The most important
thing while designing your model train layout is how realistic you can make it
look. Adding scenery and buildings in your layout will not only help you in
making your layout look real, but it will also make the experience of making a
railway and operating trains more enjoyable for you.
Following are some
basic techniques that you can use to add realistic miniature scale buildings to
your layout. Steps are also included that you can follow to add lightning to
your architecture, to make your building look beautiful, both with the lights on
and in the dark.
The first thing is
to decide the era that you want to depict in your train layout. Once you have
decided that, it will be easier for you to select model kits that you
want to add to your design. Make sure that the structures you are adding to your
railway layout existed in the era that you are designing. You can build these by
constructing from scratch, or you can buy readymade railway buildings that are
quick and easy to add to your train layout.
plastic kits, count all the parts in your kits to make sure that nothing is
missing. Attach the roofs and walls of the structure securely. Paper railway
buildings you make from cardstock are a popular choice as they are cheaper to
construct and usually come pre-weathered for added realism. The plans or
templates are downloaded straight to you computer ready to be printed out. They
can be assembled using foam core sheets, cardboard cereal packs, or core flute
sheeting. All are inexpensive.
Add details in
your railway buildings before you glue the structure together. These details
will add life to the buildings, and subsequently to your layout. Following are
the steps that you can follow to add lighting to your
1. Start with
measuring the interiors of the building that you want to add lightening to. Mark
cardboard or construction paper with the dimensions of the windows and building.
Also mark and measure the roof of the building on the construction
NOTE: The big
advantage of downloading the PDF plans on this website is that the windows,
doors etc are already done for you. This make construction much easier. You can
download these kits in moments.
2. Decide the
windows in which you want to add lights. Cut out the drawn outlines of the
windows from the cardstock or the construction paper. Only cut out those windows
that you want to add light to and leave the remaining.
3. Cut out
the divisions for the floors and rooms of the building. Use masking tape to hold
the pieces of cardboard or construction paper together. Cover the outside of the
mask with masking tape to stop the light from escaping the model
4. Tape a
wire from the bulb to the roof of the building and let it hang to keep it away
from the sides to avoid fire or burns. Place the mask inside the building and
add the building on your model railroad. LED lighting works
the wire to the control panel. Match the voltage of wire and bulb to the power
supply of your model layout. Remember, safety needs to be a high priority as you
wouldn’t want any parts of your model railway buildings or layout catching
Now that you have
added light to your railway buildings, add the weathering effect to the
structures. There are various techniques that you can use to add weathering
effects. If you are using steam train in your layout use gray color to show the
effect of smoke on your model railway buildings. If you have designed your train
layout with mountains then try to give your structures a weather beaten
NOTE: The railway
buildings featured on this site are already painted and weathered for you. Some
of these model railroad kits include signs of aging like: cracks, flaking
paintwork, mold, fading paint etc.
finished model railway buildings on the layout. Make sure that you intelligently
place the structures around your train track. Placing a tall building right next
to your trains is not appropriate because it seldom happens in real life. You
can add people, billboards, cars, tunnels, roads, a backdrop, and a lot more to
give your setup a lifelike quality.
These are some
simple tips that you can follow to add model railway buildings in your train
layout that will not only look real but will also add life.