Creating Undergrowth with Lance Mindheim

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Duration: 4:36

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Lance Minheim, modeler of the Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville shows his model railroad scenery techniques. He makes his shrubs and undergrowth from poly-fil, using large bags of uncolored material. He pulls the fibers apart for a light, flat, puffy layer, tugging to make it thinner and thinner. The poly is then colored with a brown spray paint, making sure to get both sides. This will take a while to dry, so he lets them sit overnight. Using styrofoam as a scenery base, he takes a small amount, rolls it into a round shape and pokes it into the styrofoam with a tweezers. Adding a bit to the base of trees is a model railroad scenery technique that helps to soften them up and gives a more realistic, unmanicured look. Laying a flat thin piece on the grass gives some variety to the more open stretches of scenery.

One of the more interesting parts of Lance’s layout is the train orders, copying how the actual prototype operates. Since many of his friends enjoy operations, it is a good excuse to get everyone over to have a good time. They run off of 3 to 1 time clocks. In fact his track is so close to the Monon that he can even use the prototype schedule for operating sessions. He is lucky to live in an area where a lot of great operators and modelers are near him. For more scenery tips like using fake fur for grass, or how to make hide holes with model railroad landscape, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.