For many people who are interested in the hobby of model railroading, the layout is the most important part of the whole process. The how you lay out your track will ultimately determine how your world looks, what scale of train you have and more. Your HO model train layout is probably best dreamed up before you head out to the hobby store.
The thing about layout is, its design will be unique to you. Unless you follow a diagram in a book or manual, this will be your town, your track. If you are new to the hobby then you will probably want to copy a design from a book or website, and there is nothing wrong with that. In time you will feel more comfortable with design that you will begin making your â€œtownâ€ look more like something that reflects you.
Before heading out to the hobby store is the type to get out the paper and pencil. You should know the dimensions of the area in which you plan on setting up your track so you can make sure that your layout will fit. You donâ€™t want to overdo you design, if you design you track layout and it wonâ€™t fit on your bench then it will ruin the whole look of your town, youâ€™ll have to take more time to redesign you layout, which will lead to greater frustrations.
Since you are choosing to use the HO scale, which incidentally is the most popular of all the scales, then maybe you should choose to set up your train on a plain wooden door or large piece of plywood. A door is generally bigger than a table top and is sturdier than a piece of plywood. So a door might be your best choice to use as a bench.
For an easy to shape layout, you might want to use Styrofoam. It might sound a little strange, but Styrofoam is a great base for your layout, if you are a complete do it yourselfer. This material can be formed to your needs. By simply carving the foam into the hills and valleys that you need you can essentially do anything you want. Even if you plan to have a city along your track, the foam will make a great base for your city. Itâ€™s convenient since you will be able to stick your trees and press your buildings directly into the foam base. This will help ensure that your scenery will stay put.
You also have to consider if you are trying to replicate a specific railway or if you are making it up as you go along. If you are replicating a specific railway or portion of a railway then you need to be sure get the details right. In this type of situation, you might want to get pictures of the railway. If itâ€™s one that is no longer in existence, then you need to do your research to ensure you have it all set up correctly.
In the case of an antique type railway you might have to weather everything to make the layout look right. Since the track, engine and everything you will get will, of course, be brand new it will have to be made to look older. You can find many weathering techniques on the internet.
The most common track design is an oval shape. For those who are more experienced in laying out track you might find some figure eight designs, or sidings that end in a horseshoe shape. All of these things will play into the layout of your setting and scenery.
Especially if you are new to the model railway game layouts donâ€™t have to be complicated. Your HO model train layout will reflect on how you perceive your railway to be. So no matter what you choose to do, make something that is totally youâ€™re own or something that is a replica of a famous railway itâ€™s all up to you. Your imagination is the limit.