Model Railway Scenics: More important than you think

Scenery tells the story

As many of us fixate on finding the right locos and rolling stock for the era, an element often overlooked is the scenic detail that really tells the story behind a model railway layout - without it we merely have tracks on some wood.

As you look around model railway shows or flick through magazines, I guarantee the layouts that will stay in your mind will be those with a story, those with a glorious backdrop, or a breathtaking bridge, or lifelike buildings. Of course the trains are important but show stealers always have that something special.

So how can you get started in scenics?

First off, plan. Make the scenery and surroundings part of the track plan before you start. Ensure you don’t just fill your layout with track, but give space for the surroundings to breathe and be seen.

Secondly, decide early on your era and spend lots of time looking at pictures from that time. Note the surroundings you see and ensure your scenic shopping list matches what you need.

Next, once you have an era, make sure you have a season in mind. Often you will see layouts ruined by a mixture of Spring and Autumn products in one place… Ensure any foliage, painting, backscene and weathering matches your season in mind.

Finally, experiment. If you’re not sure about something then try it first on some scrap wood. Practice and play. 

Shopping for scenics can be a minefield - SCENICstuff aka RAILstuff is an independent scenics specialist and we are more than happy to chat over your plans and ideas and give input at anytime. You can find us at many shows, or alternatively hit / or call 01538 752 606.