Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 94

Making Model Railways


Hello Everyone 



Once, a six-year-old boy applied for a job in a railway museum.


He told them, “l have an electric train track. l am good on my train track. l can control two trains at once.”


So the museum invited him to the museum and gave him the title of ‘Director of Fun’.


Last birthday, my nephews Bill and Bob were given a model railway as a present.


They had track and a train and a station and also some houses, people and farm animals. Their dad found them a big board to start building a model on.


They thought they were really lucky to have such a wonderful present.


Ever since, they have been buying extra bits and pieces to add to their model by using their pocket money (that is when they are not saving up to be millionaires).


They have also found clever ways to make things themselves and their mum and dad have been helping them.


They would like to share their ideas with all you Salty Sam Blog readers who have model train sets too, and here they are:-


You can mix builders’ sand with PVA glue and paint to make surfaces on your model. Green makes grass and grey makes roads, pathways, tennis courts or stones to go under your tracks. lf you just use glue without any paint, the sand can make sandy beaches.


Tiny stones mixed with glue can make pebble beaches or painted black can make piles of coal, or you could use the little bits of plastic collected from trimming plastic canvas panels.


You can use plastic trays that have contained food as plastic sheets for modelling. lf they have textured surfaces they can be painted with a mixture of paint and PVA glue to make the surfaces of platforms, car parks, pathways and pavements.


You can take little boxes that have had films or soaps or stock cubes in them and cover them with papier-mâché or corrugated cardboard (sometimes to be found inside biscuit wrapping) and they can be turned into rough farm buildings or sheds.


Matchsticks can make window frames and wood panelling.


To make papier-mâché you pour a little water into a small tray, mix in a little PVA glue and dip small pieces of kitchen paper into the water. Then lay these layers onto your box and build up in layers.


The paper looks like rough plaster and the corrugated card looks like logs or corrugated iron. Once the PVA glue has set rock hard the buildings can be painted. The drying process may take several days.


lf this is too fiddly for your little fingers to do, maybe you can find a kindly and patient uncle to help you. smile1 (2)


(Remember to make sure that if you have baby brothers or sisters they can’t get hold of your railway set because they might break or swallow the little pieces.) As any man who has a railway layout will tell you, it is a model and not a toy.



Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bob: Have you heard about my cousin?


Bill: No?


Bob: He is so bow-legged – when he stands around the house, he really stands around the house!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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Picture Gallery


1829 steam locomotive – replaced horse drawn wagons that ran on rails


image009 Steam trains have water tanks that need to be filled regularly


image010 Reverend Wilbert Awdry wrote the Thomas the Tank Engine books


image013 A Victorian push-along toy train


image015 A pull along train from the 1950s


image017 A Hornby clockwork train 1950 – 60


image019 A 1954 station


image021 A train run on batteries (1970 – 1980)



 Hornby trains 1954 – 55 and 1995


Hornby train 1975 – 80


 This stunning model can be seen at the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood


 Slopes left bare can look like bare rock


image031 Stations and houses bought ready-made


image033 Toy cars are the right scale


image035 A signal box and signal


image037 Station yards can store coal and water 


Fencing can be bought or made


image041 Models don’t have to depict modern scenes


image043 Models can depict scenes from history

(London Transport Museum) 






So now Bill and Bob are on the look out for any textured surface or interesting plastic shape from discarded packaging.




They thought these ink cartridge clips looked like bicycle racks to put outside a station.




Trimming from plastic canvas can be mixed with black paint and PVA glue to make piles of coal.

They found some clear plastic from the front of a pack of batteries that looked like greenhouses and another pack that looked like a bus shelter.

Watch out for next week’s blog post because there are more ideas coming up!



Writing my blog is a lot of fun








Quick Quiz 


Railway trains could pull larger loads than horses could, and machines took over the work of horses during the lndustrial Revolution.  But before this, people and horses lived and worked side by side for hundreds of years on farm land and in forests and horses were the only form of long-distance transport on land.

Do you know what do these phrases mean?


  1. straight from the horse’s mouth
  2. to lock the stable door after the horse has bolted
  3. to look a gift horse in the mouth
  4. to change horses in mid-stream
  5. hold you horses
  6. horse play
  7. horse sense









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lt’s the Weekend!





These buildings aren’t as good as shop-bought buildings, but if you try to create sheds and rough farm barns and other out-buildings then mix them into the landscape they can look quite authentic.















Take a small box, cut out any windows or doorways before you start to cover it with a textured surface. This is best done with a small modelling knife, so if you are not allowed to use one, then ask a grown up if they can help you.

Look out for film boxes or stock cube boxes; they are a good size to use.

Use sticky tape to stick together a roof – you will need triangles of card at each end. Paint won’t stick to sticky tape so you will have to put a surface on top to paint.

Cover with papier machė or glue on corrugated cardboard or match sticks. Match sticks can also be used as window frames.

Stiff, corrugated paper can sometimes be found in boxes of chocolates or biscuits. This is good to use if you want to make a log cabin. Matchsticks look like planks of wood.

Remember that these models can only be used indoors. Sticky tape and PVA glue will not withstand getting wet. Because PVA glue is water-based it will melt in the rain. 


These are more models than toys, so don’t let your baby brothers and sisters get hold of them.





Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand




Quick Quiz Answers


  1. straight from the horse’s mouth – a reliable source
  2. to lock the stable door after the horse has bolted – taking action when it is too late
  3. to look a gift horse in the mouth – to criticize something that has been given as a gift
  4. to change horses in mid-stream – to change one’s views or plans in the middle of a project
  5. hold you horses – wait a moment
  6. horse play – rough and noisy play
  7. horse sense – plain good sense




 Railway wagons looked very much like horse-drawn wagons when they were first made


  • Julian Kinderman says:

    I Love Trains

  • F S says:

    Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

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