A Short One | Quick Tip #3

The plate reads "Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad 'The Dead Beet Line' 1890 - 1928"

I made a display for an upcoming NMRA meet, and thought I'd share how I did it.

I started with a pre-cut plaque from Michael's, for about $8. I had some old stain lying around, and gave the wood two or three coats. I then sprayed some glossy wood finish on it, about six coats worth, allowing each coat to dry in between sprays.

The track and roadbed were attached with wood glue, and then ballasted in place. Despite my efforts and liberal use of painter's tape, the glue I used for the ballast leaked under the tape and marred the finish. I sanded and reapplied the gloss a number of times, but was unable to completely remove the glue/tape/rubbing alcohol mixture (used to wet the ballast). In the right light, you can still see some residue. I'm not too happy with that, but I can accept it.

While built with smaller equipment in mind, the base comfortably holds a larger engine and one or two heavyweight passenger cars.

The most expensive part of the project was the name plate, which cost about $15 to have made at a local trophy show. All in, the total cost was probably close to $30, which to me is worth it. I've displayed N scale locomotives and freight cars in the past, and without some sort of base, they disappear into the table top.

I'm planning on displaying an engine and four or five cars, so this 14" display is the perfect tool for the job.


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