MRA Editors

Making Realistic Model Railway Signs for Your Layout

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Duration:   4  mins

If you’re looking for one single, easily added detail that can take your layout to the next level of realism – think signage! In the next in his video series on the Conrail New Jersey, Model Railroad Academy’s Allen Keller finds out from builder, Matt Snell, how easy it is to make model railway signs.

Matt works primarily from three different sources for his model railroad signs. The first is finding old photographs, scanning and resizing them to fit your scale and use. He takes the shrunken, scanned image which he’s printed on photo paper, and attaches it to sheet styrene painted silver on the back. After trimming, he mounts them on 2 brass poles.

Second, Matt used a spreadsheet program like Lotus or Excel and prints various-sized numbers and letters for railway speed limits and yard usage. Again, he mounts on styrene and uses clothing pins (heads clipped off) as posts.

Third, Matt likes to use business card logos or prints his own special occasion signage that can mounted temporarily on a highway overpass or station wall to welcome guests.

Matt tells Allen he started building his 24’ x 40’ basement layout in 1994 and completed the benchwork, wiring, trackage and model railroad scenery in just six years with only Debie’s help. He said he finds it much easier to fix or track down a problem if he’s the one who did the original work. Also, he’s added sound to his layout room and soon will add DCC sound decoders to his motive power.

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