Obtaining all your supplies is just the start when it comes to model railroading. The next step is to do the landscaping with the help of foam spacers. They can be shaped to the design you’d like and then sealed with a fiberglass or hardener to protect them. A wire frame can be used to reinforce a larger landscape and some modelers will even bring in sand, dirt or stone for a more realistic look.
It is worth noting that the addition of real-life materials can actually diminish the authentic look that you may be trying to achieve because of the extra texture that is added. Most of the dirt isn’t fine enough to give the look of “earth” in a miniature unless it is coated with a finer powder or dust. You will need to keep the scale in perspective and work up to the tallest items such as mountains. This will help to form the valleys and lakes or stream areas to make them seem more natural.
After doing the base, you can start to have a little fun. By painting all the surfaces, you will cover any extra glue and then you can begin to start to place items like stones and coverings. You can stipple on some grass with a fine brush to make it seem a little more realistic being careful to plan as you go.
For example, if you are adding a water feature, have a ragged edge infringing on the side of it instead of taking grass right up the edge of the water. In real life banks are washed away and tree roots are exposed from nature. By mimicking this, your project will look more realistic and please your viewers.
The easiest way to add the track is to just glue it down. The most realistic way is to make a bed of crushed rock and add wooden beams but this is very time consuming and not very common. You can even find software that will help you with your design and layout. Be careful to keep in mind that there will be maintenance and you will need to be able to access your tracks for cleaning and repairing at later times.
The last step is to create the “vignettes” or small scenes. This is when the imagination of the model railroaders really can really make the layout come to life by creating the tiny scenes.
Having the right theme for your city or train station is as crucial as keeping the right scale. You have the option of erecting the houses and buildings yourself or buying them already done and just placing them correctly. The human eye is capable of detecting even minute differences so staying true to scale is important in keeping the layout realistic.
Landscaping involves so much more but you’re probably anxious to put on your engineer cap and start planning your project. Start by turning on the light and enjoying yourself!