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Build a Model Railway

About the Films


PART 1 (From Start to Finish)




This film production provides viewers with an enjoyable, step-by-step overview on just how a model railway can be constructed. Focusing both on those new to model railways and who want to take their hobbycraft passion to the next level. This 60 minute 'how to' production is jammed packed with video, graphics, illustrations and information that includes planning, baseboard construction, track and trains, electrics, buildings and accessories, scenery and includes best practices, top tips and recommendations throughout each stage of construction.

Based on a London Midlands & Scottish (LMS) steam era theme the project was completed over a 12 month period and features a wide range of topical construction themes from a busy station and goods yard to countryside and viaduct with water features.

Building a Model Railway 1, DVD case & disc


Index Overview:


General Research: The internet is a great place to get inspiration but also a minefield of data which is fine for those who know what to look for but can be frustrating if you are new to the hobby. In this section we look at how best to find meaningful information.

Location and Budget: Take the time to think clearly about what you would like to achieve and what you can practically afford and remember you don’t need to purchase everything all at once. This section takes a practical look at planning before purchase.

Room Preparation: Once you’ve decided where to build its important to make sure that it’s a good environment to work in and we list some of the pros and cons and turn a cluttered office into a railway room.


Choosing a Theme: The age of steam or modern high speed rail, in this section we take a look at the LMS steam era we have chosen for this layout. Regardless of network choice or model railway gauge, planning and building principles in general remain the same.

Layout Design: It's your hobby and you can do whatever makes you happy, however – layout design is part of the enjoyment of planning your miniature world - and planning will definitely safe time, money and many headaches. In this section we look at methods commonly used to help plan the layout before any purchases are made.

Running Operation and Wiring: Having created your layout plans we look at the need to make sure that trains will operate correctly and that power supply will be where it’s needed. This important section highlights the need for close examination of the layouts electrics.


Choosing Track, Trains and Rolling Stock: With so many products on the market, choosing a period theme will narrow down the choices, but what should we be looking for in particular. With many used or second-hand locomotives on the market the buyer needs to be aware of pitfalls that can arise from using incompatible products together.

Baseboard Materials and Construction: The very foundation of your model world and it’s important to get it right first time. Planning ahead will pay dividends as you take into account possible positioning of points and turntables where under board joists may cause problems.

Finishing Preparation of Baseboards with Scenic Material: We take a look at scenic preparation before track laying commences. In this section we pre-ballast the boards after an initial layer of cork sheeting is glued to the baseboard surfaces.


Initial Track Laying and Testing: We look at various issues the unsuspecting modeller can encounter when the planned layout does not quite operate as well as you had hoped – testing ahead of permanent track laying is the key.

Wiring and Power Control: DC or DCC Systems. You’ll be glad you took the time to draw up your electrical plans – here we take a look at various electrical components that can help you make some important decisions before committing to one product over another.

Buildings and Accessories: See the railway come to life as we look at the various methods used to create stations, engine sheds, bridges, tunnels and goods yards. Here we look at both plastic and card kits and scratch building.

Scenery: A model railway is not complete without it and there are some great products to help you. In this section we look at how to make everything from wagon loads, hillsides, backboard scenes and rivers.


Maintenance: A final word on looking after your layout.

PART 2 (Detail & Technology)


Building a Model Railway Part 2  – Detail & Technology (70 min) is available in DVD and HD Digital Download. Produced by the award winning film production company, Studio Scotland, this step by step guide takes the viewer into greater detailing of a model railway layout from track ballasting, static grass application, weathering, special effects, digital command control and much more.


Part 2 not only covers the construction of a beautifully detailed layout but sees the film crew travel to interview and film behind the scenes of leading manufacturers. Go behind the scenes of Bachmann Europe who recently launched their Thomas The Tank products in both G & 00 gauges. Join us as we travel to Beer in Devon and visit the beautiful gardens of Pecorama, home to the iconic model railway manufacturer PECO. In the world of electronics, we spend time with DCC Concepts and visit the fabulous card construction manufacturer, Metcalfe Models and Toys. When it comes to weathering those expensive locomotives, The Model Centre, in North Yorkshire, demonstrates their skills. Once again, as with part one, part two is jam-packed with great stuff for the modeller.

Building a Model Railway 2, DVD case & disc


Index Overview:



1 Track ballasting: Laying track straight onto a gravel finish, as we did previously, gives an acceptable look without damaging the track. This time, we are going to look at creating a more realistic and authentic finish. We look at a number of popular methods and finish off our track-bed complete with weathered staining and weeds between the sleepers.


