Railway park scenery

Remember the park scenery Roger sent in?

(If you don’t it’s here.)

Below Roger shows us how to make the slide. What I liked about it is you could use this technique for lots of things.

“Hello Al

Here’s the children’s slide for Paperclip Park, rather more complicated than its predecessors and doubly fiddlesome. Not that it’s any more difficult to make – just requires a little precision and attention to detail. And all you need is a few paperclips and a little chilled food packaging so you can have as many failures as you like! If you tinkered away at the swings and roundabout, you have to have a crack at this one.

1) You make the main structure in two sections, TOP and BOTTOM. You’ll make the sides first, then join them with cross-members, a base and a top platform. Bend two paperclips to form the TWO sections which make up ONE side of the structure (FIG 1). It’s quite important (but not essential) to work on one of those self healing cutting mats with squared marking guides (FIG 2). This enables you to get your right angles spot on – important for this one – and they make a superb cutting surface. Only a few pounds new on eBay and you’ll get a lot of use out of it.

2) Make up another two identical sections, TOP and BOTTOM, for the other side of the structure. Your paperclips must be identical – there are variations even in clips of the same size. For OO scale mine were 3 cm, top to bottom. Lay them one on top of the other to check that they’re identical – and make sure the right angles square up (FIG 3).

3) To make the first side, lay a bottom section OVER a top section exactly as pictured in the photo (FIG 4). The arrows represent the gluing points. Practice positioning several times before gluing. I mixed up a tiny amount of two tube epoxy glue. You could use superglue, but epoxy sets like rock. I used both – but always reinforced the joints by touching in some superglue around them after they had hardened. Alex wrote in to the site with a useful tip. Superglue need to be starved of oxygen to bond – so spray the added glue with a mist of water – or dunk the model! Haven’t tried it yet. Scratch all surfaces to be glued with a craft knife and apply glue to both top and bottom sections.

4) To make the second side, TURN OVER the top and bottom sections. You now have a reverse image (FIG 5 – with glued sections in a clamp). But again – lay the bottom section OVER the top section and glue. Leave overnight to harden.

5) To join the two sides, first cut out a top platform and a base from the free chilled food packaging that I often use (from this point on I shall call it ‘FP’). Also four joining cross members from paperclips (FIG 6). All of these should be around .75 cm wide.

Length of the base – 9 cm. Length of the top platform – 1.5 cm.

I used that clever two-tube epoxy which gives you additional time before beginning to set. Bit slippery when first applied, but you can gently move pieces around if they fall off the vertical – for quite a while. Glue the side sections along the base first. Support them either side with matchboxes or suchlike. Then add the top platform. Then drop in the metal cross members.

6) To make the chute (the slide itself) cut a strip of FP. It’s flexible, bends and holds creases. But if you choose a curved piece, you virtually have the slide without the need to bend it (FIGs 7 and 8). It must slot between the supports on the downward slope so it needs to be around .75 cm wide.

– You need a bend at the foot of slide. To achieve this, mark off 6cm from the top platform to the bend and cut two TINY nicks at the mark on both sides of the chute. These will promote the bend.

– Boil an electric kettle and allow it to go off the boil. Grip the chute between the fingers of both hands, either side of the proposed bend. For ONE SECOND ONLY (perhaps less) pass the chute through steam while bending it a little AFTER THE KETTLE HAS BOILED (FIG 9).

DO NOT HOLD IT OVER A BOILING KETTLE. IT WILL SCALD YOU AND IT IS NOT NECESSARY. The material will wilt and melt if you do so and and you will be burned. The slightest increase in heat will accomplish the task – and it will bend at the point where you made your nicks. Cut the chute 1 cm AFTER the bend at the foot of the chute.

6) You need a pair of handrails at the top platform. Measure up and cut from two bent sections of paperclip. The rail should be around .5 cm high (FIG 10). Glue in place.

7) To make the support for the horizontal END of the chute, cut a piece of FP – 2.25 cm x 1 cm. Shape it (as in FIG 11). Score lightly along the bends with a craft knife to achieve sharp right angles. Glue to the base and to the sides of the chute.

