Tips for creating a convincing winter model train layout

Tips for Creating a Convincing Winter Model Train Layout

Winter is a season that can keep you indoors with a lot of downtime. If you prefer not to go outside, why not start working on a wintery layout for your model train? Keep reading for tips to create a convincing winter model train layout.

Preparing the Base

Before you can start making your layout look like a winter wonderland, you’ll need to prepare the base by painting it. White snow effects aren’t very opaque, so you’ll need to add some texture below. To texture the ground, paint it dark brown and dry brush with tan. For rocky surfaces, start with a coat of black and dry brush with gray.

Once you have the basic undercoat down, we recommend adding a heavy dry brushing of white. This will give the base the appearance of having snow, but it will lack texture.

Adding Loose Flocking

One easy way to add snow texture to your layout is with a loose snow flocking. There are many styles and textures available—we recommend looking at shops that cater not just to model railroaders, but also D&D and wargaming hobbyists.

To get the flocking to stick, mix some PVA glue with a little bit of water. You don’t want the mix to be runny, but the water will help your glue cover more ground. Apply the glue with a brush in patches since it can start to dry rather quickly. Sprinkle the loose flocking on top and move on to the next section. Tap off the excess flocking, let the whole thing dry until hardened, then go back over with another coat of glue.

Sculpting Snowdrifts

If you want your layout to have a bit more interest, you can add in snowdrifts before you apply flocking or liquid texture. Consider using white quick-drying caulk or putty to add texture to your base. Simply add some of the sculpting medium and spread it into the desired shape. Our favorite sculpting tools for shaping the caulk or putty include:

  • Palette knives
  • Tongue depressors
  • Butter knives (make sure they’re dull)
  • Frosting spatulas
  • Popsicle sticks

Using Liquid Textures

Many gaming and modeling companies make liquid textures. These are goopy mixtures of pigment and grit that harden once dried to create rough surfaces. You can use these mixtures under other kinds of flocking, or let them stand on their own as the main texture.

For snow, you’ll want to find a white liquid texture. These are commonly labeled as snow textures, so they’re easy to find in a gaming or hobby store. You may find options that allow for finer snow textures, which is good to know if you’re working with a smaller train scale.

Apply these liquid textures with brushes or some of the sculpting tools listed above—don’t forget to add some to your buildings and foliage! And if this is your first model layout, don’t forget to carefully choose your first model train set.

We hope these tips for creating a convincing winter model train layout prove helpful. Winter landscapes are some of the most exciting layouts to build.

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