MRA Editors

Using Flat HO-Scale Scenery to Your Advantage

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Duration:   2  mins

If you’ve ever visited Kansas, you know that the largely flat but sometimes hilly terrain of the state’s open country can seemingly roll on forever. For model railroaders, it can be difficult to accurately depict this region’s terrain with HO-scale scenery while maintaining a viewer’s interest.

For a good example of HO-scale scenery that sticks to prototype but doesn’t lose the viewer’s attention, you need look no further than Chuck Hitchcock’s model of the Argentine Division of Santa Fe Railway. Depicting Kansas City and surrounding areas in 1953, Chuck’s Argentine is a wonderful display of expert HO-scale scenery that takes advantage of hills and other terrain to create a layout with wonders around every (small) corner. In this lesson, host Allen Keller visits Chuck’s workshop to learn some of the techniques he used in building intriguing but mostly flat HO-scale scenery.

Tips for designing flat HO scale scenery and terrain

One of the first things viewers of Chuck’s Argentine Division will notice is how well he utilizes hills and cuts in leading his trains into and out of portions of HO-scale scenery. This expert technique for taking advantage of natural landscape to hide staging areas and avoid building tunnels on Granger-style layouts is a vastly underrated trick of the trade—and one for which Chuck has become notorious.

To best illustrate the way Chuck uses HO-scale scenery to hide his yards and transport his trains without bridges and tunnels, he teaches Allen a few of his most cherished tips and techniques for building HO-scale scenery.

You’ll also learn how to appropriately weather the cars, locomotives, and structures used in your HO-scale scenery based on the circumstances in which they’re operated. For instance, Chuck explains why trains traveling cross-country may need to be weathered more than those that are making quick trips across a few state lines. Take advantage of this expert insight for designing your HO-scale scenery, and we guarantee you’ll improve your layout and impress your viewers!

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