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How to add temporary winter scenery to your layout

Adding hints of winter without completely transforming your layout
Whether it’s a permanent layout or a temporary display, there are a variety of ways to add a touch of winter to any layout — without making a mess.
Jim Forbes
When you envision winter on a toy train layout, you most likely think of a display covered in a thick blanket of artificial snow. In the December 2005 Classic Toy Trains feature, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” CTT’s Bob Keller explained three simple techniques for creating a permanent wintry effect.

But if you’re just looking to suggest there’s a chill in the air and Christmas is coming soon, we’ve got a few tips for adding winter scenery that don’t require a total transformation of your layout.

From white caulk clinging to the treetops to drifts made of craft foam, I’ll share several easy ways to usher in winter weather just in time for the season.
Jim Forbes
Winter arrives early in the mountains, so that’s where I concentrated my efforts to add seasonal elements. The heavy snow will be arriving soon, but for now the cold nights bring light flurries and ice that partially melt throughout the day. This freeze-and-thaw cycle results in the mix of exposed ground and patches of snow depicted here.
Jim Forbes
Snowy treetops. The first hint of snow starts at the treetops. Use a putty knife to lightly frost the limbs with white adhesive caulk. A modest application is effective and much easier to brush off later.
Jim Forbes
Brown is in … for fall fashion and forest foliage. In addition to planting a few diseased trees, I covered some ground with Scenic Express no. EX830B brown turf to represent decaying brush and leaves.
Jim Forbes
Sheets of snow. Even by day, tall trees keep snow chilled in the shade. To make piles of snow, I broke 1-inch pieces from a sheet of craft foam, molded them with my fingers, and placed them near trees.
Jim Forbes
Slippery slope. Melting snow turns to ice in the shadows of the cliffs and tunnel. I applied a small string of clear window stripping over waxed paper to make icicles. Then I flattened beads of the material to make frozen puddles.
Jim Forbes
Holiday lights. A string of miniature lights (or LEDs) attached to a house or even a small evergreen tree symbolizes the approach of Christmas. You can also imagine roasting chestnuts by a battery-powered votive candle fire.
Jim Forbes

Supply list

Snow – Use Kwik Seal ( no. 44581 or a similar white adhesive caulk and DOW ( Styrofoam (not insulation or bead) ½ x 12 x 36-inch board available at stores carrying craft supplies, such as Michaels and Walmart.

Ice – Red Devil ( no. 0606 Zip-A-Way removable sealant.

Details –Scenic Express no. EX830B brown turf ground cover; flameless tealight candles (Amazon or stores such as Michaels and Walmart/Target); Department 56 string of LED Christmas lights (6001696 or 4725442)

Tools – Grab a putty knife, waxed paper, white glue, and Woodland Scenics no. ST1432 foam nails to temporarily hold scenery.
Jim Forbes

Proper winterization

Choose figures dressed for the cool weather

Remove critters that migrate or hibernate

Add vehicles with chains, plows, tracks, and skids for use on snow


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