The machines and tool boxes look great, guys!
Lee, I used the balsa approach on some HO scenic items for my last permanent track (tool boxes, shipping crates, even timing computers!
). I primed, painted, and clear-coated the balsa (this gave a super smooth surface), then applied decals and clear-coated again (gloss or matte depending on object). Balsa is so easy to work with and you get a nice solid object when finished.