Jump to content

Building A Modular Branch Line - 00 Gauge

Recommended Posts

55 minutes ago, Alister_G said:

The rocks look very effective, and the colouring is spot on. Nice work.




Thank you. They've continued drying this evening and are now a bit paler than they were in the pictures... presumably as the plaster absorbs more of the paint. I'll plough on with the static grass tomorrow as planned but I can always touch up the rocks with a tiny dabs of watered down black/grey here and there if it really continues to bother me.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots more progress today! This morning I had a go at the road surface across the bridge - it's not come out amazing but it'll do for now. Funnily enough it actually looks better in the photos than it does in reality (usually it's the other way round!) but I imagine I'll end up going over it in the future to get something slightly smoother.


I also added a dirt verge alongside the road and the track too just to blend it into the grass a bit better as that was something I wasn't quite happy with on my first module. There's also a dirt patch where my two buildings stand with a little path leading down from the road - this will be getting a gate in the future.


Then it was on to the static grass! I was looking forward to this as it always seems to transform the layout and I wasn't disappointed. Several shades have gone down and it all dried fairly quickly so I was even able to attach some basic bushes and foliage around the bridge before I called it a day.


All said and done, here's the result of today's adventures...










There's still lots more to be done (track weathering, fencing/walling, grass tufts, more bushes/trees/wildflowers, etc) but the big jobs are all complete and it's more about adding the details now to make it feel real. To finish off I couldn't resist connecting the two modules together and taking a nice wide shot - I think I've definitely captured the feeling I was aiming for of the railway running through the open landscape... just need to get a train on it now! :D 




  • Like 8
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2
  • Round of applause 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just in case anyone's wondering - in the pictures on my previous post the modules were aligned but not bolted together, which is why the baseboard join looks very noticeable. It's much better when properly connected but I also want to do some work on the static grass at the edges of the modules to hopefully disguise the join even further.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @Alister_G, sadly the road isn't anywhere near as smooth as it looks in the photos. I certainly wouldn't want to ride a bike down it! :lol:


I might try painting it to see if it makes it less noticeable before I take any drastic action but I'm not too worried considering there's still fencing/walling and bushes to go on either side of it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I've mentioned before I'm also documenting the build of this layout over on my YouTube channel. I tried to film as much as I could while building the scenery up and have edited together a little video of my efforts so far. Here's the link to watch it if anyone prefers that to reading my rambling posts! :lol:





Edited by That Model Railway Guy
Corrected link.
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 04/11/2020 at 17:30, That Model Railway Guy said:

This might seem like I'm jumping the gun but I'm thinking about trees! Yes, I know it’s sounds a bit premature but because (when not in use) the individual modules will most likely be stored on top of each other in some way. Having trees sticking up would greatly increase the amount of space needed between each module. I realised I need to make the trees removable in some way so that I can fit more modules into a vertical space.


I’m using the Woodland Scenics armatures which come with a base that the main trunk clips into. From what I’ve seen most people discard the bases but I’ve embedded mine into the landscape (using a bit of left over modelling compound). Once painted brown to match the rest of the board, it leaves a nice hole that the finished tree can slot into when the module is in use and then be removed for safer storage when the module is put away.






As you can imagine I wanted to get this done now before I start putting down the static grass. The eagle eyed among you may also be able to see in the background of the first picture I’ve started work on the ballasting too!


Finally I decided to make some trees. I didn’t have to do this now but I’d already opened the Woodland Scenics armature pack to get the bases out so I figured I’d give it a go for a bit of fun. It made deciding the location of the trees a bit easier too. These were my first attempts and I’m pleased with how they’ve come out considering I’ve never made one before.






Borrow a trick from the masters of modular layouts, FREMO. What they often do is have modules in pairs, with one upside down over the other, if you line it up right, you have trees on one module in a position so they don't clash with trees from the other module, This means that your total height for 2 modules is equal to the height of 2 modules, plus the height of the tallest tree plus a little bit of wiggle room (say 10mm). For my modules they are 100mm thick, the trees are about 180mm in height, and that means I fit two modules in a 400mm vertical space. A lot easier than making trees removable. 



  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Julia said:



Borrow a trick from the masters of modular layouts, FREMO. What they often do is have modules in pairs, with one upside down over the other, if you line it up right, you have trees on one module in a position so they don't clash with trees from the other module, This means that your total height for 2 modules is equal to the height of 2 modules, plus the height of the tallest tree plus a little bit of wiggle room (say 10mm). For my modules they are 100mm thick, the trees are about 180mm in height, and that means I fit two modules in a 400mm vertical space. A lot easier than making trees removable. 




