My first N layout

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by stigbn, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. stigbn

    stigbn New Member

    Hi to all :wave:

    I'm just starting my first "real" layout, and I just got a Minitrix starter-set. I bought some extra Roco-tracks and turn-outs and I've started this layout (made with XTrkCad and some photoshop):


    If anyone has some comments, please let me hear! I'll probably not change the main plan, but the sidings and details may still change. (I know that the harbour is very, very small :D)

    The smallest curve is 22.5 cm (or nearly 9 inch) that's Roco/Minitrix R2. I know that most US-locos need at least 9 inch, but nearly all European equipment should be ok on this. Anyway I plan to use mostly 2-axel cars and small locos. This is going to model a Danish sideline in mid-20th century - with very short trains, and the possibility of both small steamers, small diesels and if I can get such a beast in N-scale: a small 2-axel DMU. And occasionally it may get a visit by a Nohab MY.

    Anyway, I'm not a purist when it comes to the rolling material - I don't mind mixing stuff from various time and places, if I think it looks good! So a US 4 axel diesel is not completely out of the question - who knows - maybe a private railroad could have imported one to Denmark in those days? ;)

    The stepest grade is 4 %, which should be ok for these short trains. And I've checked it with my minitrix DB switcher -it handles the grades ok with 5 wagons.

    Here's my progress so far:


    The houses - which are not supposed to be placed exactly where they are now - are from Rikki Tikki models, they are made from clay or something (quite heavy), and are copies of old Danish houses - they are in 1:150, but that's close enough. The gray house furthest back are a paper model though. I plan to make a cardboard/paper model of a small station from a plan in a book. And I will try to find a plan of a very, very small mining facility. That could be either a chalk, clay or peat-facility to make it prototypical for Denmark.

    Now comes the difficult part - I'm not sure how I'm going to ballast the tracks, if i'm going to use cork beneath or something. My main interest is actually the surroundings: the trees, the small lake and such.

    Stig B. N.
  2. Zman

    Zman Member

    It looks great! Welcome to the forum.

    I would definitely ballast the track if I were you. If you go to a great deal of trouble creating scenery, you may end up being disappointed if the track is not ballasted, as it won't look prototypical. Cork roadbed is inexpensive and easy to glue down - it will adhere to extruded foam board using a number of commonly available glues. Then you can glue the ballast down - techniques for ballasting can be found in a variety of books and websites.

    The models are probably made of urethane. I have several Period Miniature models made of solid-cast urethane that are considerably heavier than styrene.

    Anyway, good luck, and keep the pictures coming as you progress!
  3. Livesteam

    Livesteam Member

    That looks nice, i have a N scale layout about the same size.
  4. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome to the Gauge Stig. We are pleased to see the progress on your layout.
  5. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Looks great! Have you seen the Blair Line Cash Mine, which would fit well over your two mine tracks, it's about 4 inches square... I'm in the process of building this one myself:


    The only thing I might suggest for your layout is to fit in as much track as you can after the runaround at the top right, above the loco depot. Even if you can just get another inch or two by sawing a bit of track up, you'll prefer it to make loco manouvering easier...

    More pictures please!

  6. Papa Bear

    Papa Bear Member

    Welcome to The Gauge! Nice work on the layout.
  7. engineshop

    engineshop Member

    I really like the layout and it is a perfect size for starter since it will give you enough practice for the next and the one after that.
    About US locomotives. Older switchers, like Alco and Baldwin would be perfect since the US Army used them in Europe and could eventually end up on a small switching company in Denmark.
    About the 1/150 houses. You can use them to get some depth. Use the houses in the foreground and 1/160 houses in the background and you get a cheap 3D effect. I plan to do this with cars and trucks on my layout. I even will use some Z buildings to get even more of a depth.
  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Nice first effort, a lotta railroad in a small space w/o looking too crowded, well done :thumb:
  9. stigbn

    stigbn New Member

    Zman wrote:
    >"I would definitely ballast the track if I were you."

    Yes, I'll try to ballast the tracks with cork, I have just bought some specially made for N. I'm just waiting until I'm convinced that I don't want to change anything. I'm a bit worried if I have to pull a large part up again after I've glued it, if I get a bad connection somewhere. I got some special glue for tracks that's supposed to keep some elasticity after it's dry.

    Charles, that's a beautiful mine-model, but I think it's still too big for my layout - I don't want such a tall building - it would dominate the layout too much. In my local library they have a book about Danish industrial railroads, and I remember some photos of very small buildings in there, that I might try to recreate in cardboard.

    And yes, I'll try to get as much track as possible on the top right - at first I didn't even wanted a runaround there, but then I could see that it was possible, even if only with a couple of wagons, so that's why I have this very short runaround.

