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Making model railroad scenery and ho scale buildings and structures can be one of the most interesting aspects of building your own HO scale railroad layout. Not only do you get to use your creativity to its limit, you also get to do a lot of experimentation. The great thing though, is that there is no right or wrong way to go about it. You can make anything and see how it goes with your theme. If you don’t like it, you can redo do it and learn new techniques in the process. Remember, practice makes perfect. So the more ho scale buildings and structures and train scenery you construct the better you will get at doing it.

Here are some quick model train scenery construction tips for you:

Making Hills and Mountains to Complete The Scene

Hills, mounds, and possibly mountains can become an essential part of any scale railroad. Although in mentioning that; some HO scale train layouts, such as shelf switching layouts, are usually perfectly flat. However for the purposes of this we’ll look just at setups with mounds, hills, or mountains. Trains running through interesting scenery with HO scale buildings and structures in place look amazing. The HO scale models can be downloaded as paper models from this website. Cardboard is the perfect material for gluing the paper plans to.

When it comes to scenery construction there are various methods for making raised areas on a railroad. And, despite what other modelers in this hobby might say, there’s nothing wrong with the traditional methods that have been used for decades. It’s just that there are more modern materials such as styrene and insulated foam that are preferred by many modelers. It really is a matter of what method you personally prefer and are comfortable using. Here are some construction method explained briefly for you starting with the more traditional methods.

1. Traditional Paper Mache Still Works For Making HO Scale Model Train Scenery

In early days the glue for paper mache was made using a mixture of plain kitchen flour and water at a rate of one part flour to four parts of water. The paste was sometimes boiled gently to make it a smoother consistency. Some people added a dash of sugar or salt to help preserve the paste and prevent it from becoming moldy. These days many modelers use white wood glue instead. They mix it 50/50 with water. Whichever method you use, it is probably best not to glue the paper mache directly to the baseboard as you might want to relocate the mountain or hill at a later date. Paper mache is ideal for making model train scery. Used cereal boxes are ideal for making HO scale buildings and structures using plans downloaded and printed on photo copy paper.

The paper mache technique basically involves soaking strips of cut up pieces of newspaper into glue or paste and then gluing lots of glued pieces over top of each other to form the shell for a mountain. You can glue the pieces over large rolled up balls of paper or possibly chicken wire which can serve as the internal structure. After several layers are applied, the mountain can be left to properly dry out before painting or covering with ground cover or other scenic features. Old bits as rock rubble scattered around the bottom of cliffs can look like a very realistic part of your model train scenery.

2. How Wire and Rocks Can Be Used of Making HO Scale Model Train Scenery

The things you would require to make a hill or mountain with this method are chicken wire, some model rock, wire cutters and a little water. The chicken wire will make the structure of your hill. Since it’s easy to mold with hands, shape it any way you like, depending on the type of hill you are trying to create.

Cut the model rock as per requirements and then wet it. Start gluing the small pieces on the chicken wire until completely covered. Once you are done, leave the structure overnight to dry. You can add more glue to strengthen things, and remember to ensure there is enough strength under the rock so it doesn’t collapse. You can spray paint this hill according to your wishes. Also add some scatter to make it look more realistic. Your model trains will look good against scenery like this, especially if you use HO scale buildings and structures to complete the modeled scene.

3. Using Plaster for Making Model Train Scenery

A number of materials can be used with plaster including: window screening, chicken wire, or cardboard webbing which gets covered in kitchen paper towels soaked with a “soupy” plaster mixture forming the basic substructure. Although this technique can be messy the thickness can be built up and later carved and shaped to form the landscape contours you want. Who said making model train scenery isn’t a bit messy at times?

Latex molds can be purchased (or you can make your own) for the purpose of constructing cliffs and rock faces. Latex molds can prove a timer saver when compared to carving out shapes. If you want to make your own latex molds you can make the molds using lumps of coal or real rocks. You can buy latex from hobby shops and online scenery supply stockists such as Woodland Scenics.

The thing to remember when mixing your plaster; is to add the dry plaster mix to the water, and not do it the other way around. The wet mixture needs to resemble a thick pancake batter. Trying to add more water to the plaster mix after it has started to set is usually not a good idea. It won’t necessarily slow the setting time, but it could make the plaster become crumbly in which case it is best to start over.

Hydrocal plaster can be used with a softer finishing coat of specialist molding plaster. Some modelers prefer drywall compound for their terrain-shaping. Most plasters are simple to stain or color.

4. Using Insulated Foam for Model Train Scenery

Perhaps the most popular technique these days for model train scenery construction involves using insulation foam boards (available from a DIY or Hardware Store). The blue or pink colored insulated foam can easily be shaped using a hot wire tool (Woodland Scenics sell them), or you can use a serrated knife. The foam board is lightweight and can be built up in layers and easily shaped with a sanding block or knife. It can also be covered with plaster impregnated gauze (similar to what orthopedic surgeons will use when making a cast for a broken leg).

Whilst scenery for trains to pass through is an integral part of any HO scale model railroad layout, HO scale buildings and structures are equally important for finishing off the scene. If you are interested in downloading plans for the HO scale paper models on this site, then just choose the OO / HO scale option at the checkout when ordering. The plans are OO scale and can be easily changed to HO scale by altering the print settings on your printer to 87 percent which prints the paper models to HO scale. The printable models can also be downloaded to N scale. Used card is the ideal material for making these ho scale buildings and structures.

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