In The Details

Model railroading, from a retail perspective, largely remains a cottage industry. While there are a growing multitude of large hobby conglomerates, most of the smaller items you see on layouts come from mom-and-pop operations.

Those small businesses are helping me detail warehouses on The Hills Line, and it’s always fun to see how these little items help bring a scene to life.


The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office warehouse features downspouts and doors from Rix ProductsPikestuff line. I’ve been a fan of Pikestuff for many years, and plan on using a lot of their products to construct the multitude of industrial buildings needed in and around Iowa City.


Also from Pikestuff is the winner of the “bet you’ll never look here” award for detailing on the layout, in the form of an electrical meter and wire. I promise that this location is accurate for the prototype, even if it’s not in the most visible spot on the structure.


JTT Scenery Products (which is a division of MRC and somewhat destroys my cottage industry statement) street lights were modified into security lights for the warehouse. I didn’t need or want working exterior lights, so the simple fixtures are more than adequate.


But my new favorite detail part is the wall/window mounted air-conditioner units from Hi-Tech Details. I mounted two to the Sheriff’s warehouse and one to the MidAmerican Substation structure, following prototype photos. I love how you literally fold them together into one complete piece.

Up next is weathering and mounting the structures into the subroadbed.

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