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Improve the look of any layout

Twelve ways to add to your layout
hildren frolic in a pond, staying out of the way of a resident steering his kayak through the waters. Nearby, a train led by the Flyer no. 350 Royal Blue 4-6-2 Pacific Bill played with as a boy weaves its way over the ballasted track.
Bill Novak
Bill Novak shares a dozen tips for improving the look of any layout. He offers help on reaching your own sweet spot between the magic of toy trains and the honesty and meaning of a realistic environment for the models.

1. Use commercial backdrops to create expansive settings for landscapes as well as urban or rural municipalities, industrial or commercial districts, and yards.

2. Check out the trees, brush, and ground cover from a variety of commercial resources. Making your own isn’t always essential.

3. Pay attention to the roads, highways, and thoroughfares connecting scenes on your layout, along with the neighborhoods of individual towns and cities.

4. Add signs to structures to enhance their identity and give them a purpose.

5. Purchase details to place inside structures so viewers can linger in front of windows. They will understand what happens inside.

6. Consider the advantages command control offers for more realistic and enjoyable operation. There’s no reason to be tied down to standing at one panel.

7. Paint the surface of streets and highways to distinguish their vintage and materials. Modern asphalt highways shouldn’t look the same as old dirt roads.

Weather structures and rolling stock only if you feel a strong need. You can provide them with identity and character by relying on their color and names.

9. Read hobby books and magazines to pick up the knowledge necessary for getting dependable wiring while avoiding the problems that can doom a railroad.

10. Look into equipping your layout with scale operating signals that change colors during operation, even if they are not connected to blocks or switches.

11. Give every section of your layout a feel and purpose all its own. And make certain each area is somehow kept visually separated from its neighbor.

12. Invite family members and friends to help during different phases of the construction and later when it comes time to operate the layout. Their smiles will pay you back big time. Just think – you may inspire someone to enter the hobby of model railroading!


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