The trick is not to swamp the design with incidental features. The complete purpose of creating a model railway is to have somewhere to run your locomotive stock, carriages, and wagons etc. You have your track laid, the points work, and although you may have weathered the relative sides of the rails the tops are clean.
That’s the key bit. Moreover, to take pleasure from working your stock they are held by you clean. The buildings are in place, station(s) signaled, coal, and goods depots are laid out, and you know which direction your ‘Up’ traffic originates from. It’s likely you have mining or industry adjacent to the railway, sidings, and gates to keep out unwanted visitors. There’s a farm near by, or terraced houses and shops – a corner shop maybe (‘Open All hours’). There might be a cafe or snack bar close to the goods depot. A close friend, Colin Snowdon (Chairman of the Double O Gauge Association – DOGA) has a Southern-based layout. Close to the station is a cafe called ‘Sam and Ella’s’ (Salmonella, in a light-hearted mindset.
Have you thought about the trees, the vegetation, under- and overgrowth, field fencing, walls, ballast etc? It will pay to have your structures and other buildings ‘bedded’. Any system surfacing laid around the building bases, roadways that pass buildings are usually served unless you’ve modeled the countryside. Then Even, at a train station you will have a very outside a station and nearby structures on a terrace-front. You can buy etched brass gutters, electric, drinking water, and inspection plates on roads and pavements.
You may have lawn growing on the advantage of the pavement, and a phone kiosk, pillar containers around or collection containers by the comparative part of town or country streets. Level crossings (gated or barriers) will have lines drawn for approaching traffic from either side to stop at, maybe lines down the middle of the road. Wet and Dry sandpaper can be utilized for a road surface, gray or sandy side up, the finer the better for village or town roads, rougher for plantation or moorland streets.
Your capabilities of observation and creativity are all that limit you. This is all incidental. Choose an overall impression. As long as your lines don’t look too solid you’re all right. Where you have field-gain access to tracks make them muddy. Use plastic material filler, plenty of lawn scatter for around gate posts, leave gates ajar sometimes.
Add a tractor, truck, or baler (you can get each one of these in 4mm and 7mm and other scales in package form or boxed). Land Rovers – I’ve got several! Bed’ rock wall space and fences, make sure they are part of the scenery. Lots of lawn and foliage growing over and around, bushes and trees abound.
Use these to make the wall space and fences look part of the scenery. Use lawn scatter on tops of stone wall space, around them, ‘growing out’ of them. Lichen can be put into look like bramble bushes, thorns, vines. Utilize them to smother tree trunks. Observation: take pictures of trees and shrubs being overpowered by thorns, ivy, and smaller bushes. Take pictures of gateways, old left behind buildings, farm buildings, derelict buildings. Stone barns in the Dales are distressed sometimes, neglected, roses falling in, slates or tiles missing, wall space crumbling through insufficient upkeep. Mud is a concern for ramblers, in gateways where a footpath is earmarked especially.
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It sometimes appears like dried out plaster on vehicles in summer. Trees grow by gateways, and sometimes.field boundaries are hedges with broken fencing or walls. In farm yards you get stone setts with mud trails from cattle being herded out of the field. I’ve got a binder of photographs I had taken when on Christmas around the Cleveland Hills (North Yorkshire, not Ohio), the North Yorkshire Moors and the Dales. I make sure not to blend imaging, as the type of 1 area (Dales) is noticeably not the same as another (Moors, Hills).
Buildings, on and near every railway – signal cabins, waiting around rooms, reserving offices, sometimes all in a single in an ‘H’ shape together with the stationmaster’s and porters’ house. Then there are inside huts for managers (permanent way workers), stores, light fixture huts, goods sheds. Maybe a grain silo Nearby, factory, farm, tannery – you name it, and/or casing.
These might be detached, semi-detached, terraced, or blocks of flats. If you’re going to model a genuine station you’re going to need pictures, track diagrams etc., and techniques, tried and tested means of producing buildings that look like the real thing – to exhibition standard if needed. Have a leaf out of Trevor Booth’s reserve, enjoy the hobby.