Model trains can be an expensive hobby, especially the model railroad scenery.
This is usually the case if you source all your materials from a hobby shop where you end up paying full retail price.
But, if you keep a keen eye on expert model railroaders, you will observe that they have a tendency to keep every little thing as opposed to throwing them away. Jars, boxes, cartons and little bits and pieces of almost everything has potential to be used in one way or the other as part of their model railroad scenery.
They make use of a wide range of tools to create the various parts of their model railroad scenery.
One example is the use of a normal hair comb to give wood grain effects by running it along wood or a softer plastic in the direction that natural wood grain would follow.
In addition, the ground can be made of sawdust or tea leaves and colored with fabric dye. The process here is that you mix the dye in a container and add saw dust to the dye. Dry it properly, either in the sun or in an oven set on low.
Purchasing ground covers is really for the lazy beginners, but taking the time to do it yourself will not only save you money but will give you greater appreciation for the art of model railroading and the satisfaction knowing that you did it all from scratch.
Doing it yourself is usually easy and more fun. Using tree branches, hay, grass, dirt and other natural elements will make your design more authentic. Another example is using match sticks to build sign posts and bamboo skewers can be used for telegraph poles. Black thread can finish it off by representing the telegraph lines.
Here are some other tips to make your model railroad come alive and look more realistic.
Passenger cars should contain people and it gives your model railroad scenery a more realistic touch when it does. This may involve some effort though as you may have to disassemble the rail car to do this.
Remember to be true to the era you are representing. If your model is based on the 20’s, you shouldn’t have a 1950 Chevy parked in front of the train station. This obviously doesn’t capture the time period you initially had in mind.
At some point you may encounter a sale on accessories and structures but don’t be driven to buy something that doesn’t fit the scale of your railroad plans. It makes no sense to have a building that’s ten times larger than everything else around. It will stick out like a sore thumb and it makes your railroad look very amateurish. Think of uniformity when you are planning your design.
Giving your structures a weathered look will surely add to the realism. All your buildings shouldn’t look like shiny new items you bought from the store. Rough them up a bit to create authenticity. You can add scratches to the surface by using sandpaper or mix some hobby paint with paint thinner and apply to the surface. Before it dries though, gently wipe some of the areas off with a rag. For a metal building use blue, black and gray or for a barn use brown, black and tan.
Creating realistic model railroad scenery is great fun, give it a go.
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