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01 Apr

Add Life To Your Model Railway With Figures

Noch OO/HO Model Figures On A Model Railway Layout

People People People, they’re everywhere. And so to make your Model Railway (Railroad for our American Cousins) look as realistic as possible, your layout needs model figures, and lots of them. Every station, every town scene, the goods yard, the countryside… you need them everywhere.

A layout with no figures is just wrong. I’m sorry, but unless your one of these people goes out and about at 4am when most of the world is still where it should be, tucked up in bed, then you will always see people out and about in the street. Our streets are rarely deserted. It goes without saying therefore that your layout needs people, and lots of them, to make everything look “Just Right”.

Unfortunately, this costs money, which for many railway modellers, myself included, can be a bit tight at times when it comes to splashing out on a ton of tiny plastic people! So what the most cost effective ways of adding people to your layout without breaking the bank? Well, I’ve personally not got the patience to sit carving individual figures from stock plastic, so I have no choice but to buy them, but by shopping around, and keeping a bit of an open mind, you can bag yourself some real bargains!

For the UK market, particularly in OO, it looks initially like the range available is limited to less than 10 different sets from the Big manufacturers. Hornby have produced the same god awful people for about 20 years if not more, and Bachmann offer enough to populate a corner shop scene, and that’s about it. Peco offer a few through the ModelScene brand, but I don’t think Peco have realised the web is now quite popular… Their website looks like an early 90’s throwback. So, it’s on to the little guys. Springside do some quite nice hand painted white metal figures, but they are lacking in quality for me personally (yes I know I said money was tight but we want Value for money too right?).

There is light at the end of the tunnel though!

Ladies & Gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, Preiser, Noch & Faller (Massive round of applause!).

Yeah Yeah, them again I know… But, these Germans really have got their heads screwed on! Oh Oh but they don’t make OO Gauge stuff… I can’t use HO on my OO layout… Yeah but, we’re all 6 foot tall exactly right? We’re talking about mother nature here. A fully grown adult male I would say could be anywhere between 5 foot nothing and 6 foot 6 inches and it’s all fine. So what’s a couple of millimeters between friends? So shut it moaning and lets have a look at what they’ve got.

Preiser Model Figures

Preiser have to be the most dedicated of Model Figure manufacturers in the world. With a range of literally 1000’s of different figures, in every pose, guise and scale you can imagine. Their HO gauge and N Gauge ranges are simply Massive! There’s everything from Builders to Bankers, Track Workers to Transvestites (Eddie Izzard in HO, now there’s a thought), Nude Sunbathers to Nuns. Whatever scene you’re creating, Preiser have the figures for it. But they do come at a price. Their standard range runs around £5 for a set of 6 figures, their exclusive range £8 to £12 for 6 or more figures. The difference between the too being the quality & detailing. That said, their standard range knocks spots off any of the British offerings. They also offer comprehensive ranges in other gauges too including 1:32 which are suitable model figures for slot car layouts.

New figure sets & accessories from Preiser for 2010

10602 Track Workers By Preiser

10607 Vespa Riders in HO/OO By Preiser

10614 Flea Market Scene in HO/OO by Preiser

63097 1/32 Scale Figures For Slot Car Scenery

79219 N Gauge Passengers by Preiser

79220 More N Gauge Passengers by Preiser

Faller Model Figures

Faller, whilst not having such as large a range as Preiser as trying hard, and cater for those on a slightly tighter budget. With a good range of International figures in HO & N gauge, they offer great value for money. The overall quality of the figures isn’t quite up to Preisers standard, but they’re definitely worth a look.

153004 Bulk Pack Of Farm Figures From Faller

Noch Model Figures

Again, whilst not having such a large range as Preiser, Noch do have some very interesting scenes available in HO and N which add an instant touch of realism to any layout. Their prices are very competitive too. Whilst primarily aimed at the German & European market, by making a few wise choices, their model railway figure sets can be used on any layout, anywhere in the world.

15031 Working Men Figures By Noch

16042 City Figures Bulk Pack By Noch

11280 Street Cafe Scene by Noch

So where does that leave Hornby & Bachmann then?

Well, I’d say, in a resounding last place in the figure stakes. One redeeming feature of Bachmanns figures though is that they are (at least they where when I last looked), made by Preiser, so there, you OO gauge stalwarts have been buying HO figures for your OO layout all along!

Ready Painted or Paint Your Own?

This is one for debate. I personally don’t have the time to sit and paint them, but I know plenty of people who do, and they love it. So for me I’d opt for ready painted every time. This satisfies my craving for instant gratification and makes my layout look super realistic in double quick time. If you prefer to paint your own, there are a few cost savings to be made though. You can buy a bulk pack of figures from Preiser for under £20 and probably paint the lot for less than £20 too. Saving you nearly £100 maybe over buying them ready painted.

What about the other gauges – N, Z, TT, G, O,

Well, the best place to start again is the German manufacturers. For quality and variety, you just can’t beat them.

Think before you buy

So when you’re adding figures to your layout, think about the scenes that go on in the world around you. People chatting, people walking dogs, people, kissing & cuddling in public, people drinking in the street. Passengers waiting patiently at the platform, people crossing roads, kids playing in the park or in a school playground. All these different scenarios can easily be integrated into your model railway layout with a bit of thought and imagination.

Buy In Bulk & Save £’s

Noch, Fallern and Preiser offer some great value Bulk figure packs. Starting at around £20 for 30 ready painted figures, going up to over £100. These are some of the best value ones currently on the market that work out at just a few pence per image:

FA153001 OO/HO Pack of 36 Sitting People from Faller - £33.50

Noch OO/HO 16102 Traveller Figures by Noch - £24.90

Preiser 14400 Pack of 36 Passengers in OO/HO - £39.95

Where to buy Model Railway Figures?

Our regular recommendation here at Scenery Expert is of course Model Railway Shop, but there are hundreds of local model shops that stock Preiser, Noch and Faller. If they don’t ask them why! Otherwise, try Gaugemaster.com.

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

12 Mar

The Holy Grail In Model Railway Scenery

Here’s an example of just what can be done with a little expertise! One of the most visited tourist destinations in Germany, Miniature Wonderland wows thousands of visitors a year with it’s outstandingly detailed Model Railway Scenery.

Miniature Wonderland has been growing since 2001, originally having 2 layout areas based on Harz and Southern Germany, it now comprises of 7 different regions including Hamburg, America, Austria and Scandinavia with futher sections planned way into 2014!

Accuracy and painstaking detail is the key at Minature Wonderland, with highly detailed HO scenes making it the most impressive layout in the world. Moving vehicles, realistic lighting, and 1000’s upon 1000’s of figures bring this masterpeice to life.

The team behind minature wonderland have push the limits of model construction in every way, with a large proportion of the layout being custom designed and built.  There are over 150 push-button sequences to enjoy along with fully operational Vehicle and Ship navigation systems. And with literally 100’s of Trains running in synch it’s a sight that must be seen!

Take a look at the Miniature Wonderland Official Video below for some real inspiration…