How I make make my trains look better – a simple, cheap and effective tip

painting model train wagonWant to make your trains look better? Here’s how I make quick, easy and cheap wagon loads and add extra realism to my trains.

Look at your trains as they trundle around your model railway. All those wagons hauled by a lovely loco. Wonderful.

But if like many modellers you use basic off the shelf wagons they’ll be missing something: the cargo.

Trains are designed to move goods and if your wagons are empty your railway just won’t look right. No, what’s needed is freight in your wagons.

You can, of course, buy wagons with coal, granite, timber or other material pre-loaded or even buy self-assembly wagon loads.

But if you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll know I’m always looking for ways to do things myself and find cheaper ways of doing it. In the case of wagon loads, which usually cost around £5 per load, there is thankfully a much cheaper, easy, DIY solution.

This short video from YouTuber Teacher Tiger shows how the technique I use.

The wagon loads shown in the video are ballast but of course, there’s nothing to stop you making any kind of load using this method.

Different colours of scatter material can be used for stone, sand and coal while matchsticks (cut to size) work well for timber.

I also use tires pulled from second-hand toy cars for tire loads and bits of old watch internals (painted different shades of brown to appear rusted) as scrap metal.

One final point, the video here is for OO gauge. Remember to use different sizes of scatter material to reflect the scale you work in. Fine grade for N gauge for example.


>A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.

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