N Gauge Model Railway Scenery - Part 1

Posted: November 11th, 2011 under News.

I have been extremely busy over the last year with my partner’s N gauge model railway scenery.   For me this is huge scaling down - from 1/12th (1″) scale to 2 mm scale (2 mm to 12″).  

My partner’s plan has been to build his railway layout in modular format with multiple separate areas that can be worked on away from the rest of the layout.  In practice, that has meant shapes cut out in sheets of plastics with buildings and any other fixtures carefully drawn round.   The spaces that are left have been mine to what I want with (well almost what I want to do - wooden decking is prohibited, apparently).   From my partner’s point of view, this method has one distinct advantage: all the mess, the glue, the paint and the inevitable spillages end up in my house rather than his.   And how right he is…

So here are some photographs of the preparations we (but mostly me) went through for th:is particular wavy piece of scenery which is 2′ 3″ (69 cm) long and 9″ (23 cm) wide at its widest point.   My partner decided on the shape, cut it out, placed the buildings and the card pavement.  My job was to construct the gardens behind the buildings, bearing in mind that the tracks would be running just over the other side.  Privately, I had a plan to incorporate an allotment and a children’s playground. They were ambitious plans, I know, but I quite honestly hadn’t realised what I’d let myself in for.  For someone used to working in 1/12th (1″) scale, the area to fill looked remarkably small so I didn’t think it would take too much effort.   Wrong. 

At this point, my partner cleared off to America for a few weeks, leaving me to it. 

The first thing I did was butcher a car.   An Oxford diecast Morris Minor to be precise.   I took a pair of pliers to it, somehow managed to tear it in two (I only wante half of it), ripped off the wheels, stipped off the paint and rusted the half I wanted.  (I recommend the “Scenic Rust” kit from Deluxe Materials.)   This was for my “neighbours from hell” garden and the rusted car-half ended up wedged up against a dead tree along with a load of rubbish and “tall” grass.  (Ok, so it was an excuse to play with my static grass machine.  You need one to make “tall” grass.)

And my partner’s response when he came home?   Two responses really.  “What is it?” followed quickly by “Yuk.  Don’t like it”.   You have to smile.

As for the rest, I made great use of Milliput.  This is a two-part putty that once mixed will start slowly to set.  This is a chemical reaction, which means once mixed, you can paint over it and it will still dry as it is not relying on air for the drying process.   However, it stays soft long enough for you to be able to poke things - like tree stumps - into it, and was therefore a wonderful base for flowers, bushes, trees and just basic textured earth, especially in the series of allotments.   I also used Milliput to make the base of the pond/water feature and the “stone” walls.

I used a lot of the scenic materials readily available on the model railway market.   However I combined this with my own hand crafted vegetables, sunflowers and roses, made from fimo/polymer clay (See Part 2).   Initially, it’s quite daunting to attempt to sculpt something that small, but I remember a teacher of mine years ago saying that at that scale you can’t be accurate to the last detail.   What is important is to create an impression of something so that even with the lack of detail, it is instantly recognisable, and that is what I was anxious to achieve.