Howard Zane has been able to achieve incredible detail on his Piermont Division of the Western Maryland Railway. The secret, according to Zane, is observing life in reality before trying to capture it. Modeled after the mid-1950s, the streets are weathered and peppered with sewer grates and old cinders.
People mill about and have a weathered appearance. Water towers feature on the top of buildings, as well as old air conditioning units, many vents, signs, and billboards which appear everywhere. This was a time before the crackdown of the sign commission. Foliage comes out from sidewalk cracks and cars from the era crowd the streets.
All brick work is rubbed with pastel powder or layered with latex paint, then washed with India ink. The road juts out in different angles and directions to add interest on the layout. Zane used styrene, cantilevered it out, and painted over it with Flo-Coat concrete to match the plaster. After completion, it too was gone over with pastel.
An intricately detailed city stands where a scratch built lumber yard used to be. Zane was so inspired by another model that he ripped the scene up himself and started anew. He plans to build an even more impressive city on a new addition. All the structures have a fire tower on the roof which was very prevalent at the time. Many buildings are kitbashed with the tallest structure and acting skyscraper being the West Virginia Power Company’s corporate offices. Zane’s careful observation of real life has paid off on this stunningly detailed layout.