8) To make the ladder, first cut, bend and shape two sections of paperclip (FIG 12). Can’t give precise measurements because of the bend – just bear in mind that the ladder must incline at a comfortable angle, the bottom section must extend over the base and the top of it should slot in beneath the top platform. A little trial and error, snipping and fitting to the model will get the correct shape. When you’ve made one, make an identical copy. Check by laying one over the other.

– The ladder slots between the uprights. It passes through them at the top to meet the top platform. Measure the distance between the uprights on your main structure. This will be the width of your ladder. Lay your ladder sides inverted on a squared craft mat if you have one (FIG 13) – make sure they are perfectly parallel if you don’t. Secure them at each end with plasticine or bluetack.

– Snip off plenty of ladder rungs from paperclips. Length? The width of your ladder. Make more than you need. They get everywhere.

– Glueing was a problem – had lots of failures. In the end I used superglue and dropped the rungs in one by one – to make a TEMPORARY fix (see photo). Once dry I removed the ladder carefully from the plasticine and touched in the joints with superglue to strengthen, handling carefully because the first application is fragile. Gave the joints a third application. Try Alex’s tip – or read the discussion in the comments on glue sent in after my SWINGS article. Distance between rungs? Half the distance between knee and foot (on an OO gauge chappie). If you’re good with a mini soldering iron (which I’m not), this model would be a doddle (which rhymes).

(9) Glue the ladder into the main structure (FIG 14).

(10) Allow plenty of time for everything to set then gently scrape off any excess glue with a knife blade. Paint to match your swings and roundabout (FIG 15). Add children if you like. I think they make the model. Notice that the two boys in blue and green jumpers on one of the slides are in fact the same model! By thinking carefully before positioning your little people you can make them do things. The two boys at the foot of the slide appear to be preparing for a punch-up. And two identical model characters, cleverly placed can look completely different. The little girl in the yellow dress on the other slide should in fact be waving to her mum – but I glued her hand to the handrail! She is the same model as the two girls on the ROUNDABOUT in my last ‘how to’.

I made two slides so that could chuck away the least successful one – but in the end kept them both.

Don’t throw away failures and offcut paperclips because: –


Best wishes to everyone.


Any one can see how much time and trouble Roger has gone to with this ‘how to’. A big thanks to the talented Roger.

Latest ‘ebay cheat‘ sheet is here.



31 Responses to Railway park scenery

  1. Ian says:

    lost for words remarkable keep them coming have put in the folder still laying more track there will be a day to make a play ground thanks alot.

  2. Your step by step instructions are very much welcomed, as I was having trouble tring to work out how you did it, but now I’m on track to complete my own park scene, thanks!

  3. vivek saxena says:

    excellent frame work.

  4. Interesting idea. I can see how to adapt that for the carnival attraction called “The Slide”. Just add some longer sections, then warp the plastic slide portions until you have humps, and add them in a parallel formation, and you could effectively have a carnival “Slide”.
    I have used paper clips as hand rails for catwalks around scaffolding for scale model construction sites. Paper clips also work good for building scale scaffolding. Just straighten out, and then bend where needed.

  5. Tom says:

    Tremendous talent: awesome detail: superb instructions: Them two slides are a great additon to your kiddie park.

    I wonder what I migt be able to do in N scale?

    What about a Ferris Wheel?

    Thanks Roger for sharing: Do you ever have time to run your trains.
    Once again thanks Al for this wonderful site and sharing it.



  6. Dave, i am really amazed at how creative you are and how much talent you have, i have a 4x8table HO gauge layout that i have started, this is my second one, my first was in california, now i moved to iowa, i have kept most of your ideas, thank you for your ideas, and i love your layout, ii only hope that mine will turn out half as good,
    your admirer, engineer chuck

  7. TOM says:


  8. paul Otway says:

    I remember playing on slides like this one.

  9. Roland says:

    Roger, you are very creative. You have given me ideas on other uses of the simple paper clip and its jumbo brother.
    Thanks again

  10. Toni says:

    Roger, Fine tutorial on creating the children’s rides for the park. I bet that you had a Jolly good time creating them.

