Make a ruined farmhouse scene in “00”.

Javis make a range of ruined house pieces for wargamers . These are meant for 28mm or 1/56 scale . However, the scale discrepancy is not very noticeable with buildings. They are made of cast resin and need painting.

First give the casting a coat of grey primer. This will help to “key” the next coat of paint.


Select a stone colour and paint the stonework. All paints used were Humbrol enamels. Next, with a mortar colour, paint the remaining rendering on the outside walls. The inside walls had the surviving plaster painted green. Dark earth was used for the floor of the ruin.

Detail painting

There is quite a lot of moulded detail on the casting. Wood splinters and an old door were highlighted with colour. The inside of the fireplace was painted red to simulate old brick.

The base

The base was cut from a piece of 2 mm card. Javis foliage material was used to disguise the edge of the casting. Finally Javis scatter was used for the grass.


To add interest some Knightwing barells and crates were added. the tyres are spares from a kit.

This was a fun project using a bit of lateral thinking.

Buy this diorama now on eBay.

Modelling a “Run-Down” engine shed – Dapol kit

Modelling a “Run-Down” engine shed in plastic, Building plastic kits is more difficult than card kits. To get a realistic effect they need to be painted and weathered. The kit used for the diorama shown here is the Ex Airfix engine shed, now available from Dapol. This is an old kit that has warping problems and quite a lot of flash on the parts. However, it is cheap and makes a good project to practice your painting skills!

You can see the warpage problem on the roof, over the vents. This sad little shed has nor seen a lick of paint in many a year.

For the ,Modelling a “Run-Down” engine shed project, Look out for the Amazon product links in the text . This gives you an easy way to get the paint you need for this project. We also stock some of the items.

Where to start?

I usually start by painting the walls in the base colour. In this case Revell # 85 brown enamel. All the other paint used is acrylic. This brown will look a bit bright, but the weathering washes will tone this down. You need a good solid base coat and enamel will not react with the later water based washes.

Mortar detail and worn paintwork

Mortar technique and colour?

Let the base coat dry for at least 48 hours. it needs to set as you will be rubbing the mortar paint off later.

For mortar, I used a bottle of flesh coloured acrylic by Folkart, #949 skintone . This gives a pleasing effect and is not to bright. You get 59ml so it is great value. It needs to be thinned with a little water,so that it flows like milk

Paint the wash onto the walls,it should be thin enough to flow into the recesses. Leave it to dry for a couple of hours. Next, use a damp cloth or kitchen roll to rub of the excess from the bricks. The mortar does not need to be too neat.

Top Tip

Mixing paint

You can get plastic shot glasses to mix paint. They are available in bargain stores for £1 or less, for 20. A good mixing stick can be had by using lolly sticks, available in the craft section of most Pound shops.

Get your paint below. These are UK affiliate links, we receive a percentage of the items cost. This does not affect the price you pay.

Creating Weathered and worn paintwork.

The technique I use for creating weathered paintwork is quick and simple. Most of the woodwork for the engine shed was done with Vallejo Dark green acrylic.

This comes in little plastic bottles and is intended to be airbrushed. It is too thin to be used for hand painting, but makes a great wash. Brush liberally onto the plastic parts and it will collect in any recesses. Do this two or three times and you have old paintwork

Roof detailing a plastic kit

The roof in this kit was warped, you can straighten it out using a hair dryer to heat it up. Then press it under a heavy object, like a book. Give the roof parts a coat of FolkArt Gray acrylic. Next, when dry, dry brush some darker gray paint over the top of the slates. Finally, run a little thinned black paint so that it sits in the recesses between the slates.

Final detailing and bedding in.

One advantage of plastic kits is the detailing. This kit comes with drainpipes, lamps and a sign board. Paint these with Vallejo dark green. Paint the light up part of the lamps yellow.

Next ,make the base out of some 2mm grayboard. Fix the building down with UHU. Secondly run some white glue around the edges of the building and add some Javis Mid Green coarse grass scatter.

Thirdly, find an old piece of straight track and remove the joiners. Glue it down inside the shed with PVA. I used a wash of Vallejo dark earth to weather it. The lighter coloured grass is made with Javis meadow green scatter, or you can use one of their grass mats. The mats come in two widths and are great value.

That completes the project.

I write at least one new post a week, subscribe below so that you don’t miss any! You will receive an email with each new post.

See our other blog posts.

Where do I get Free model railway kits? Updated for 2022

Updated , 13/4/22. Looking for Free model railway kits? Most download companies offer free kits as samplers. Other ranges are entirely free.

So who has the biggest range of kit downloads?

Wordsworth models has a large range of free downloadable kits. The later kits are more advanced. For example, some have transparent glazing. They can be made from 1mm and 2mm card or cereal packets.

They also have some useful texture sheets.

A fire station based on the Wordsworth Download, with a different finish

3DK free brick hut

3DK are a Canadian company. They produce a lot of British Outline kits that can be downloaded. There is a free brick office download that has a lot of detail and a good range of signage. The windows can be printed onto a clear sheet.

The other buildings in the range are good value at less than £4.

Kingsway Models free kits

Kingsway models usually issue a free kit download at Christmas and previous years kits are available for free.

