Model Railways - Any hints and tips


Book Reviewer
My OH have just bought ourselves a large home in Jockland. Now that we have the space we want to build a small scale model railway. Not just for the trains, but more than that we want to build the model town and scenery around it. We fancy 1950s - 1960s era (bit of steam, bit of diesel). Has anyone built a layout? Any hints and tips as to where to start? Anyone got a layout they can post photos of?

We don't want to pay out silly money, but we want it to look good. I am very experienced with plastic model kits and an airbrush if that makes any difference!


Book Reviewer
As I said - any hints and tips! I want it large enough that I can get a little detail into the town, but small enough that I can get a lot of town in the room. HO probably. It seems fairly common in the shops.
HO is 1/72(approx) scale, there's tons of it on ebay and model shops alike, it will cost you a fortune unless your handy with chicken wire and paper mashe.
Unless you've got Pete Waterman as best mates expect to spend many hours with boring train types!
My old Mate, building a layout is easy, the problems could arise with Signalling,
Points and Scenery.
If you plan to model a specific location, you will need plans and what really is the
most important aspect of ANY layout is that the radius of any curves will never be in
scale, unless you have unlimited space.
A few years ago I constructed a working model of Leeds Holbeck MPD, the Shed and
yard took up 6'x4' you will never be satisfied, there will always
be a bit more to do!!!!
Depending on where you want to create your layout, I have plans of all the Loco
Sheds, the NE and WR books are very detailed, as long as you return them, it will
be a pleasure to help.....My Steam Library is extensive and very dear to me but the
same applies....anytime, Mate.

Please, please don't do what most layouts do ie. mix Loco's, rolling stock etc.
try and stick to one Region, it will be a hell of a lot more realistic and will appeal more
to the purists amongst prepared for flak and piss taking on here but
stuff 'em all.
PM me anytime.


Book Reviewer
I was thinking of a fictional town, Northern, industrial (mills, factories, car plants) with terraced streets heading up to hills. To me, the town is the thing I really want to build. The railway is just a part of it.

Edited to add: I have the space for about a 10 x 7 ft layout.
In that case, I would suggest 'N' Gauge and have the layout one sided only, you
stated that you are used to modelling, you will need to be up to speed on weathering
but there are many excellent Card Kits on the market which come ready weathered.
Hope you have deep pockets and plenty of time to'll need it!
Snetterton Models can be a pretty dangerous place for your savings account LINKY
Agreed, a good shop and you can ogle the preserved Armour nearby.
They used to complain like hell when I parked the Artic outside.
apparently 3D printers are getting affordable, maybe there are 3D printing copy shops ? That would probably be the way to go for authentic period architecture ( you could probably make the CAD model from old photos ) unless you like modelling in milliput (which is what I'd do) ?
HO scale is 3.5mm to 1' and is for USA and European systems. Ours is OO scale 4 mm to 1'. They both run on 00 gauge track but when models in these two scales are lined up together they look right for the overseas larger sizes of the prototype compared with ours. My ex-para brother in law has a large 'N' gauge system and you can get a lot of countryside in a comparitively small area but I prefer 00 myself and even better 0 gauge 7mm to a 1' but the latter is even more expensive in a hobby which is very expensive anyway. Just about the most competitive dealers who have sale offers at most times are Hattons of Smithdown Road, Liverpool; they have a website.
Got an absolute fuckload of N gauge in the loft (trains - early diesel era) I would consider offloading if somebody is going to give it a worthwhile home.

I used to do quite a lot of the railway side (and a couple of models, mainly landscapes not buildings as those take YEARS and I'm too impatient) of things for the Pendon museum (one of the biggest models in the country, definitely the most accurate) so would be happy to give you some help getting things working well and advising on how to do it properly. Problem with model railways (as we regularly experienced at Pendon) is as you get bigger you end up wishing you'd done things differently to begin with as you run out of space, so it's worth going and taking a look at some bigger models to get an idea of how to lay things out well.

Pendon is fantastic and well worth a look anyway:

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