Spread over 10 chapters, this book takes you through all the planning, designing & building stages of your model layout.
As someone who is embarking on a build at the moment, I found chapter 6 (Electrical) to be particularly useful as when moving from anything other than a basic oval layout, it can be really easy to inadvertently end up with a dead section of track.
The book is clearly illustrated throughout with some excellent photography and nice clear diagrams where required, many of the photographs (particularly in the landscaping chapter) clearly show the progression of the layout from beginnings to the finished article and clearly show how all the stages build up to produce the finished article.
The 10 chapters are:
- A Decision on Size
A Short chapter that discusses the decisions you’ll need to make on scale, will you go for OO or N gauge?
- A Home For The Railway
Another short chapter on the important subject of where you’re going to keep your model layout. It discusses the pros and cons of the various locations and storage methods for your layout.
- A Solid Base
Base board construction, important to get right to help your layout last long term.
- The Track
Covers the different kinds of track that are available and how to lay it correctly. Get it wrong and you’ll spend the rest of your days dealing with derailed rolling stock!
- The Landscape
I found this to be one of the best (ie most useful) chapters in the book. Getting landscape to look realistic can make the difference between a mediocre layout and an excellent one. This chapter covers landscape construction and decoration as well as buildings and people.
The author clearly demonstrates a full understanding of electrical wiring as he provides many wiring diagrams for the many different wiring configurations that are possible.
Points and the electrical control of them can change a dull layout into an exciting environment. Again, the author demonstrates his strengths in the wiring arena by providing clear diagrams surrounding the installation & electrical control of points.
- Control Panels, Indications & Lighting
Lighting can bring a new element of life to a model. This chapter covers the best methods to install (and wire up) lighting circuits. It also makes a good introduction to designing a mimic panel for your layout.
- Digital Command Control
Its been around a while but has only really moved to the mainstream in the last few years. This chapter covers all aspects of DCC installation (and the simpler wiring that accompanies it!) along with how to convert your existing layout and rolling stock to DCC.
- Maintenance & Tools
Things are going to need maintaining and fixing as your layout matures. This chapter covers the tools you’ll need and the techniques to help you fettle like a pro!
It seems a strange thing to criticise a book where the quality of information is this good but if I had to, all I could say is that the design of the book layout could do with a little ‘refresh’. It appears to have been designed and laid out back in the 1980’s (even though the information contained is bang up to date). Another ‘gripe’ could be the price, at £17.99 it is quite pricey but then the amount of valuable info contained within could easily save you more than this in mistakes further down the line (No pun intended!).
The Newcomers Guide To Model Railways is available from Amazon.
Thanks to the good people at The Nostalgia Collection for the review copy of this book.