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Big Indoor Trains(tm) Scenery Pages - A collection of 'how-to' articles and links for people creating scenery for all scales of indoor trains Return to Big Indoor Trains(tm) primer pageOn30 Display Trains
O Scale Accessories
O Gauge Christmas TrainsOn30 Christmas Trains

Written by Paul D. Race for Big Indoor TrainsTM
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Scenery Articles and Links from BIG Indoor TrainsTM

If you were not a model railroader when you got your first train to run around a Christmas tree or village, you might feel a little overwhelmed by all of your choices when it comes to scenery for your model railroad or display village. Or you may not want or have room for a permanent layout with a bunch of expensive accessories. But you still want your trains and towns to look like they "belong" in their settings when you set them up.

Big Indoor TrainsTM to the rescue. Since early 2007, we have been writing or editing articles on making your own scenery inexpensively, using materials that are relatively easy to find in most parts of the world. We have been emphasizing projects that are:

  • Easy to do
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to store in the "off season" (or in some cases, easy and cheap to replace next year, if storage is not an option)
  • Adaptable to any scale of trains (though most projects are shown with O gauge or On30 trains)
  • Adaptable to any season (in case you are running a St. Patrick's Day, July 4th, or Halloween train instead of a Christmas train)
  • Targeted to people who are just starting out.

Together with our inexpensive and easy-to-build building projects, it should be possible to make a portable, eye-catching 4'x4' - 5'x5' or larger setting for model trains of any scale or for collectible villages of any season for under $100. (Of course many of our tips are just as useful for large, permanent railroads or displays as well.)

As our list of articles has been growing, we've also been looking for other web resources worth linking to for more information. On reason we've given "Scenery" its own page is that it gives us "room" to include those other links without making our home "primer" page too cluttered to navigate.

We hope to continue adding articles about many aspects of these hobbies, and we usually have a couple in the works at any given time, so please check back often. Or Join our Mailing List for free hobby ideas and to be notified when new articles are posted.

In addition, you can help by sending us project tips, article ideas, and photos of your railroads and villages. We want this site to be as useful as possible to as many people as it can be. As the hobby grows, we all benefit.

Base, Topography, and "Water Features"

The following articles give ideas for creating "bases" or "set pieces" to show off your trains and towns. I've included articles on modeling lakes and rivers here because you need to plan for these when you build the base.
Portable (Foam-Based) Indoor Displays - Using a foam-based portable scenic foundation to display your trains and towns to their best advantage. This photo shows three of the scenery ideas on our primer pages combined. Click to see the Portable Indoor Display article.
Easy Indoor Lakes and Rivers - How to get the effect of waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and streams on both temporary and permanent indoor railroads and display villages. Click to go to Article.
Free Scenery Set Pieces - Add a vertical dimension to your Christmas village or railroad for little or no investment. The technique can easily be adapted to other seasons. Click to go to article.

Trees and Plants

Easy Homemade Trees - How to make realistic and inexpensive trees using (mostly) natural materials. Click to go to article
Winter Trees from Floral Picks- A quick and inexpensive way to add interesting textures to your winter railroad or Christmas villageClick to go to article
Add Spring Color to Your Village or Indoor Railroad - How to use easy homemade trees and shrubbery to brighten your railroad or display village for spring.Click to see article.
Modeling Palm Trees - This easy project adds a tropical feel to your setting. An inexpensive palm tree adds tropical interest. Click to go to article.
Modeling Sea Grass - Make an inexpensive accessory to add interest and texture to your seaside scene.Make an inexpensive accessory to add interest and texture to your seaside scene.
Bringing Autumn to Your Railroad or Display Village - How two easy crafts can make your model railroad or display village look like it is enjoying the fall season.Click to see article.


Desert Accessories from Playmobil Products - How repainting carefully-chosen toys can add fun details to a Large Scale desert landscape. Many of the ideas shown here will work for other scales as well. Click to see article.

Links to Great Scenery Articles on Other Sites

There are hundreds of web sites that have some information about modeling scenery, we are trying to focus on those that have enough illustrations and details for beginners to follow. At this time, many of the best examples are on to the "Pacific Coast Airline" (PCA) railroad site, which records a series of experiments in model railroading, especially in S and On30. I've picked the author's most "transferable" experiments to link to here.

Watch this page: more articles are in the works.

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Return to Big Indoor Trains Home page Return to Family Garden Trains Home page Big Indoor Trains Primer Articles: All about setting up and displaying indoor display trains and towns. Garden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running well Garden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden RailroadingBig Christmas Trains: Directory of Large Scale and O Scale trains with holiday themes
On30 and O Gauge trains to go with indoor display villages and railroads

Note: Big Indoor Trains(tm), Big Train Store(tm) Family Garden Trains(tm), Big Christmas Trains(tm), and Garden Train Store(tm) are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications(tm) ( All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
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