Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 16 Jun 2011 05:00 am

Model Train Scenery – Several Tips to Avoid Costly Mistakes While Having Fun

One of the major aspects that baffles most beginners in the model railroading hobby is the creating the surrounding scenery for their model train display. If done properly, objects such as hills, trees, mountains, bridges, buildings, and people can bring the scenery to life. In fact, serious hobbyists strive to create scenery that are works of art and can be showcased publicly at model train clubs or train shows.

So what are some tips to help new model train enthusiasts avoid the typical mistakes made when designing the scenery?

First, it is common for newcomers to go overboard by planning complicated layouts, wiring, and carpentry even though they lack prior experience. Those who are new to this hobby might want to scale back their ambitions and start modestly. In doing so, the new model railroader will gain experience. Plus, the beauty of this hobby is that one can always add and build upon one’s existing display. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Second, it always helps studying other completed model train displays. By studying other displays, you’ll be able to determine what you would like to incorporate into your scenery. Sure, one could study displays purely through research over the Internet. However, an even better way to study displays up close and personal is to visit your local model train club or a model train show in your area. This is an excellent opportunity to talk to more experienced hobbyists. They will be more than happy to share valuable tips and insights to save you time and money. After all, everyone starts at the same place. Experienced hobbyists had to learn their craft over time too.

The next step is to spend some time planning the overall design. There are several ways to plan the design. For instance, one could jot down all the elements that will be included in the display. This, in effect, creates a checklist to help one remember everything needed to complete the desired scenery. In addition, one could sketch a mock-up which will serve as a blueprint. This will make the actual set up easier if one has an idea of where everything will be placed. Finally, if one’s design is based on a historical period of time or a geographical setting, then it might also be good to have plenty of photos and illustrations available. All of this will help one visualize the completed project and ensure the finished project matches the intended design.

Here’s another tip that most beginners don’t realize right away. Model train scenery can include objects that are readily available around the house. For instance, talcum powder such the ones used for baby powder can be used to simulate snow such as what one might see on a snow-capped mountain. Rocks, shrubbery, and twigs in the backyard can also be incorporated into the landscape. These elements will add a touch of realism to the display rather than simply using artificial objects. In fact, some of the best model train displays combine usage of real and artificial objects to create a true masterpiece.

My last piece of advice is to create a budget and stick to it. There’s no need to spend a fortune on the model train scenery by purchasing a ton of structures and objects. In other words, there’s no need to go overboard. Moreover, if you’re going to purchase any items, used model train accessories such as those available on eBay or in the local classified listings will stretch the budget even further. Remember, there is beauty in simplicity. It is more important to enjoy all this hobby has to offer and expand the scenery over time. With this approach, new railroading enthusiasts will discover why many model railroads enjoy creating scenery. Model train scenery is like a blank canvas; there truly are no limits to one’s creativity.

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