Martin Tärnrot

Transforming a Kit Warehouse

Martin Tärnrot
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Duration:   13  mins

Take a plastic kit model railroad warehouse and assemble it out of the box, spend 15 extra minutes and almost no money, and transform it into something that really pops on your layout. How can we do it? MRA Contributing Editor Martin Tärnrot demonstrates.


Starting with a plastic kit model railroad warehouse that’s already assembled, Martin removes the roof and the door. He does some painting and weathering, using a variety of techniques and materials, including paint, varnish, wash, and chalk powder. (We have another MRA video dedicated to weathering structures.)


Find photos of warehouse interiors, boxes, walls, and other items on Google Images. Create interior walls in the warehouse using stiff cardboard. Print the photo(s) of objects you want to use and glue them onto the cardboard. You can bend the photo paper for a more realistic perspective of the objects.


Small surface-mounted LEDs can be purchased from companies like Digi-Key Electronics. Buying them in packs of 100 reduces the cost to about $1 each. Martin shows how he connects the LED to a resistor, then fits it inside the roof using double-sided tape. This illuminates the boxes inside the warehouse.


Martin adds some other items in and around the warehouse. The pallets, barrels, and wooden crates are all 3D printed, which is preferable because the cost is low and you always have access to more, rather than having to order them from a dealer. Martin paints and glues them in place. He puts the wooden crates in front of the printed image of the big pile of boxes to distract the viewer from looking too closely at the latter.

An MRA video that features extremely detailed model railroad warehouse and industrial buildings is Operations on the Franklin & South Manchester, New England.

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