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Make. Paint. Build: Hints, tips and advice for model train enthusiasts, model makers and miniaturists


Progress reports, track plans, tips and updates from the construction of my model railways. Includes N, OO and 009 gauge layouts. Based on railways in Cornwall and a 1980s Network South East themed railway.

Making a miniature bird nest

Photo of a miniature bird nest for model railways
How I made a miniature bird nest for White River Mills. [...]

It has a name! Why my model railway is called White River Mills

White River Mills Model Raiilway
After much contemplation, countless cups of tea, and a dash of inspiration, I've finally given my 009 exhibition layout a name: Welcome to White River [...]

An optical illusion

Photo showing mirror hiding rear of model railway layout
It's been bugging me for ages. [...]

Making an animated bonfire

Model bonfire for oo gauge model railway
How to make a miniature bonfire that glows just like a real fire. [...]

Making an animated outhouse

model railway animation, figure in an outhouse as door opens.
Time for a break. [...]

Front of house for the exhibition layout

Photo of my exhibition model railway with newly fitted covers
From the very start of constructing this layout, I've intended the layout to be boxed in. [...]

Making a model derelict barn

abandoned barn model
Making a scratch built barn to hide the fiddle yard entrance on the layout was a lot of fun. [...]

Adding animals

oo scale dog
As a break from building construction for the layout, I painted a few more animals that will be live around the railway. [...]

Modelling a smithy, exhibition layout

Photo of OO gauge blacksmiths
With the goods shed almost complete, I've moved onto to the smithy. [...]

Finishing touches

scale model pigeon
I've recently finished another building for my exhibition layout. Well, it'll do for now. [...]

Scratch building a 4mm scale storage shed

Photo of a stoage shed on a model railway.
How the storage sheds for White River Mills where constructed. [...]

Background scenic sounds

model railway
Want ambient background sounds on your layout, it's cheaper and easier than might you think. [...]

Layout wiring

Model railway layout wiring
For a change I decided not to break anything on my exhibition layout. [...]

I didn’t mean to do that

spilt fluid
How working on the model river lead to flooding one of my points with masking fluid! [...]

Making a river, exhibition layout

Photo of a river on a model railway closeup.
Starting on the scenery. [...]

A moving waterwheel

My exhibition layout will feature a mill with turning waterwheel. This article explains the simple electrics behind this. [...]

How to create convincing corners with Plasticard

how to make plasticard corners
Plasticard, aka Styrene sheet, is a great material for making buildings but just gluing sheets together can leave you with ugly corners. This article looks at [...]

Building an OO scale mill house

wills kits ct22 kit
Building a mill house. [...]

Revision, exhibition layout

With the baseboard construction and track laid down, I've had a chance to plan some of the detail of the layout and typically this highlighted a problem. [...]

Laying the track

laying model railway track
Now for the fun part. [...]