Model Railway Scenery Made
Products From Woodland Scenics, Noch,
Walthers and Other Reputable Model
Train Scenery Suppliers and Stockists
Unless you are creating a basic
rail yard most railroads have hills and rises. After all, we don’t live on a flat earth, and if you
force your scenery, structures and trains to do so they will not look realistic.
The type of terrain you select will vary depending on the type of
model railroad you want and the amount of space you can allocate.
The model railway scenery will
further be enhanced by incorporating and using high quality scenic assessories like those supplied
by well known companies such as Noch, Woodland Scenics, and Walthers.
Railroad hobby shops and online stores stock a
wide range of useful products for constructing and enhancing the terrain and landscapes including:
tunnels and tunnel portals, rock molds, latex rubber, rock debris, turf and ground cover, foliage,
lichen, poly fiber, E-Z Water and Realistic Water, tree kits and products for making model trees,
figures (people and animals), vehicles, and numerous other items.
Making Mountains and Hillsides
Some model railroaders still prefer to use
Paper Mache techniques for the creation of features such as mountains and hills. Some people find
Paper Mache to be too messy and heavy, so you might prefer other techniques and materials which can
be stronger, lighter and easier to work with.
Ordinary paper and cardboard material can also
be used for making undulating landscape, or you can use sheets of extruded foam insulation board
(or polystyrene) which can be carved and shaped into landform. The previous techniques can used
separately or be mixed on a layout where necessary.
The paper technique uses lots of wadded
newsprint to make a basic hill hump, and then some thin strips of cardboard are positioned over the
wad in such a manner as to provide an open latticework of card strips with openings of 3 to 4
inches. Masking tape can be used to help the newspaper hold its shape. The card strips can be
fastened with masking tape or staples to the surrounding benchwork. When the cardboard is in
position and arranged to the desired shape, the covering material can be applied.
Paper towel squares (use the cheapest ones you
can buy) soaked in plaster or ‘Hydrocal’ can be used for coverage. Another more traditional option
is to use plaster gauze cloth (like orthopedists use for casts), or a similar product available
from Woodland Scenics and other hobby suppliers. The cloth gets soaked briefly in a water bath
before being draped over the cardboard strips. The process is continued until the terrain you are
making is completely covered.
Adding Color To Model Railroad Scenery
If desired, you can mix thin latex paint or RIT
dye with the plaster to color it in a suitable ground shade. This may assist at a later stage when
you come to paint the feature with a base color to simulate the ground cover. It may be a good idea
to experiment with different color shades using small batches of the plaster, before you commit to
color a large area on your layout. If you are planning to cover the plaster with another layer, or
cover it with paint or ground cover, then the coloring doesn’t need to be 100 percent perfect, but
having a plausible earth tone underneath everything is usually worthwhile.
Making Scenery Using Foam
To create landscape features from foam board
(or polystyrene), an effective technique is to build up foam board layers into the basic shape of
the required feature, then do some fine finishing using a hot knife or wire, a hacksaw blade, or a
rasp. One main drawback of using the foam technique is that you can be left with a lot of tiny
foam crumbs that are electrostatically charged and seem to stick to just about any and
A good workshop vacuum is a necessity for
cleaning up the foam mess. Otherwise, working out of doors is an option, but you might fill your
neighbors yard with foam if it's a windy day (just tell them it was snowing!). In my opinion the
ease of making terrain features using foam far outweighs any mess. Also, remember to protect the
track from adhesive.
In either technique, the gaps can be filled
using a product called Sculptamold. It gets mixed with water similar to plaster. When it is
packed around the edges of the plaster cloth features, it forms a realistically shaped broken rock
simulation. Sculptamold is very
simple to work with and it dries quickly. As with the plaster, Sculpturemold works well with latex
paint and washes.
Model railroad suppliers and stockists of
scenic modeling products are numerous and include from A to Z: AIM Products, Alkem Scale Models,
American Art Clay, AMSI - Miniature Landscaping, Arizona Rock & Mineral, Bragdon Enterprises,
BUSCH, C.C. Crow, Central Valley Model Works, Chooch Enterprises, Classic Construction Models,
Coastman's Scenic Products, Color Canyon Materials, CSG Enterprises, Dechant's Railroad Express,
DeLuxe Innovations, Depots by John, Donald Durham, Eastern Mountain Models Ltd, Faller / Pola,
Grand Central Gems, Grass Tech USA, Great West Models Inc, Lionel Trains, Märklin, Micro
Engineering, Model Builders Supply, Model Power, Mountain Modelcraft, MountainView Depot, N.J.
International, New London Industries, Noch, North Coast Engineering, Northeastern Scale Models, Oregon Rail Supply,
Ram Track, Rio Grande Models, Scenic Express, Schomberg Scale Models, Sheepscot Scale Products,
South River Modelworks, Sterling Models, Sylvan Scale Models, Timberline Scenery, Walthers, and Woodland
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