How to hide a seam on your model railroad

Bill’s been back in touch with another superb update – how to hide a seam on your layout.

If you want to get up today, his last post is here.

“Hi Al

As always good day to you and our fellow modelers!

Today I have a little ‘how to’ that covers a few ways we can hide seams for those that have sectional layouts that we have to pull apart for storage.

The first picture shows the layout pieces apart and the elements I’ve used to hide the seam.

The second picture shows how I use clump foliage to over hang one section of the layout. When the two pieces are pulled together the foliage will blend in with similar foliage on the other section and hide the seam and make the area look like a thicket.

The next several pictures show how adding a boardwalk along the seam hides it very well.

I used strip wood from a local craft shop and made a walk about 8 scale feet wide from the station over to the shops so workers can come and go. I did find a video on YouTube of this exact thing on a real railroad from the 1930’s. I used white glue to put in place then painted it with an acrylic paint with some chalk weathering. Overall the effect is good.

The last area was by an asphalt lot and dirt access road near the shops. What I did here was take a piece of wax paper and slide it between the sections then slowly built up the area between the sections with some full strength white glue that I mixed with scenery material and silt/sand to minimize the seam size.

Once the glue was dried I pulled the sections apart and was left with a very narrow seam. When the sections of the layout were put back together I place a small strip of sandpaper between the sections there. The grit held the piece in place and then I used a very little amount of silt/sand and filled in the seam and blended with a little ground cover when done. The sandpaper caught the material I added right at the top so I really only needed a very little amount to hide it.

Since my layout is in a garage when I pull it apart to store it out of the way that little added sand will fall to the floor but is an easy clean up.

The last photo shows the area with the seam covered when I run the railroad.

Ive also attached a link to a very short video of a maintenance train running through the layout.

Thanks to all the modelers who post here and from whom I have learned new ways of doing things! Thanks one and all!

All the best!

Bill in Virginia”

HO layout

hiding seam HO layout

HO seam

switching layout HO

HO scale yard

HO scale tracks with foliage

model railroad shed

model railroad foliage

model railroad paints for foliage

model railroad truck embankment

HO scale model railroad sidings

model railroad seams joint

hide seams model train layout

A huge thanks to Bill – what a layout!

Seeing it all come together step by step, is a real joy too.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here it today is the day you take that first step on your very own layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

10 Responses to How to hide a seam on your model railroad

  1. Peter Jones says:

    Fantastic ground works Bill, you don’t see much better

  2. George Zaky says:

    Fantastic layout, super craftsmanship! Thanks for the tips.
    George from NY

  3. james palmer says:

    great job looks like real life if not better.

  4. Gary Manganiello says:

    Love your layout and love your scenery detail…….. your layout has given me ideas for mine. Thank you.

    Gary M

  5. Timothy Morlok says:

    Hi Bill, great way to hide a seam. Just one quick comment on your work train; if it was going to leave the yard for another location the crane and boom car would be entrained the other way around so that if the boom became loose it would not spear a train on an adjacent track.

  6. Stephen Kurtz says:

    This is well done. List of additional detail that makes it perfect. Thank you for sharing

  7. dick hogle says:

    I have worked in Film for many years and we use water base (washable) colored hair sprays for “ageing and weathering” Set pieces buildings autos and clothing. There is also a product called “Fullers Earth” which is diatomaceous earth used in above ground pools and as a pesticide for grasshoppers. It is super fine and a powder. It is non-carcinogenic and safe for humans and their pets Usually comes in 50 lb bags but you can get smaller bags at pool cleaning supply stores.

  8. Hi Bill in Virginia,
    How did you make the oil containers in picture three (the silver ones with the ridges). For some reason they caught my eye and look great. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Really a nice layout.

    Thank you , Jim

  9. Bill Holt says:


  10. THOMAS says:

    Thanks for running your trains … Makes my day to see them runing !

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