So the scenery starts: £35 project update

dock £35 model railwaySince my last update, things have developed with the project; the dock has water; dock side & walls have been made and the track laid.

As covered here, the electrics were soldered and sorted so it was just a case of adjusting the sleeper spacing to make it more realistic and then fixing the track down.

This was done in the usual manner: PVA white glue liberally applied and the track positioned and weighted.

After this a few wagons with an old loco were used to make sure no gremlins had crept in between soldering the wires to the track and laying it. (I used some of my existing fleet as I’ve yet to buy the rolling stock for this project).

Thankfully, it all worked.

With the track down, I then painted the sleepers to give a more realistic wood colour instead of the cheap black finish track usually has. I used a mixture of yellow ochre, raw sienna and raw umber (yellow, light brown and dark brown) acrylics to get the desired wooden colour.

And finally, the track was ballasted with the techniques in these videos.

I’d also worked on the dock and trackside areas.


The water in the dock was created using layers of PVA which I wrote about here.

One extra element to this was creating a rippled surface, caused by wind and currents, which I’ve noticed on real docks and harbours.

In theory, this was simply a case of gently touching the glue when it was drying. The indentations would smooth out as the glue settled but would leave a rippled effect.

The problem was catching the glue in the right state. Too wet and the finger impressions were just absorbed. Too firm and the edges of the ripples looked too defined.

After several attempts, requiring more layers of glue to be poured in to cover up the mistakes and then waiting for these to dry before trying again I achieved the effect wanted but it took the better part of a week as the PVA dried.

Dock Walls & Cobblestones

The walls and cobblestone ground were created using polymer clay and the textured roller. I’ve described this here and it’s rapidly becoming my favourite technique for large stone and brick areas.

making cobblestonesEssentially, it’s just a case of rolling some clay out flat to the shape required, pushing the textured roller over it to form the cobblestone pattern and leaving it to dry. After this, a black acrylic wash is applied and a variety of greys dry-brushed over the top. Finally, I dab a sponge into lighter grey and lightly brush this over the surface to create variation and shading.

Finally, wooden pillars were made for the dock walls.

These were coffee stirrers, cut to size, and then painted (using the same paints as on the sleepers). They were glued in and a touch of green acrylic applied to simulate water level weed and moss on the walls.

I’m pretty happy with the results of the water and cobble stoned area (seen above) and it creates a good base for the loading areas, cranes and dockside paraphernalia.

Next comes the constructing the framework for a background cliff and the two main buildings — an office and engine shed — from foam board. These will replace the building seen in the opening photo which is just there for positioning.

See a model railway for £35 for the previous development of this project.

Did you know, you can get all my latest tips, reviews and guides direct to your inbox? It's completely free. Just subscribe to my newsletter and I'll do the rest. Click here to start. Thanks Andy, creator and founder of MRE.

Add Comment

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published.