Fences, Sawyer Style

“Like it? Well I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”
-Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

It’s always fun when you can get to the point on any layout where you’re able to add those little details that bring a scene to life. And while I still have a to-do list a mile long on The Hills Line, I’m taking a bit of time to paint a fence.


Security fences come in multiple shapes and sizes. Which is why we should be grateful that Central Valley Model Works offers an all-in-one fence kit in HO scale. I’ve found this product to be ultimately adaptable to a variety of needs over the years.


Copying my same method for painting ties, I start with a coat of Testor’s Flat Light Aircraft Gray applied from a spray can. This brings out the individual wood grains on the finished piece.


The fence pieces are then covered with a wash of Burnt Umber acrylic paint and allowed to dry for 24 hours. The inconsistent application is key to making plastic look like wood.


The pieces are thin enough to cut, trim, or even gently curved to fit any space, such as along the right of way of the Maiden Lane interchange track at E. 2nd Street in Iowa City. The extension on the right will enclose the dumpster for the future Veterinary Associates structure.

Yes, I’m adding detail before I add the main elements. That’s how you ensure that the scene will get built.

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