15 April 2020
Card kits are an affordable and easy method to rapidly add architecture to your model railway. Ideally suited to beginners, these kits can be enhanced further with a few simple techniques.
The classic upgrade for any card kit is to colour exposed edges with a felt-tipped pen. Try to choose a shade slightly darker than the one on the printing next to the edge. If in doubt, brown seems to work. Colour from the back of the sheet to avoid getting ink on the printed front.
Most manufacturers sell brick paper to match their kits. You might be able to cut this out into a decorative shape and use it to cover the corners. Decorative stone quoins cut from plain card can provide the same result.
Keep a small screwdriver handy and use it to apply glue to the model. It's also handy to run the tip along like a chisel to scoop up and remove the excess glue if it splurges out of a folded joint. Work quickly though, as removing dried glue is nearly impossible.
Viewing a model from normal angles makes the roof more obvious than it is in real life. Printed sheets normally look too flat to be convincing, but scribing along the courses and between each slate improves things a lot. It's not a quick job, but very worthwhile.
Chimneys get dirty and so a stiff brush and Humbrol Smoke colour weathering powder adds the all-important grime. As the card surface is very smooth, matt varnish, lightly sprayed and left to dry, helps adhesion
Lead flashing stops rainwater seeping down between bricks and slates on buildings. In model form, it's easily represented using 3mm wide strips of tissue paper and fixed with a tiny amount of PVA. A quick coat of paint will finish the job. Best of all, it covers any less-than-perfect joints.
Downpipes are black painted wire. A stripped old electrical cable is perfect, but the green plastic-coated wire used to tie up plants in the garden works just as well if you straighten it. Fitted on the joint between the gable end and main building, it hides the gap too.
Want some houses to complete your scene? Our guide on how to build and detail a card kit is worth a read. Or if you’re interested in building some roads and pavements, our handy guide is filled with tips and advice.
For more help and tips for adding grass to your model railway - watch our video on how to create realistic scenery using static grass here.
And what about trees? Our online guide will help you get to grips with ‘planting’ trees on your model railway.
Need more advice? Take a look at the BRM Techniques page for all our latest guides and advice articles.