Marcus’ Layout

“Hi Al,

I am a subscriber to your email post, and would like to send you some pics of my layout here in Sydney that I have been working on for the last couple of years. I started building Model railways in the late 1970’s in the UK, and this would now be my third proper layout (much to my wife’s dismay).

The layout started out as a British Rail outline, but is now changing to a German/Swiss bavarian one! It’s about 4×4 metres and is very detailed (I think) with scratch built catenary etc..

I enjoy your site very much, and look forward to your response.

Best regards,


(Images are clickable)

“On that meat tray suggestion; if you use an airbrush to paint larger areas or any size area where Styrofoam is connected’ use ordinary flat house paint, or artist “gesso” to prime, and strengthen the binder of the paint. Too often people airbrush Styrofoam without sealing or priming, and it peels off or tends to show the “pellet” effect that comes with Styrofoam. Plus you can stipple the paint or primer with use of a coarse bristle brush to create texture i.e. stucco or stone.


That’s all this time. Thank you all for the comments on the ‘ebay cheat sheet‘ that keep rolling in. They really do put a smile on my face.



63 Responses to Marcus’ Layout

  1. Tremendous pics and a great painting tip to boot! Thanks for sharing them fellows! I really like the pic of the tunnel with only the underlying structure (unfinished). That sort of thing is very helpful to the less knowledgeable of us!


  2. Great going :-)
    One comment… the house lights are too bright.

  3. Hello Marcus
    thats a nice looking job youve done very authentic

  4. Awesome piece of work….so detailed oriented. If a person who doesn’t know about model railroad can be fooled as if it real ….you truly have a blessing talent. Dennis

  5. well done sir, with lots of attention to detail, good job

  6. Your pictures look so real. You have a great touch for detail.

  7. These are good photos look like the rean thing I’m impressed. good job.

  8. Wow what a layout can you come here and make mine as

  9. Great pics of Marcus’ layout…impressed..:O) J xx

  10. Outstanding!
    Can we see more?

  11. Brilliant layout Marcus a superb bid of modelling

  12. Great photo work Marcus.
    You have excellent detail, extreme realism, and it is well laid out.
    Keep up the amazing work.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Robert from Canada.

  13. Amazing detail. And wonderful photos. While looking at the photos in larger size, made me feel I was actually viewing a working railroad. Excellent.

  14. That was a fantastic layout. Very realistic (including the spare rail by the side of the track). The painting is exceptional.

  15. Wonderful layout. So real. Good job.

  16. Fantastic layout Wish mine looked that good

  17. Marcus, you have your ballast very realistic. On your BR pics it takes a second look to make sure one is looking at a model track! Very impressive realism!

  18. That’s very realistic! Awesome work!

  19. Amazing eye to detail, love the posters on the buildings and the mountains Great Job!

  20. That’s a very fine job Marcus. Well proportioned. Not “too much” of any one thing. You can add or subtract details without any major rebuilding any still have a whole new look. The catenary looks fantastic. That’s way beyond my
    patience and ability limits

  21. Nice layout Marcus, congrats!
    Could you tell me where you bought/where the backdrops, they are exactly what I need for my On30?

  22. The first pic has to be based on Harrow on The Hill on the Met line. For seven years from 1968-1975 I stood just around the corner to the left of the elevator door just about every day in life on my way home from school. Either by perfect modelling or pure chance it is an exact copy. I will see if I can find a pic of the real thing back then, I must have one somewhere.

  23. excellent detailing

  24. Fantastic and oh so real looking. Your lights are probably the right intensity but to expose for the other low light detail the lights can sometimes be over exposed.
    Great Job

  25. my wife wishes I would finish my layout like you have done. Fantastic!

  26. Great pictures and an extraordinary layout… Once my layout is finished, I hope people will say it contains the same detail of your layout… Thanks for sharing… Yes, Can we see more please.

  27. outstanding detail, thankring with usyou for sha

  28. you are the man

  29. Beautiful, Marcus. A couple of these pictures make it hard to believe it’s a model.

  30. Hi Marcus, you have a keen eye and a believable layout.
    I noticed that a lot of your rails have gaps at the join. Is the gap on both rails and is it to cause a clikity clack. Would love to hear a train running over them.

  31. Thanks for your efforts

  32. it looks impressive

  33. Wow! Did you guys happen to notice how clean it is in Marcus’ layout? I’m hoping to find a cheap apt. to rent there so I can move :) Outstanding pics :)

  34. Really cool

  35. Would be very interested to know how to make the catenary from scratch.
    Stunning setup

  36. Truly stunning detail and great to see the tunnel under construction; I am weighing up the options to construct a hill and tunnel and this has given me very helpful ideas. The realism of the scenery is terrific. I noticed one comment about the lights being bright but wonder if this more to with the level of exposure with the camera?

