Jack Burgess on Scratch-Building Model Railroad Structures

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Duration: 9:16

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If you’re looking for ways to make your model railroad layout appear more realistic and historically accurate, there are few better methods than scratch-building model railroad structures and the elements of your scenery. When you scratch build as opposed to using out-of-the-box kits purchased at a hobby shop, you get to control how each component of a scene turns out. Whether it be a realistic industrial building or a well-weathered vehicle, scratch-built scene elements can go a long way in making viewers pay closer attention to your layout.

Scratch-building model railroad structures is especially important if you’re trying to closely duplicate a prototype, particularly for historical accuracy. One example of an expert layout that utilizes scratch-built scene elements to recreate a prototype is Yosemite Valley Railway by Jack Burgess. Jack has put nearly two decades of scratch-building model railroad structures, landscapes and track components into his scale duplication of the YV. In this segment, we take a behind-the-scenes look at Jack’s hard work and see what he has to say about scratch-building model railroad structures.

Expert tips for scratch-building model railroad structures

One of Allen Keller’s favorite parts about Jack’s scale Yosemite Valley Railway is the overwhelming amount of detail that went into making this model look just like the real railroad. He visited Jack’s workshop to get a better sense of how Jack was able to perfectly capture life on the rails of the YV in 1939. Jack talks about his methods for scratch-building model railroad structures, and demonstrates some simple tips you can use to make your own scene elements appear more realistic.

As Jack explains some of his expert techniques for scratch-building model railroad structures, you’ll discover what separates a good railroad model from one that will captivate your viewers. He talks about how he manages to keep things interesting as he works his way through a layout, and tells Allen what he hopes people will take away when they visit this remarkable railroad. Take some advice from a master, and utilize these tips for scratch-building model railroad structures on your next layout!