DU-lok.jpg (4011 bytes)RC4-lok.jpg (4535 bytes)


Detailed landscaping in N-scale



- A large layout in a small format -
The N-scale gives a great opportunity to obtain an advanced track layout and a detailed landscaping in a limited space. My layout is in "U-form" 4,15 x 4,00 x 1,80 meter - For N-scale it gives a lot of room for a realistic scenery. An equivalent layout in larger scales will occupy a full room to attain the same result.I definitely agree that HO opens up a lot more possibilities to make own modifications and scratch building on rolling materials and an easier handling - but space.
Buildings and other accessories are not giving a problem to do landscaping in N-scale  - a large assortment of all kinds of materials are easy to find on the market.
I started to build my layout based upon analog technology with track sections controlled by separate trottles controlled from a panel with LED's and switches. From a gradual transfer to DCC with loco decoder installations, block sensors and control of turnouts - all functions in the layout are controlled from a standard PC.  My choice of program in 1994 was Winlok 2.1 later replaced by Train Controller from RR.


TillbakaTop of page


  • Size 4,20 x 4,00 x 1,80 meters.
  • 80 meter tracks
  • 80 turnouts
  • 100 blocks
  • Catenary (Arnold)
  • Yards



  • Turntable 
  • 5 Stations
  • 5 Bridges
  • 4 Tunnels
  • Roads, factory area
  • Buildings, vehicles
  • Harbour, ships


The track plan have several loops all connected through turnouts to enable a great variety of routes.
Most curves are hidden by tunnels to give a more realistic view of the layout.
Some loops have parallel tracks with stations and a
switching yard.

The rails are rust-painted with Humbrol 113 and mainly built with PECO`s flextrack laid on a roadbed of cork glued to the plywood baseboard. The tracks are spread with ballast from Faller and Woodland Scenics.
Turnouts used are PECO electrofrog. PECO for best realistic design with switch machine underneath the layout.
Catenarys from Arnold - faked with a thin rubber string - a practical solution that gives free access to the tracks for cleaning.
The loss of non conducting catenary does not make sense when using DCC controlled tracks.
I have built swedish like N-scale headsignals from LED`s and plaststruct material. (see page "TIPS"). The status of the signals are also shown on my computer screen.

TillbakaTop of page



The landscape is formed from pieces of foam, aluminum-net and gypsum on a base of 10 mm plywood  (3,50 x 1,60 meters) laid on a benchwork for good stability.
The gypsum is formed with a knife to sharp edges to get realistic sections of rocks. Lakes and other water areas are painted direct on the bottom layer covered by a curled transparent film from Faller.
Sand, small stones and green areas are made from various scatter materials from Faller and Woodland Scenics.
Trees an other vegetation's are made of materials from Woodland Scenics.
The Faller "Obersdorf" and the "Harbour of Flensburg" backgrounds gives a seamless connection to the layout.

The Faller special catalog and the Woodland Scenics Videos for landscaping is a good help to get a realistic scenery.
I recommend a study of German Railroad magazines always including several examples of very good layouts. (MBZ, Modellbahn Hobby, MIBA, Eisenbahn Journal etc..) and also visit the public modelrailroads around the world.

Enlarge pic`s
DU_lok.jpg (23906 bytes)BR150.jpg (22470 bytes)Vy_layout.jpg (26377 bytes)2 x RC4.jpg (27068 bytes)Vy_station.jpg (22249 bytes)
TillbakaTop of page

Ships and boats

A modelrailroad layout  including waterareas is a more living scenary and gives a nice general impression. My latest extension of the layout with trams in a cityenvironment also includes a river with ships and boats. 
It is not easy to find ships in the N-scale but by incident I found lots of ships and boats on a hobby fair as "paper cut out models" in scale 1:200. Not really N-scale (closer to Z) but mixing scales on a layout is not wrong with respect to a scenary depth and  think of the real size of a ship like the ferries of 200 meters length that equals 2,3 met. in H0 scale and 1,3 met. in N-scale!!

Back to the ships at the hobbyfair. "Paper cut out models" - a traditional  technique giving a very good final result. You can find these paper cut outs on internet. Download, adjust size and print out on an ink jet printer on 180 gram matte paper. An ideal paper thickness for cut out models.
Various models can be found at Cony`s Kartonmodellbau for download and swedish ships at  Bildrum to buy to a low cost.



                                            m/s Hansa built 1899 and  lost                                            m/s Slite built 1955 in Sweden
                                            by torpedo in Baltic Sea 1944                                
            scrapped in Turkey 2006

TillbakaTop of page

Buildings and vehicles


Various vehicles from Viking and Herpa modified and painted to match  environments.
Very good assortment in N-scale.

The buildings are mainly German from Faller, Vollmer, Kibri and Pola all with lots of material for N-scale.
I have mixed the content from different kits to achieve better variations and specially to tailor bridges to the scenery.

Enlarge Pic`s
Kanal.jpg (27759 bytes)Kyrka.jpg (27381 bytes)Fackbro.jpg (27152 bytes)
TillbakaTop of page

Locos and wagons

As said in the  introduction - I have not tried to imitate a special original. The rolling materials are a mix of Swedish and German locos and wagons. 
US materials to my view belongs to a different "train culture" and should not be mixed to European like layouts.
N-scale locos and wagons have today a high degree of detailing with very smooth running. Some Swedish materials are avaliable. The Fleischman RC4 loco is a good example with characteristics fully comparable with the best H0-locos.

Enlarge Pic`s
Tågmöte.jpg (27379 bytes)Vy_layout2.jpg (28304 bytes)Lokstall.jpg (22797 bytes)RC4 o kyrkan.jpg (26755 bytes)Ovre_station.jpg (25740 bytes)DU_bro.jpg (20325 bytes)

TillbakaTop of page                                                        Per-Ake Jansson, email: