Model Railroads


Model railroads are a kind of hobby where people model or create rail transport systems on a small scale just for fun. The scale models range from rolling stock, tracks, locomotives and streetcars to landscapes and signaling.

The landscapes traverse buildings, the countryside, lights, roads, model figures, vehicles and various attributes like hills, streams and canyons.

Developed in 1840s, the ‘Carpet Railways’ is the first set of model railroads in the history of this hobby. The ushering in of electric trains first occurred at the beginning of the 20th century, despite being crude look-alikes.

model railroads

Today, these models of railway systems are more practical and realistic. Using layouts of model railway systems, a model railroader will develop real locations and historical periods.

10  Tips to  Improve Your Model Railroads

These 10 tips will help you enhance your model railway system:

⦁ Darken the Tunnels

You can use a totally black shade on your model’s walls and ceiling among other interior surfaces. Developing the interior of your tunnels using colored plywood is a perfect way of coming up with an aesthetic layout.

For Styrofoam on your mountains, use acrylic latex paints that are water-based and in the darkest shade of brown instead of using black paints that can negative affect the foam.

Moreover, you get to add mystery to your model by ensuring all tunnels are totally dark.

⦁ Darken the Center of Your Tracks using Darker-colored Ballast

If your railroad is black, you need to stress less on the 3rd track in the middle, also known as O-gauge.

Real railway systems use dark-colored ballast to darken the middle of the track, protecting it from dripping oil. You can also use the same, darker ballast, all over your model railroad system entrance.

⦁ Create Realistic-looking Grade Crossings

Cover your model railroads crossing ties using black balsa wood, a thin black foam, and tongue depressors or plastic strips painted black to act as inserts. This gives your crossing a unique appearance.

⦁ Install Operating Signals at Your Model Railroad Crossing

You can blow away and mesmerize kids using the ‘lights and action’ elements of a drop-arm combo, flasher or even crossing flashers. For realistic and durable items, you can opt for those by MTH brand.

⦁ Purchase Tunnel Portals

Instead of using rough cut hole at the entrance of your tunnels, opt for tunnel portals due to their realistic looks.

⦁ Use Real Vehicles on Your Model Railroads

You can add realism and depth to your roads by making use of model trucks and cars; you can black-wash their hubcaps and grilles to attain this effect.

Installing passengers and drivers in your cars and tracks is a plus, making it look like they are driven by imaginary ghosts.

⦁ Add Many People

Buy many people to add on your layout; opt for the 1:48 ‘people’ scale to allow you incorporate people all over the model railroad system, spanning business walk-outs, streets, and even platforms around the station.

Using various brands can add diversity to your model.

⦁ Develop Realistic Buildings

Remove gloss from the plastic used to make your buildings and cover marks or depressions using a blend of hobby paint and thinner for exterior surfaces; go for black, white or gray color tones.

Wiping off the application of hobby paint and thinner helps bring out shingles, tiles, bricks and siding, making the buildings look real.
You can also use white chalk (rubbing on the walls of buildings) and seal it off using fixative matte or even hairspray.

If your buildings look transparent upon putting lights on, you can seal the walls and roofs on the inside using aluminum foil and normal glue stick.

⦁ Post Billboards

Create realistic signage and billboards by resizing advertisements from old magazines using graphics software. Add realism to your model railroad layouts  by placing various sizes of ads all over the system.

Animated neon signs, an America brand, dubbed ‘Light Works’ can also enhance the appearance of your model.

⦁ Work with a Model Railroads Theme

It is important that you stay true to your theme. If you are working on early century theme, use only elements that date back to that time. The same applies when working on a modern model railroad theme.

For more Tips and Ideas on creating  ideal model railroads and scenery  click  here .

Welcome to Model Railroading for Beginners, Your Comments are Welcome !