Ooh interesting idea. I don't think it would work for me with these particular modules as the trees are generally on the higher ground but it's good to know in case it's useful for future modules. In this instance though height is very much at a premium when it comes to storing these and so it's ended up saving me a lot more space by having the trees be completely removable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Folks, earlier in the thread I sort of explained how I'm connecting the baseboards and aligning all the track and scenery in a way so that it's consistent across every module. That said, if anyone's interested in seeing it action I've made this video of me adding the endplates and dowels to a module and getting it to a stage where my stock can cross the join smoothly.


I did this mainly for my audience on YouTube as they wanted more information on how it worked, but thought I'd post it here in case it's of interest as it's relevent to the layout.



As much as I'm fumbling my way around building this layout, I'm glad I took the time to really think about how I was going to join the modules, as I knew it would either make or break the layout! Thankfully it seems to have paid off and doing the ground work was worth as so far all my basebaord joins have been nice and smooth.


Additionally, some of you may have noticed that this video features a new module which is currently under construction. This is the "bufferstop board" that, when finished, will complete Phase One of the layout and then I'll be able to move onto the station area, which I'm rather excited about. I've been taking pictures along the way so hopefully I'll get round to posting those soon :) 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Really enjoying watching the build progress, making me want to do something similiar.


One thought that did occur to me having seen your propose build, would be to make one corner board (lower left of you general plan) a y-piece with a point, presuming you could maintain the smooth curve you have on those pieces.


The intention being to allow you to place the buffer module off the point when set-up in full 'loop' mode, as it seems a shame to not use the module if you have built it, and it would make a nice waiting/reversing position in operation. 


The other benefit of a y-piece is it could be used to make a return loop when combined with the 3 other corners, so you could set up the layout as a long out and back;  Fiddle yard - station - reteurnloop. Could be useful setup option at shows etc.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @STATO, glad you're enjoying it. 


Ooh, that's a really interesting idea and I'll definitely have to look into that. Unfortunately the room it will usually be setup in isn't long enough to have the buffer module as well as the curves in that configuration but it's definitely worth keeping in mind for all the potential options it opens up if space ever isn't an issue! Thanks for that :) 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Acklam said:

Great thread, this is something that I am seriously thinking of doing. Are your end plates off the shelf or did you get them specifically made?


Hi there, the endplates are my own custom design as I wanted something quite specific and I just send the computer file off to a company who do custom laser cutting for them to make. Anytime I need more endplates I just order some more using the same file and they come back identical to every other batch.


The endplates are only one part of the puzzle though. You may have already seen it but a few weeks back I posted a video where I went through the whole process of aligning and joining the baseboards/modules, so if you're thinking about doing something similar it might be worth a taking a quick look :) 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Well it's my first post of 2021 so I thought I'd share this photo I took the other day for a bit of fun. I don't yet have a backscene so the landscape has been extended with a little bit of dodgy work in photoshop but I was pleased with how it's turned out (as long as you don't look too closely!) given I was just messing around.



  • Like 2
  • Craftsmanship/clever 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello everyone, hope you're all having a good weekend. Just realised I never posted my progress from over Christmas so here's a quick update for you all.


Lately I've been working on the bufferstop module which will complete Phase 1 of the build. This isn't really a proper module, it's more of a diorama that just acts as an end stop for the moment. Eventually though it will be used as a headshunt for the station when the layout is setup in an end to end configuration. As a result this is the smallest and perhaps most uninteresting module on the entire layout. :lol:


Firstly, apologies for the low quality pictures - they're all screenshots taken from the update video. Since I was filming everything as I was going I didn't think to take any photos!




The bare baseboard ready to have track laid on it.




With the track in position I built up the landscape around it using polystyrene and plaster bandage...




...Which was then painted brown to give the impression of a dirt layer. The track has also been painted and ballasted too.




And finally the "finished" module - well at least for the moment. The static grass does make it look a lot more complete though obviously it needs lots of little details adding (as do all the the modules!) but the basics are there.


The scenics obviously don't line up around the track very well but I'm not too concerned at the moment considering these two modules are unlikely to even be setup like this in a normal running session. Instead I'll spend my time making the end of the station module blend into this as that's where it will see most use. :) 


  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.