MRA Editors

Making Rolled Model Railroad Roofing

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Duration:   10  mins

Adding texture and realistic elements to a model railroad scene can be a fun and tricky challenge, especially when it comes to buildings and urban layouts. The realism doesn’t have to stop with scale billboards or window painting, there are tons of other components of a building that can be touched up and customize according the era and location your model railroad layout. For instance, creating unique roofs for your model railroad buildings can give your scenes a touch of visual appeal that will impress viewers and hold their attention.

One type of roof that is often utilized in railroad towns is rolled roofing. The rolled roof is an inexpensive and easily producible alternative to shingles, especially when replicated in scale for a model railroad. And you can produce the effect of rolled roofing on your model railroad using basic products found around the home or at your local drug store. In this lesson, we teach you some of our favorite methods for creating rolled roofing that is perfect for any building on an HO scale model railroad.

Quick process for rolled model railroad roofing

Rolled roofing is generated in the exact way as its name suggests, by rolling overlapping sheets of asphalt along the roof to protect the frame underneath. It’s cheap, it’s quick and it’s efficient. To help you recreate this effect on any HO scale building for a model railroad, NMRA Expert Modeler Gerry Leone shows you how to complete the simple rolled roofing process using five different materials.

He begins by demonstrating his expert rolled roofing technique using plain printer paper. You’ll first learn to create rolled model railroad roofing by pairing strips of paper with styrene, and then weathering the structure with airbrushing and chalks. After printer paper, Gerry teaches you the proper technique for four other materials, each of which gives your model railroad roofs an impressive texture and an HO scale appeal that’s similar to the real thing!

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