rock facings were determined by the stippled plaster. I used a "headless" T-pin in a pin vise to do the carving. Periodically, I would spray some water on the plaster to keep it damp, and I used a nylon brush to clean away plaster chips as I carved. I then let everything dry completely. The final step was to color the rocks. For this I used Woodland Scenics' scenery pigments. I stained about 25% of the rocks individually and then washed the entire wall with several applications of WS's Burnt Umber and Stone Gray. I didn't watch the clock, but I'm guessing my total time for this (excluding drying time) was about 4 hours. Now I have many hours ahead of me in building the structures and and blending the whole scene in with the surrounding layout scenery.