More railroad tips – and more sign pics from Roger

“Hello Al

Here are the photos for INTERIORS. The photo numbers continue on from the last batch on my previous mail (12-17).

I use high quality on my camera which means I can send a limited amount attached to a mail.



“G-Day, from Australia, Alastair I have used latex and covered a section of a natural rock wall, out crop, and then splattered a thick plaster mix inside the mold with some great effects.”


“Most people use oil based paints to paint buildings, engines and rolling stock. I use a water base paint, it makes it so much easier to weather which ever piece I am working on and once I am happy with the way it looks I then spay a flat clear coat over the piece. It make it look old and weathered, it is so easy to maintain. Besides the clean up is so simple. Thanks,


“Take dry wall compound and dilute with water to a thick batter consistently. Then dip paper towel sheets in it to coat. Lay over foam or crumpled up newspaper
and shape with fingers. Works the same as plaster cloth and much cheaper.”


“Love this thanks !!! I have been a modeler for many years and i try not to spend money on stuff i feel we can make . I’m in the auto restoration business and use body filler to make so much stuff with foam , by making forms out of foam then cover with body filler then before its dry i place latex brick or cobble stones mold place it on the filler let dry .Once its dry pull form from the filler and u have bricks or streets would like to show you with some pics . I a’m currently doing Amsterdam with its canals and central station on of the most beautiful cities i have seen in my travels . thanks for your time.


“The feathery seeds from pampas grass makes good clumps of bush grass for OO/HO or elephant grass for N gge. Clumps makes good bamboo. Paint with simple school poster paints, or dye in a poster paint/ water 30/70 solution. Sue hairspray if you want a fixative.

Dried tea leaves and coffee grounds make good scatter material. Sift them with a sieve for different grades. Dye them with poster paints.


“Hi Al,

Keep em coming. I like some of these idea’s.

Another sugestion for Wire Netting is strips cut from Net Curtains that can then be sprayed with “Mount Spray” or Hair Lacquer to provide the rigidity.



“I have something I can share with you. I am sure someone has already done it. It came to me as I was sitting with my wife a few months ago. I was planning my “Drive in Theater” layout for my HO’s trains. I was thinking about making the speakers for the cars. She was taking bobby pins out of her hair, I picked up one and said it’s the right size and it was as simple as this. I took one and cut it in half to make two even pieces then bent the head pieces on an angle away from each other, painted them aluminum. So with one drop of super glue at the bottom with a bead making the cement bottom of the post- painting the lower part flat white. I went to the dollar store and picked up 2 packages that had about 100 in each pack and a small pack of beads that fit perfect. It has done more than complete the area for 140 cars facing the screen. With all the materials at your side it takes about one min. to make one and cost little to nothing for a great result. Using a 1/87 or 1/64 scale car this resembles an incredible memory and furthers the conversation for the layout. It worked for me.


“If you want to model craggy weathered granite on cliffs or outcrops I have found chuncks of pine bark, I get mine from pine bark mulch, set in plaster gives a very realistic look even close up. If you want sandstone then a few passes with awire brush and a spray with an airbush of whatever colour you prefer also looks pretty good.


Some good tips here. Hope enjoyed them.

I keep getting mails that theebay cheat sheet doesn’t work with the Chrome browser. I’ll try and fix that. For everyone else, thanks for all the comments on it. Hope it’s saved you a few dollars.



16 Responses to More railroad tips – and more sign pics from Roger

  1. Hi Al,
    Always look forward to your tips.
    Keep them comimg
    Andrew Hynes. (Australia).

  2. I’d love to see some of the photos from the descriptions given by the guys above.

  3. Hello From Texas,

    Are there any Marklin HO fans out there ?

    The GermanTexan

  4. Always enjoy the tips and ispirational ideas, keep up the good work

  5. Great tips


  7. Great ideas. I will try the bobby pin idea.

  8. Thank you for sharing your railroading tips. I am finally doing this too next weekend. I am going on a break from my job just to be able to build something nice and one of a kind.

  9. As a newcomer to model trains i have used PVC foam ( not the packageing kind) on my layout with what i consider great success, It comes in flat sheets to the thickness you require to build up. I have seen some good tutorials on the process on the webb. Much easier to adjust or add to. Just cut some off or stick some on as the case may be than i would think useing chicken wire or plaster of paris. Hope this helps someone.

  10. great tips thanks from Cincinnati.ohio

  11. looks good i will have a crack at that

  12. Werner Grotz wants to know if there are any HO modelers out thar? Yessiree I’m here in Good Old Jersey (Not the Isle of). My layout is 4×8 with Marklin rolling stock. One passenger rain, one freight train and one Suburban train. I used some pieces of tree branches cut to fit in a flat car, to simulate trees going to the mill for processing..

    Allister. I greatly enjoy your mail and the tips and stories from modelers around the world. When are you going to gather them together in a “Tip Book”?

  13. Please someone give some O gauge (lionel, mth, atlas} advice or layout pictures, including model buildings scale diagrams, etc!

  14. Realize “high” quality is a wonderful term, but the print on the computer screen is only 75dpi, therefore a higher resolution is not required or necessary.

    Lighting is more important than dpi.. So if you have access to a editing program, you may want to crop and change dpi so it fits into the internet. Thanks Vern

  15. I have found, what I refer as speedy dry as a good ballast for Lionel and American Flyer track. I use it to soak up oil, gasoline, or what ever spills in and around the garage. Comes already in a dry form, works good with water base paints, glue and spreads easy. All my trains and accessories are old Lional metal cars, trains. Very hard to come by. I do very little to make my rolling stock look old or rusty, age has done that pretty much for me. My hobbie layout, or trains go back to 1935 and some before.

  16. Great ideas al, and keep them coming. I have used several tha tI have read on my HO layout and it does make it easier and cheaper. The idea with bobby pins and beads for speakers is great and I would love to see pics of them to see how they look. My drive in uses an old 5″ TV wired directly to a switch and to the transformer. I used small plastic cars for the drive in and made the rows different heights for realism but I think I will use the pin idea for better looking speakers. I put a wooden fence around it inserted some playground equipment and scratch built the concession and ticket booth. I have had this for several years on another layout and I am going to incorporate it into my new layout. Keep the ideas coming Al they are really helpful

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