Plan Your N Scale Buildings To Bring Realism,
Functionality, and Character
to Your N-Scale
Model Railroad Layout – See How…

To look authentic, a railroad must serve a purpose be it to transport freight or passengers, to serve a manufacturing plant or industry, a farming community, or possibly a coal mine, or old wild west town. The N scale buildings positioned on the layout need to look authentic and as though they belong in the railroad scene. The structures also need to be accurate in size (N scale, HO scale, OO gauge) depending on the scale of the trains being operated.

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Plans for the N scale buildings available from this website will meet those requirements, because, not only is there an extensive range of designs to choose from, but they are intricately detailed and weathered to bring realism to any railroading scene. You can access a free catalog to download featuring the complete library of plans available from this website. Customers have the option to purchase plans to construct the buildings and structures to N scale, HO scale or N scale.

Planning the Terrain – Over Hill, Over Dale

There are several popular building methods to create interesting terrain features on an N scale layout. Hills and valleys are created by elevating the track on risers above the base level. The risers can be cut from wood and arranged in a suitable grade fashion, or a set of Styrofoam risers can be purchased from companies like Woodland Scenics. For N scale modeling, this is by far the easier method. Once again, construction adhesive can take the place of nails and screws, and it’s a very lightweight method.

The N scale buildings featured on this website can be constructed using paper, cardboard, corflute, or foam board. The plans can be downloaded to N scale size, or in OO format for construction to OO gauge or HO scale size model railroads. The plans are downloaded in simple PDF format for easy printing on a home printer.

Functionality is Critical When Building N Scale Railroads

Percentage of grade is a prime consideration of real world railroading, and it should be for you too. Grade percent is the number of units of vertical lift divided by the number of units of horizontal travel. For example, an extreme grade is 4%. That means four feet of lift in one hundred feet on a real train, or four inches of lift in one hundred inches of travel on our models. Try to limit your grades to 1% or less. N scale locomotives have to work much harder to haul cars up a grade, so your trains won’t be able to be as long if you have a lot of mountainous terrain with steep grades.

It’s not just N scale structures and buildings that add detail, character, and authenticity to a railroad scene. On straight sections of right-of-way, don’t forget to model ditches. All railroads have them, and they really make the model trains stand out. Here again, the size of N scale works to your advantage because you can elevate all the track on your layout an inch or so above the surroundings on a small strip of foam insulation which can then be carved or plastered to show ditching alongside the track. Small holes and model culverts made from aluminum foil wound around large bolts can simulate drainage pipes through the grades.

And For REAL Drama on an N Scale Railroad Layout…

What N Scaler is not mesmerized at the sight of a massive steamer hauling a huge load of cars over a tall trestle or bridge? Large trestles over deep ravines are the epitome of model railroading drama, and nothing emphasizes the advantage of N scale railroads like a trestle. A truly awesome chasm can be created in a relatively small space, dwarfing the trains and even the N scale buildings in real life fashion. Trestle bridges aren’t really a beginner project, but if you have the urge for one, some advance planning for it when you start laying track will help in the long run. There are kits for trestles available, but the best ones are built from scratch using strip wood and super-detailing techniques. If you are lucky to live in the part of the country where they are common, photography sessions can help with design and construction features when you get to the point where you are starting to realize that dream.

So, as you can see there are many factors that can work together to create a convincing, functional, authentic-looking N scale model railroad layout. Constructing N scale buildings that serve a function yet still look convincingly real, is a big step in the process of creating a model railroad that will be the envy of other N Scalers and hobbyists.

Start by downloading the free catalog that will show you the full range of plans that can be made into HO, OO, or N scale buildings suitable for both model railroads and diorama scenes. The intricate level of detailing and weathering is notable in each plan. The choice of plans featured in the free catalog is extensive ranging from old wild west buildings, model houses, railway structures, silos, farm barns, cityscape structures, mining chutes, bridges, tunnel portals, and more. The range includes structures in full 3 dimension, as well as thinner N scale buildings that can be constructed for positioning against backdrops to add perspective and save valuable space for more railroad track and scenery.