The Lehman Road Wall
Daniel J. Dyke

    In certain areas of the world  the roadways are bordered with rather tall walls that retain the banks and water runoff.   The theory of scenery building that I follow is that for a virtual reality to be effective it has to partake of the world of the creator and audience. Since my family lives in an area that has walls along roadways I would like to have walls on both my slot car track and the dioramas that are used for displaying my cars.

    The first type of wall that will be examined is one found on Lehman Road in the Price Hill area of Cincinnati.  My family lives and drives on this road and so I will begin with it.  The road itself was widened and renovated twice in the past ten years to accommodate the large amount of traffic that uses it as the shortcut between two parts of the city and to provide a local college with better access.

    The construction techniques are unusual, but have some possibilities for someone wishing to do a rally course or a hill climb.  This first picture is looking down the hill where the road splits with a side road that leads to a parking lot.  The wall itself has to retain the hillside and the guardrail must stop any errant vehicle from plunging over the hillside.

Figure 1

1.    Guardrail:  If one looks from the road itself he sees the the imposing oak guardrail which is a four part structure.  The rail itself is 60" long, 12" high, and 6" wide treated lumber.  The back of the rail has a 1/4" thick by 8" tall steel plate bolted to the back.  Behind the plate is the post which is a 6" square I-beam with a 4"x8"x12" block of oak acting as a "cushion" between the two parts.

Figure 2

2.    Curb: The curb in front of the guardrail is 6" tall and 6" wide.  It varies in distance from the guard rail depending on the aesthetic effect that the designer wanted to achieve.  In figure 2 the back of the curb is one inch from the front of the rail, but in figure 3 the distance goes to eight feet.

Figure 3

3.    Retaining Wall: The retaining wall is made of poured concrete walls reinforced with cement columns.  The poured walls are 8" wide are 60" long and 60" tall.  The columns are 30" across.  Note in figure 4 the joint lines on the walls and the height of the columns.  The front of the wall is 12" from the back of the I-beam posts.

Figure 4

4.    Construction:  How does one make this wall?

    One begins with a piece of elm, pine, or bass wood from which the guardrails and the "cushion" blocks will be cut on a table saw to the correct size.  Once the wood is cut it must be treated to take away that freshly cut look and to make it look like pressure treated limber.  To do this take some green and gray water based paint and dilute them heavily.  First paint the rail with a little of the green so that there is just a slight green cast to the wood and when it is dry do the same with the gray to give it an aged look.  The steel plate is just plastic painted silver. The I-beam material can be purchased at an electric local train store for a nominal price. The rust is optional because the city is painting the I-beams and the plates silver (figure 4).  Some electric train stores have kits that contain the necessary for creting that weathere or rusty look.

    The wall itself is can be made from wooden blocks or styrene and the pillars from 1" dowel rod.  Paint these with a paint that has a chalk white color.  In figure four the wall was whitewashed a few weeks ago. Notice that graffiti  is nowhere evident in figure 4.

Guardrails 60" 1 7/8"x3/8"x3/16" Make them 2" long
"Cushion" Blocks 4"x8"x12' 3/8"x1/4"x1/8"
Steel Plate 60"x1/4"x8" 1 7/8"x1/128"x1/4" Make them from the thinnest plastic you have and cut the pieces 2" long and 1/4" tall.
I-Beam 6"x6" 3/16x3/16 Get what you can find at the train store.
Wall 60"x60"x8" 1 7/8"x1 7/8"x1/4" 2"x2"x1/4"
Pillars 30" 15/16" 1" dowel rod
    This one is to be made for a diorama to display my SCX rally cars as my main track does not have a road with this great of a drop in elevation.  If you have comments, questions, or suggestions you may email me at  The next article will be on rough cut stone walls found on Glenway Ave. in Cincinnati.