Phil's Practical - Pitch a tent

04 May 2020
While we can't go camping at the moment, tents make an interesting scenic detail for your layout.

For a domestic campsite, we used Faller's camping set, which contains a selection of plastic tents. Technically, they are HO scale (3.5mm:1ft), but as long as shorter figures are posed beside them, then they will look fine on a OO layout.

The plastic tents make up easily with Humbrol Precision Poly. The larger ones are pre-painted, too. The small ridge tents were painted with matt enamels, otherwise there is a lot of blue and yellow on display. One benefit of a campsite is that you can add some colour to the layout.



Unpainted plastic doesn't look like tent material, but if you give it a spray of matt varnish, the effect is a lot better. Hold the can 10-15cm further away from the models than the instructions suggest. That way, the varnish is very slightly dry when it hits and won't dry perfectly smoothly - the opposite of the effect we are usually looking to achieve!


After glueing the tents down with PVA, they need to be fitted with guy ropes. Peco IL-13 track spikes make excellent tent pegs, although track pins or even-cut staples would work just as well. If they are too long, a pair of big wire cutters will shorten them.

Brightly-coloured tents are fine for anyone modelling the 1980s onward, but in the steam era, camping meant a night under canvas.


In our WW1 diorama, we are using tents from the wargaming supplier Renedra.


You don't have to be modelling the war of course, how about a Scout camp? Merit makes a set of ready-painted plastic figures in OO to add to the scene.



A coat of beige Humbrol enamel was followed, once the model is touch-dry, by a heavy dusting of talcum powder to accentuate the creases and give the smooth plastic a little texture.

Looking for more practical advice? Take a look at the BRM Techniques page for all our latest guides and advice articles.