Build, Paint & Animate a Working Freight House – Model Railroad Scenery

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A complete guide on animating a freight house door for model railroad scenery and operations, no programming knowledge needed! Use simple components to electronically open and close the HO scale door.

I’ll not only show you how to animate the door but I’ll also show you how to construct, paint and weather the model to achieve a professional finish that will be the envy of your fellow modelers.

The Scale Modellers Supply paint I’m using in the video was sent to me specifically to be included in the video, it’s a great paint that I’ve previously used and to get the chance to receive some free products that I highly recommend was a bonus. It’s perfect for airbrushing and any general purpose paint thinner for lacquer paints will work well for thinning the paint.

For more information about The Scale Modellers Supply paints and other products check out their website here:

The weathering was accomplished with a combination of Scale Modellers Supply weathering powders and a selection of Vallejo Acrylic paints.

The controller I used for animating the door was purchased from Servo City, it’s not a cheap controller however I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to electronics and programming so having a controller that takes care of all the hard work with some simple pushes of a button is well worth it for me.

All music is downloaded and licensed from Premium Beat.

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Randall Hermanson says:

i like this it gives me insight to what i can do to make my scenery look realistic. i also like your video on how to make a waterfall. i am considering building the real McCoy with real water but have not considered all the issues involved. i am basically a neophyte to using electronics like in this video but am interested in learning this even though it is out of my league in aptitude. i am more of the creative type but Michelangelo was an inventor as well as an artist. from my training and background i look at how i can meet challenges like scaling a cliff under heavy artillery fire rather than say it can't be done.

being of modest financial resources i am discouraged with buying so many things. i can see that machinists blocks can be replaced with scraps of something, like a two by four drop cut squarely. a good machinist or carpenter can easily make one cut square, precisely enough to do the job. there is so much good stuff in this i am interested in purchasing this video. i can't quite remember all this information when i get to building my scenery.

Bruno Lafon says:

? ????? soupe

PAPAS Ins says:

Hey Luke.
I really like your videos, i don't think you need much of inspiration, but i just want to share my thoughts with you.
1. Some kind of small summer house with barn, little dock with fishing boat, near the river in forest or something like that. Maybe little island in river. River you can make with colored resin, probably you know beter ways to do that.
2. Can make a half sunken pirate ship with tresures.
3. Archeologist spot exploring dinosaurs bones or something.
4. Injun camp.
5. Some kind of workers building a house or some structure in the fields. (unfinished structure)
6. Some kind of dungeon at stone age with campfire inside (with lamp)
Thank you for attention and sorry for my english. Looking forward to a new video.

Paul Sheldon says:

I wonder, if fingerprints is an issue, why don't you use gloves?

Allan Atwick says:

Got to get me a set of those mag clamps, so simple but extremely effective, great vid mate, thank you

balalunga1 says:

Love this channel ?
Greetings from luxemburg

DankBoi 81 says:

You should make a winter model

WWK Scale Models & Diecast says:

Another great video, thanks Luke!…Bill

William Strasburg says:

Very nice DIY video, thank you!

Steve Murrell says:

I discovered Luke Towan and his modelling talent about a week ago and I must have watched at least a dozen of his tutorials already. Stunning work and very relaxing to watch. Some of the results of his techniques are mind boggling. Bravo Luke!!

alejandro esteban diaz conias says:

now, you get your self a few cockroaches, and build a diorama in a glass box. Maybe a tarantula. And you train It to go inside when the door is open.

PoorManRC says:

I haven't been able to see your videos in quite a while… I'm catching up a little now!!
That's a fantastic animation! Maybe someday I can afford the bits and bobs to do such a cool effect.
Carmine ?

Zlee11 says:

This was a great one. Thanks

brain hamster says:

i could watch this channel all day……….
oh wait.
i have.

fullbloodlion says:

What is the hobby knife that you use? I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Ofri Mashiah says:

Can you make a video on how to choose the right led equipment. With like 3 or 4.5 volt battery wjat type of resistor would you need and so on. And how many of them…

legal nz says:

Must show your after results a bit longer in many angles….. as we all admire your work, especially scenery dioramas pls.. End result footage are extremely short in each of your videos ?????

ron coleman says:

All ways a pleasure and inspiring to follow. Like many model makers I have limited disposable income. However imitative  scrap built alternatives are possible when having to scale down the use of model shop bought materials. I experiment and use inexpensive alterative. Getting inspired and creative, some great satisfactory results can be obtained on a budget.

Kaye Stevens says:

Hi, Luke! Awesome work! Curious gal here. Are you doing these dioramas as a hobby or people are actually asking you to make one for them? Haha

John C says:

Not sure what’s the most amazing Luke – the quality of your models or the quality of your videos. Love every one of them.

Robert Yates says:

Always the best, very detailed and superbly built thank you ?

Donny Tucker says:

Hey Luke. Amazing work. Have you ever created one using rusticated block? I would love to see that, maybe an old early 1900's hotel or something.

Stalking The Walking says:

Do you have a tutorial for a concrete prison floor ?

Trabant P601 says:

I love this stuff, but I don’t have the skill, or patience lol

Brenda Lai says:

Luke please do a Q&A ???

Paul Pownall says:

this is amazing i learned how to program a servo and making a building.

Grand trunk Western productions says:

You should have put a little person inside so it looks like he’s opening it.

Luke Towan says:


Hey all,

I'm currently working on my next video and also moving house.

While waiting for my next video, I've created a new Instagram account for my fans to post completed dioramas you've created (Conditions apply).

You can check out the latest activity via:
See you soon.


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