This Article is About
model railroad scenery
using acrylics
water colors
different colors
color scheme
yellow ochre
Model Railroad Scenery - Painting Rocks
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Model Railroad Scenery  -  Painting Rocks

Creating realist model railroad scenery is one of the most satisfying parts of model railroading. As a beginner, one of the most intimidating aspects of building my first layout was how to make realistic looking scenery. I found it doesn’t take a lot of artistic ability to create a fantastic looking mountain range or simple outcropping of rocks.

Once you have created your terrain, or casted your rock outcropping, it’s very simple to paint them. The paint type you use really doesn’t matter, water colors, latex house paint, acrylics, will all perform fine.

I favor the acrylics due to being relatively inexpensive, easy to clean and thin with water, they come in a large variety of earth based tones, and are odorless. I will be covering painting rocks using acrylics, but this technique will work just fine with any type of paint your prefer.

Once I have checked all my clearances and vacuumed up all the loose plaster I assemble my paint choices. I create a lot of mountains scenes based loosely on Southwestern Colorado so my paint schemes are chosen to match that area. The scene in the picture accompanying this article was created using yellow ochre, burnt umber, raw sienna, and black.

For modeling other parts of the country, simply choose colors natural to that specific area. A small touch of green wash gives your rocks a mossy look, Experiment with different colors to find the color scheme you desire for your area.

I begin by mixing a wash of the colors I will be using. For the yellow ochre, burnt umber and raw sienna I mix my these paints approximately 1 part paint to 16 parts water. For the black I create a wash using approx 1 part paint to 32 parts water.

Since you will be painting with a “wash” you want to just slowly build the up the color. It is much easier to add another coat of the wash to darken things up than it is lighten colors. You can lighten things up with a squirt of water, but I prefer the effects of adding washes to darken.

Yellow Ochre

I start by just dabbing on the yellow ochre covering approx 40% of the rock surface, highlighting the areas I want to appear brighter such as the high points that would be highlighted by exposure to the sun.

Burnt Umber

Next I will cover approx 40% with the burnt umber, highlighting the areas I want darker like the undersides of outcroppings and in deep crevices.

Raw Sienna

Remember whenever you hear “raw” in relation to paints it means red.

I then lightly dab the raw sienna in places I want to appear reddish. It is quite easy to go overboard with the “raw” colors. So I go easy and, once again, build up the color slowly.


The thin black wash I finish up with is the key. Don’t just dab the black wash on. Start at the top of your formation with a wet brush of the black and let the black wash run down over the formation.

Washing in this manner allows the black to run into cracks and crevices and creates a shadow effect that is nearly impossible for someone of my minimal talent level to recreate trying to paint the shadow effects.

Occasionally I will go back over spots I want to really highlight with a thin wash of white also mixed 1:16. It creates a really unique effect.

I really hope you give this technique a try. It work on any model railroad terrain whether mountains, rock outcroppings or rolling hills. The color variations created will show through whatever ground cover you choose to add later.

Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
Model Railroad Scenery - Adding Ballast
One of the better places to begin your model railroad scenery is to add ballast. Railroads use ballast under the track and around the ties to provide track stability and allow drainage. While not all spurs or minor branch lines use much ballast (or if used at all, the lack…
By:  in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Apr 11, 2012  
  Likes: 0

How To Paint - using Acrylics
This article will be targeted at anyone wishing to learn how to paint using acrylics What are acrylics Acrylics are basically a type of plastic I could go into more technical terms like polymers but for the average reader and artists it's enough to know, it's liquid plastic in a…
By: LumiAirE in  Arts and Entertainment  >  Visual Graphic Arts   Sep 19, 2011  
  Likes: 0

