I use 16" thick foam sheets that I get from my local craft store. This material is easy to cut, and very inexpensive. The thickness makes a very nice prototypical road height for n scale. It also has texture to it that, when painted, becomes a very convincing parking lot or roadway.
Contributed by: Wade Venden
A typical rural highway is of concrete slab construction, with two slabs placed side by side for the length of the road. The slabs are 10 1/2 feet wide x 25 feet long. If curbs are required they 5 foot wide, set back from the main roadway by a curb.
For N-Scale use 2 inches wide for the sub-roadbed, and 1.5 inches for the road itself (2.325" wide when sidewalks are included). For other scales adjust accordingly.
Roadway stripes, whether rural or urban are [nominally] 4-6 inches wide and the placement varies somewhat depending upon the time era you're modeling. Prior to the early 1970's, centerline stripes were white and no passing zone stripes were yellow. Edge lines were not yet in any widespread use. The pattern was 15' stripe then 25' of space (40' total).
After that time, with the introduction of the newest Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the striping patterns changed. The centerline as well as the no passing zone stripes all became yellow. The pattern also changed to a 10' stripe with a 30 ' space (still 40' total). Most lateral spacing is 4" stripe with 4" between the stripes (for dashed and solid stripe applications).
The materials needed to build a road vary depending on the type of road under construction; concrete, dirt, or blacktop. A Brief rundown of what you will need id as follows:
|Plaster||This is used to build up a fairly level flat surface (aka the "sub-roadbed") on areas of rough terrain. this can be any of several types; Sculptamold, Mold-A-Scene, Hydrocal, etc. When I need to do this, which isn't frequent, I usually use Sculptamold as it seems to be the easiest to produce a flat smooth surface.|
|Roadbed Material.||The roadbed is usually made up of foam core board, or plain cardboard. For the larger scales foam core seems to work well. For N-Scale I use plain cardboard strips cut to appropriate size and contour, then stomped on with my shoe to flatten it somewhat.|
|Latex paint||There are several paint mixtures needed depending on the road type.
I have found that latex works fine, is less toxic, and much easier to clean up the more
traditional paint types.
|Dirt||For both blacktop and dirt roads some texture is is essential. Use the finest, cleanest material that you can. The clay frequently used on baseball diamonds is good stuff. I myself just use play sand purchased for my kids' sand box (they never notice the difference). Whatever you use, strain it into as fine a mixture as possible.|