View Full Version : Another hobby of mine, N scale train diorama. (Picture heavy)

09-03-2011, 08:41 PM
I am thinking there is still a 4 photo limit? I am going to break this long post into smaller groups. Here goes...

I have not visited these forums for quite some time. However, today I just finished a project that took 6 months of on and off again work to complete, and I thought I would share some photos and some explanations.

The project is a scenic diorama for an N scale train. Yes, I am into all sorts of hobbies just in case you were wondering.

Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted something like this. So I went and did it. The final results are quite pleasing.

In February, I came across a kit called "Scenic Ridge" by Woodland Scenics. The kit came with everything except the track, train, and buildings. Since I have never done anything of the sort, I thought a kit would be the best way to go.

The kit came with the foam underlay, paints, materials, grasses, etc.

Here is the first step. Gluing the base foam boards together, and then putting down the track underlay.

Next step, to cover the underlay with plaster fabric.

First time I see what the track will look like. Also the first time I ran a train on it to see if everything will work.

09-03-2011, 08:43 PM
After testing the track, the next step is to build the tunnel walls using foam board.

Fit the foam outer boards and glue them in place.

Afterwards, use a template that came with the kit and trim the boards to shape.

3 access hatches to access the train inside the tunnel if need be.

09-03-2011, 08:43 PM
Paint the inside of the tunnels with brown paint, and use some ballast materials just at the entryway.

Next step, figure out where the village will go. The buildings I am using are Tomytec N Scale buildings from Japan.

Placing pillars to support the village platform.


09-03-2011, 08:44 PM
The next step is a big one. Once i have the tunnel covered, I can now start to build my terrain. Crumpled newspaper is used as a support.

Covered with plaster cloth.

The finished product.

Dry fit the tunnel portals.

09-03-2011, 08:44 PM
Use rock molds to make rock using Hydrocal (Think plaster of paris).


After that, glue the track bed which came with the kit. Foam strips to be exact...but they do the job nicely.

Once that is done, earth tone the whole thing after protecting the now glued tracks.

09-03-2011, 08:45 PM
Using foam board bought at the local Dollar store, I built up the village area so the curb is at a better height in relation to the oval Tomytec Bus System track. The Bus System is a running but that follows a metal wire. it even docks at the terminal and then goes around again.

Trim the track underlay to fit the train repair building.


And fit the rocks into and onto the plaster cloth.

09-03-2011, 08:45 PM
Plaster the sides to finish and add structural rigidity to the whole diorama.

Next, colour the rocks using a set of 3 pigments in a wash.

Using what came in the kit, start to add vegetation, and track ballast.

Till you cover everything that needs covering.

09-03-2011, 08:46 PM
Time to make trees. First start by dumping 3 colours of clumping foliage into a bowl. I found the pieces too large for N scale, so I had to break them into smaller pieces.

Bend the included kit armatures into shape, use a tacky glue, and dip them into the bowl. Instant forest.

Paint a few extras.

Clean the track using sandpaper and a paint brush of all vegetation and glue. Test using a train.

09-03-2011, 08:47 PM
An overview of the whole thing minus trees, people, and other details.

The final product. It turned out very well. It took me half a year to finish it, but it sure is a great way to highlight a train set...and I can now scratch another thing off of my bucket list...a childhood dream come true.




09-03-2011, 08:47 PM




09-03-2011, 08:48 PM


4 photo limit and 30 second posting times are very annoying.

09-04-2011, 10:19 AM
And a video to cap it all.


09-06-2011, 01:46 PM
Thats so cool Chako, so much attention to detail. Very nice - thanks for sharing!

09-06-2011, 08:13 PM
You are welcome. :)

09-07-2011, 12:21 AM
Wow, Impressive! Must have taken forever to do! I wish i knew how to build those, I'd be my three year old nephew's favourite Aunt ever lol. He's all into trains and cars. Good work! I've seen people display this stuff at malls b4..you should!

09-07-2011, 06:19 PM
Stunning, but does not surprise me.. Buy the detail... chako, your work is amazing... only thing that scares me about glueing the track, being I deal with HO train scales.. The little wire conectors between the tracks, give out sometimes, and I think it would be a real ***** having to change them if it was glued down..... Beautiful none the less.....

09-08-2011, 09:57 AM
very cool, does this come in one big kit? where and how much would you spend,

09-08-2011, 07:37 PM
I got the kit off of eBay. Woodland Scenics produce a few different kits. The one I had sent to me was the N scale version of Scenic Ridge...but they do offer HO scaled ones as well. these kits come with everything needed except for the buildings, track, people, and train. All else is included. They are actually great value as it is far cheaper to buy a kit then to buy all the pieces separately. I paid $350 US dollars online for it. The track kit was around $50 bucks. You can also buy building kits from the same company made specifically for the kit you have. The building kits run it at a little over $100 dollars online I think. Not bad for 13+ buildings that you get to build yourself. I decided to buy used buildings online. They even produce a modular system of smaller kits that join to each other.

My next project is going to be even smaller yet. With the knowledge gained from the N scale build, I am now going to make something in T Gauge.

T Gauge is the world's smallest commercially sold train scale. Japan was the first to make these trains, and thus, most of them tend to be based upon Japanese commuter rail. The motors are the same as those used to vibrate your cell phone. There appears to be a movement at the moment in the UK to produce different models based on this tiny train set.

Well, my next project is to build a working rail in a briefcase with scenery.

I think I have everything i need. I have tiny cars, a rail crossing, some buildings, and even people and animals. At this scale, the people are very very small.

Here is the project base.

And of course, the train itself. The two center cars are powered. The two outer cars have working running lights...of all things. The track and cars are magnetic to keep them on the track while in operation...as these tiny cars have hardly any weight. The tracks are only 3mm wide to give you an idea. Furthermore, the train came with an aid to help you seat it onto the tracks properly.

I bought all of this stuff before going into N scale, with the idea that the N scale kit would teach me how to do scenes. I just never thought I would have so much fun with the N scale stuff. So now I am viewing the T gauge project with some anticipation.

Here is a video I made around Christmas. Behind the T gauge train is an N scale passenger car, and behind that, an HO scale livestock car for size comparison.


09-13-2011, 05:13 AM
Very cool!

09-13-2011, 06:05 PM
wow, i love seeing the progression of how it was made! that is quite a work of art. thanks so much for sharing!

09-13-2011, 11:19 PM
very cool!

09-29-2011, 04:28 PM
here you go! get yourself a full size one!



09-29-2011, 06:53 PM
One of the guys I work with does some seriously cool sculptures. He loves to take the time and do very small details.................there are more people like you Chako. The nice part is that we all really enjoy seeing the end results to all the hard work and tedious attention to detail. Thanks for sharing.

Super Gram
10-02-2011, 03:58 AM
A wonderful job as usual. I like the way you showed each step.It all looks like a puzzle until you put it all together. Thank you very much for showing us your latest masterpiece.

10-02-2011, 06:15 AM
very entertaining to watch Chako. I've always enjoyed your pics :)

The Freq
10-14-2013, 07:50 PM
Nice stuff Chako. Love the workmanship.