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Model a weather-beaten wood structure

Learn how to stain, brace, distress and weather, and model broken glass
This Northern Pacific class C depot has seen its better days. Cody Grivno explains how to model a weather-beaten wood structure.
In model railroading, weathering is typically associated with freight cars and locomotives. However, structure weathering is another way to add realism to a layout. Peeling and faded paint, a roof in need of repair, and broken glass are just a few of the ways to turn an ordinary structure into a standout model.

For this project, I used an American Model Builders HO scale Northern Pacific class C depot kit. Though I’ve built structures in plastic, brass, and plaster, I prefer wood for detailed weathering projects like this.

Structure weathering doesn’t have to be limited to just the walls. On many layouts, the roof is the most visible part of a building. Vents, air conditioners, and antennas, among other things, can make the roof visually interesting. Though I didn’t need those details here, I enhanced the depot roof by leaving shingles off this abandoned structure, exposing the bare subroof. I also painted individual shingles to look like patchwork repairs had been made over the years.

You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to turn an ordinary wood kit into one that will get the attention of visitors and members of your operating crew. Give these techniques a try. You’ll like the results.

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How to get started in HO or N scale.

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