The German Railway in H0


My Modular Exhibition Layout

A model railway is never finished and neither is mine. I continue to refine my landscaping techniques and upgrade the layout as I improve my skills. This is what makes our common hobby fun and inspiring. It also adds some interesting improvements for visitors to see when I bring the layout to exhibitions.

If you are a regular follower of the blog, you will have seen pictures from my modular exhibition layout. Some of the C track articles and some of the landscaping articles feature stuff from the construction of the layout.

The layout is made up of 5 modules with landscape and represent a southern German main line. There are no stations or sidings, just the trains running from the shadow station onto the landscape scene and back again. An oval, but a large one. I can have up to seven trains running at the same time. Everything is controlled digitally using the Märklin Central Station 2. I run 2-rail (DCC and mfx) with the majority of my models being either Trix or Roco models.

I recently did an upgrade of the landscape on most of the modules. Here are some pictures from the layout as it currently looks.

I remove the catenary whenever I work on a module. I would constantly hit it otherwise.

The main line runs along the outskirts of a forest. I like the nature part of a model landscape; especially forest scenes. Of course no landscape without houses so I added a little town scene as well.

The landscape part of the layout is about 3.6 meters (11 feet) long.

A class 245 with a regional train passes a lonely tree. In the background some rock outcroppings and a spruce forest.

The forest is made up of spruces and deciduous trees. I mix them up a bit to make an interesting forest scene, but I also try to group them as you normally see in nature. I follow the rule of oddity so no group contains an even number of trees. I think things looks better that way, and I also try to randomize how the groups are positioned.

The trees are mostly from the Busch and NOCH programme. The bushes are the sea foam product from NOCH where you glue small leaves to a chunk of sea foam. A very nice product that gives you amazing results.

My "hero trees" are from NOCH.

I have all sorts of trees on the layout. I use a lot of the cheap trees that looks like they are made from a "bottle cleaner". I have found that if I sprinkle a bit of fine turf over them, they can be made to look amazing. I normally put them in groups and add a few so called "hero trees".

A hero tree can be one of the more expensive trees, you do not need a lot of them. I have found that a few in the front makes my forest scene look a lot more interesting.

The rock outcroppings are plaster castings.

I have added a few rock outcroppings around the layout. The rocks are made from various Woodland Scenics molds and cast using Lightweight Hydrocal (Woodland Scenics LWHDCL). I then paint them using the various colours from NOCH. I like my rocks to be grey like granite, so I paint them in stone grey colours using different techniques I have found on Youtube and read about in magazines.

Working with the plaster is one of the messiest parts of the landscape construction process, but I also love this process at the same time. I feel like I am making a sculpture. It's fun.

The rocks are mostly spray painted using the acrylic sprays that NOCH provides. I am using the black as a base coat (total coverage) (NOCH 61177) and then a grey (part coverage) (NOCH 61176) and last a bit of ivory (NOCH 61171) and a bit of ochre (used sparingly) (NOCH 61172). This mix makes the rocks look amazing. I some times dry brush a bit of ivory on as a final touch (NOCH 61191).

My town scene is supposed to be as boring as one would imagine the end of a road in a small town would be.

The town scene was difficult for me to make. As much as I like details, I still find it easier to create messy random nature scenes than neat and beautiful gardens.

I wanted this scene to be interesting and boring at the same time. I prefer scenes where almost nothing happens, simply because this is how everyday life is most of the time. People are inside their houses minding their own business. My town scene should reflect that. I imagine that you only go down that street if you make a wrong turn - or plan to visit the hotel.

On the other side of the tracks, the front of the module, I have placed a corn field and a field with cows. I imagine that a farm is near by. Cows tend to group together, so my cows cover only a small part of their field.

The pictures in this article are from the construction of the town. The final scene contains a few people.

I have travelled a lot in Germany, especially the south, and I regularly visit the areas around Stuttgart and Koblenz. It is not uncommon to find a lot of small hotels in all the small towns that make up the country side. As an object of interest I added a small hotel to my town scene. The hotel has a little restaurant as well.

On my holidays I always enjoyed visiting places like this, so the hotel scene is kind of a holiday memory.

The hotel has a little garden with some trees and a fence separating it from the field next door. I imagine the hotel being on the outskirts of the town.

The roads are made from Woodland Scenics road system and covered with the NOCH asphalt coating and paint (NOCH 60820). The NOCH road construction set really makes the road look old and torn. This was the first time I tried the NOCH set and it really gave an interesting result. I will definitely go back to this at a later time.

All the houses in the town are from Faller. I am a total fan of all things Faller. The plastic buildings are easy to assemble and the plastic casting are very precise and well made. This is really good quality. The houses are slightly weathered to make them look older.

Two family houses makes up the other side of the road.

Two family houses makes up the other side of the road. I tried to make their respective gardens look different, because different people would have different needs and wishes. The little family house has a lawn and not much else. The family in the old farm house, close to the railway, has a lot of colourful flowerbeds in their garden.

All the houses sit on a foundation of plastic card; the plastic card is level and provides a solid place for the house to sit. This greatly reduces the gap that you some times see between a model house and the landscape. Also, the houses are not glued to the module as I remove them during transport.

You can easily see how the hotel and the farm house (both missing in the background) fit onto their foundations.

The houses fit on the module like pieces in a children's puzzle. The terraces and paths are glued to the module. When you place the house, simply make it fit in the between the gaps in the landscape. They can only fit one way so I do not have to remember anything.

This was just a small trip around some of the modules. I do not think I have ever shown anything in detail about my layout, so it was about time. Feel free to comment and ask questions if there is anything you would like to know.

Happy Modelling!