Making Your Own Engine Shed Ash

make your own model railway ash 1Hot on the heals of the previous post on making your own model railway grass, comes another tip from Stephen Fay, this time a low cost technique to making wonderfully realistic ash for engine sheds.

Take it away Stephen…

“For compacted ash look for engine sheds I use kiln dried sand, available from most builders merchants.

You can add as thick a layer as required.  I tend to sprinkle it around then dampen all over with a mist spray bottle the fix with the usual PVA/ water mixture.

Once dry spray over with pound shop Matt black spray paint.

For really compacted ash, sprinkle down talcum powder and bed it in with the back of a spoon.  Again dampen down with a fine mist of water and apply the PVA / water.

make your own model railway engine shed ash 2Once dry, spray with Matt black paint then add black smoke weathering powders,  I use MIG powders but most will do the job.  You can also use a mixture of white and black to create variations in colour.

Once the powders are added, fix them down with cheap hair spray. I pick and hight light the chairs and fishplates with light rust weathering powered or dry brushing.

This is a cheap and effective way of creating compacted ash and as you can see from the pictures is quite effective.”

You can see further photos of Stephen’s work on his Facebook page.

> 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.
Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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