Building Realistic Model Railroad Scenery

Kathy Millatt
Item #12835

Build realistic model scenery with modeler and author Kathy Millatt. Filled with inspiration and project guides, this complete overview of modeling railroad scenery will guide you on how to use the latest techniques and materials, share time-tested “classic” methods for modeling various features, and more!

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Bring your layout to the next level with a complete overview of modeling railroad scenery in this “scenery maker's bible” from modeler and Model Railroader contributor Kathy Millatt.

You’ll learn how to use the latest techniques and materials, as well as time-tested “classic” methods for modeling mountains, rivers, forests, railroad rights-of-way, towns, and cities that occupy any modeler’s layout.

Perfect for everyone from a beginner to an expert modeler, this book includes:

  • Step-by-step photo sections to show different methods used to build scenery.
  • Details about techniques and materials to advance your modeling.
  • Unique insights, tips, and tricks into layout detailing.
  • And more!

Take your layout from bare plywood or foamboard to a detailed scene that will surround your model trains!

Author: Kathy Millatt
Size: 8.25 x 10.75
Pages: 192
Author Bio

Kathy Millatt is a full-time modeller working across a wide range of modelling interests from model railroads to sci fi, but her first love is scenery. With over 20 years’ experience, Kathy enjoys sharing what she does through books and videos. Kathy is a contributing editor for Model Railroader Videos with her Let’s Make a Scene series and has also been featured in Model Railroader and Railway Modeller. She also has a successful YouTube channel.

More recently, Kathy was a judge on the Great Model Railway Challenge, a UK TV show featuring model railways built in just 24 hours. Her other interests include cinema and travel, with great modeling inspiration coming from both. More information can be found on Kathy’s website:

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Planning
Every project starts with a good plan

Chapter 2: Basic tools and materials
We all love buying kits but what do you really need?

Chapter 3: Firm foundations
Fantastic scenery needs firm foundations

Chapter 4: Track
The main scenic model on every layout is its trackwork

Chapter 5: Backdrops
Backdrops help free our layouts from the confines of our basements or the edges of our dioramas

Chapter 6: Rocks and stones
Whether you buy them, cast them, or carve them, you're likely to need bare rocks

Chapter 7: Earth, gravel, and mud
Scenery starts from the ground up

Chapter 8: Roads and paths
Wherever there are people, there will need to be roads and paths running seamlessly through the layout

Chapter 9: Trees, bushes, and grass
Options abound for modeling almost any place on Earth

Chapter 10: Water
Whether you want a puddle or an ocean, these techniques will help you achieve your goals

Chapter 11: Buildings
Railroads need a purpose and buildings provide not only scenery but also a reason for railroad operations

Chapter 12: Details
The details we add set the scene and bring your layout to life


There have been numerous scenery books produced over the years, and each one is slightly different and offers new techniques on how to scenic a model railroad. This 190-page book is filled with solid, creative ideas and techniques to enhance the appearance of a model railroad, no matter what gauge. In 12 chapters, author Millat covers planning and scenery advice (draw up a basic scenery plan, she suggests, with different scenes and foreground and background ideas), and gather needed tools such as paint brushes, rulers, knives and a hot glue gun. In the chapter on track, she suggests a lot can be done to improve realism to track and roadbed with painting and ballasting, while in the Backdrops chapter she tells you how to paint and position backdrops, use photo backdrops and gives tips on lighting and forced perspective.

In the Rocks and Stones chapter, she suggests gathering different types of photos that show scenery of various types so you can determine what best will work for you. Chapter Seven covers earth, gravel and mud, while chapter eight explains how to create realistic roads and paths. Numerous excellent color photos accompany the text in this chapter (as well as other chapters), to give the reader a clearer idea of what they can do. One important section is the Trees, Bushes and Grass chapter where author Millat talks about static grass, ground foams and other forms of ground scenery to enhance a layout.

Other chapters cover trees, bushes and grass, water, structures and details. Every chapter is accompanied by excellent color photos, lists of scenery ideas for that particular chapter theme and elongated captions. The book covers all the major areas of scenery, and I believe anyone would benefit from having a copy, even if they have several other scenery books in their library.

-Don Heimburger, Heimburger House Publishing Co. 

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