Next step in layout

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Mfrns, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. Mfrns

    Mfrns New Member

    Hello Everyone, I don't post that often but I read this forum everyday. I have been building my first layout. I have all the track and roadbed down, with all the wiring in place. What is the next step? Is there an order to layout building? Should I do the scenery next then the ballast? I plan on weathering the rails and ties, making a small lake and mountains . I am just not sure what order it should all be done in. Any help would be appreciated...Thanks, Mike
  2. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Welcome to the Gauge, even though you aren't new ;)

    I recommend you do your basic scenery at this stage: If you're going to use plaster, its very messy, and you don't want to have to go back and "touch up" nicely ballasted track - leave that for the end.

    By basic scenery, you get your hills set up as you want them, glue your rocks and add the basic ground cover. You can leave the detailing for the end (trees, etc.) You should already have an idea of where you want to put your structures, maybe even start to build them, but I wouldn't put them onto the layout permanently just yet.

    I'm sorry to say, but I'm in the same phase that you are in, and to me, this is the least enjoyable part (plastering the whole thing) I can't wait to start putting down ground cover and then detailing and ballasting. (I'm so sick of seeing WHITE! :p)
  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Hi Mike!
    There is probably a sensible order for completing tasks on a layout but I seem to do things in an eccentric bass-akwards way...or else I'll see some area needing improvement and tackle a project I should have done a long time ago. Case in point: I just painted better looking mountains on my backdrop even though some scenary and structures are already in place! I like the effect but recommend backdrop work be done pretty early in the game. :)

    I'd paint the sides of the rails and weather the ties before ballasting. Most layout projects featured in hobby magazines seem to ballast track prior to adding scenary, or at least before the finished scenary. I guess that makes sense since you avoid getting ballast particles all over grass, weeds, and trees!

    After that I'd think you could pretty much take on any project you wanted, although perhaps you should create the water for your lake last to avoid marring the shiney surface with goop from other projects.

    Best wishes and keep us up to date!
  4. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Welcome! If memory serves, your question has been addressed here before. I agree that rough scenery should be done before ballasting. Fine detail should start at "arm's reach", and be filled in from there, forward to the edge of the layout. That way you're not leaning, or working over finished scenery.
    You can see lots of different methods, and results, at Trainfest, this November 8,9, in Milwaukee, at the fairgrounds.
    Chicago's a big place, so don't know if you're north, or south, or downtown, but if you're on the north side, you could come up to Wauconda, and check out the Lake County Model Railroad club, in the basement of Tony's barber shop. For what it's worth our current website is
    We're holding an openhouse, Nov.15,16 11:00-5:00, and there's usually someone there Wednesday evenings, and Friday evenings.
  5. billk

    billk Active Member

    Ballasting should be done before tunnels are closed in, at least for the track in the tunnels. (Learned that the hard way.
  6. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome to posting Mfrns
    Some good advice here so now you can get on with your layout.
    Hope to see photos as it comes into being.

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