Low Relief Houses
4 low relief rail yard structures -
Building a Model Train Layout -
A Guide for Beginners
Your passion for model trains can range from
owning a beginners model train set to designing a large train layout yourself. If you are just a
beginner, then starting with smaller layouts is usually the most feasible option. Not only will it
give you an idea about the space that you need to build a railroad, but it will also help you
assess your ability to design a more complex layout. Starting off at a smaller setup will give you
a taste of designing and modeling train layouts and it will also help you recognize your strengths
Make sure that you start
with a simple project. It will save you the hassle of dealing with a lot of the details and
complexities involved in a difficult railroad. You can keep on enhancing your skills by adding more
details to your setup over time. Building a train layout is not a race, so make sure that you take
your time in completing the layout properly. Your aim should be to get it right and not just
finishing it off without any attention to the details.
Things to Consider When Building a Train
Following are some things that you need to focus
on before you start constructing a model train layout:
The most important thing is the available space.
Your working space will help you in selecting a scale for your railroad that fits your
Size of the Scale
The next thing is the scale that you choose to use
for your trains and for building your railway. There are several different sizes so you can
choose a size that is suitable for your needs:• O scale is one of the largest
and is 1/48th of the original size.
• HO is 1/87th of the original and is half of the O
• N scale is one of the smallest scales and its
size ranges from 1/148th to 1/160th of the original.
You can choose from any of these scales depending
on the space that you are working in. If you are a beginner, N may be the most feasible scale
to start with, although in saying that, HO scale is the most popular as it is seen as being a
medium size. Just remember that smaller scale trains and buildings require less space, but
are more fiddly to handle.
Deciding the Theme
The next thing to decide is the theme that you
will use to construct your layout. You can set the theme of your layout around a specific
era. This will give you a direction for designing your train layout and help you planning the
scenery around it.
Designing the Scenery
After choosing the theme, you will have to work on
the scenery of the railroad. This is the part where you experiment and add things that you
like to your layout.
Assembling the Railroad
The most important thing is to put it all together
in a way that all the components of your design emerge as a cohesive model in the end. Be
realistic while you design the scenery as this will give your railroad a natural and
These are just a few of the basic details that you
need to know before you start building a model train layout. As you gain more experience and
work with different types of trains and/or scales, you will find out that there is a lot that
you can do with your railroad. Adding realistic details to your layout will not only breathe
life into your railway, but it will also make it more interesting and challenging. Here are
some ideas to get you started.
When you want to depict a forest in your railroad
scenery, you need to start with the base of the forest. Use a dark dull paint to color the
floor of the forest like a muddy brown or dull gray-green. Also scatter some debris like
leaves or colored foam pieces to give a lifelike appearance.
To make the trees of the forests, you can easily
break off some branches from the tree in your backyard. Collect some thin branches or twigs
and cut them in different sizes to show tree variety. If the base of your bench work is
hardwood, then you would have to drill holes to insert the trees. If it’s foam, you can stick
the trees with glue. To add leaves to your trees, you can either use real leaves or you can
use the store manufactured bushes. The color again depends on the type of forest you want.
Simply glue the leaves on branches and your forest is ready!
To add some woodchips to your forest, you can
purchase ground cover in various grades, textures, and colors from online model train
stockists like Woodland Scenics. Alternatively, you could collect lots of pencil shavings and
scatter them on the forest ground. Either method will make your model forest look more
Water features (streams, rivers, lakes, ponds etc)
can look very realistic if you use epoxy resin and special water compounds to make them.
However, if it’s a lazy stream you want, then it’s a stream you will get. You don’t have to
go to extreme lengths to make the water look realistic. There is one very simple way. Just
take tin-foil and crinkle it up. Straighten it out, cut it into the desired length and paste
it where you want the stream to be. The tin-foil is shiny and when it is scrunched up, gives
the appearance of flowing water. Just make sure you put lots of bushes, lichen and rocks
around it to make it look real. These types of streams can be created among mountainous
Enjoy your trains, and have fun with your model train scenery