Crocheted Holiday Mason Jar Lid Covers – Free Pattern
A couple of weeks ago I decided that I’d make my Sweet & Salty Party Mix to give out as gifts to friends and neighbors. I packaged them up in quart size Mason jars but I felt they lacked a little Christmas cheer. So I made up these Holly Berry…
By: Savvy Nana in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Jun 01, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Pyrography - Mastering the Art Of Burning
There are three elements that will allow you to burn anything at any time. These three controls can be used to troubleshoot any issue and address any challenge you may ever have in pyrography. These three elements are important because they control the quality of your line. And in this…
By: Sharon Bechtold in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Apr 28, 2016  
  Likes: 0

The Best In Nautical Decor
It is hard to find a person who doesn’t love sea and boating. These two aspects have a very strong bond with leisure and pleasure of the people. If you fall into the category of sea enthusiastic, why don’t you think of bringing its beauty into your residence? The truth…
By: David107 in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Apr 11, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Things to Consider Before Buying Model Ships
Model ships have a very old history that runs back to 3200 BC. Ever since then, the model ship industry has revolutionized fascinating the enthusiasts across the globe. Usually, model ship enthusiasts use these awesome creations for purposes like nautical decoration, hobby or exhibitions. With the development of the technology,…
By: David107 in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Mar 31, 2016  
  Likes: 0

History Of Model Ships
Model ships have captured a significant attention of the ship enthusiasts over the years. A ship model is the miniature replica of a specific real ship. As we all know, some of the ships have certain specialties because of their historic value, design, size, interesting stories associated etc. A wooden…
By: David107 in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Mar 24, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Learning To Fly RC Airplanes Successfully
Learning how to fly RC airplanes is not as complicated as most people imagine. The only unfortunate thing is that most people get overexcited with this great hobby that they end up crashing their new planes fast. This is usually the case if you do not do enough homework to…
By: Mounota Rahman in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Mar 22, 2016  
  Likes: 1

Can Children Enjoy Model Ships?
A wooden ship model is technically considered as an exact replica of a particular original ship. These tiny masterpieces are capable of adding a wonderful glamor to wherever they are displayed. Collecting these ship models has become a classy hobby among many nations for many decades. Although some hobbies are…
By: David107 in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Mar 17, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Model Ships: A Fascinating Hobby
Collecting model ships is an exceptionally great hobby that delivers an enormous amount of happiness and knowledge. In fact, anyone can start this hobby regardless of the age and gender. Each and every famous wooden ship model has its own interesting story behind it. Therefore, you do not just buy…
By: David107 in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Mar 04, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Greeting Card Making
Handmade greeting card are a popular pastime right now. Greeting cards making is a fun way to display pictures and words. When getting started at paper crafts, it is easy to spend a lot of money! Go easy at first until you know what sort of paper craft products you…
By: Noorliah in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Feb 16, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Never Miss A Single Issue Again With Free Magazines
Getting free magazines subscription is like never missing a single issue of your favorite magazine. If you are tired of paying expensive magazine subscriptions or if you hate missing an issue because you refused to pay for subscription, these free magazines may just be what you need. It is unbelievable…
By: Ronnie Fortier in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Feb 14, 2014  
  Likes: 0

How to Search for Free Cds And Dvds
Free CDs and DVDs are among the most searched free stuff online. These CDs can be of anything—music, movies, tutorials, games and others. If you love collecting CDs, you will find searching for them for free online a fun and rewarding activity. You might think that CDs and DVDs are…
By: Ronnie Fortier in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Dec 18, 2013  
  Likes: 1

Narrow Plain Seam
A Narrow Seam is a very easy quick to sew. It is a basic seam and should be in the repertoire of any sewer of any level, beginner to expert. If you are a beginner this is one of the simplest, easiest and most versatile seams to learn. And it…
By: Tiffany in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Dec 27, 2011  
  Likes: 0

The Benefits Of Creating Things By the Use Of the Rubber Loom Bands
The best rubber band loom can become addictive to both the children and adults. The children can use just one or more looms colors to make charms or bracelet or any other thing they like by using different patterns and colors. However, making the bracelet with the rubber loom bands…
By: worldfashion in  Home and Family  >  Crafts Hobbies   Jul 15, 2014  
  Likes: 0

Article Views: 6622    Report this Article