Model Railroader’s Best of Scenery

Model Railroader has compiled all the scenery techniques you’ve been asking for in one place! This comprehensive collection includes 33 detailed projects to make your layout more realistic, plus profiles of three exceptional layouts.


In this Issue



Rural Scenes

Build a complete scene

Structures and bridges

Trees and Grass

Water Effects

Terrain Tricks

Realistic Roads


Also in this issue:

Scenery from the experts, pg. 3
Introduction/by Carl Swanson

17 tips to create authentic scenes, pg. 6
Use details selectively

Paint effective backdrops, pg. 10
Great techniques for making your own clouds and landscapes

Big sky, little trouble, pg. 14
An airless sprayer can make painting backdrops easier

Light up a big-city skyline, pg. 18
Use LEDs to illuminate photo backdrop buildings from the inside out

Rio Grande in the Rockies, pg. 20
Follow Mike Danneman’s N scale Moffat Road main line through the Rockies

Use layered foliage, pg. 30
Add depth and realism with trees, grass, and other foliage textures/by James McNab

How to model an alfalfa field, pg. 33
Didn’t get it right the first time? Tear it out and start over!

Add a cornfield to your layout, pg. 36
Get rid of the artificial turf. These plastic corn strips feature realistic detail

Creating mirror magic, pg. 39
Using mirrors on streams, structures, and roads can make layouts seem larger

Build a portable branch line, part 1, pg. 44
Benchwork and foam scenery for our HO scale

Build a portable branch line, part 2, pg. 52
We add rocks, rivers, and a lot of trees to our HO scale branch line

How to plan and build an urban scene, pg. 60
Design and construction tips for a transition-era working class district

Weather a brick structure, pg. 68
This technique produces brick walls with a wellaged appearance

Build a trestle over a dry wash, pg. 71
A wood trestle adds interest to the HO scale Eagle Mountain Railroad

Composing a realistic bridge scene, pg. 74
Learn the expert tricks used to bring Green River to life on the Daneburg Sub

How to model a rusty auto junkyard, pg. 82
Paint, weathering powders, and more make a trackside scene

Revitalize an aging scene, pg. 85
A laser-cut wood structure takes center stage

How to weather wood structures, pg. 88
Simulating aged wood is an important part of model building

Add storefront details, pg. 90
Photos of real stores make effective signs, awnings, and window displays

Modeling Miami’s downtown spur, pg. 94
An urban light-industrial setting provides plenty of switching

Build an N scale cattle yard, pg. 102
Practice new techniques by building a diorama

How to build a retaining wall, pg. 105
This quick project adds visual interest

Good fences make good scenery, pg. 108
Wood kits can help divide scenes and make cramped areas seem larger

How to model tall grass easily, pg. 110
Modern static grass mats offer variety and ease of use

How to make trees from a natural kit, pg. 113
SuperTrees are a realistic, versatile, and inexpensive scenery option

Create realistic windswept trees from natural materials, pg. 116
Twisted tree trunks and caspia branches capture a rugged look

Make conifers the quick and easy way, pg. 118
Air filter conifers are a simple weekend project

Trees that bend without breaking, pg. 121
Concealed coil springs help trees cope with pesky elbows

Model realistic rapids, pg. 122
Cool water scenery is fun with some simple commercial products

3 big scenes for a small space, pg. 126
Dramatic dioramas fit western scenic vistas into a 7 x 12-foot HO scale layout

Dig those ditches, pg. 133
How to model realistic-looking trackside drainage ditches

Carving realistic stone from foam, pg. 138
Lightweight, easy-to-shape material is a breeze to work with

Making mountains, pg. 142
Making mountains for Eagle Mountain RR using plaster gauze and a cardboard web

How to cast & color plaster rocks, pg. 145
Realistic rock faces made simple with plaster rocks cast in commercially available molds

How to build a deep rocky ravine, pg. 149
Greet your visitors with an impressive scenic feature

Build an animated grade crossing, pg. 155
Automatic lights and gates add realism to a modern railroad scene

How to model streets and highways, pg. 158
Add realism to your layout by giving the vehicles on it some accurate roads