Simple scenery ideas

“Here’s a easy way to build oil storage tanks,Buy round boxes at the hobby shop paint silver , cut clothes hanger and bend for pipes and draw lines for edges of sheet metal on sides




something I discovered last night, maybe you all know but I’ll tell you anyway.

I was changing filters on an RO water purifier. I dropped the old activated carbon filter and the case split, look what is inside! Of course, its full of carbon……scale coal.

Empty out dry and you have endless supply of coal or black track ballast.

Havent tried yet but I think it could be mixed with PVA glue rolled out as tarmac roads.

Rub it on your fingers then rubvtge sides of buildings, dirty buildings, fantastic…it was going to go in the bin!

All the best




It’s funny how the simple ideas always work the best!

And if there’s one thing you do today, make sure it’s having a quick look at the ebay cheat sheet. There’s a huge number of bargains to be grabbed.

It’s here.

Keep ’em coming.



17 Responses to Simple scenery ideas

  1. Thanks Chris great idea will try with our next filter change

  2. ref carbon coal. if you break open the filter bag from your fish tank you will find that the contents are also the same. .

  3. I use carbon from used fish filters,just dry it out and you have scale coal.

  4. Everyone. When you make a submission, please indicate the scale or gauge somewhere on the submission. I for one am still just about to build my first layout and the scale would be of immense help where applicable.



  5. A not of caution Chris, if using the carbon as track ballast. Carbon conducts electricity so it may cause a problem.

  6. yup….scenery can be found just about anywhere
    and yep good post about carbon being a conductor of electricity…!!
    keep it runnin…!!

  7. Keith, The inside of toilet paper rolls (what’s left after the paper is gone) make HO tanks. Finish with paint, piping & logos. Have not tried to put to gather for taller stack, yet.

  8. WOW! What a grand idea for HO scale coal. As for the oil tanks, PVC pipe from local hardware or Home Depot store works too. The PVC comes in many sizes for all scales. I’ve even used toilet paper rolls and detailed them with ladders, hatches, piping (made from cloths hangers) and lettering. I also use, for ballast, what I can collect from the road at the curb. Then I sift it through a window screen to get rid of the big pieces.

  9. great tips i have used cut down baked bean cans for town water tanks on n scale.

  10. Love these ideas…
    Have personally had one problem with toilet paper rolls… That seam… I have tried covering with paper but when the paint goes on, that seam reappears!

  11. You can also use toilet paper rolls to make oil tanks as well.

  12. Better make sure to “nuke” those filter contents dry to eliminate any possible bacterial contamination before using it as decoration.

  13. I model in O scale, so the items need to be significantly larger. But it opens certain other items up for use.

    Round drawer pull knobs make great roof vents.

    Twist-off toothpaste or other tube caps make good small trash cans.

    For water storage tanks. the cylindrical boxes used by Quaker Oats for oatmeal are a good size to make two tanks.

    Adding styrene and a few beads to modern pill bottles turns them into transformers for your substation.

    Certain types of moulding can be used as cornices for buildings.

  14. Your local pharmacy keeps a wide variety of plastic tablet vials to fill prescriptions. If you are a regular, they may give you some. Certainly you can buy several of different diameters and heights. These can be used for trackside tanks, flatcar loads, and many other uses. Plastic insulated single strand wire as used in homes makes excellent piping, as it bends and holds the shape.

  15. The storage tanks I use on my HO layout are white PVC ‘caps’ found in the plumbing section of the big home improvement stores. They look great and have a rounded top just like the real tanks do in our area.

  16. Thanks everyone for the great tips!!
    Thanks Al for all you do!!
    Here is another great tip …
    everyone; have a very …

    Happy Railroading … Mercy!!

  17. If you have a linens shop, like what we have in the USA called Jo-Ann Fabrics. they sell large bags of lichen, mixed colors, that can be run thru a food processor (one or two pulses) to chop down to any working size you want. Also sell large bags of ground material used for flower-pots that makes nice ballast also.

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