Railroad scenery – flat bed wagons

Seeing as so many of you commented on Roger’s flat bed wagon ‘how to’, here’s another of Roger’s.

“Hello Al

I was horrified to see that people actually SELL wagon loads on eBay.  Even worse, the proprietary manufacturers sell them!  And if you buy a truck with a load included you can guarantee it will be expensive.  Great fun to make them and of course … for no cost whatsoever.  I call it FREELOADING.  So here’s the first of my free-loads for flat wagons – illustrated for a Macaw double bogie – but it can of course be adapted for all sorts of trucks.

And the pipes could appear at road sides – or piled up outside factories and industrial sites – or loaded on lorries.  If you glue them together in a chunk and attach it to your truck with tiny blobs of Bluetack – then you can take off the pile whenever you like and use it elsewhere on your layout.

I guess we all use plastic drinking straws for all sorts of modelling projects but these are a bit special.  They come stuck in cellophane on the front of those packs of little cartons of juice – usually bought for kids’ lunches.  Most drinking straws are a little thick for OO modelling but these are nice and slim.  Included a picture of them as they are sold so you know what I mean.  Take a look at the bend in the centre of them.  This gave me an idea – which follows.

Best wishes.


There seems no end to Roger’s talents. A huge thank you to him, from all of us.

Don’t forget to have a look at the latest updates on the ‘ebay cheat’ sheet.



PS If you missed Roger’s first, ‘how to’, it’s here.

27 Responses to Railroad scenery – flat bed wagons

  1. Good idea again Roger

  2. What an imagination !
    It’s always a great pleasure to discover a new load for our sad flat cars, event if i “play” “G” scale trains.
    Hold on !
    J.R. (France)

  3. Great idea Roger. Adds an individual look to a layout rather than a clone store bought load. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Michael (Australia)

  4. well done your imagination is unbelievable and then to put it in a simple how to finishes the idea off.


  6. well done,all for nothing, great.

  7. Hi & well done again, Roger, this kind of modelling is what model railways is all about, it can make for so many different types of loads, & not the robotic, STORE repeats, that can look so false. I don’t have my layout yet, but I’m collecting lots of little bits and pieces that I see and some day will fit in somewhere, or make a load for the wagons.

  8. And finally a railway modeler who can actually write proper English!

  9. Good idea…keep it comming

  10. I was given a coal load from a toy train set, I am modifying it, so I can put it in my Bachmann Branchline wagons. so watch this space. Neat work Roger

  11. There appears no end to things that can have a double use in life on our layouts! Terriffic! How about using them for ‘Down-Pipes’ on buildings too?

  12. Hello Roger

    You have mentioned the term “Blue Tack” several times. I have to guess at what that is. Would you help me understand its utility in modeling. Please list some fundamental applications, some do’s and dont’s

    So far I have been guessing..and a little but embarrassed.



  13. Once again, this old man learns how to save a few bucks. This hobby is getting awfully expensive for a guy on a disability retirement. Thanks to Roger and Al.

  14. Hello Dirck

    ‘Bluetack’ may be a British trade-name. Does it exist in the US? It’s probably sold under different names in different countries.

    Difficult to describe what it is but I’ll try. It’s a stationery product, sold in newsagents and office shops. It’s generally used for sticking posters and lightweight signs to walls. But the huge advantage is that, once mounted, you can remove your posters and signs without leaving a mark on the wall. So it is used for temporary displays.

    When you buy it, it looks like a small lump of clay. You squeeze it between your fingers until it becomes soft and sticky – pull off a little lump – stick it on your poster or sign – then on the wall. You can use it over and over again. You’ll see a lump of it in one of my photos.

    There are thousands of uses for it in railway modelling: –

    – I use it stick things to the baseboard which I may wish to move elsewhere later – temporary buildings – that kind of thing.

    – You can attach ‘people’ to platforms without ruining them with glue.

    – I even use it as a filler – to fill little holes and imperfections.

    – And, as I’ve indicated, to attach loads to trucks and wagons – so that when the load is removed, they are left without a mark on them.

    Remember – it hardens just enough to hold things ‘firmly’. It is not a solution if you have a portable layout.

    Hope this helps.

    Best wishes.


  15. Bluetack, might be Prestic, comes in stripes 20cm long X 1.5cm wide and .5cm thick. 5 pieces in a box. (S.A.)

  16. YET another clever idea. Amazing!!!! Love it and thanks for sharing


  17. I like your FREELOADING ideas Roger keep them coming they are GREAT
    Thanks a lot

  18. On the photo where it shows the straws loosely. Street igniting comes to mind. Have you used them before forthat purpose ? As I’ve seen others using straws for lighting. Loads look great, especially the crimped bendy bits. These could be used as stand pipes etc. Many thanks for your brill ideas with items most of us would discard.. You certainly give the old grey matter food for thought.

  19. This is a great site to learn what to do next in building your layout . I have been doing that for many years now.
    Thanks from ,

  20. Great job . it would have been even better with a “wood crate for the elbows”. They will fall off as they are, and then the RR will have a claim against it. Incomplete shipment . Lost or damaged goods.

  21. IndianaDirck – “blue tack” appears to be what is called “STICKY TACK” here in the good old U S of A.
    And, Roger, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

  22. Excellent Roger! Interesting you mentioned they are the right scale for OO!

    Dirty Dave

  23. I have done that, but I left some of the flexible part on the “pipe”. It makes it look like the pipe is threaded.

  24. Thank you for yet another great idea that doesn’t cost a cent

  25. I’m into HO scale,however would paper towel tubes work for you G scalers? Or maybe ends trimmed cardboard rolls from holiday wrapping paper? I don’t know,maybe someone can check it out

  26. I am very new to all of this. I can say that I am sure that with the helpful info that I have been reading my layout will give myself and my grand children years of injoyment.
    Thank you.
    Cincinnati Ohio USA

  27. Hello every one.
    Great site Al.
    Just something I made up some time ago
    If you have some white or clear drinking straws, you could use them as poly pipe loads. I’ve made them into packs of 9 or 12 pipes to fit onto a truck or into a open wagon, use glue to stick together and then paint white. Not shore if they are the right size, HO length or width, but looks OK. Sorry all my stuff is packed away, otherwise I could get a photo for you. I like your load Roger

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