Layout on a door

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by AustinStreetman, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. AustinStreetman

    AustinStreetman New Member

    Here are some pictures of my (very slow) progress on my first layout (N gauge). Any advice for the hopelessly unskilled and under-funded is very welcome. My fuzzy idea is to model an arid southwestern environment in the 50’s. I don’t plan to use many trees. The rock bluffs above the level of the road are supposed to be sandstone and the cliffs down to the lake are supposed to be black basalt. It is supposed to be a rural setting, not a town.

    The gravel parking lot is buff ballast over cardboard (not my best idea, the cardboard shrank when it dried and left cracks I had to fill in.)

    My main worries now are how to make the sandstone look like sandstone, instead of something you try not to step in, and how to make the basalt look like basalt.
  2. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    First off...nice job on getting so much done. I'm no expert on layouts or scenery, but what I'd do is use some rubbing alcohol to "wet" the ballast used to make the roadways and drop a few drops on the top, then using something flat and firm (a childs wooden block for example) flatten out the roadways and parking lots areas a bit. You might have to add some glue/water mixture again in case the alcohol disperses the original glue mixture too much...but you can gain a more flat and firmed up appearance to the roadways. Then, I'd suggest using some pastel chalks to discolor the ballast on the parking lot and roadways to mimic the rural scene you're shooting for. Using some browns, rusts, grey and black will break up the uniformity of the ballast color. Take a look of some pictures (color hopefully) of where/when you'd like to recreate and using the chalks, brush some on till you're matching or like what you see. I'm not too good with paints and don't own an airbrush, so I use chalks a great deal to weather both diesels, rolling stock, and all my scenery. I also lightly chalk my vehicles to remove that "new plastic" shine and dirty them up just a bit. You can also chalk over any painted surface (like your hills) and add just a hint of color that you'd expect to see in the southwest.

    Hope this helps! Great job so far. You can also take a look at all the great layouts posted in the gallery section and see what you like, borrow some ideas and use them on your layout. That's where I get a lot of inspiration when I want to add to or improve my layout.
  3. coaster

    coaster Member

    You're not at all "unskilled" (which you've proved with what you've already done), but, rather, "unschooled," which is something you can readily change. In addition to the great ideas Herc has mentioned, let me add one: Read up on scenery. Several sources offer excellent material, such as Kalmbach ( ), and most of them are still under $20. (Money well-spent, by the way, considering what you save in material and time.) Start with the basics and take your time. There's no "race to the wire" here. You've already got trains running, after all.

    As to the underfunded part? So are we all, chum. So are we all.

    Whatever else you do, though, don't forget the First Rule of Model Railroading: Have Fun.

    -- Paul

Share This Page