Modelling An N Gauge Shipping Container Scene

Modelling An N Gauge Shipping Container Scene

I thought it was time we shone a spotlight on the humble shipping container, so, for a change we’ve gone N gauge! I’ve kept it simple so it makes for a quick build and you’ll only need 3 kits for this one, showing that you can make an effective little scene with not much effort.



  • Red oxide primer spray
  • Grey acrylic paint
  • Isopropyl Alcohol 60% or higher
  • Charcoal Blocks in suitable shades (from The Works, The Range or other art suppliers)


Begin by making the shipping container as per the instructions, and when the glue has dried place it on your base (mine’s a suitable sized offcut) and draw around it. While you’ve got the glue handy, make up some of the pallets. Give the container a couple of coats of primer, making sure you spray from different angles so that you don’t miss bits. You don’t have to choose red, it was what I had to hand and I like it partly because it has a matt effect and makes the container look old and faded.

Spread the stone powder on the base; I applied the sandstone colour first and sprinkled the golden brown colour in patches so there’s a variation in shades and textures.  Now use the Ballast Bond by following the instructions on the pack (use PVA glue if you don’t have this, but make sure you apply it BEFORE you put your stone powder down!). Try and avoid sticking any to the part you drew around, but if it does you can remove it with a small paintbrush by brushing it away.

We can now apply some weathering to the shipping container. I used some coloured charcoal mixed with the isopropyl alcohol; the method is really simple, use a craft knife to shave a few tiny bits of the charcoal onto a non-porous surface and mix with a few drops of the isopropyl. My recommendation would be to start with a very thin mixture as a little of the charcoal powder goes a long way! If you don’t have any of these fancy ingredients some acrylic paint dry-brushed on will do fine instead.

A couple of different colours layered on top of each other should give you some quite realistic results; have a practice first if you’re not confident but there’s no need to be too precise, rust doesn’t usually appear in geometric patterns! Oh, and don’t forget to paint the door-locking mechanisms with your grey acrylic paint so that they stand out.

Using the same method, apply a very thin wash or dry brushing to the pallets and the yellow coiled pipe. Leave to dry. I’ve wrapped some black wire around my pipes; you could use thread or wire in whichever colour you like. I used black as I think it makes a good contrast.

Now it’s time to set the scene. Stick the container to the base using a couple of dabs of PVA glue and place the coiled pipe and pallets in loose piles.

Stand back and admire your work!




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What a great looking scene very effectively yet relatively ease to achieve nice work.

Fantastic many thanks I will try this once I return after me Xmas holidays if you come up with any other good idea for n gauge free to send them

verry nice