Building a micro layout step-by-step

09 July 2020
Phil Parker builds "Ferness Quay" - a micro layout only 30in long but showcasing all the techniques you use on a full-size project.

Step 1: Designing the model

Working on a tiny model railway, planning the project is essential, there isn't space to spare!


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Step 2: Building a baseboard.

A good, solid baseboard is essential. You'll always regret skimping at this stage, but what if you are no good at woodwork?


Step 3: Laying track

Without track, it isn't a model railway. We get stuck in with some Peco and explode a few model railway myths.


Step 4: Fitting point motors

Even on a micro model railway, flicking points over with your finger doesn't look good. Phil fits some motors for remote control.


Step 5: Wiring the model

Look under any model railway and it looks like a colourful explosion in a spaghetti factory. We do our best to demystify the electrics by taking you through all the stages of connecting the tracks and point motors.


Step 6: Ballasting

Ballast might be essential for the look of a model railway, but putting it down is boring. We use a few tricks to speed things up.


Step 7: Building the quayside wall

We move on to the scenery, starting with the wall around the quay.


Step 8: Adding the water

We might want a body of water on the layout, but that doesn't mean a pool of the real wet stuff. Phil produces realistic fake water that looks good but won't soak the baseboard.


Step 9: Building a station

A tiny layout needs a tiny station. We build a Wills plastic kit for a halt.


Step 10: Scratchbuilding a goods shed

Can't find the perfect building for your layout? No problem, building something from scratch isn't as hard as it sounds.


Step 11: Ground cover and roads

We move on to the proper scenery, adding lumps, bumps and ground cover.


Step 12: Grass, weeds and finishing touches

In the final instalment, Phil adds texture to the landscape and then puts the final details in place.