Rocks are an essential part of any Model Railway Layout. Be they loose rocks, cliffs, rocky outcrops, exposed rock faces in quarries. The opportunity and indeed the necessity to integrate them into your layout is pretty much always there. So today I’ve compiled 10 of my favourite tips for creating and adding the perfect rocks to your Model Train Layout, so here goes:
- Take a look in your local model shop or on your favourite model shop website at the kits available to help you model rocks. Consider practising creating rocks on a small diorama first to improve your skills before you dive in a do them for real on your layout. Check out the range of Rock moulds by Woodland Scenics and Noch. Choose ones that suit your layout best.
- Never rush your rocks. Ensure all glue, paint and weathering has dried completely before you move on to the next phase. Rushing them may ruin the finish and realism and make them stand out like a sore thumb.
- Use a hot glue gun to fix the rocks into position or a special rock compound if you prefer. Woodland Scenics Foam Nails can be used to hold them while the glue dries.
- Be careful not to mix rock types and indeed colours on your layout. It’s extremely rare to see different rock types appearing in nature within a relatively small area. So choose one that suits the area you’re modelling and stick with it.
- At the base of any rock face or cliff you will always find an area of loose stones where small stones and rocks have been eroded from the main cliff face. Simulate this by sprinkling a few natural stones around the base to represent fallen stones. See what you can find in your own back garden. Alternatively small amounts may be available from Aquatics supplies stores or garden centers.
- Make sure that your rocks don’t look as if they’ve just been dumped on top of the landscape. Use a selection of lichen, poly-fibre and static grass or foam pieces to add life and make them form a real part of the landscape, just as they appear in real life.
- Take a trip out with your camera and photograph some real rock formations for inspiration and guidance when you’re creating them on your layout.
- Apply colour to your rock faces in several stages. Use thin, diluted colour washes rather than neat paints to achieve different shades and produce a better 3D effect overall. Allow a little of the darker colour washes to trickle over the crevices on your rock faces for enhanced realism. Colour washes can be easily made by diluting acrylic paints or weathering dyes with water.
- Add foliage, weeds, static grass, bushes and scatter to the horizontal areas on your rock faces to represent weeds, grass and wild flowers growing just as they do in nature.
- If your layout is portable, rather than casting your rock faces or indeed using real rocks, consider using hard foam pieces. They look great but weigh very very little.
Well, there’s my Top 10 tips for adding Rocks and Cliffs to your layout. Don’t forget if you have any tips or advice you’d like to add, please feel free to post it in the comments below.