Sandy Shores - Scale Model Scenery details

First things first, no, this is NOT a sponsored post. OK, now that's out of the way, I can explain why I'm solely focusing on products from Scale Model Scenery for this blogpost!

I was actually approached to send in some photos of my layout for the Scale Model Scenery 'First Class' members newsletter. Whilst you don't get paid for that, it was mentioned that if I have any SMS products on the layout, they would obviously love it if they could feature in a couple of the photos. Unfortunately, the only things I have from SMS on the layout are the awesome deckchairs (I totally forgot though that I also have some windbreaks which I used on the beach diorama for a past BRM article, which I've now 'borrowed' for the layout!). Having always loved any SMS products that I've been given to use in BRM features (or bought myself) for their quality and ease of construction, I decided that it would be good to see if I had any spare kits, plus go on their website to see if they have anything else that may be suitable for the layout. The combined haul is shown below:

: Quite a good selection! The boats, fishing net crates, and gas bottle pages were stuff from BRM that I haven't yet found a use for in the projects for them - the rest is stuff that I bought. What followed were 3 days of cutting, filing, gluing, and painting...

Above: ...and whilst I'm not going to show everything as the kits are simple, I will at least show the boats as they are the most interesting. Perhaps it's just me, but I felt that the parts should've been numbered, though thankfully I realised before assembly that they are mostly layed out in the order they should be assembled. For reference, each part IS different, and they decrease in size from top to bottom - so if you really get stuck, there is a way to tell! In any case, I did end up labelling them anyway, as you can see on the 'sprue'. You might also just be able to tell that the pips that hold each of them in place are tiny, and easily removed - though it's always worth holding each part with fine nosed pliers to carefully file away the excess pips without bending the delicate wooden parts.

Above: Assembly is straight forward. I opted to turn every piece upside down, and glue each layer starting from the bottom piece and then work my way up. Each piece was lined up so that the back of the boat was more or less vertical.

Above: Obviously, the 'stepped' construction is not visually the correct approach, though the instructions do mention that it's worth sanding the edges to produce the curves. This is easy, if slightly tedious - but well worth doing. I used a flat needle file, though perhaps a sanding disc or sanding belt might be quicker? Either way, I actually tried not to file the widest top layer to leave a bit of a lip. The end result isn't a perfectly smooth finish, but I think it's OK. The photo on the right shows the difference from original on the right, to the smoother finish on the left. Quite a big difference! Also note the surprising effectiveness of the laser scribed bottom layer - which makes it look a little like it's a curved surface, when in reality it is flat. Anyway, we'll paint these later...

Above: Another noteworthy build were the lobster pots/creels. I simply had to take a photo with my thumbnail for scale as I was blown away by how fine the laser cut mesh was on this sheet - incredible! I also loved the way these were designed, and you can tell everything is well-thought through; such as the mesh panels sitting behind the frames and thus giving a great sense of depth. Also, there are 4 'D rings' per pot - so that the curved mesh top is fully supported along its length. The 'ribs' between all the rectangular mesh panels also help you to line everything up perfectly - which is much appreciated.

Above: The curved top mesh is glued onto the base of one side first, the glue left to harden, and the rest is then curved around tightly, and glued to the D rings and base on the other side. This forms a neat curve, thanks to the support from the rings. The excess is then trimmed. Having mesh larger than required is actually important because, as you can tell from the bit I trimmed off in the photo at the bottom, it allows for a bit of leeway if the mesh isn't perfectly straight should any of the D rings get slightly bent whilst cutting them out. In any case, to finish them off, a wash of dark grey paint is added all over. Simple!

Above: Finally, I'll very quickly show the gas bottle cages. Another kit with some lovely fine mesh parts. Another example of a well-designed kit, the instructions tell you to glue the mesh onto the back of the frames before you cut the frames out - this gives the delicate frames strength to avoid them distorting when cutting them out. I was worried that glue would seep into the gaps between the frames and the 'sprue', but that didn't happen often, and wasn't an issue if you were careful. Note that the kit comes with two cages - a double door version, and a shorter single door version. Something I did do before assembly was to gently score the the parts with the doors so that I could bend the doors to provide some added interest, and reduce their uniformity.

Above: Ideally, I would've spray painted these fine mesh grilles, but I don't have spray paint in that colour, and I don't have an airbrush. I did however paint the insides before assembly, as I didn't want to attempt painting them when everything is in place as it would be practically impossible! Anyway, here, the back panels are being installed. I also painted the boats in a menagerie of colours - often picking out the hulls and the top widest layer in alternate colours.

Above: Here's a before and after of the painting and weathering. Weathering is as simple as adding a dark grey wash over everything! Though, it might be worth picking out the occasional plank in a slightly different shade to add some variety, and the use of some weathering powders to carefully add a bit more tone. The finished crates at the back did not receive their 'bases' - there's been a discussion about the pallets I have lying around on Sandy Shores, with some thinking they are inappropriate for the layout based on the 50s timeframe - hence I opted not to fit the pallet bases on the bottom of my fishing crates. Though opinions are mixed!

Above: A look at the various kits now assembled, painted, and weathered. Some of the gas bottles do look a bit clean, but they have all been rolled in a dark grey wash, I promise! Oh, and note the various items in the fishing crates - one has two small anchors in them, one has some of the lobster pot buoys in them (which I've painted red, with a white stripe), and the last two crates have 'fishing net' added. I've kept it really simple (read: lazy!) and simply scrunched up fine mesh netting - I believe the stuff provided with the Ratio 'Security Fencing', though I've had it so many years I can't be sure! Probably not fine enough, and it could benefit from a bit of fine thread for the rope and some little blobs of something for the round... things... around the outside of the net (sorry, I'm not nautically inclined!).

Anyway, with all that now done, many of these details can now be found on Sandy Shores, and of course, in issue 5 of the Railway Modellers Club Newsletter. I'm not actually sure how it works, but presumably all you need to do is sign up to their website.

Front cover of issue 5 of the Railway Modellers Club Newsletter

My thanks to good friend Stu Hilton for putting it all together! Stu now works for Scale Model Scenery, and also has a sideline where he creates custom buildings and dioramas. You can commission projects from him via his website:

Thank you for reading this update, as always. I actually wrote this a couple of months ago but life got in the way! In any case, I'll now leave you with three of my photos taken for the photoshoot. Note the 'Scale Model Scenery' advert in the information board on the layout itself!


  1. That's a superb write up ( as you always do) of how you've made and painted the kits, and many thanks for the mention & link as well.

    1. Many thanks, and you're more than welcome!
      Always a pleasure to build the kits and present them as best I can.


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