Layout Scenery Part VI - Final Details

By Ty’s Model Railroad - 2/22/2013 09:06:00 PM

A complete 4 x 8 HO scale model railroad layout with industrial, urban, forest, and mountain scenery

I haven’t had much opportunity to work on my layout this last month, but in the time I have had, I’ve dedicated it mostly to adding scenic details. These details include traffic signs, additional foliage, figures, and vehicles. It is amazing the amount of detail products readily available by dozens of different manufacturers, and really comes down to just deciding which products to use to achieve your desired look and level of detail.

Sidewalk scene in front of a Other Corner Café kit including figures, meters, benches, fire hydrants and vehicles

The first details I added were from a Walther’s Cornerstone City Accessory pack, which included garbage cans, pay phones, fire hydrants, bike racks, mail boxes, and parking meters. These parts require assembly and painting, which isn’t that bad as you then have free range to customize them as you please. I did this with the mail boxes by painting them red to resemble a Canadian Post mail box instead of a blue US Postal Service box. I used these parts almost exclusively in my downtown scene, but did use a few details elsewhere on my layout.

Sidewalk scene in front of a Merchant’s Row 1 kit including figures, meters, benches, fire hydrants and vehicles

Traffic and street were next on the list. I couldn’t seem to find commercially-made signs that offered the style I was looking for, so I turned to creating my own. I found high-resolution sign images online and used Adobe Photoshop to scale them down to a prototypical size. Most provinces/states have online traffic standard manuals posted online which I found useful for sizing. I printed the signs out on 5x7 photo paper at Walmart then cut each sign out and glued it to a thin sheet of styrene for extra rigidity. I trimmed the styrene right to the edge of each sign with sharp scissors, keeping them nice and tidy.

Detailed view of a stop sign and no left turn sign installed at an intersection in a downtown scene

Syrene posts were glued on next and painted an aluminum colour along with the back of each sign. I used a dull black sharpie to colour the edge of each sign black so it would seamlessly blend the white edge of the styrene into the black border of the sign. Using a new marker seemed to bleed into the photo paper so I used an almost-dead black marker. I then glued the signs to the scenery with superglue. For the Coca-Cola billboard and walkway, I used the same process with scrap styrene and printed graphics on photo paper. 

Various road signs printed on photo paper and mounted to thin styrene holders and posts

People figures were probably the most enjoyable details to add as they really brought the layout and scenery to life. Most of the figures are from Woodland Scenics and a few from Model Power. I still have neglected to give my layout an exact era and as a result some figures seem a bit dated while others are much more modern. However, everything seems to blend together almost seamlessly. Woodland Scenics offers an amazingly large selection of detailed figures and scenes and there are still several figures that I will be adding in the future.

Two model figures lounge in lawn chairs in front of a Kate’s Colonial Home kit

Vehicles are proving to be much more difficult to find than anticipated. Cars and trucks for the steam and transition eras are readily available in a wide selection but more modern vehicles, especially North American prototypes, seem to be almost impossible to come by. Model Power seems to be the most promising as far as selection, though most of their models are European makes. Atlas had a run of North American vehicles but I currently cannot seem to find any other than the two Ford Explorers I purchased last month. Adding more cars and trucks will definitely be an ongoing process.

My latest detail was a small woodland Scenics tool shed die-cast kit which I installed into the turn-table yard. This small structure is highly detailed and comes with several separate tools and details which I used elsewhere on my layout. Other details I added were small benches that I purchased off eBay and wooden pallets from a local hobby shop. I added a small pile of scrap rail and lumber right behind the work shed and used unwanted spare plastic wheels on the turn-table spurs to represent a locomotive repair area.

Woodland Scenics tool shed kit installed in a gravel rail yard scene

I don’t think there can ever be enough or too much detail. It's these details that truly prevents a model from ever being entirely complete, as there is always something that can be improved upon. After 3 years of construction, the skills I have gained are significant, and there are several items and details from the beginning stages of my layout that I now want to re-model or enhance. I am sure that any future time spent on my model for as long as it exists, will be dedicated to adding and enhancing details.

A complete 4 x 8 HO scale model railroad layout with industrial, urban, forest, and mountain scenery

Plaster roads complete with working traffic lights, street lamps, and detailed road signs printed on photo paper

Plaster roads complete with working traffic lights, street lamps, and detailed road signs printed on photo paper

Detailed view of a stop sign and no left turn sign installed at an intersection in a downtown scene

Coca-Cola billboard mounted on a styrene frame and installed along a scratch built chain link fence

Three model pedestrian figures socializing in front of White Castle Restaurant kit

Dock workers from a Woodland Scenic Accents kit carry a crate at a POLA freight station kit

Model train mechanic figure standing in front of the stairs of an Atlas signal tower

Dock workers opening a wooden crate alongside a brown picket fence and railroad track

Dock workers from a Woodland Scenics Accents kit working in front of a Northern Light & Power kit

Two train mechanics from a Woodland Scenic Accents kit chat alongside railroad track and a signal tower

A BBQ scene and white picket fence in the back yard of a Kate’s Colonial Home kit

A die-cast tool and storage shed installed in a rail yard

A scrap pile made from spare rail and basswood pieces behind a plastic shed kit in a gravel rail yard scene

Wooden pallet, mail box, and bike rack up against the foundation of a POLA freight station kit

Two train mechanics chat outside of a small shed in a gravel railyard between two spur tracks

Industrial and railyard scene with grade crossings, turnout, signal tower and Northern Light & Power Co. kit

Train maintenance shed and Atlas Signal Tower kit with chain link fence in a railroad maintenance yard
 
Areal view of a plaster road crossing a track turnout and leading into an industrial and railyard area

An areal view of a downtown scene consisting of several buildings around a circular road with a center median garden

An areal view of roads, tracks, grade crossings, a turnouts, buildings and forest scenery

An areal view of Ty’s 4 x 8 HO scale model railroad layout showing all completed scenery and track

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