Enhance Your Model Trains With Special Effects

If you’re a model train hobbyist, you may consider how you can bring your favorite trains to the next level. You’ve constructed extensive track systems and created complete train models. Now, it’s time to add some extra realistic features that can make your model trains more life-like and interesting than ever.

Weathering Your Model Train

When real trains hit the tracks, they accumulate the signs of wear and exposure to the elements of nature, from rust to peeling paint to faded lettering. By using some artistic techniques to weather your model trains, you can recreate that real-life appearance on your model. One easy, reversible method involves using chalk to create a weathered appearance. It can be easily removed with a damp cloth. On the other hand, drybrushing uses small amounts of paint applied with a dry brush to give the appearance of streaks, scratches and light rusting. You can also apply a watercolor acrylic paint wash over the existing paint. This can tone down the color, replicating the appearance of a train car after extensive use and wear.

Bring Your Model Trains To Light

Train lighting can help to add a dose of realism and excitement to your model train setup. Many model locomotives come with 1.5-volt incandescent bulbs, but these can burn out easily. On the other hand, they can also be converted to use LED lights for model trains instead for a longer-lasting look and electricity savings. You can begin the process by removing the original bulbs, held in place with water-soluble glue. After the bulbs are removed, you can disconnect the wiring; when using a DCC decoder, you can use the same tabs on the board. When the process is done, you’ll have longer-lasting, realistic-looking lighting. You can use the same process to add additional lights, like warning lights or ditch lights, to your model train.

Customization can be a great part of the model train experience. You can also alter and change decals, create interesting loads like steel coils or replace the wheels and tires to show off your creative approach.