N Scale - Intricate and Dramatic Detail


My N-Scale 'Buzzards Cove' layout began on a standard hollow core door some 16 years ago when my wife and I moved into our current home. I had seen an example for this layout in a magazine and I loved the fact that it had two coves/inlets, a long ocean beach with surf, a lighthouse, a small stream and a waterfall. As my modeling years went on, I was inspired by fellow modeler, Geoff Nott, whose waterfall work has been featured in several issues of 'Model Railroader' magazine. As a result of contacting Geoff and his mentoring, I made my first waterfall/gorge diorama which I aptly named 'Nott's Gorge'.

I really enjoy modeling water scenes, whether it's oceans, lakes, rivers, harbors, or waterfalls.  I love the fine scale detail that N-scale affords me. With N-Scale I find that you can put a lot into a small area and make it look extremely realistic.

I reached one point where I had several individual pieces that were "unconnected dioramas," so the next step was to devise a plan and a place to incorporate them into one contiguous layout, which would also allow me to continue growing my railroad and add many more scenes.

My model railroad has since grown from a 'door' into what is now a 22'x7' N-Scale layout that includes a full size harbor and town called 'Crystal Falls' along with several mountains, pine forests, lakes, Nott's Gorge and the original 'Buzzards Cove' layout.

Besides making water, I also love making highly detailed boats and my water scenes show plenty of them.The town was named because of the two latest large and intricate flowing waterfalls that I've built here coming off a steep mountainside.

The layout continues to be a work in progress because of the amount of time it takes to create intricate detail, which is the challenge I like to put into my work.

One of the things that has helped me with my scenic creations, is the wide use of a variety of Woodland Scenics products. Many of the various rock castings were done using their rock molds, hydrocal and Undercoat Pigments. Aside from using real dirt, I also use a wide range of Woodland Scenics ground foams, landscape, and terrain products in conjunction with clump foliage. For many of the wooded areas and along the river edges I like using Woodland Scenics Fine Leaf Foliage.

For the waterfalls, I've used their Realistic Water, and Water Effects with some excellent results. Additionally, I have been incorporating many other Woodland Scenics 'Scenic Accents' N-Scale figures throughout my layout, as well as using several different tunnel portals.

In addition, although you cannot see it now, the inclines in both rail and roadways were done using Woodland Scenics flex-foam risers that I generally used with incline starters to create varying grades or to meet bridges and roadway levels.

The layout is mostly freelance and is of no particular place. It's just an amalgamation of sea and what would be a mountainous area indicative of the Pacific Northwest or Coastal Maine.

There is still a lot to be done... but that's the fun part of the hobby in creating and seeing your dreams become a reality. After all - "It's the greatest hobby in the world!"

John Sullivan in Massachusetts

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