Creative Ideas for Making Model Railroad Buildings

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Duration: 11:35

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One of the most immediate reactions visitors have to the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Sainte Marie railroad in HO Scale created by Ray and Renee Grosser is how realistic the scenery looks, especially enhanced by the structures. Learn the secrets to making model railway buildings look more life-like from Renee, whose first effort was a model of her childhood home. Patience and persistence, she preaches, pays off in the end; her first effort was built 4 different times before she was satisfied!

Renee demonstrates her tried and trusted methods of working from photos from all angles of the house to be modeled, transferring the sketch to grid paper, then on to styrene sheets which form the structure. She always uses Super Jet CA glue because it won’t eat away or warp the plastic as some plastic solvents so. She finishes off making model railway buildings with a variety of roofing material including Holgate & Reynolds plastic shingles, and both Campbell and Grandt Line windows and doors. Weathering is done with chalks.

Renee also demonstrates her method for using real creek gravel, white glue and fine sand for realistic stone wall foundations. She also shows how to use Durham’s Water Putty and acrylic paint in a 50:50 ratio to create stucco walls so typical in Minnesota.

Ray talks about his rationale for hidden storage beneath the town of Waite Park, making streets look more realistic by measuring real roads, and how he “populates” the layout with variety of cars and trucks appropriate to the 1954-era, including some 1920s cars still running thirty years later.

How does a husband and wife team – a rarity in model railroading – find pleasure in working together on a layout? Ray shares the secret with Allen.

The team effort at making model railroad buildings makes for a very convincing and successful “living scene” of their childhood memories of central Minnesota.