Notes on Detailing with Props – Part 1

Details, especially miniature props, make any kitbash or scratchbuilt project really pop!

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Sure, an empty flat car is classic but I think a loaded flat car can be more interesting. Giving your cars and engines a more “used” and lived-in look can be readily accomplished with the use of a few well-placed knickknacks.



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In the second picture you see the same mini flat car with some logging tools and props added to it. The two logging saws are from Ozark Miniatures. The vise, water can, toolbox, and various tools are from a Bachmann accessory set (available online or at your LHS). The barrel is from Michael’s Crafts and the handle is just some glued on scrap.

Click to enlarge, use back button to returnHere’s a close up of the toolbox. Painting the tiny tools is doable (for me anyway) with the use of a large arm-mounted magnifying glass and a very tiny paint brush. Oh, and lots of patience!




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To the right you see most of an entire Bachmann accessory set that I painted up one rainy weekend. Having these types of details makes finishing up a project fun.



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Here is the front end of my two-truck Shay. The toolbox is simply some scrap left overs from ripping up fence boards for a trestle project. The red bucket is from Michael’s Crafts with a lid I made from cutting the rounded ends from a jumbo craft stick and gluing them together. The handle is another tiny piece of scrap cut to shape with an Exacto knife and glued in place.

The chains draped across the front (and on the side of the engine if you look closely) are from Ozark Miniatures.

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An open toolbox holding another chain sits in front of the air tank on the opposite side of the engine awaiting some tools to be carelessly tossed in (and carefully super glued in place).



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A shovel, pick, and sledge are to the right of the door glued up in a square section of styrene. On the opposite side next to the post sits a jack. The chain guards are from a broken jewelry necklace. I took a link from a larger chain, cut it in half and used the small curved pieces to anchor the chain to the post and the wall of the office using needle-nose pliers.

Simple props can quickly and easily dress up your engines and rolling stock. Please post a comment with your questions or your experiences with detailing your models! –TJ

See Part 2 of this series here!

(Originally posted 4/15/2011, revised 4/13/2012)

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2 Responses to Notes on Detailing with Props – Part 1

  1. Kenneth says:

    hi there, fine article, and a very good understand! 1 for my bookmarks.

    • TJ says:

      Kenneth – Thanks for posting a comment on Glad you enjoyed Notes on Detailing with Props. I’m always looking for feedback and comments on the site. –TJ

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