mfxposé #7: Woodland Scenics

Friday, 29 January 2010
It's been a while since we last posted, but we're back on board with some new interviews and posts on everything from terrain building to painting techniques.

We've lined up another company profile and interview this week and we were lucky enough to chat with Lynn Mitchell from Woodland Scenics about her company and their new in-roads with the gaming community.

Many of you would already be familiar with Woodland Scenics products from Tin Soldier in Sydney, HobbyCo and a bunch of other places that stock their wares.


Daniel: Can you give our readers a little background on your company? How it started, how long you've been operating, and which countries you export product to?

Lynn: We began as an architectural and engineering modeling firm making models for national and international corporations. At the time, no commercially produced scenery products existed on the market.

We made our own realistic looking model scenery using natural and synthetic products. During the summer of 1975, we displayed a sample of architectural landscape scenery at a model railroad trade show in Chicago. It was a hit, and we organized for the mass production doing business as Woodland Scenics. Our first catalog featured 28 products and our message was, and still is — it is all about realism and realism is easy!

By 1981, Woodland Scenics had more than 100 distributors nationally and was exporting to Canada, Germany and Sweden. Today Woodland Scenics, located in Linn Creek, Missouri sells more than 2,300 items for model scenery, educational arts and crafts, and gravity-driven pinewood race cars. We wholesale to more than 2,000 distributors and dealers in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America.

The success of that small sample of the most realistic model railroad scenery on the market has grown into a full-scale modeling product business. For 34 years, Woodland Scenics has maintained their reputation as the industry’s foremost innovator of realistic model railroad scenery. We continue to set the industry’s standards for developing scenery and terrain building systems and for products tested for quality and safety.

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Daniel: What products does Woodland Scenics specialise in?

Lynn: We lead the world in manufacturing model scenery, offering complete systems for modeling—start to finish. From SubTerrain components for a layout base to terrain features and coloring systems to landscape materials and trees.

We really do have the most comprehensive collection of versatile, realistic and easy-to-use model scenery products on the market.

Coloring Rocks “Leopard-Spot Technique” Video Tutorial
Click here to replay video by visiting the Woodland Scenics website.

Daniel: What inspires you and your team when creating new products?

Lynn: Thirty-four years ago, we set the industry standard for model scenery by concentrating on high quality, realism and creating simple methods for model-making. Those are still our guiding principals. Modeling is a great hobby, and we want it accessible to everyone.

It’s amazing when we get letters and pictures from first-time modelers of all ages, especially those who say they never considered themselves as ‘artistic.’ They all say how easy it was and how much fun they had modeling, and they are all so proud of their results.

"Making a Tree" Video Tutorial
Click here to replay video by visiting the Woodland Scenics website.

Daniel: Which products are you looking at marketing to wargamers and the gaming industry in general?

Lynn: Virtually our entire line included in the SubTerrain, Terrain and Landscaping systems. If gamers can imagine it, they can create it with those products. They can make lightweight and realistic gaming board terrain easily, quickly and create it specific to their particular gaming board needs.

Daniel: What tips and tricks can you offer our readers when using Woodland Scenics terrain products or when terrain building in general?

Lynn: Our landscaping system is based on nature’s principal of contrasts and highlights. A young child would probably color the sky blue, the sun yellow and the leaves green. The real world is not this perfect, but rather it blends colors together in lighter and darker shades and mixtures of color. This mixing and blending will create the most realistic look for the layout.

It may sound difficult, like something only an artist would be able to do. But, it is much easier than it sounds. We keep the modeling experience simple and constantly remind modelers that there are no mistakes when modeling scenery ... at least nothing you can’t fix.

I’d like to draw attention to our Scenery Manual, a 100-plus page comprehensive guide to easily creating model scenery. It is loaded with tips, tricks, color illustrations and photos. It is very popular and most retailers carry it and it is also available through our website.

Daniel: What's the best aspect of your business and the wider industry?

Lynn: Our commitment to product innovation and quality is equal to that of our commitment to customer satisfaction with their modeling experiences. Every week, we hear from hundreds of customers with questions, comments, ideas and requests for additional products. We enjoy and encourage these inquiries and answer each one. We often request more information, pictures and permission to post their words and pictures on our website testimonial section or in our e-newsletter, Scenic View.

NEWS: GenCon Indianapolis (August 2009)

Lynn: Our trip to GenCon was fantastic. The employees who attended said the gaming community was warm, gracious and very entertaining! They loved all the costumes, the enthusiasm and thoroughly entertained with the ‘larping’. I have seen the pictures from the show and heard some stories ... a great time was had by all.


The picture below is of the giant diorama our Product Development department built for the show. It was a huge hit! Several individuals wanted to purchase it ... but it was not for sale. Our scenery demonstrations went very well, and we had a constant stream of people who wanted to try it. We had a couple of show attendees write us to tell us how much they enjoyed the demos, and were delighted to find how easy it was to create dramatic looking scenery.



Check out all the free how-to videos posted for Woodland Scenics, Scene-A-Rama and PineCar. Access all videos through The website also includes loads of project ideas, tips, techniques and answers to frequently asked questions.


> Books & Videos (learning aids)
> Getting Started


> Models of Dead Timbers and Fallen Logs
> Field Grass
> Making a Waterfall