Creating a realistic layout for the N Model Railroad starts with taking the time to carefully plan out the desired scenery for your railroad setting. You may want to start by taking a pen and notepad with you when you are attending model train expos or shows. Jot down any of the ideas you see which inspire you to create your own layout.
After having gone over the ideas you have taken notes on, start making rough sketches of how you want your layout to look. From here you will get a better idea of what you can and cannot do in the space you have for you N Model Railroad layout. You will find some ideas will have to be eliminated while others take their place.
One of the first hands-on projects you can do in an effort to have a realistic layout is to “weather” your N Model Railroad train. When you first obtained the train it came out of the packaging looking fresh and new. Real trains rarely look this way. It takes very little time before a train becomes quite dirty. You can use paint, dirt, motor oil and automotive grease to dirty up your train and give it a more realistic look.
Once you have decided on the types and amounts of buildings you want to have in your layout it is time to do a little research. If possible take photos of the types of buildings you are going to have in your layout. If this is not possible, try obtaining some photos online. The reason for this is you need a visual reference to guide you as to how best decorate these building for more realism. Plus, these photos can assist you if you are purchasing buildings from stores offering N model Railroad layout supplies or hobby stores, which carry model, sized buildings.
You may not find the right building you want for your layout in train accessory stores. If pre-made buildings in hobby store do not meet your needs you may want to make your own buildings. This can be done with simple light wood kits or Styrofoam kits available in hobby stores. There are also more elaborate building kits you can use which come with epoxy moulds. These might be more suited your needs if there are specific building you are looking to have replicas of in your layout.
The time of year your layout will be set in is another factor you will want to consider when creating a realistic layout. You can purchase trees and other landscaping replicas from model train store, hobby stores, and even dollhouse stores. Paints can be purchased in small containers from a hobby store so you can mix colours to paint the trees and other scenery the appropriate colours for your layout. Purchase items such as aerosol snow to spray on the landscaping if you are going for a winter layout.
No matter what scenery or season you choose for your layout the most important thing is that you have fun and enjoy creating this world for your brain and imagination to travel through.