N gauge coffee table layout – Grant’s

Grant’s been in touch with his N gauge coffee table layout:

“Hi Al

I have just finished another layout.

A couple of years ago I was at a train show for a local church, and they were having a junk sale.

They had a small coffee table there with a space in it for magazines. I looked at it and saw that I could squeeze an N scale layout in there.

The project was on standby for a long time. Recently I have been bitten by the bug again and over the last few weeks have crafted the layout.

Apologies for the different lighting. Some were taken on my phone the other my camera, and I have yet to figure out white balance with high F stop. But given that it is sunnydale, this yellow light works.

The loco is a little Japanese unit I picked up, the motor is in the middle carriage.

The whole thing is 400x560mm. it has a base board, onto which I put a single piece of 3mm ply cut to make the elevated layout. Giving me a smooth curve.

The bridge is matchsticks and deliberately rickety.

To make my rocks i put down a base layer of either polystyrene or plastic fly wire over a frame. Onto this i place plaster mixed with grey concrete tint.

I place the plaster mix on tinfoil and lay over frame, foil up, shaping the foil to make rocks. Later I peel the foil off. I then paint dark colours and dry brush up to light.



n gauge coffee table layout

n gauge coffee table layout

n gauge coffee table layout

n gauge coffee table layout

n gauge coffee table layout

n gauge coffee table layout

N gauge coffee table layout:

model train

model train

model train

model train

model train

model train

model train

n gauge coffee table layout

n gauge coffee table layout

n gauge coffee table layout

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A big thanks to Grant for sharing his N gauge coffee table layout – coffee table layouts are always fun. There’s been quite a collection over the years.

And if I’m not mistaken, here’s another of Grant’s from a while back (scroll down to the middle – it’s the one in the drawer).

Or if you just want to get going yourself, the Beginners Guide is here.

That’s all this time. Please do keep ’em coming.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

model train answers

26 Responses to N gauge coffee table layout – Grant’s

  1. allan says:

    well done

  2. David V. Corbin says:

    What grade is that? I am currently doing a 4′ x 8′ (N-Scale) and having trouble with even a 2.5% grade….that has to be much higher!

  3. Roy says:

    Hi, yes does look great in a coffee table, does it have a glass top to it ?, seen them in TVs cabinets, suit cases n gauge is what I deal with now and do love the size you can get from it. As for 2. 5% grade shouldn’t be a problem for that area, my first layout had two levels each side of layout then across bridge set in centre but only the goods train pulled by Diesel was the only engine to climb that grade at the time. Passager train run around the base stopping at the station. This layout cost me then £ 125 but that was 50 years ago. Also I did like was a fishtank made into a coffee table at a garden centre. Well keep the good work coming. Roy

  4. Roy says:

    The layout I had with that grade was 3×5 and had it on pulleys so I could raise it up to the ceiling. Roy

  5. Ray Ehlert says:


    That little train must be “special” to have all of that traction.
    I think having the motor in the center unit helped too !
    Great little layout. Thanks for the video too !

    Train man Charlie

  6. david howarth says:

    Nice one there Grant , think its time I tried a coffee table layout ..well done ..dave

  7. Jose says:

    Thats nice and tiny i have in my plans a N layout i have HO now i enjoy all your videos

  8. ian impett says:

    tiny tiny tiny.naughty but nice too small for me !!!!

  9. wot a groovy little layout
    now THAT’S wut Im talkin about
    nice elevations and sweet ORIGINAL scenery
    how inovative!!
    keep em runnin fellas
    stjohn in long beach cal.

  10. Ralph says:

    Great layout. Just shows what you can fit into a small space.

  11. Thomas Murphy says:

    A perfect layout to relax with a spot of tea and a crimpet after a difficult day in the salt mine,

  12. jonathan felgenhauer says:

    that is a nice little layout you have there. I have seen a layout like that in T and HO scale. I am in the midst of build a 4×8 HO layout copying off of John Allen’s Gorre and Daphetid.

  13. Your poor little twain’s movin’ way too fast for its scale! You’re gonna wear it out or surely derail it!!!

    GREAT JOB!!!!


  14. Grant says:

    HI All.
    Thanks for your great feedback. I don’t know the exact grade, but the entire height difference is about 55mm. The grade is between 3% and 4.5% depending on the section. The whole layout is 400mm x 550mm x 110mm. Roy, yes it does have a glass top. I forgot to send a couple of photos which show the controller in a drawer on one side and the glass top on. There are holes in the bottom for the cords.

  15. Ian Mc Donald says:

    I like the design I have decided to use it in a much larger format. thankyou.

  16. Zach says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. But what paint did you use?
    (I am kind on new to this)

  17. Cary E Price says:

    Great layout Grant, makes me want to run out and buy a n scale starter set.
    thanks for sharing especially all the in process photos! Cary in KY

  18. Kevin McArdle says:

    Next, a layout in a shaving kit. The possibilities are endless.

  19. Cary b says:

    Ver nicely done layout, Cary B

  20. Chris G says:

    Excellent layout! I believe the loco and cars were made by Kato – I had one and it had plenty of traction.

    Have you tried using Photoshop Elements software to correct your color balance issues? I find that it works well and is easy to use.

  21. Very nice, very creative.

  22. Will in NM says:

    Grant, Very nice layout. I had never thought of using spray foam to form basic scenery contours. I think that idea will help me make some progress on my Christmas layout. The video was great even if that little train was going a bit too fast. Thank you for your inspiring photos and video.

  23. Jim Logue says:

    Very nice 👍. I really like how you did the mountains and the coloring. Well done!! JimL now from Fla.

  24. Erick says:

    Looks pretty Kool.!!!!!! Well done

  25. Gary says:

    I like it, well done

  26. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice layout. my friend did something similar in z scale, too expensive for me, but i wish i could do it.

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