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How to Simulate a Campfire

What I Used:

  • Simulated Campfire Kit from  I had them assemble it for me and had them add an additional 3mm red flickering LED.

  • Drill bit

  • Soldering iron

  • Caulk

Step 1) Find a nice level area for my campfire.

I chose this area to create a nice little camp scene with the campfire.  Having the scene here will help draw the views eye to what would have been a boring and neglected area.

Step 2) Create a hold for the LEDs and install them.


I used a small drill bit to create a hole in the layout where the fire would be.  Then I flipped the layout over and inserted the LEDs into the hole from underneath the layout.  I put my finger over the hole on the other side of the layout to make sure the LEDs weren't popping out of the hole.  I then applied a generous amount of caulk in the hole from the bottom of the layout and let it dry to hold the LEDs in place.

Step 3) Build the wood pile for the fire


I cut small pieces off of a stick of round styrene.  I used tweezers to stick each one in modeling cement and build the pile.  After 30 minutes the glue was dry and I took the wood pile and glued it to a thin strip of styrene so I could paint it.  I dipped the wood pile in soapy water and then in fresh water to get rid of any oils.  I used compressed air to blow it dry.  Then I painted the pile in brown acrylic paint making sure to get in all of the cracks.  I left it overnight to dry completely.


The next day I tested the fit and then glued a piece of clear plastic under the wood pile so I could glue some rocks around it.  I put some Woodland Scenics Buff colored talus around the outside using Elmer's white glue to hold it in place.  Then I sprayed the entire thing with a 50/50 mixture of water and rubbing alcohol on it and then dropped a 50/50 mixture of water and Elmer's glue on it.  Once dry,this will securely hold everything in place.  Then I placed it on the layout to test the fit again.

Step 4) Wire the campfire

This image shows the installed wiring for the campfire.  The PC board came assembled.  The black outline shows where I have a support under the board so I had to cut a path so that the wires didn't get in the way.  I used caulk to hold the PC board in place and cut some of the baseboard away so I could make sure that it wouldn't touch the briefcase.  Once that was dry I soldered the leads to the power wires and the light was good to go.

Step 5) Install the wood pile and add extras


I put some caulk around the underside edge of the campfire and pressed it into place.  I made sure not to get glue in the center where the LEDs would be.  I bought some tents that came with a stacked wood pile on eBay and glued those into place.  Then I used some left over scraps I had from an N scale tree to make log benches and glued some people on them.  I completed the scene with some tree foliage I used as bushes and Z scale pine trees I got off of eBay.

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