Starting with a Small Scene
The best way to learn about making scenery is to start small and develop the necessary techniques in a manageable size before trying to completely scenic your entire layout. One of the best ways that one can get started is to build small scenes that can later be incorporated in to a larger layout. This is a great way to learn how to use and apply the various products and decide which methods you like best. A flag stop station for a future O scale trolley layout is used to demonstrate the following step by step example…
Step 1: Begin by sealing and painting a piece of 1/8” thick birch plywood sized to fit the space where the scene will ultimately be installed. Our base was primed then painted with Floquil tan spray spatter paint to provide a base for the next level of scenery. Small pieces of birch plywood are available at most hobby and craft shops. Once the paint is dry position any building or larger details on the base. When a satisfactory placement has been decided, mark the position of these components.
Step 2: Since the station needed a raised platform, one was built in place using strip wood from our wood stores and the decking provided in the station kit. The support timbers were glued and clamped to the base. Once this was dry, earth was added over the base over a coat of scenery cement. A light spray of water was applied over the earth and allowed to dry.
Step 3: Static grass and gravel are added over the earth to add additional layers of texture to the base (See page S13 for more detailed information on how to apply static grass). Once this layer is dry the station building is placed in position. A tie pile made from stained and distressed 3/16” bass strip wood is added off to the side. Often a modeler can easily make some of the added details from their parts box.
Step 4: At this stage the additional foliage and details can be added. A mixture of proprietary detail parts and prefinished figures are rounded out with the addition of a scratch built ball signal assembled from some string, Grandt Line HO scale 60” sheaves and strip wood.
One easy way to make pre-painted figures stand out is to add shading and highlights. Work a transparent coat of Payne’s gray oil paint into the folds and crevices with a stiff brush. Using cotton swabs and a soft cloth wipe off the excess paint and allow to dry. To finish off the figure, dry brush with a light gray acrylic craft paint.
Step 5: The last step in finishing the station scene was to dry brush and weather some of the details. The dry brush technique was used to highlight the gravel and ground cover as well. One of the best ways to date a scene is by adding vehicles from the correct era. A Model A Ford was parked on the drive next to the station setting the time frame in the 1930s. With very little time and effort, we have created a new realistic scene for our models.
We’ve only touched the surface in this brief introduction. The only limit is your own imagination.