Gerry Leone

Four Classic Model Railroad Tips

Gerry Leone
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Duration:   8  mins

Enhancing the quality of your model railroad layout doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, there are various common household items that can transform the overall look of your design. NMRA Master Model Railroader Gerry Leone shares four of his favorite model railroad tips that require few resources but ultimately produce significant upgrades to your layout.

Four Classic Model Railroad Tips

The first tip Gerry introduces is a simple method for creating frosted glass using transparent tape. This method can be used to effectively block view of the interior of passenger cars or structures that lack detail. Gerry compares a normal window next to one with the frosted method to show what a difference it creates. The best part of this tip is it only takes about five seconds to complete.

Gerry reveals two more tips that both involve filling joints in model structures. As common as it is for model structures to have a few dings or even warped walls, it’ll be convenient to understand a couple ways to fix this issue. The first way is with a solution you can create yourself using plastic cement and some pieces of styrene. You can eliminate the waste of styrene by using leftover pieces from other projects. You’ll end up with a liquid solution that you can paint onto structures for a perfectly flawless joint. Another way of filling these gaps is by using ordinary baking soda. Gerry explains that this method works best when used on the inside corners of joints. Tis will result in a joint that is hard as rock, and your structure will be extremely strong.

The last tip Gerry explains is an impressive way of creating loads for model railroad cars. He shows how old blister packs and facial tissue can make for a perfect addition to the top of a flat car model. This type of packaging is fairly easy to come by, especially in hardware stores. It comes in all shapes and sizes, allowing for versatility. Gerry demonstrates some loads he creates resembling transformers and missiles neatly covered with a tarp and strapped down with some EZ line. He also explains a weathering technique that resembles classic tarp wrinkles you’d see on the load of a flat car.

Reduce costs on improving your layout by using some of these model railroad tips. Gerry shared four of his favorite, but our instructors provide many more tips and tools for improving your model train scenery.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

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6 Responses to “Four Classic Model Railroad Tips”

  1. RANDY

    Never mind--I see it's EZ Line.

  2. Pete Harrison

    Good tips but the volume is extremely low, not sure if it's my phone or not but my phone volume is all the way up and I can barely hear it.

  3. Jerry

    Not sure how the scotch tape tip will work since the sticky surface is on the outside & will collect & hold dust. Also not so easy to replace the tape when ity's inside the building. A coat of matt medium on the inside will work, or buff the window with 600-800 paper.

  4. Larry

    Great tips. All I can say is....MORE!

  5. Rad Jones

    Some very good tips. Jerry always does a nice presentation. Attached is a link to some information on my lay; the MIO System or Move It On Railroad which is a New York Central line. It would take in the website box?

  6. Anthony

    You made a comment about models being warped. How can you fix this type of a problem, I have come across this mostly with plastic models.

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