    I look at this photos with my 7 year old son – all I can is that I have a real challenge to come anywhere near the authenticity!

    Thank you very much for sharing your work

  37. Just a minute, I have to pick my jaw up from the floor! Absolutely brilliant layout, and photography. Great effort!

  38. Real nice i had to take a double take cause some of the pics looked so real!

  39. Marcus … fantastic pictures … fantastic layout … and just one more word … FANTASTIC!!

    Ed … great tip!

    Thanks to you and Al for sharing.



  40. A great layout the detail is outstanding, love the tunnels and the mountains look so real.the line up of the cars look superb.

  41. A great layout the detail is fantastic. Love the different levels of the track, As shown Mother earth is not flat something we should all bear in mind when building a layout.

  42. Great layout, superb detailing and great ideas for us novices.

  43. Seems a shame you’ve decided to go German since you were doing British so very nicely, but that’s half the fun isn’t it, been there, done that, what’s next sort of thing? I think that one long girder is doing very well to hold up that whole hill though, maybe something more tunnelly called for? Cheers,

  44. Marcus:
    Amazing and so natural. Good job, and thanks sharing with us the layout.

  45. It simply does not get much better than this!. Thank you.

  46. Great layout, anymore pictures to come.

    keep up the good work that you have produced.


  48. Nice layout Marcus,
    Great Detail work. I have to ask,
    The motor car with the #’s: HKH 1810
    in image: IMG_0779
    Is that a Jaguar?
    I have been looking for ine of those for years.

  49. Very impressive. Good job.

  50. Hi,

    Thanks for your observations Rod regarding the single girder supporting the mountain! This is still work in progress and will probably include a part tunnel portal.

    The motor cars are from Oxford Diecast. And the car on the right is a Mk1 E-type Jag (I think) They are really well detailed and not that expensive. I actually think they suit HO scale better than OO scale, but I may be wrong!

    Regarding the British versus German/Swiss theme, I’m now having second thoughts on this! I’ll take some new photos with some British rail rolling stock and a bit of re-arranging of the scenery/backdrops etc and see what you all think.

    Best regards,


  51. If you showed your photos to someone and aksed them if they could tell which town they are the person wouldn’t know it was a model rr!
    As with everyone else your photos look real. The picture of the 4 cars in the lot do not look like “toy” cars? And the poster on the wall in back of the cars of the woman modeling a bottle of water also looks like a real picture/poster.

    I’m very impressed with what you’ve done!

  52. Hi Marcus
    Further to Rod Mackay’s observation re your very long free span tunnel entrance girder, I offer the further comment. The depth of the girder (handrail) is in a realistic sense too small unless one postulated hidden post-tensioning cables. Being a steel structure however, in contrast to structural prestressed / post- tensioned concrete, significant visible strengthening to cope with the post tensioning induced compressive forces need to be allowed for.

    On balance, to be in keeping with a sense of realism, a flat arch or double cantilever design would provide a more economic design solution.

    Of course a midspan support column will answer both the need for practical economics as well as a simple fix of your supperb model.

    Furthermore and either case, I believe the bean ends would need to be supporte by either a structural steel or appropriately sized reinforce concrete abbutment which would also be visible. My the length we go to to achieve realism!

    And keep up the excelent modeling, it is a pleasure to view

    Dr Bruce

  53. AMAZING doesn’t seem adequate. Your close up pixs themselves are amazing!

  54. Excellent detail,,,,one the best I’ve ever seen and that includes a lot of clubs with resources that the average guy can’t touch. You are an artist of the first degree.

  55. what afantastic layout.your attention to detail is superb

  56. Well done Marcus
    It’s particular nice to see a German/Swiss style layout I can learn from.
    I have a whole wall unit full of builddings, Fleichmann and Roco engines, rolling stock and track, unfortunately do not have enough room for a layout in my home in Sydney, however I plan to move to a larger home in 3-4 years time and constandly remind my partner about my plans for a decent layout in order to prime her for the event and hopefully will have soften all resistance by then. :-)
    Best Regards Thomas

  57. Hi Marcus,
    You have done a great job on your layout. I know my will never look as good as yours. The layout looks so professional. Send more pictures.
    Best regards,

  58. Fantastic layout. Detail is astounding. I am jealous.

  59. outstanding. Looks real

  60. Sorry I forgot to say my layout is N gauge. the things I need help with is the wiring. I hope to hear from some one soon.
    thanks colin

  61. Great job Marcus, you seemed to have well and truly pushed the plausability button with your work. I have some Bemo HOm equipment and am very intetested in how you made your catenary system. I know it can be commercially aquired but it is too expensive and no where near as satisfying as building your own! Would you care to enlighten us on you methods please?

  62. That is absolutely excellent, especially the station! That does look real! Thank you!

  63. Marcus, WOW………..From the U.S.

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