BLOG: Micro layouts under construction


February saw our workshop in overdrive as Mark and I took on construction of not one but four micro layouts for the latest issue of Hornby Magazine – HM142, April 2019, on sale from March 7 2019. The premise was that we had a collection of spare baseboards stashed around the workshop which we wanted to turn into a series of compact layouts – and in different scales too.

So with the plan planned we set about work to create a series of layouts in ‘OO’, ‘OO9’, ‘O’ and ‘N’ gauge. Initial thoughts revolved around a milk depot shunting yard scheme for ‘OO’, a terminus station in ‘OO9’ narrow gauge, an industrial scene for ‘O’ gauge and a shunting yard in ‘N’. The end results were quite different, as you can see in the latest issue, and revolve around a ‘OO’ gauge branch line terminus with goods yard, a ‘OO9’ terminus station (sticking with the original plan), an ‘O’ gauge diesel depot and an ‘N’ gauge cement works.

We weren’t able to complete all of the layouts fully for the April issue, but we made sure all of the track was laid out, connected, wired and operational for all four scenes while the ‘OO’ and ‘OO9’ models were brought through to scenic completion.

What I’m going to show in this post are a selection of behind the scenes images of the four layouts under construction explaining some of the development which went into them along the way, starting with the ‘OO’ gauge branch terminus.


‘OO’ branch terminus

The 5ft x 1ft Tim Horn plywood baseboard for the ‘OO’ gauge layout.

Early development of the track plan checking siding and headshunt lengths.

Mark checks the track in one of the sidings.

The track has now been weathered and is ready for ballasting.

Approaching completion as the buildings are laid out around the newly ballasted track.


‘OO9’ narrow gauge terminus

The board for the narrow gauge scenic section is just 4ft x 1ft and is a spare from Twelve Trees Junction’s original cassette storage yard.

Mocking up the track plan for the narrow gauge station on top of the ‘O’ gauge board.

Wiring is connected to the track for the analogue controlled layout. Careful positioning of insulated rail joiners kept the requirement for switches to one.

Testing the track work with a Roco Austrian 0-6-0T and Bachmann Baldwin 4-6-0T.

Platforms and roadway were made with Woodland Scenics Smooth-it paving products.

A small 2ft x 1ft storage yard was added to the end of the layout to allow trains to arrive and depart.

Developing the scenery around the station which uses Bachmann Scenecraft buildings.


‘O’ gauge diesel depot

The ‘O’ gauge project started out with a Model Rail Baseboards 6ft x 4ft MDF board. It was going to be an industrial scene originally, but soon made its first change to be a Western Region terminus station with the boards rearranged to create an 8ft x 3ft space.

Early planning of the Western Region terminus station. The platform would be at the back with the storage yard off to the right.

Nearing completion, but not quite working. This ‘micro’ layout had got too big as the full scheme needed at least 12ft in length to work including a storage yard. That’s still reasonably small in ‘O’ gauge, but not small enough for what we wanted.

A brainwave saw the ‘O’ gauge project redesigned as a diesel depot scene instead which reduced the length to 10ft including a storage yard.

Heljan’s diesel depot kit became the main building in the new scheme.

Fully wired and prepared for running, the depot can host up to eight main line locomotives. We just need to create the scenery!


‘N’ gauge cement works

Like the ‘O’ gauge layout this project took a few turns to reach its end result. Initial plans revolved around a goods yard scene set in the 1950s and 1960s.

The track layout was planned out ‘live’ using a selection of Peco code 80 points to create the final arrangement.

Even at this stage we were still working towards a steam era shunting yard, perhaps with mills and warehouses as the backdrop and purpose. The end result was quite different and set 30 years later in the 1990s.

To see the completed layouts and read more about their development, be sure to pick up a copy of our latest issue – HM142, April 2019, on sale from March 7 2019.

To get your copy of the latest issue visit the Key Publishing Shop or your local newsagent to get your copy today. Alternatively, you can download a digital edition from – simply search ‘Hornby Magazine’.

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