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Scratch building a coaling stage

Scratch building a coaling stage

Why spend money on a kit that everyone uses when it’s so easy to make your own?

I made my own coaling stage from matchsticks, coffee stirring sticks, and embossed plasticard.

Materials used:

4mm Brick plasticard from eBay
wooden stirring sticks (basically a half-width popsicle stick)
Gaugemaster real coal
Rapid-patch plaster
Tamiya Panel Line Accent colour (Black)
Grey primer, red brick, and brown paint
Weathering Powders

First, Make a small rectangle of the plasticard. Use matchsticks and the stirring sticks as pictured to give support and keep it square

Then cut the stirring stick to the right length for the floor of the stage and glue them on.

Then use matchsticks to make a back wall for the stage as pictured.

Spray it all in grey primer which works nicely as an undercoat because it doubles as the mortar for the bricks.

Now, unfortunately I don’t have photos of the actual painting process, but these photos use the same techniques and give the general idea. The grey is dry-brushed with the red brick paint, leaving the mortar to show through.

After the grey Primer, paint all the wooden areas with a dark brown acrylic paint. Once it is dry, accent and darken individual planks with the Tamiya Panel Line Accent Colour. Use a very small drill bit or point of a hobby knife to make “nail holes” in the end of the planks and then drip some panel line colour on those too.

For weathering I used Tamiya’s weathering powders (just the black one in this case) and also some crushed chalk pastels for grey, black, and brown effects. I just brush them on liberally with a dry paint brush and make it look a bit dirty.

For the coal pile, put a bit of plaster in the corner of a cardboard box so it can dry in the corner shape of the coal stage. When dry, rip it out of the box, coat it with white glue, and sprinkle the real coal on top which gives this effect:

After weathering the wooden planks around the base of the pile to simulate coal dust, use more white glue to fill in the gaps, and sprinkle more coal to make a realistic pile.

And there you have it! a simple, cheap and easy coal stage that (in my humble opinion) looks better than a generic plastic kit!

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About The Author


I'm a Tasmanian who likes British steam and is building (very slowly)an end to end layout. I like scratch building and got my start into modelling via airfix planes

1 Comment

  1. roybag57

    Very realistic and certainly better than the plastic version.

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