The trains are the main
attraction in your layout, but what makes your layout really stand out and fun
to watch is the scenery around it. Getting all the elements right in your
scenery is a long but enjoyable process. Once you experience the feeling of
achievement that you get by designing perfect scenery for your layout, you will
never want to stop. You can improve and enhance your model train layout for
years to come.
Your first decision will
need to be whether you plan and build from scratch, or whether you buy one of
the N gauge layouts for sale on the internet. There are plenty of finished and
unfinished N gauge layouts for sale on eBay or in Craigs List but they will
vary in quality and detail. My personal preference is to build from stratch,
but we are all different, and you might prefer one that has all the hard work
already done and is for sale.
Assuming you are going to
build your own; the following are some tips to assist you in designing
beautiful scenery for your N gauge layout:
The most critical step in
building the scenery around your layout is to plan the theme and concept of the
layout. Plan each step critically and take time to develop the overall concept.
The train that you are using in your layout will serve as the center of your
design. The theme that you are trying to create should be in accordance with
the train that you are using in your N scale layout. A logging train will look
best in a forested layout, whereas small towns or farmlands may be more
suitable for passenger trains.
While you are planning the
scenery for your model train layout, make sure that you keep the era in mind.
You layout should be based on the era that you trying to depict in your layout.
Everything from the trains, cars, people and even billboards should be
according to the era that you want to build.
You can build the whole
layout based on a single season, or you can build different seasons in a single
layout. You can show different seasons in different areas in your layout to
make your layout more engaging. The key point is; this is YOUR project so you
need to decide what you like best… not someone else.
Visualize how you want your
viewers to interact with your layout. Do you want your viewers to enjoy the
entire track all at once or do you want them to enjoy the track in a series of
different scenes and scenarios.
You can also use your model train layout as a platform for telling short
stories. For example you can show a boy trying to find his dog around the train
track, or a man trying to fix his car near the station, or a family trying to
catch the train in a hurry.
There is a lot that you can
do with your model train layout to keep it engaging and interesting. All you
need to do is to plan in detail all the elements that you need to add in your
model train layout.
Foam board is one of the
most versatile and cheapest materials that you can use for building your model
train scenery at home. Foam board, commonly called pink board, can be easily
bought in large sheets as insulation. It is easy to work with and inexpensive,
which makes it ideal to be used for building terrain in a model train layout.
It can be use to make mountains, railroad tunnels, and cliff sides. You can
easily find cutting tools for foam board and you can glue it together easily
with white glue.
Go For the Natural
It is not necessary that
you buy readymade accessories for you layout. The best way to give your layout
a realistic look is to use natural things when building your model train
layout. For example; to make ground cover you can use natural sand instead of
artificial sand. This will not only save money but it will also make an
excellent ground cover for your layout. One thing to watch for is chemical or
elements in materials that could corrode or rust tracks. Track rust or
electrical wire corrosion is definitely something to avoid when running model
To make ground cover you
can also your tea and coffee grinds to get the effect of sand or dirt. Lichen
and moss can be used to make real looking shrubs and bushes. You can make a
tree out of small tree twigs. It is all about how you organize and use your
resources and how creative you can get with the materials that you
By using the resources
wisely and preserving every little thing, you can create beautiful scenery for your N gauge layout at home without
spending too much money. Once you have a layout you can start enjoying the
challenges that model railroading has to offer. If you don’t want to start
from stratch, there are many places (including eBay) where you can find
completed or partially completed N gauge layouts for sale at