How To Make Rocks For Your Model Railroad Scenery

Want to create some rocks for your model railroad scenery that are easy to make and easy to paint?

Then check out the video below because Woodlands Scenics provides the perfect solution using Lightweight Hydrocal and rock molds.

Click the video to play and turn up your speakers…

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Items used in the video:


I just got this informative email from a reader which will certainly help you… Thanks Perry 🙂

Dan, I use Hydrocal as well. But, once the mixture firms up, and while it is still pliable, I pin the moulds to the area I want them on.  They dry in place and stick to the hill/mountain without glue.

Usually my hills are made from 1″ foam insulation. I also add a small drop of dish soap to the interior mould (prior to use) smeared lightly, so as to provide an easy release from the mould when dry.

I use large safety pins to keep the mould in place while drying. These are bent open to force the mould tight to the surface. The pins are inserted through the edges of the mould and are large enough to swivel over the mould.

You can build a large area this way and then paint the whole thing as one unit. Cheers Perry Doig

Here’s a photo of Perry’s amazing rock work… click the image for a larger version.

Perry Doig's model railroad showing the great rock work and model train sceneryclick the image for a larger version

Please leave your comments at the bottom of this page…

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Dan Morgan

Dan Morgan fell in love with model trains at the age of six when he visited an NMRA Convention in Seattle with his father. Forty two years later, his passion remains just as strong. After achieving a successful career in architecture, Dan’s particular interest is within layouts and buildings. With a wealth of knowledge on the subject, Dan loves nothing more than sharing this with others and is delighted in the forum of members who are brought together over the hobby they have in common. Dan lives with his wife Helen in Washington. As a professional painter, Helen has learnt through Dan about Model Trains and they now enjoy working on projects together. The only member of the family who isn’t allowed to join in is their over-enthusiastic Labrador called William who has been strictly banned from the workshop! You can find Dan on Google here!

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Leave A Reply (9 comments So Far)

  1. jim bringardner
    5 years ago

    this is as easy as it gets! any beginner should be able to do this.I am going to try this
    on my layout! my layout is 11 years in the making/never finished!!

  2. Frank
    5 years ago

    How do you use for coal loads?

  3. Roy
    5 years ago

    really nice rocks

  4. david
    5 years ago

    to dan thank you for a great site,very interesting, you put so much into your site, i cant wait for more

  5. Will Farr
    5 years ago

    Great job Perry. Also some wonderful tips, especially for us beginners in the planning stage.
    Thanks so much!!
    Will Farr

  6. Isidoro
    5 years ago

    Interesting and informative

  7. Craige Keen
    5 years ago

    A shallow pan of fine sand makes a good base for molding rock or stone loads for hoppers, gondolas and coal and rock piles. Place a sheet of aluminum foil that has been crumpled gently for larger scales or crumpled more heavely for finer scales. Place the foil in the sand mold pan and gently shake while pushing in the crinkled foil into a row of pockets to represent a conveyored loading of coal or rock into a rail car (like mountain peaks). A border made from lenths of wood (popsicle sticks or heavy card paper even doubled-up cereal boxes) in the shape of rail car sides or coal bin,etc. Once the upside down foil looks like the rock or coal consistancy of your desired load, you will need to spray a light coat of Pam into mold before you pour your mixed Hydrocoal or plaster of paris into it at a thickness necessary to maintain the integrity of the finished product. Allowing it to cure it may need a little gentle carving to fit. When satisfied with fit it will need a little cleaning before spray painted with a can of gloss black or flat colors that mimic the color of stone you want for railcar loads. You may also leave the foil mold filled with plaster of paris and the foil itself will be painted with gloss black to look like mined coal. I have used crumpled aluminum foil painted gloss black as mounds of coal around coal tower, coal bins and RR shanties that use pot-bellied stoves for heat.

  8. phil
    5 years ago


  9. Rosemarie Bazinet
    4 years ago

    I am facinated about the possibilites hydrocal could have in my fairy gardens. Can it be used outside and withstand the weather? Thanks in advance for your response.

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