Making Tunnel Portals for Model Railroads

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Plans for making tunnel portals available from http://www.modelbuildings.org/walls-bridges-tunnel-portals.html are suitable for HO scale, OO gauge, N scale, S and Z scales. Tunnels are a great device for making your layout look much larger than it really is. A train can disappear into a tunnel before almost magically reappearing out the other end. A tunnel can hide a train for a short period of time, allowing the viewer to imagine that it has left the area for a destination far away.

From my experience, it’s usually best to make the tunnels during the early stages of constructing a layout. If you leave it until the scene is completed, it can be difficult to add a tunnel without disturbing the scenery you already have in place.

Pre-made tunnels are available commercially, but in my opinion, the more realistic tunnels are ones you construct yourself.

And, there are various ways to go about it.

One option is to make your own plaster or resin cast to form the tunnel shape.

Another method is to cut and build the tunnel walls and roof from Styrofoam that comes in boxes as packing material. You then add newspaper to create the mountain over the Styrofoam tunnel, which you can then cover with plastercloth before painting.

A third method is weave a cardboard web to form the sides and top of the tunnel, and cover this with wadded newspaper and then plastercloth to finish the mountain form.

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Perhaps the most popular material these days for tunnel construction is extruded foam, which is sold at DIY stores for insulating houses. It’s popular because, the foam can be easily cut and shaped to how you want.
And, some modellers even make tunnels out of heavy duty disposable food trays like you see here. So, there’s plenty of options.
But no tunnel is complete without tunnel portals. Again you can buy the plastic variety which requires painting and airbrushing to make them look more real, or you can make your own from downloadable, photo-realistic plans that are already weathered and detailed. These look very realistic and are really versatile, but it’s really up to you.

The plans for the tunnel portals you see here are available from ModelBuildings.org

I mentioned versatility. With this plan you can extend the walls to the sides, and/or add wall wings like this. Because you make these tunnel portals yourself, you can have it any way you want, and use any material you want… cardboard, corflute, balsa, foam board… you decide.

Just so you know…These designs along with about 160 other scale model buildings and structures are featured in this catalog currently available for FREE at ModelBuildings.org Grab your copy while it’s available.

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