Using Goop

Categories: Scenery.

Goop is a lightweight replacement for plaster when making natural looking shapes in your layout’s scenery.

Recently a demonstration module was completed for the Hurstbridge Model Railway exhibition. The module shows various stages of construction using foam cut, glued and shaped. Next a layer of goop (see below) was added followed by painting to represent bare clay.

Goop was also used to start the creek running under the bridge on the shelf layout. Cardboard strips were hot glued in place. Next a layer of goop without the Vermiculite was used.

The Shelf layout bridge, after the water was poured into the creek bed.
The Shelf layout bridge

Goop Recipe

This recipe came from Mark Laidlay and I have used it successfully.


Ingredient Proportion Suggested Brand Source

Paper Mache Mix

1 cup

Sharmrock Craft

Art/Craft supply


1 cup


Nursery or larger hardware chains

Disenfectant/rubbing alcohol

1 capful


Chemist/super market

Latex Paint

1 cup

Any brand, 

your ground colour

Hardware or paint shop
White Glue1/2 cupAny brandHardware
Disposable Wipesas neededChux or generic brand 
Wateras needed  


  1. Ensure the area to be done has been shaped roughly to what is required and that the area is free of dust, oil and other contaminents.
  2. Measure and mix the ingredients together leaving the water to last.
  3. Add water whilst mixing. The mixture needs to be the consistency similar to peanut butter.
  4. Mix thoroughly until the mixture is homogenous.
  5. Cut the wipes to size.
  6. Dip each wipe in the mixture ensuring it is covered completely. Allow the excess liquid to drain off to avoid messing up your layout.
  7. Apply each wipe in turn to the formwork smoothing down each one.

After a few days the structure should be dry and firm but not too rigid.

Rubbing Alcohol

I found the rubbing alcohol to have an offensive odour whilst applying the goop. It’s mainly there for prevention of mould. I think as long as the goop dries quickly, as it would in warm weather, the alcohol could be omitted.

Second Layer

A second layer can be applied to smooth out the edges of the wipes which may be visible through the first coat of goop.

Goop landscaping in action

Mark used a layer of chux dipped in a thin version without the Vermiculite and with double white glue for the first layer then full strength goop for the next layer.  In subsequent weeks we will add a bit of ground cover then electro-static grass.

Pros and Cons

Goop is lightweight, strong and it has some flexibility making it ideal for layouts that need to travel. The mixture is easy to make and the ingredients easily available.

When using it the alcohol smell was offensive but it can be left out but I haven’t tried this. It would be more expensive than plaster and the preparation is a bit more involved.

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