Creating Coal Piles with Howard Zane

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Duration: 3:52

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Howard Zane demonstrates how he creates a coal pile in a tender in this video. If your tender doesn’t have a molded coal pile, the simplest way to make the pile is with a piece of modeling clay found at most art or craft stores. Howard starts by ripping off a piece and kneading it to the shape he wants and placing it in the tender. Glue is not needed for this step. He then paints this a dark color, specifically a polly scale black.

For the coal, Howard uses actual ground up coal. To permanently affix the coal, he uses a Floquil flat finish glue with a dropper and drips it on the surface. When this dries, the coal will be rock solid. The coal spill on the tender deck and tender apron deck can be affixed too for a more prototypical look as coal tends to spill on those areas.

Howard Zane has over 2,800 square feet of layout and Allen Keller wonders if there will be a fourth addition. The answer? Probably. He also wonders just what Howard does to make his track look so nice. Howard’s technique involves laying flextrack and painting it with Floquil rail brown and immediately wiping the tops of the rails. After ballasting, he also brushes charcoal on the track.

Watch more from Allen Keller’s Great Model Railroad series and more on creating simulated loads for hoppers in the Model Railroad Academy archives.