Howard Zane

Scenery Techniques with Howard Zane

Howard Zane
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Duration:   6  mins

In this video, modeler Howard Zane demonstrates some of his scenery techniques. He starts by demonstrating how he creates a grass section of his diorama, coating the base with a mixture of white Elmer’s glue, 10% water, and eight drops of detergent to make the mix thinner.

He then sprinkles the surface with various colors of chalky pigments. Bits of green foam are added over top by pushing down with his fingers. Any loose particles are brushed away and vacuumed lightly once dry. Zane finds he does not need to use any spray fixative with this technique.

For modeling dirt roads, Zane creates gouges in the base using a small chisel to show where car tires have worn down the road. He applies the same glue mixture and sprinkles a dark brown pigment that is actual ground earth from Ohio. A lighter color dirt is added over top, then blended together with a stiff brush. The final touch is to add a sprinkling of white earth, sand, and stones and blend again. Structures added besides the road are glued down and green foam is added around the edge of the building so it looks more natural.

Allen Keller asks Zane how he would build his dream railroad if he had unlimited space to work with. The ultimate model railroad for Zane would be a long layout with a 1 to 2 hour operation running point to point. He would love to be able to walk around the layout and follow his trains during an operating session. Zane’s Piermont Division of the Western Maryland Railway boasts manufactured train kits from the late 1950’s to today. He has over several thousand pieces of rolling stock on the layout and off. Making kits is fun and relaxing for him, even building while he was in the army and traveling.

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