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24 Mar

Gaugemaster GM200 & GM201 Ballasted Underlay Review

Gaugemaster GM200 & GM201 Ballasted Underlay

It’s a few years since Gaugemaster launched their Ballasted Underlay and it’s still selling like Hot Cakes. We take a look to see what all the fuss is about…

For realism on any Model Railway layout, it is essential that the track should be ballasted. This has always been a fiddly and time consuming process. In the past, once the track had been pinned down, it would be a case of brushing loose ballast chippings along the sides of the track and in between the sleepers, making sure nothing fouled the rails anywhere. Then you’d have to spend what seemed like a lifetime applying watered down PVA glue with an eye dropper of all things to try and make the ballast stay in place. A very very tedious task if ever there was one. Especially when all you wanted to do was  and run your trains.

So, in about 2003, Gaugemaster launched their GM200 OO/HO Gauge Underlay to the UK Market. Rather unsurprisingly, us railway modellers wanted it by the boat load, meaning you often had to wait months to get your hands on this “New Gold”! This was shortly followed by the eagerly awaited GM201 Ballasted Underlay for N Gauge railway modelers.

So what is it then?

Ballasted Underlay by Gaugemaster

Well, quite simply, it’s a foam underlay, just like the one Hornby do, but it’s  made from soft Moltopren foam. Graded-to-scale, real granite stone is bonded to the shoulders and the top of the foam leaving the recesses clear to take the sleepers. It’s compatible with all UK OO Gauge and most HO track too. Features correct thickness of ballast and evenly shaped shoulders to give the perfect finish on your layout.

The soft Moltopren foam has excellent sound deadening qualities too, which are always a bonus when your trains are bombing round your track.

Gaugemasters GM200 & Gm201 is manufactured by German Scenery Gurus, Noch, who also produce the majority of Gaugemasters scenic range of scatters, loose ballasts and trees, so the quality is always guaranteed.

Is it any good then?

Since its launch I’ve worked my way rather quickly through many many rolls of this stuff. Too many to count. It’s brilliant. Very easy to use. It works with Flexible and Fixed track. The only stumbling block is when you come to the points. But there are stock moltopren foam sheets available that you can cut to shape and ballast by hand. That’s the only awkward bit. Apart from that, it’s absolutely fantastic.

How much do you get in a pack and how much will it cost me?

Each pack contains 5 metres of ready ballasted track underlay, and it’s currently retailing at around £19.95, which is an absolute bargain. You make get a few £ off though if you shop around though.

Where can I buy it?

Most hobby shops around the UK stock it, and it’s now becoming more widely available all over the world. I saw a shop in Australia listing it in their online shop this morning. I normally get mine from Gaugemasters Amazon.co.uk Outlet as I’m lazy and already have an Amazon account, so I can buy it with one click!

Gaugemaster GM200 OO/HO Flexible Grey Ballasted Underlay from Gaugemaster At Amazon.co.uk

Gaugemaster GM201 N Gauge Flexible Grey Ballasted Underlay from Gaugemaster At Amazon.co.uk

Our Verdict?

9.5/10

23 Mar

Laser Cut Minis From Noch in HO/OO/N Gauge

The Easy Way To Add Detail To Gardens, Countryside and Allotments On Your Model Railway.

If you’ve ever wanted to add realistic plants, reeds, vegetables etc to gardens, river banks or allotments on your Model Railway, it’s always been a bit of a challenge. The plastic offerings available from some manufacturers have always been pretty poor, and modelling your own has always been nigh-on impossible. Until now. Those ever so clever guys at German Model Railway scenery manufacturer Noch have been busy beavering away on a range of new Laser Cut Minis. A bit of a technical title maybe for a model cabbage, but lets take a closer look, as I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

Our samples were kindly supplied by their UK Distributor, Gaugemaster.

What Are Laser Cut Minis?

Laser Cut Minis are simply Model Plants and Vegetables that are cut by laser from a specially coloured, tear proof paper. They can be shaped by hand and simply glued into place in seconds – something we like very much cos we’re lazy! The current range includes Ferns, Reeds, Knotgrass, Cabbages, Rhubard, Turnips, Zucchini, Water Lillies and Runner Beans.

14106 Cabbage Plants

14200 Runner Beans

14110 Turnips

14114 Water Lillies

14118 Climbing Rose

14100 Fern

What Scales Do They Make Them In?

At present they only come in HO (1/87) and N Gauge. Now I know some old stick in the muds will moan here, but as mother nature is a bit random to say the least you can certainly use them with little or no cause for complaint on any OO gauge layout (They’d look great along side Hornby’s Skaledale range for example).  And anyway, these look so good, why spend a weekend trying to make your own OO Gauge Rhubard plant?

Are They Easy To Use?

Couldn’t be easier to be honest. The pictures below show the three simple steps needed to build a very realistic Rhubarb patch on a OO / HO gauge allotment! Simply pop them out from the base material. Bend them into shape by hand, and then glue them in to place. Virtually no modelling skills necessary! Have a look too at the video at the bottom of this review to see just how easy they are to use! (the video is in german, but you can get the idea of how they work.)

Remove the plants from the base material

Bend the Laser Cut Minis into shape by hand.

Glue into place with UHU

Where Can I Buy Them?

Our samples were kindly supplied by Gaugemaster @ Amazon.co.uk. Browse the full range of Noch Laser Cut Minis Here.

  • Gaugemasters Amazon Shop stocks the full range of Noch Scenic Products including Laser Cut Minis

Our Verdict?

9/10