Mark makes some industrial storage tanks for his layout

“Hello Al,

I’ve been reading your emails for some time now, and I decided it was time I posted something myself.

Well, I was saving these plastic containers for storage of balast and ground cover; but never got around to use them. Suddenly, an idea hit me when I was looking for something else. The idea was to use them for a structure.

So I set out to research a little on different types of storage tanks. I found some interesting photos, and there they were, almost the exact type that my containers could represent!

I got excited, and started putting pieces aside for my project. The storage tanks were white, so I painted my containers and set aside to dry.

Although, I looked at photos of these storage tanks in groups of as few as one, and as many as six, I decided three was the magic number. I also decided one would be shorter to add more variety.

Next, I cut out a piece of cardboard for the base, and arranged the containers in various positions. Something was still missing. I needed a storage shed for tools and what not.

I fashioned a building out of a small cardboard box, and added siding I made from corregated paper I had purchased from a local craft store. I found a door and window combination online and printed them out in a suitable size. The door and windows were simply glued into place and set aside to dry.

I also found a logo for a liquid fertilizer company, which I printed out on decal paper. Of course, sizing it to fit, and making three of them for my tanks.

I made a security light out of a coffee stir stick and an led. I saw this done in a YouTube video, and I really liked the simplicity. So, check out the pictures, and I hope it makes your column.



A huge thanks to Mark – I think his tanks look spot on.

And it just goes to show what scenery can be made from, with a little imagination.

That’s all for today folks – don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if it’s your time to start your layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

17 Responses to Mark makes some industrial storage tanks for his layout

  1. Bill Holt says:

    Good idea and well made. Good Job !!

  2. Very nice Mark. Made my own last year using PVC pipe and putting eight pieces together. Turned out well and so did yours. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Pete says:

    Can the printable buildings be for all gauges? O, HO, N, etc.?


  4. Bruce says:

    Great looking tank farm. Your scale is HO I guess.

  5. Al Finch says:

    Dear Al and Mark,
    These storage tanks look great. Can you enlighten a bit about these plastic containers? I can’t picture what came in them or if Iwill find them in th U.S.

  6. Gene Schaeffer says:

    Great idea! I noticed the piping on the side of the tanks. It appears to be left over sprue from some kit or other. DON’T THROW AWAY SPRUE! It makes great piping and best of all, it’s free!

  7. john thorogood says:

    To complete the storage area there needs to be a berm around to entire tank area to contain any failure of the tanks. I guess that’s the Firefighter in me.

  8. Thomas Murphy says:

    Wonderful idea Mark. And thank you Al for posting Mark’s thoughts to your site. It does one well to see other folks talent.

  9. Ed Nelson says:

    Good job on the tanks. They look like the containers used for counter or desk wipes. Looks perfect for O or S scale. Not sure about G. I have seen a container that’s about 3” to 4” in diameter at our office. My comment relates more to US modelers. Don’t know if wipes are sold in plastic containers overseas or in soft packs.

  10. Mike Richardson says:

    Great job Mark The storage tank display looks super nice.

  11. Dale Popula says:

    Mark is it still possible to store the ballast and ground cover materials in them?
    It would be as they say, killing to birds with one stone. If you can still open the top or something, no one will know what is in them and a vac could be used to retrieve the material when needed.

  12. Merl Fisher says:

    corregated cardboard box works well by just peel off one side and build the building out of the rest

  13. Cary Price says:

    Hi Mark, I love seeing the scratch built stuff and your tanks look great. The decals/logo really make them pop… great job! Cary in KY

  14. Mark Riley says:

    I model in HO scale and I used the containers from Crystal Light drink mixes. The piping is made from sprues leftover from a bridge kit. The hoses were made from wire insulation cut off a USB cable. Yes, I know about the berm; but still thinking about how to do it. The led light works and is wired through the coffee stir straw. Hope this answers most of the questions. Please feel free to ask more or give suggestions.

  15. Franco says:

    I really enjoy the submissions of projects that others have completed.

    There is one thing I would like to see on any projects that any of us may want to try for ourselves. That is, at least three (3) views: top. side and front.

    More views would be appreciated by all.

    The Storage Tanks are a great addition to most layouts. If you have a step by step procedure which would help the inexperienced hobbyists and the young folks, then by all means – share it.

    Those people just getting started into design and manufacturing models can always use the help of the “old” ones in this hobby. I went from playing with trains, to building layouts for myself and friends, to painting by hand every piece of rolling stock so they match the layout. And, I often look back on other folks work to improve my own.

    Sharing ideas will guarantee that our hobby will last through the ages.

    I thank everyone who has shared their work and/or ideas.

  16. Ian McDonald says:

    great work looks very real. picked up some nice tips. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Steve says:

    Prescription plastic containers also work well

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