Some favorite detail pieces

Posted by Bob Keller
on Thursday, February 27, 2020

While every layout reflects the interests of the owner, detail pieces can tell a tale for you to weave. Manufacturers represented in this scene include Arttista, Woodland Scenics, K-Line, Scenery Express, Lionel, and Preiser.

We've discussed people and vehicles for a layout, but one of the most effective elements of building your layout's character are little detail items.

You can find plenty of detail packs from Woodland Scenics, Scenery Express, Arttista, and of course Lionel and MTH. But many of my favorite bits are pieces that came with something else. You know, forklifts from factory kits, luggage carts from station kits, and things that might be left over from other items. Baggage carts from a damaged accessory, industrial components from tabletop war-games, and even right-sized structures, barrels, fences, or silos from toy playsets.

Here are a few that I have scattered around my train city!

So what what are your favorite scene details?

Christmas details provide a changing collection of details, many f which can be used all year long. Splash some green paint on the trees and the snow is gone. Change the fence color to concrete gray or a more brick red and it is good to go. The Santa and snowmen can be brought or (and removed) for Christmas.

Left to right are two yellow safety barriers. These came from an industrial toy set at Target. The red fence came from a 1/64 scale grain silo set I bought at Farm & Fleet a few years ago. Both the fence and yellow barriers work pretty well for O. The forklift is from a K-Line factory kit. The security guard is from a K-Line police station kit while the conductor is a Woodland Scenics figure. I believe the safety barriers and cone are from Woodland Scenics.

There are some structures I call micro-buildings because they are might small, but can add some flair tp a tight spot. On the left is a Marx (Flynn-era) 'Dinor,' that while'O,' worked better on an S gauge road. Don't recall who made the small postwar-style newsstand, but they were popular about 20 years ago.

Another structure better off on an S gauge railroad, but I spotted this on the outside curve at a corner of the benchwork. It fits just fine. Yes, you are right thinking you saw this in the movie The Rockteer.

I love these billboard frames and periodically print out new ads to refill them. Vintage ink blotters are a good source for artwork.

Not exactly a train item, but ... I had an uncle who ran an auto store until the chain went bankrupt in the 1970s. When they were closing out, he sent this to me for my trains (He bought me my first Lionel set). Note that it dates from the 'Master Charge' era, not 'MasterCard.'

Tabletop wargaming offers a lot of scenery details suitable for O gauge layouts. Here is a 'Fusion plant,' along with some exhaust and air intakes. Splash a little coffee around (or actually use paint), and presto-change, you have a toxic waste hazard!

Keep your eyes peeled for 1/32 scale military details. In this case a partially destroyed wall. What are sand bags for 1/32 soldiers become bags large enough for grain or even concrete mix. Or maybe use them to protect a Menards truck with rocket load!

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