OCT 7, 2013

A brief guide to building your own model railway scenery

Have you ever seen a model railway that looks scarily life like? How do they do it?

Well, in the model railway community tips and tricks are always being shared to help make scenery look like the real deal.

Here are a few tips that you can try to bring your scenery to life.


Gravel is a must for nearly all model rail sets. Think about it, how often do you see a real railroad that doesn’t feature gravel?

The question is, how can you create some on your track? Real gravel is probably going to be too big for the scale you’re modelling in. A popular trick is to use kitty litter.It could also be used as coal if painted black.

Trees and bushes

You’re going to want to create trees and bushes in abundance. They’re going to play a huge role in creating your believable scenery so you want something that’s cost effective. The most common way to create trees and bushes is to head outside and collect twigs and moss.

The twigs can be cut down to size and the foliage crate from the moss. You can also glue the moss down to create hedgerows. It’s an absolutely free way to populate your model railway.


Water is probably the trickiest thing to recreate in modelling. You can’t use actual water as it’ll ruin all of your set, but finding something that actually looks like water is difficult.

The most popular choice is the reactive polymer compound Envirotex Lite. Within 48 hours it will toughen and leave behind something that looks as much like water as possible. Other people like to simply use paint to create the water look that they’re after. I recommend playing around with different methods to find which best suits your set.


Another staple of model railway scenery are rolling grassy hills. Creating these is relatively inexpensive. All you need are some old newspapers and some glue. Scrunch the old newspapers up and form them into the shape of a hill. Lay them on your track and then cover them in paper. Glue the edges of the paper down and hey presto! You have a hill. You can now paint it green or whichever colour you like!

So there you go, 4 basic ways to create model railway scenery, without it costing you the earth! 

Created on 7th October 2013
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