NLMS - Dutch ModelRailroad -

City and village.


The big city.

Modeling a big city on the layout requires a lot of space. An average house is close to 4 x 5 inch. Space in length is usually not a big problem, but in depth is another issue. We need depth to create the feeling of a big city. At least 3 feet is needed to create some sort of depth. A few blocks of houses and streets in between them is the least I want on my layout. When the layout is only viewed from one side, in front, then the last row of buildings don't need any detail in the rear.

One way I use to get more structure out of one house is to cut it in half, and place the rear half next to the front. This way a longer block of houses can easily be made. Faller even has a few kits in it's line up designed with this in mind. They have placed a groove in the center of the wall that need only be cut trough. This row of houses can be placed at the rear of the layout, where we cannot see the back side from the houses.

Behind those houses we can place trees to imitate a forest, or tall buildings fronts to imitate the rest of the big city. These can even be printed fronts on paper and glued to the background. Some companies even sell special software for this purpose.

The height of the layout also makes impact on the effect of the big city. Is it to low then we have a birds eye view, and the effect of a big city might be gone.

The best way is to build the layout on a height that will let us look straight at it, on eye level. In real live we look at al the buildings on eye level.  Of course the size of the height will be different since we all have different sizes our selves, short people versus tall people. Think about the module layouts on train shows. Children often have to stand on a step, while tall folks have to bend down. We have to come up with a height that suite anyone in the family.

Another way to imitate a big city is with use of mirrors.

At the end of the street we place an mirror directly behind the building and the scenery. This mirror will give the impression of a longer street.

We can also finish a row of houses with trees to give the impression of a park, with a careful placed mirror.

On the photo you see my trial with two mirrors. Clearly visible are the four house in the middle, which now look like a lot more then just 4 houses.

On the previous photo the houses have not yet been cut through the center, which gives a negative effect.

On this photo the houses are cut and the mirror will "complete" the houses again. Not visible on the photo is that I placed three mirrors. This will increase the effect of depth because it also mirrors the image from the other mirror, an endless effect so to speak.

Endless, but as long as the mirrors are placed in 90 and 180 decrees, otherwise the effect is gone. One bad thing is that the mirrors also show your face when you look at them. I have to think of something to prevent, or at least minimize, this. One way is to carefully place the mirror out of sight, when possible and hide the ends of the mirror with some scenery.

Another benefit of a layout build on eye level is the space required behind buildings to create the depth. This space can become smaller and smaller the deeper it gets.

Another benefit is that we can hide a piece of track out of side by placing tall buildings in front of it, as long as we have our layout on eye level. It will however be a bit more difficult to reach the train in case of trouble.

The city can also be placed in a corner, and with mirrors placed on both sides, will make it appear bigger.

This picture shows a sample of a train hidden behind houses, shown on Eurospoor 2001 show in Maastricht Holland.

A Dutch city with Dutch models.

When modeling a Dutch layout, the structure s of course have to show the typical Dutch characteristics, and not look to German. Or American if you like me, live in the USA, and can't hardly buy anything else. To exactly model a part of a city, like Dordrecht, is not an easy job. Most, if not all, of it has to be scratch build. Although someone has modeled part of the old city of Dordrecht, with sharp detail, see the following photo.

This photo, also taken at Eurospoor 2001, shows the "grote kerk", at the beginning of the "Voorstraat", behind the white bus.

What I like to accomplish on my layout are structures from various manufactures, which have that Dutch character in them. I add some scratch build models from Dordrecht to complete the scene.

By placing the typical buildings from Dordrecht in the foreground and then fill the back with "non Dordrecht" buildings, I hope to create a small piece of Dordrecht. Of course to complete the feeling of being in Dordrecht, I will have to model the canals with a harbor, and the famous "pakhuizen".

Just like the chapter about Dutch trains, I try to post as much information about Dutch models in the HO scale.

From those models I know for sure it is a exact replica of the original, I try to find a picture that I will place next to the picture of the model. I also place some information about the model and a link to a website, if aviable.

To keep the page download time not to long I split the information in three categories. True Dutch models, Dutch style and models that can be easily modified to appear Dutch.

Dutch models.

Dutch style.

Dutch, with some modification.

Choose a category by clicking on the corresponding picture.

At the end, what is a "brand" name?

Auhagen, makes products for her self, but also sells Heljan structures under its own name.

Artitec, only makes Dutch and German resin structures for her self, but also works with an Scandinavian company for the Scandinavian market.

Faller, some of here models in the past were released trough Atlas. New after the Pola merger, she makes "exclusive" models for Walthers

Heljan, the company that exclusively makes Walthers structures. Well exclusive? Heljan new makes the same exclusive
"Walthers" structures for
Trix ", they are released as yet another temporary and exclusive model, but more expensive. This brand also release there own products to Auhagen, Con-Cor, LifeLike, IHC en Walthers.

Holland Scale, only Dutch and for there own name only

Kibri, also just for there own name.

Piko, besides there own line, they release their own models to Con-Cor en ModelPower.

Pola, since 1998 merged with Faller, releases, or used to, some of here models to Atlas, Con-Cor, IHC, Lionel, ModelPower, Oregon Rail Supply and Walthers. Pola also used to make models specifically for these companies, that were not released under there own name.

Revell, release there own models for IHC.

Tilly models, only makes Dutch resin structures for him self.

Volmer, only release for there own name, but what has Marklin to do with it?

This page is last updated on 15 July 2012

NLMS - Dutch ModelRailroad -