One of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of railway modeling is trying to create realistic scenery for your model railway layout. Although challenging, the sky is the limit when it comes to constructing your scenery. You can build stations, houses, shops, mountains, tunnels, trees, rivers, bridges, pretty much anything that comes to mind. One of the options when creating model railway scenery is to buy a pre made kit and assemble all the parts to construct a complete building or bridge etc. What we are going to discuss here though is a technique called ‘scratch building’ which basically as the name suggests, is building something entirely from scratch! Here no kits are involved and the scenery you create is built from anything you want.
Model houses for example can be made from wood, clay, plastic, metal and many other kinds of materials too. When constructing your model railway scenery in this way, the only thing you are limited to is your imagination and your ability to make it realistic or fit the theme as you require and desire. Another positive aspect to scratch building is that your layout will be totally unique and your buildings and scenery can be tailored to fit together more realistically rather than using parts that clash and don’t fit well together. I most certainly don’t want to down talk kits, as these have their place and not everyone can build models that turn out looking realistic etc. So although kits can be sometimes limiting, they most certainly have their place. As well as that you can still use your skills to build the landscape such as mountains and tunnels etc and then buy kit parts to add that realistic touch. If you have the time available and the ability, then of course scratch building will give you complete freedom to create anything what desire to your exact needs, shape and size.
Scratch building can take up a lot of time and practice to get it right, but the reward is amazing when you look at what you have created with your won imagination and hands. Especially when its bits and pieces that you have used from junk lying about the house that literally has cost you nothing! We have discussed buildings, but there are other props like trees and plants that you can make on your own too. You have to keep in mind that scratch building your own model railway scenery will take time and a lot of patients to perfect. So although its an art that is extremely rewarding, if you are just starting out maybe buying at least certain aspects of your layout in kit form is maybe a better way to go. Think of playing a piano. Sure we would all love to sit down and play a masterpiece, however it takes time and patience to perfect your skill. It’s the same sort of idea here. Start slow and with easier type of props like the mountains and tunnels, maybe a station or building and use some kit pieces to fill in the rest, like plants or people or other things like that. This method is actually called kit bashing. Mixing both scratch building and kit building together.
At the end of the day whether you decide to build your model railway scenery all from a kit, scratch build the lot, or kit bash the two together, building model train scenery is an extremely rewarding hobby and one that you can enjoy from young to old. Make sure too to research and find a good design for the tracks and general layout. This can save you a lot of time and headache in the long run. Happy railway building!