Let's Make A Scene - Modelling Rubbish, Fly-Tipping & Scrap

Let's Make A Scene - Modelling Rubbish, Fly-Tipping & Scrap

Modelling Litter & Scrap on a OO Gauge Layout

Litter and rubbish are a blight of modern-day life. Be it along railway lines, in the streets, along the grass verges at the sides of motorways and sadly, even in the countryside.  

Fly-tipping is of course highly illegal and it's always amazing how certain members of our society think it's ok to dump rubbish from a house clearance, building waste from renovations and other rubbish in gateways and down bridleways. 

Litter that's been discarded while waiting on a station platform, along the side of a road, or dropped from a moving train is an even more common site but it's rarely modelled on layouts. If your aim is to achieve as realistic a finish as possible on your model railway layout, regardless of the scale you're working in, it's important to include some form of litter & waste and it's very easy to do.

  • Rubbish Skips are a common site in builder's yards, on construction sites, on domestic driveways and outside industrial units. As I write this our neighbour across the road has one on her front lawn as she's having building work done. And there are at least 4 skips on our industrial estate for all manner of waste, including timber offcuts and other industrial waste. So even if you don't fancy adding scattered litter to your layout, you can add a skip or two and achieve realistic results in double-quick time. 

    “But what shall I put in it?”… We've all got random stuff lying around… offcuts from kits, parts that we didn't need, bits that have fallen off of old models, spare parts in our modelling boxes that we've forgotten about. These all make great loads for skips.
  • Lineside litter can be anything from discarded train tickets, newspapers & crisp packets to discarded cable, bits of trunking, pallets and more.
  • White goods, TV's, fridges, microwaves and more… Why of why these get dumped in the countryside I've no idea… But they can be easily modelled using simple chunks of balsa wood or similar, wrapped in printed paper with images of the goods printed on them. Or if you'd like a little more detail, a number of 3d printed products are available which will work brilliantly for these.
  • Pile some pallets, a few bin bags, house bricks, lengths of timber, a road cone or two and maybe even a few tyres in a heap and voila… one heap of rubbish!

Modelling rubbish is actually a great way to improve your modelling skills and at the end of the day, if you get it wrong, who cares! You're modelling rubbish… so anything goes!

Getting Started - Recommended Kits

If you're modelling in OO gauge or 1:76 scale, we have a number of kits that can help you can add a little more atmosphere to the otherwise plain sections of track, especially if they run in a cutting or past an urban area. Whilst litter is unsightly, it can really bring an extra level of detail to a layout. 

Add extra detail with our rubbish skips & bins.

Download & print this guide as a PDF here.

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Found really useful, with lots of great tips. Certainly made me think about adding details from that box of bits. Great article.

some very good ideas in that article well done and thank you