Finishing the Fascia Board

Part 7

by Bruce Petty

You may have noticed in railroad modeling magazines, the Fascia Board seen along the edges of layouts gives the layout a finished look. Modelers may use anything from thin wood grained paneling or Masonite painted in various colors, black, green, gray, brown, or the colors of a prototype railroad modeled. I've decided using earth looking colors, so to look as if a knife had cut through the ground exposing it. But, more about this later.

On the older part of my layout, at Burbank Junction, I modeled the concrete river channel after the prototype with the Fascia Board (1/8" thick Masonite) painted concrete color, added joint lines with a thin pencil, a bridge abutment for the Burbank Blvd. road crossing along with some storm drains. Even added a giant ant from the classic movie "Them" that terrorized the Los Angeles back in the early 1950s.

The other half of the layout Fascia Board was painted a flat earth brown. This is color that will use for the new layout modules too. I've also added an old SP metal sheld that came in a corn flake cereal box back in the 1950s. Kids could mount these on their bikes. I did!

Strips of 4 inch wide Masonite were cut and clamped along the edge of the layout for marking the ground contour level, then cut to contour using a band saw. I use Weldwood (water based) contact cement, applying it with small brush to the pine boards of the modules and onto back side of the Masonite and held in place with spring clamps allowing the contact cement dry.

I think it is important to have the layout's countoured ground level going to the edge of the layout Masonite Fascia without any of the 1/8 inch thick edge showing. To do this, I use a fine tooth wood rasp to do the final contour between the layout surface and the Masonite. File inward towards the layout only, pulling the file back under pressure will cause the Masonite to chip. Red Devil light weight spackle is then applied over the filed area and sanded. Dirt colored paint used on the layout surface is applied over the spackle.

Here is the finished Fascia painted with an earth brown color.

The flat brown Latex paint that I had used for the older part of the layout was stored in the garage. Really glad the paint hadn't hardened into some sort of solid mass after all these years. But it was starting to get a little thick, so I added a small amount of hot water and mixing for the consistency to be brushable again. Also helps to use a paint strainer to remove those pesky little bits of hardened paint. I finished painted the Fascia with brown using several coats.

On the Fascia of the module that crosses the window connecting the older part of the layout, I painted a sandstone rock formation below the surface and added several faults much like would be seen in a road cut.

There are several streets that go on to the layout from the Fascia Board. Under the city street, on the Fascia, will be drilled with a few small holes for city pipes and storm drains and a lighter brown color of earth where a trench for pipes would had be dug. I'm sure that I will come up with other ideas of things to paint on the Fascia.

For those of you who like geology, I'm building this model for a local museum. Here you see a painted fascia of a cross section of the Sacramento River Canyon in Dunsmuir, CA. This shows basalt rock from an old lava flow (gray) that occured over fourty thousand years ago over the igneous formation (green). This is an easy to do project painted on Masonite with flat Latex indoor paint. Just think of what you can do if your modeling a hard rock mining area railroad.

Part 8, The Finished Burbank Branch