    Tom, Here in North America, there are several different versions or styles of children’s slides. The way I would do it, would be to go to the local children’s playground or big box stores and take measurements and draw a basic drawing of the slide they have. Then at home, convert your measurements to ‘N’ scale and then using the steps listed above, construct the slide’s frame to he nearest scale foot using the thinnest paper clips that you can find. If you are good at soldering, I would solder instead of using Super Glue. Then with a needle file or a Emery board, you could reduce any globs of excess solder as needed. I suggest making one side first, then the other side by making a mirror image of the first. When you finish assembling the slide’s frame Paint it as needed before adding the slide itself. Do not forget to include a base so you can move the slide around until you have the playground the way you want.

    If you can not find thin enough paper clips, you could substitute stiff piano wire and epoxy. Again use a needle file to shape the joints and to remove excess epoxy.

  11. Milton White says:

    Very clever Roger. You have given me the idea of how to create electric transmissoin lines for my layout.

  12. Benno says:

    Super!!! Thats a great work. Congratulation!!!

  13. fred says:

    Superglue need to be starved of oxygen to bond – so spray the added glue with a mist of water – or dunk the model!

    not true

    it cures with moisture

  14. Dennis says:

    those are amazing. great work

  15. Greg Pierce says:

    Slight modification would produce 3 and/or 10 meter diving boards for the Paperclip Olympics!

  16. Bob Bouskill says:

    Now here is a guy who really knows how to think out of the box. Excellent!!!

  17. Brett says:

    Absolutely brilliant
    Showed my wife the how to on the slides and she immediately ratted all my paperclips to get started

    then showed her your previous one she would like the how to on the rest of your playground Roger if that would be possible
    great job Roger

  18. joe says:

    wonderfully creative….it just helped me consider paperclips for metal railings i want to do on a model……….keep those tips coming…thanks

  19. Danny Marso says:

    Very good, excellent instructions, you did this for OO gauge, what about HO?
    Thanks, will never look at paper lips the same, more projects with tubular steel.

    Danny Marso,Rhode Island

  20. Martin says:


  21. Gene says:

    Danny Marsco, you do realize OO & HO are the same gauge. They are different scale (sizes), although that is a symantecially discussion. HO is 1/87 scale and OO is 1/76 scale. Therefore a 6 foot man in HO is 21mm tall and a 6 foot man in OO is 24mm tall. So it makes little difference unless you are a purist (and I do understand those that model to perfect scale; so don’t yell at me for my comment) But If so, then there it is.

  22. Brad says:

    RE 1:46 post-OO and HO scale are very close.Usually what suits OO works fine with HO scale as well.The difference in scale is minimal so most things are interchangable

  23. Mike Ilkenhons says:

    The old saying…. “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”… almost hits home here. My wife wonders why I save scraps of this and that… a huge part of scratch building is seeing something “hidden” in a piece of scrap metal, wood, plastic… paper clips ..what a brilliant idea. I see other places on a layout for wire already formed with nice bends…. well done Rodger….

    Mike, Clermont, Florida…

  24. Paul Ryan says:

    Excellent “How To” article. Thanks for the effort.

  25. Dan Williams says:

    Concerning HO Scale, I vaguely recall some 50 or 60 years ago it was 1:72 I believe. Am I wrong?

  26. Danofive0 says:


  27. Frank says:

    I like it…it’s just nifty. I like being able to use easily acquired items rather than looking for a place or a dealer that sells every specific thing one may desire to represent on his layout.

    I’m in Orlando and despite the hustle and bustle and variety of people, the one model railroad shop was in Winter Park (Not terribly far from me), but they didn’t get enough business and they didn’t have all that much. It’ sad to see that model railroading and it’s little brother hobby; slot cars are not easily seen by people but have almost vanished from public eyes to the internet.

    I long for the days of just walking in to a store and being dazzled by all the choices and offerings.

  28. Quin Parker says:

    I quit!
    Maybe I’ll just take up Underwater Basket-weaving.

    That’s incredible! Never in a million years would I think of that.

    Job well done.

  29. JW Snyder says:

    Brilliant! Bravissimo! I envision pool ladders, diving boards, specialized fuel loading docks, scaffolding, to name a few. More to O scale.

  30. James says:

    Ingenious I say !

  31. Bruno says:

    There is so much talent on this site as to make me feel quite inadequate. Here was just another example.

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