Picture of Model Railroad Mountain
Just over a year ago I installed an HO scale train around a ledge in the great room of my house. This year, I thought it needed a mountain to go with it. In this Instructable, I'll explain how I made the mountain so you can make your own.

What you'll need:
  • 3/4" plywood
  • 1/2" plywood
  • chicken wire
  • Several cans of "Great Stuff" foam insulation
  • Latex paint
  • Pull saw
  • Newspaper
  • Nail / staple gun
  • Model railroad trees
  • Fake snow
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Step 1: Build the Frame

Picture of Build the Frame
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I decided to place my mountain above the fireplace in our great room, but didn't want to block the windows. It's about 65" wide, 13" tall, and 12" deep.

I designed the mountain to fit over the existing trackbed and provide a tunnel for the train to go through. For the base, I simply cut a few pieces of 1/2" plywood. To help support t he  chicken wire and to add to the height of the mountain, I cut ribs out of 3/4" plywood and screwed them to the base.

Most important was testing the train and track to ensure it would fit through the tunnel without scraping the side.

Step 2: Wrap with Chicken Wire, Stuff with Newspaper

Picture of Wrap with Chicken Wire, Stuff with Newspaper
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Unfortunately, I didn't take a decent picture of how to attach the chicken wire. I laid the chicken wire over the ribbed frame and then stapled it down with brad nails. It was easy to form the wire into the shape that I wanted, providing plenty of "rock-like" faces. If you decide to do a tunnel, be sure to completely cover the entrance; you can cut it open later. Use wire cutters to trim off the excess chicken wire.

Once the shape of the mountain is complete, stuff the form with newspaper. This will give the spray foam something to stick to. Use as much newspaper as you can and don't worry if you cover the space for the tunnel -- you will be removing the newspaper once the foam dries.
djsfantasi1 year ago
Are you sure that the recommendation for thinned acrylic paint was for foam mountains? Or was it for foam mountains covered with a layer of plaster. For example, using plaster gauze used for casts as in a broken bone? Or plaster coated paper? Or a coating of plaster spread with a putty knife? Or even plaster cast in a rock mold?
Awesome Instructable! These techniques are simple,effective and usable on many unrelateds. My only "criticism" (way to strong a word, as I really think it came out EXCELLENT) is there is no portal. Typically a tunnel has a concrete or stone block structure at the entrance and exit.
skeplin (author)  burnerjack013 years ago
Thanks for the tip -- I suppose I could carve a portal out of wood or perhaps form it with Super Sculpy.
tinker2343 years ago
amazing job love the whole track did you know you could add a bit of realism to train by weathering
skeplin (author)  tinker2343 years ago
Thanks for the recommendation!