Adding Model Railroad Signs to Buildings

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There are seemingly infinite ways to customize the layout and design of a model railroad scene, from track path to landscape and every aspect in between. And one such component of a scene ideal for improvisation according to available space and personal preferences in order to make the scene come to life is the visual aesthetic of the buildings in your towns.

The options are limitless when you consider that any kind of building can be bought at a hobby shop or scratch-built, and especially when you think about adding special details to the buildings such as paint jobs or signs. Model railroad signs are the perfect way to add personal touches to the buildings in your scenes, so in this lesson we’re going to teach you how to create customized model railroad signs that can be applied to any kind of building.

Designing and applying model railroad signs

The method for adding model railroad signs to the buildings in your scenes is relatively simple and entirely customizable according to the amount of time you’re willing to put in. To demonstrate the proper technique, NMRA Expert Modeler Gerry Leone walks you through the step-by-step process for creating model railroad signs with basic lettering and paint schemes.

He begins by talking about some of the commercial options that are available for modelers who don’t want to design their own model railroad signs, and then shows you how to use steel letter stencils, masking tape and airbrushing to write the word “Freight” on a brick building. This same technique can be utilized for a wide variety of model railroad signs you want to create, no matter whether you’d like to name a building for a friend or you want to get creative with the borders and lettering on your model railroad signs. Take advantage of Gerry’s expert technique for adding model railroad signs to any building, and your downtown scenes will never be lacking in visual intrigue!