MRA Editors

Creating an Urban Model Railway Road Surface

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Duration:   7  mins

When it comes to creating an urban model railway road surface, the technique is a little bit different than the one you would use to construct a rural road. There are a few components that are featured in an urban road that require some simple techniques to make the model railway road surface appear as realistic as possible. In this lesson, you’ll learn the expert process for constructing a model railway road surface complete with notched curbs, manholes and concrete weathering.

How to build an urban model railway road surface

To help you create a lifelike model railway road surface for the town or city in your new model railway layout, modeler Lou Sassi walks you through the step-by-step procedure for constructing straight and curved roads. Lou first teaches you how to lay out and build up a straight road using Ready-Mixed Concrete Patch and several layers of masking tape to set the base for the road as well as the curbing. DAP is the creator of the material you’ll use for the model railway road surface, and it is available at most hardware stores and hobby shops. You could also use wood strips or styrene to achieve the same effect as masking tape.

For urban roads, before laying the base for your model railway road surface, you’ll want to install commercial catch basins. After the glue has dried and the basins are properly adhered, Lou introduces a simple technique you can use to ensure the road is set and you’re ready to install your curbing. As Lou explains, curbing can be applied to your model railway road surface with styrene, which he shows you how to notch with an X-Acto blade. You’ll then see how to use commercial manholes and dry paints to give your road necessary touches of weathering and realism.

Lastly, Lou demonstrates the best way to create a curved model railway road surface using several layers of masking tape cut into quarter-inch strips. Because these strips are thinner, they are more easily manipulated and any irregularities in the arc of your road will appear natural. With Lou’s expert techniques, you can create an impressive urban street scene in no time!

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