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.

Buiding the Dapol Scammell Scarab lorry

The Dapol scammell, plastic kit is cheap and easily obtainable. The model builds into a nice vehicle for dioramas and station scenes set in the 1950’s and 60’s. It is based on the ex Kitmaster, ex Airfix kit and dates from the 1960’s so there is quite a lot of flash to deal with. There are some fiddly and minuscule parts to fit so you need a good magnifier and steady hands. The carpet monster ate the exhaust during the build!

The artwork mimics the original Kitmaster models

This kit comes with two trailer options but no windscreen. I used some thin transparent material to make one. You need to assemble the cab, deal with any seam lines and paint the cab,first. The colours for BR were cream and maroon. Railmatch can provide these colours, 2306 maroon and 2312 cream.

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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.

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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.

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The Best Backscenes For Your Layout- Review

Every layout needs a backscene . Here I look at what is available commercially. Additionally, what is the cheapest way to make a simple sky backscene?

Most 00 backscenes are around 12″ or 30cm high. Commercially produced backscenes range from 9″ to 25″ high .

Make your own backscene

You can make your own sky backscenes with blue card (mountboard). This can be obtained in A1 sheets, from Pullingers art supplies. A1 is is about 33″ x 23″. To get the blue colours, you need to order 10, at a total of £33.50 plus £4 for delivery. Delft blue or horizon blue make good sky colours. The Pullingers mountboard is about 1.4mm thick.

Backscenes for your layout

Another possibility is sky wallpaper. You will also need a thin ply backdrop to attach the paper to. The wallpaper is available from Wallpaper Direct.

Sky Wallpaper

Faller backscenes

Faller backscenes are available in the UK, from Gaugemaster. They are not cheap, but the ones that are mostly sky can be used on British outline layouts. They are quite deep at 25″ high, so you get a lot of sky for £35.

Faller backscene 3880 x 650mm

Gaugemaster backscenes

Gaugemaster have their own range of backscenes. The are about 12″ high and 9′ long. They are probably the best value here at £8.50 per sheet. The paper is a bit thin but there is a good range of UK scenes.

Gaugemaster sky sheets.
Gaugemaster sky sheets

Peco Backscenes

The old favourite Peco backscenes (available from Gaugemaster) are still in production. They are quite small at 28″ x 9″ and tend to look a bit cartoon like. However there are some useful sky papers that can be used for dioramas and photography backdrops. They are cheap at only £1.55 each.

Peco Mountains
Peco sky paper

ID backscenes

Perhaps the creme de la creme of backscenes. ID backscenes are printed on heavyweight 180gsm paper . You get 10′ overall, in two 5′ rolls.

Printed with UV resistant ink, they will not fade or discolour. They come in two heights 9″ and 15″. The photography is of very high quality.

ID Backscenes

The video below takes a comprehensive look at fitting ID backscenes to a layout.

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 .