Kingsway Models free kit - classic collect models
Kingsway Models free kit

Free building downloads from Smart Models

Smart Models offer a free downloadable signal box kit

Card models by Tony

Card models by Tony has a large range of free downloads, they are quite crude but can be modified.

Free building downloads on pintrest

Another good source of free downloads is Pintrest there are a large number of UK style buildings.

If you like your kits ready made I do kit builds for all of the popular brands.

If you have enjoyed this article you can buy the author a coffee on the button below. Wherever you are in the world.

Blend your buildings in to the landscape – Quick tip

Buildings don’t just exist in isolation, they have a context. Grass tends to grow up along the bottom of walls.

All photos, G Whittaker.

There are often road markings and other clues as to the function of a building. Below I added some grass to the edge of the building, this will also hide any gaps! The playground markings make it obvious that this is a school.

School building made of card.

Model the environment by adding textures. The yard below is made of sand ballast. The walls are 4mm balsa wood and the chimney is made of thicker balsa wood. Add a few cows and you have a farm yard scene. Most of this building is made of cereal packets.

A yard made of sandy ballast.

Street furniture and vehicles

Cars and people help to blend buildings into a scene. Below, add a few cars and you are in the 1960’s .

Model Railway Walling and Fencing – Tips and Tricks

Walls are everywhere from the humble dry stone wall to massive embankments and bridges. What are the best products and techniques for making walls for your layout? This article looks at Model Railway Walling and Fencing.

Card and Balsa wood walls – case study

The factory entrance below was made from a Wordsworth Models download and some 2mm card. The stone texture was made from my own photograph and edited in Photoshop. The type of card I use is 2mm and 1mm grayboard This is available cheaply from Ebay and Amazon sellers. You don’t need to use the more expensive whiteboard, although the grain is finer.

For thicker walls 4mm balsa wood is easy to work with and works well. The base for the entrance  is 2mm grayboard With Wordsworth’s cobbles texture sheet on top. You can also make top stones for the wall,  from another strip of card. The sign is made from strips of card glued to the back of the wall.

Grayboard card

Next I take a look at the different materials that are used to make walls and fences for model railways and dioramas.

Farm walls and fences for model layouts

Farm Walls and fences are available in an amazing number of different materials. In order of expense, we have

  • Home made from card and matchsticks
  • Granite chips on a foam base( flexible walling)
  • Printed embossed card
  • Injection moulded plastic
  • laser cut card
  • Cast resin
  • Etched brass

I will look at each in turn

Home made fencing for model railway layouts

The cheapest option for railed fencing is matchsticks, you can also use 2mm card strips. Cut some 2mm grayboard into 2mm strips with a sharp bladed knife, these are the longitudinal fence rails. You don’t need to be super accurate. Cut out another piece of card about matchstick length and then cut this into smaller 2mm strips for the uprights. Card is much easier to cut than matchsticks.

Card strip fencing

Lay the three longer strips out on a modelling board and dab some PVA on each rail at appropriate intervals. Place the uprights in place. PVA takes a while to set giving you time to adjust the positioning. Grayboard is almost the correct colour or it can be painted easily. gates can be made in the same way.

For the post and wire type of fencing, some use nylon thread for the wires, but I find florist’s wire easier to work with. Use 26 gauge wire, or as near as you can get to 0.5mm wire. Drill 0.5mm holes about 4mm apart in the posts. Drill holes for the posts in the baseboard and then fit the wires.

Model Railway Walling and Fencing – Flexible walling and hedging

Javis make a range of flexible foam walling . This is not very realistic but can be used in the background. The advantage is, It is quick and easy to work with. You can use N gauge walling on a 00 layout, for forced perspective, to make it look further away.

Arch make a range of flexible laser cut dry stone walling. This fits to any contour, but is relatively expensive at around £9 for seven pieces. However, The detail is lovely and it is probably the most realistic available.

Arch are available from Osborn’s Models

We also have a kit build service for Arch kits.

Printed card for model railway walls and buildings

Metcalfe do a range of non embossed card for scratch building. This is available in brick and stone as well as cobbles and pavements. It is good value and handy if you have other Metcalfe buildings on your layout.

Embosed plastic sheet is also available from plasticard. This is fairly easy to cut by scoring and snapping. Wills do a range of plastic sheets that are injection moulded. They are thick and not as easy to work with as Plasticard.

Finally ID Backscenes make a range of self adhesive papers that are nicely done. At more £1 for an A4 sheet they are not cheap, but look amazing.

ID Backscenes stone sheet

laser cut card fencing and gates

Scale Model Scenery do a range of laser cut gates and fencing.

Model railway Scenery Laser cut gate

Cast resin Walls and fences

Javis of Stockport make the biggest range of resin walling and fencing. There are many types of wall as well as corner pieces. Some are flocked. One caveat is that some of the fences are single sided only, they are best used where there are no right angled corners.

They are quite heavy and good value at less than £2 each.

Etched brass fencing for model railways

At the top end of the market are etched brass fences and railings. These were made by Scalelink (langley) . They have a truly terrible web site. Recently the brass fret business has been split off and is now trading as Scalelink Fretcetera. They have a slightly less terrible web site!

Most of the fence sheets are £9. You get quite a big bang for your buck with up to seven railings per sheet. They have some fun figures as well as architectural items such as staircases.

Etched brass railings

Read about the top 7 model building suppliers