Friday, 9 April 2021

A Quick And Simple N Scale Layout Project

For a while now I wanted to do a N Scale Layout Project. When I started to get serious in the Hobby of Railway Modelling back in 2007, there was very limited ready to run in regards to Australian N Scale, I originally started collecting some American N Scale then later on I started a small collection of British N Scale and over the last few years collected some NSWGR N Scale locomotives and rolling stock.

My interest originally in N Scale came about to the fact when I got Married back in 2007, my wife and I resided in a home that had small rooms that were not big enough (in my view at the time) for a HO scale layout. Furthermore, back then the American N Scale was cheaper to purchase and offered some well detailed ready to run models. 

My New N Scale Layout running trains within the first few days of construction

Recently, Auscission Models have been strongly hinting that they have some N Scale Projects for both locomotives and rolling stock in the pipeline such as a the NR Class with the option for a factory fitted DCC Sound decoder. In fact, a preproduction working sample are currently on show within their Shop. I know these models may not be a sell out in their early days of release, but I foresee that there will be a eventual rapid growth with N Scale as there are many in the younger generation who may not have the realestate for large scale layout and the older generation are down sizing to live in a smaller home that may not be able to facilitate a HO or Larger scale layouts. I know some of my readers here will joke about not able to see N Scale as there eyesight is not that good enough to see the model, but working on N Scale exhibition Layouts in the past, we do get a lot of inquiries from the older generation with the desire to downgrade from HO to N Scale. As well as younger folk enquiring on how they can get a start into Australian N Scale.

Now for this Quick, Simple N Scale layout that I have just constructed.

The N Scale Layout Idea

It started with a conversation with Robert P (N Scale Railway Modeller), who said that I could construct a quick and simple N Scale Layout within a few weeks. With some leftover material from my HO Scale Muttama Project and some from Narellan, I felt it may be good to go ahead and do this N Scale layout Project as it will not become a big cost for me in doing so. All that I really needed to purchase was a back scene, some point motors, DC Controllers and some timber for the Framework of the layout. I already had plenty of N Scale track and points that was needed for this project.

Further to this I have done a few NSWGR Lineside structures 3D Printouts in N Scale a few years back that have been waiting to be painted and plonked onto a layout.

Construction of This N Scale Layout

I wanted a simple track plan and simple but effective scenery as this is more of a layout for the enjoyment to run trains.

I wanted to make the layout in a modular setup that it can be easily stored in a cupboard when it is not in use and be able to sit on top of a fold out table.

Frame work for the Base boards which consists of four modules in total. Notice that the end modules bracing are in line with the width of the main scenic module to allow mounting of the back scene board.

One of the end Modules in a near completed state. Notice the slot to allow the back scene board for that module to fit in.

Scenic and Fiddle yard modules completed.

 3mm Portugal Cork has been applied to the main scenic module and the fiddle yard module to allow for the Kato Track to match the height of the Peco track.

Track work has been laid down. Peco Code 55 N Scale track has been used for the straights and fiddle yard of this Layout. Kato Uni Track for the curbs and the interfacing track to the modules.


The Landscaping of this layout is simple. I took the Less is More approach, only adding in the Bridge the Platforms of the station and some hills. I will again take advantage of the Haskell Back Scene (Themed; Dry Country) to do the most of the scenic effect. The Bridge and the Platforms will be scratched built and the Hills will be carved out from insulation foam that I purchased from Bunnings Warehouse.

Haskell Dry Country Back scene applied.

Road Bridge in its early stage of construction. The Bridge need to be constructed so to properly determine the landscaping profile around it.

Almost completed Platforms are placed on the Layout.

The Landscaping of the Hills and cuttings begin.

Running Trains to determine what refinements are needed to ensure that the landscaping is not going to impact the smooth running of trains. 

I later found out I got too carried away with the landscaping and took out more foam than what was needed. Not a problem, just need to correct it. It will be all covered up with plaster cloth later on.

