How to construct model train hills

Updated February 21, 2017

You have the track down in your own route design and your model train runs great. To keep from getting bored with the setup, make some scenery for your train to pass through on its journey. Add rock walls, trees, bridges and even a hill or two.

Papier mache hill

Cut a piece of cardboard into the shape of the base of your hill. Note the space available to hold the finished model train hill and measure the base accordingly.

Scrunch pieces of newspaper into balls and glue each ball onto the hill base. Add more newspaper until your hill is the height you want. Use different sized balls to make realistic terrain on your model train hill.

Tear more newspaper into strips and dip them into a solution of 50 per cent water and 50 per cent contact cement. Lay one strip at a time over the balls of newspaper on your hill base to make a smoother finished surface.

Allow the model train hill to dry completely. Add color to your hill with paint, or glue dirt and small pebbles to the surface.

Plaster hill

Shape a length of chicken wire into a hill. Attach it to a board with staples to make it a permanent fixture .

Cover the chicken wire structure with strips of plaster cloth. Wet the cloth to make it pliable and place it over the chicken wire, overlapping the edges slightly until you conceal the entire hill.

Let the plaster cloth hill stand until it's fully dry. Decorate your model train hill to add scenery to your track display.

Foam hill

Stack pieces of polystyrene foam to form your model train hill. Gradually decrease the size of the sheets as you go. Keep stacking the foam until the hill is as tall as you like, and then glue the pieces in place.

Slice off the corners of the pyramid-stacked foam sheets. Turn the corners over so the pointed ends fit into the angled space between the stacked sheets of foam, connecting the layers.

Glue the corner pieces into place. Shape the polystyrene foam into your model train hill by adding a filler to the spaces left between the foam layers.


Plaster cloth is a roll of cloth with powdered plaster added to it. When you wet the cloth, the plaster activates and makes the cloth turn hard when it dries.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.