How to model a potato field

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08 August 2018
LEADimage-60199.jpg potato field
Follow our step-by-step guide on how to model a potato field for your model railway.

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to model a potato field for your model railway.

Details matter on a layout, but sometimes certain aspects of modelling are overlooked at the expense of others. Sometimes that might be deliberate, if, say, the focus is on operation rather than scenery. Or maybe the modellers concerned reached the limits of time, resource or skill.

A scene of a lonely scarecrow keeping guard in a field full of potato plants can encourage more than its fair share of enquiries. So, we thought it was only right to offer an easy-to-follow guide to modelling a potato field. It’s a fairly simple process, yet the results can be stunning, as you’ll see…

Materials Used

  • Treemendus Earth Powder
  • Silflor MiniNatur
  • Scarecrow – Dart Castings
  • PVA glue



The whole area is covered in Treemendus Earth Powder to form the basis of the field. The line drawn represents the angle to run the rows of potato crops. The field slopes towards the viewer, and the crops are planted to ensure that any rainwater could run away down the lines of plants.

model railway field


With the angle determined draw parallel lines, approx. 12mm apart across the field. This gave a scale separation of the plants of two feet, which seems about right when you look at pictures of a real field.

plants on model railway field


This shows the scenic materials used from the Silflor MiniNatur range. The next process is optional, it gives elevation to the plants to make it look like they were planted with a soil furrow between.

scenic material to create model railway scenery


PVA glue was spread along the lines and Earth Powder sprinkled on.

PVA glue used for model railway scenery


A second layer of Earth Powder was applied to increase the depth, giving the impression of a furrow between crop lines.

earth powder for model railway scenery


In order to get the plants in a line, and before marked ones are lost under the earth powder, fix masking tape with the centre line of one of the planting strips to give a datum point for keeping the rows parallel.

planting strips on model railway


Lengths of Silflor were cut and glued with PVA along the raised sections. Odd lengths where butted up against one another, or gaps left to represent where a plant might not have taken root.

plants on model railway field


In a field of crops you mustn’t forget the scarecrow! All in all, this is a very simple and effective way to achieve a different type of field.

scarecrow in model railway field

This article was by Kevin Phare. His OO gauge ‘Little Muddle’ model railway layout appeared in BRM’s October 2017 edition. Download this issue here.

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