Landscaping on the other end of the layout.
Plaster Cloth has been applied.

I applied wet tile grout (I used Davco Cornsilk colour Grout from Bunnings Warehouse) and dabbed on the Grout with a large paint brush.

I applied Woodlands Scenic Turf. In this case I used a blend of Yellow Grass and Burnt Turf Grass. The Dirt was simply top soil that was collected in Southern NSW.

Turf and Dirt applied.

Using a strip of 3 mm Portugal Cork off cut, I used form the road. Applied Selleys Spakfilla on the road and some of the embankment around the area where the bridge resides. Spakfilla is not the easiest to apply, but it allows you to clean up any area that may have accidentally been applied on the area of the model. It eventually sets hard and any rough bits can be easily sanded. 

Once the Spakfilla is dried up, I then applied wet grout over the areas that the Spakfilla was applied.

After the Grout dried up, I then applied some more Spakfilla to level out the road at the edge.

Static Grass was applied. I used various ranges of static grasses to try and get the tone that closely matches the back scene. I also laid down the ballast after the static grass work was completed.

I applied the Woodlands Scenic Gravel (which was left over Gravel from my Muttama Project) and once dried coloured with soft artist pastels and blended it with a soft brush to get that dirt road effect. Also notice that I have put in some trees that were meant for Muttama, but seem to be more appropriate size for a N Scale Layout.

Woodlands scenics fine light grey ballast was put in place on the platforms. Notice the 3D Printed passenger Waiting sheds that will eventually make their way on the layout.


I have named this Layout Jindalee as it is model on a location similar to Jindalee, which originally had two small platforms with waiting sheds and a road bridge. However, I was not aiming to make it a scale model of Jindalee but more of a representation of it. The main reason for this is that I had most items in my procession to complete this layout without needing to spend months of modelling and it meets the objective of providing enjoyment of just running trains. This layout is now at operational completeness, However, still some other items and enhancements on the way to completed this layout. But for now, I can enjoy running trains on it.

N Scale Layout now in the Train Room. My HO Layout of Narellan is now safely stored underneath.

Close up on the bridge.

View on the down direction.

View on the up direction.

Jindalee layout Dimensions when all modules are joined is 190 cm x 80 cm.

I will do a separate blog on the Bridge, as the bridge build was a bit more involved and the most time consuming part of this project. 

Now for the twist in this build that made me complete this layout to the point that it can be exhibited.

An Invite To Have Jindalee Exhibited for The Diamond Creek Easter Train Expo

With only a week before the Diamond Creek Easter Train Expo at Diamond Creek, I was asked to bring down Jindalee. This meant I had to complete Jindalee to be at Exhibition Standard, basically meaning it needed to be in a completed state. It needed facias cut to fit that edging of the layout to not only give the layout a neat finish but also to protect the landscaping on the edge of the scenic sections of the layout. Station Buildings needed to fully constructed and painted, Station Signs to be constructed and painted and more trees needed to be put in place. Also a lighting solution needed to be installed.

I did not take too many pictures as I needed to focus on getting this layout finished.

Lighting solution was a couple of Arlec 20 Watt LED Lamps.

Station Sign was built with 3.2 mm wide by 0.5 mm thick styrene strip with Slaters N Scale platform lettering. MEK was used to adhere the lettering to the styrene strip.

Applied 0.75 mm x 0.5 mm Styrene Strips to the edge of the Station Sign.

Stations Signs painted white and used a Sharpe Texta for the black border and black lettering.

Station Buildings and Signs finally attached to the layout.

Jindalee made it safely intact from my home in Sydney to the Diamond Creek Easter Train Expo which is located around the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne. Other than a bit of dirty track that needed to be cleaned up, all trains ran without issues.

There could of been so much more that I could have added to this post, but I did not want to make this one into a novel. May touch on more of Jindalee, the Kaleen and Diamond Creek in an upcoming blog in the very near future.