2 Buildings: While our previous model buildings look very well on the layout, this time round, we are going to be looking at creating greater details that cover gutters and downpipes, weathering effects and customisation, accessories that bring further dimension, lighting and sound effects, special effects (such as a building on fire) and moving parts.

How to ballast a model rail track.
Creating realistic buildings with weathering and lights

3 Static Grass: Previously, we showed how to create scenic areas using flock scatter materials and ready-made static grass products. In this production, we look at using static grass and a static grass applicator. While the grass is available in various colours we look at using weathering effects to bring further realism.


4 Weathering Rolling Stock: We take a look at basic weathering techniques that won’t scare you and, at the same time, show you how the professionals do it. Travelling to Yorkshire, we go behind the scenes of one of the country’s best known weathering shops.

Applying static grass with an applicator
Weathered locomotive and Deeley Tender

5 DCC: This is often seen as a mystical topic but, with the help of experts, we are going to look into Digital Command Control, covering control panels and wiring, plug and play technology, easy to use electronic accessories, movement, lighting, sound and effects. And, for those with existing DC layouts, we will show you how to change over to DCC in minutes.


6 Accessories: A number of manufacturers dropped into our studio; one of which brought a number of lineside accessories. These wonderful little products bring a layout to life and, while some can be a little finicky to make, the effort is definitely worth it.

Digital Command Control remote
Model fencing with sheep

7 Support your local model shop: Model railway shops are a great place to chat about all aspects of the hobby, particularly the family run business and, in these days of companies that simply shift boxes at the cheapest price, we want to encourage you to support your local shop. We drop into one of Scotland’s best known model shops to chat with the owner.

Locomotive entering tunnel with whistle sign.
Man browsing inside Harburn Hobbies shop.

PART 3 (The World of Modelling)


Stepping back to see the broader model railway hobby in its many forms, Part 3 charges full steam ahead into modelling for exhibition, behind-the-scenes at one of the UK’s largest model railway shows, a wide range of railway scales including 7¼ and much more!


As a perfect complement to DVDs 1 & 2, Building a Model Railway 3 looks at the hobby from the manufacturers’ perspective, what it is like being a member of a club along with helpful suggestions for showing your a railway layout at the many exhibition events throughout the year. Join us as we travel throughout the UK and abroad to see & hear some truly inspiring model layouts – all with a story to tell. Grab your copy now and get on board for an electrifying journey in the world of modelling.

Building a Model Railway 3, DVD case & disc


Index Overview:



1 Interviews: We travel the nation and abroad to film and talk to leading manufacturers, suppliers and model layout builders such as locomotive and rolling stock manufacturing giant Bachmann Europe, Hornby and 24Trains TV founder, Erik de Zwart.

Erik de Zwart for 24Trains - Interview
Hornby - Simon Kohler Interview

2 Railway Model Scaling: From palm-sized N-gauge to ride-on 7¼, the production explores the diversity of modelling scales, their pros and cons along with expressions of joy and satisfaction they bring to their constructors’ lives.  

Palm-sized N-gauge
Making adjustments to the large gauge locomotive

3 Behind-the-Scenes: Follow our roving camera as we interview exhibitors at Scotland’s largest model railway show at the SEC Centre in Glasgow. We speak to Model Rail Scotland’s manager whose job it is to bring together all the exhibitors and layouts and ensure they are ready for the thousands of visitors streaming through the centre’s doors over the three days.

SEC Centre in Glasgow - Aerial view
Model Rail Scotland stand at the SEC Centre

4 Exhibitions: The exhibitors themselves offer their first-hand advice about how to plan and prepare along with helpful tips to ensure your model exhibit gets off to a flying start.  

Checking and testing layout electrical connections .jpg
Loading the van on route to the Scottish Model Railway exhibition

5 Railway layouts: From simple to spectacular, experience the sights and sounds of numerous layouts selected to entertain, inspire and motivate model builders at every skill and experience level. We have also included constructors’ background stories behind the layouts along with their construction and maintenance challenges.

Manning the controls for a garden railway layout
Trains bridge passing on the garden railway

6 Club membership: When it comes to railway modelling, what better than to join a gathering of like-minded enthusiasts of all ages, skills, talent and resources, the model railway club. We go behind the scenes of two leading Scottish modelling clubs who offer up the advantages of belonging to a club.

Whyte Hills Pass at the Perth Railway Group
3 railway club members working on model layout
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