Scenery Structures Track

Setting the Scene

The Art of Building a Diorama

Finally, real dirt is brushed on the top of the deck to tie the color together and mute the weathering. Let the dirt dry and brush off the access. A flat varnish can be used to seal the dirt at this point but not necessary. I use Grandtline NBW details in the stringers and on the timber guards. The prototype had two bolts on each timber guard with nails holding the rest of the ties. I represent the nails by using Tichy Train Group round-head rivets. These were staggered as the prototype.

All of the bolt details were painted with Vallejo’s acrylic gray primer followed by dark rust acrylic paint from AK-Interactive. I did add the rail to the deck at this point as well. This will help me set the bent heights when gluing them onto the base later. Code 100, steel rail from Right-O’-Way was used along with their tie plates and joint bars. I’m using Walthers code 83 spikes, with each rail receiving four spikes as the prototype. Automotive primer was sprayed onto the rails before attaching them to the ties.


  1. Good suggestion for modelers to try their hand at a diorama.
    I think they should follow your lead to keep the scene simple with a single focal point.


    1. I have learned so much through out the years from building dioramas. I remember when I was younger reading fantastic articles in the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette from you and Bob Brown that got me started.


  2. Great little mini project. Since I’m not at the scenery stage on my layout, a small diorama is a great way to get to play in that area of the hobby. I think it’s time to build a small diorama for my office.


    1. You will learn a lot from building them. They are not daunting like a larger layout. I personally have found that I fear mistakes less when I’m working on a smaller footprint. It’s quite liberating!


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