    Roland, thanks for the suggestion about 1:150 houses in the front and 1:160 at the back. However, these old houses doesn't look that big, because the doorways and ceilings were much lower then (these models are mostly houses from the from 18th century). I know, 'cause I nearly always bang my head at the doorway in these type of houses, the doors are often only 170 cm (about 68 inch) high. The doors on the models are about 12 mm high which would give 192 cm (about 77 inch) in the real world if they were 1:160 - that's still smaller than most doors today.

    Stig B. N.
  10. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    If you use Elmer's white glue (or its Danish equivilent ;) ) and find that there is a change or two to be made, by carefully spraying the area with tepid water and a drop or two of detergent, you'll loosen up the ballast and be able to pull up and rearrange your track w/o damaging it. :thumb:
  11. 160Pennsy

    160Pennsy New Member


    Your layout is coming along nicely. Reminds me to get working on my own project layout as well (currently built on a hollow-core door)

    This online retailer might have some N-scale items (European prototype) that you can use - rail stations, houses, harbor items, industries, etc. From my trip last year to Copenhagen, many of them look correct.

    Also found these Denmark N-scale websites with tons of good prototype modeling tips ans links- let me know if this helps?
  12. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge Stig, looking good so far, :thumb: looks like alot of layout in a small spce, thanks for sharing.
    Please, keep us informed. :wave:
  13. stigbn

    stigbn New Member

    the progress so far

    I've been working a bit on my layout the past week. I've been using colors (acrylics and watercolor) to get an impression of the landscape. And then the most difficult in my opinion: ballasting tracks!:eek: I've only ballasted some of it - the parts that are easy to reach. I use sand from the beach, and filter it to get a uniform, small size. I've tried to types of glue - a white type glue from ER-decor and woodland scenic cement. I don't know which I prefer yet. Then I paint it with watercolor. But a lot of sand particles stick to the sides of the rail, so there's much work with removing stray sand on the rails. I fear the turn-outs , I know that I have to be very careful, but still I see many great layouts with nicely ballasted turnouts - that must be difficult. And then there's the upper level - I want to be able to get my hands down to the tracks underneath, so I've made a removable "hill" but there's still some problems here :(. But all in all, it's real pleasure to work on this :).




    Stig B. N.
  14. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member


    For ballasting, here is how we do it at the local club. Use a plant sprayer and lightly spray the area with water (make sure everything is unplugged before doing this). Then sprinkle the ballast, a folded piece of card stock makes a great funnel for application. A good rule of thumb is to have the ballast even with the ties.
    Then another light misting of water, then take a small paint brush and clean the sand away from the tracks. Then a misting of matte medium or other spray adhesive, then go over the rails with a "bright boy" or other track cleaning device.
  15. cruikshank

    cruikshank New Member

    Looks great Stig. As far as a small mine, I have (3) I bought from Ebay, one from Campbell, the other by Micro Engineering I think. They are Gold / Silver mines from the Colorado area but they should work. I'd show you a pic of mine, but I'm in the process of moving and there packed up. The other one was marketed by Atlas in the 70's and also by several others, including model Power I think. It's supposed to be a small coal tipple but it's pretty generic and not overpowering also. Do a search on Ebay for Mine +N They show up often. When I get moved I'll show mine. "N" scale "L" 10' x 10' wall mount 24" wide with a 32" dogbone at each end. PA Anthracite Coal, Reading Lines Double main Kato Unitrack. Keep posting, Dave

    BTW I'm using Woodland Scenic Risers also. They are great.
  16. stigbn

    stigbn New Member

    Thanks for the suggestions Dave. I think I found the Campbell mine on the net, and it looks nice, it could be integrated in the hillside.

    Here's a picture I took from a Danish "mine" still in operation, it's a peat-mine with a narrow-gauge (60 cm) tipple-train that collects the peat from the bog and drives it to this transfer-station where the peat gets transferred to trucks. In the old days this would often have been transferred to normal-gauge trains. If I made a very short line of tipple-track (3.7 mm wide) made with thin wire of some sort, and some very small sleepers, then I could make (scratchbuild) something like this. I would also have to scratch build some small tipple-cars - not necesarily a loco, as these cars were often pushed by hand. Apart from this, there should just be a small shed for the workers. And to fit on my layout, it would be a sand-/clay-mine.


    Here's a picture from my mine-area as it looks now:


    And the village :


  17. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Looks really good.
    I'm also working on a small layout.
  18. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    Those rocks look great! Nice work!
  19. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I like it, but that poor miner looks like he needs help. :D
  20. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    :thumb: :thumb: I like it, I like it. Don't change a thing
    :D :D

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