model buildings



Sourcing Model Train Supplies From
Model Railroad Hobby Shops
And Online Retailers

farm scene

Although it is always good to support local railroad hobby shops, the online stores will always have a wide range on model train stuff whether it's locomotives and rolling stock, track, or scenery supplies. Prices are often very sharp as the online shops don't necessarily have the same overheads as physical shops eg. rent payments.

However, the online and mail order dealers do charge for shipping and they often add a margin to the cost. So, unless you are ordering multiple items, or buying a high priced product you need to take this into account when comparing prices with your local railroad supply shop.

The other thing to realise is that many of the online stores (like this website) are operated as small Ma and Pa businesses just like a local store, so they are not big national or international companies like the well-known brand names. They are just small operators trying to make a buck selling model trains and supplies.

To assist you in locating online train and scenery suppliers I have included a list of a few at the end of this article. The list is far from complete as there are hundreds of dealers, suppliers, manufacturers, and online retailers you could potentially get your model train stuff from. For this reason we are not recommending particular brands or stockists as most modelers will have their own opinion of who they like to deal with based on their own requirements and experience.

Also online model train stores typically specialise in particular brands eg. Bachmann, Marklin, Hornby; particular scales eg. HO scale, N scale, OO gauge; or specific product types eg. scenic supplies, rolling stock, backdrops etc. Anyway, enough about the stockists, now let's look at some of the most popular railroading products and their uses.

Using Hydrocal On Model Railroads

Hydrocal is basically a type of white gypsum cement and can be used to create terrain landscapes. Hydrocal is stronger than Plaster of Paris and wears extremely well. It has a compressive strength of 5,000 PSI which is ideal for a layout terrain base. 

Hydrocal is easy to use for soaking paper towels when laying down as base material over your screen mesh or paper/cardboard strip forms. Pictured is Lightweight Hydrocal Casting Plaster from Woodland Scenics.

hydrocal casting plaster

The product is also a good substitute for Plaster of Paris when you are molding rock faces or outcroppings. With a thicker mixture it can be used as fill material anywhere there is a small gap on the layout terrain that needs covering or filling.

Adding Base Covers Using Latex Paint and Insulated Foam

With the topography (hills) of your railroad layout suitably positioned and your track laid in place, latex paint can become your next best friend. It is easily mixed and thinned with water and the latex should cover every area of ground cover that is seen. Your valleys and hills are going to be made from insulation foam board or plaster, neither of which is available in convenient ground colors. You will need to cover up that yukky pink, blue, or white, by using colors such as brown, tan, yellow, and green. Nothing will ruin the realism more than seeing a streak of bright white plaster sticking through a magnificent stand of trees.

Select your paint colors to simulate the ground appropriate to the location and season you are modeling. If you are replicating a desert scene, a light tan cover makes much more sense than would green. Since you are likely to cover the paint with some other material, the color shades don’t have to be a perfect match; they just need to blend in together realistically. In real life, ground cover occurs in patches and in random places, so the base cover is a way to link the patches together.

Adding Ground Cover To Make the Scene Realistically

Groundcover is essential if you are to give your layout a look of realism. Groundcover is the type of material used as vegetation or earth in large areas around a layout. With careful design, the groundcover can be used to convey the illusion of a larger area.

You'll find a selection of scenic materials suitable for the purpose at you local model railroad hobby shop, or you can buy online from retailers who stock products from companies like Woodland Scenics. The other option is to make your own from common garden plants that you thoroughly dry and blend into a fine mixture.

Deciding which plants to use as ground cover is as simple as wandering outside and looking underfoot. Unpaved areas might include bare earth, grass, vines, weeds, bushes, small shrubs and maybe flowering plants of several kinds.

Here is a list of some of the online retailers of train supplies. For obvious reasons it is not possible to list the thousands of railroading retailers worldwide. This is just a sample: Factory Direct Trains, Model Train Stuff, Rail Serve, The Caboose, Internet Trains, George's Trains, New Modellers Shop, Allied Model Trains, Canadian Express Line, Model Railways Direct, Advantage Hobby, Walthers, Ebay, Model Train Warehouse, Blue Ridge Hobbies, American Model Railroads, The Branchline Goods Yard, RailKing, Rick's Trains, Scenery Unlimited, Britannia Models, East Somerset Models, Hattons, LD Discounts, ModelMaster, Modern Models, Stationmaster, Windmill Junction, Cherry Creek Hobbies, Dave's Trains, Discount Hobby Warehouse, eHobbies, EuroRail Models, Hobby City, HobbyLinc.


model of a shop

B483 Shop below home


general store model

B427 - Store


model of an office building

B424 - City Offices


model of an engine shed

B435 - Large Shed for Locos


model of a barn

B426 - Big Red Barn


model of a church

B423 -- Church


model of a freight train depot

B440 - Freight Building


model of a house

B465 - Models of Houses

farm model

B444 -- Farm Structure


 model of some silos

B422 -- Tower & Silos


model of factory

B443 -- Barn Building


model of brick building

B449 - Brick Model


model of garage

B454 - Warehouse


scale model houses

B425 - Model of House

series 1 - model railroad buildings  

series2 - model railway buildings