Superdetailing Ideas

First of all - a note about "pop-up images". Some of these images were transported from my former website in what was then "small web image" format. All more recent images are being uploaded in "large web image" format which allows for a larger image on demand. I am retrieving as many of the former images as I can, and will re-upload them where a larger image would be beneficial. Click on each image and see what you get. And please bear with me, if you don't get what you were hoping for!

Summary:
Superdetailing is a general term intended to apply to all refinements of a model railway, and includes such aspects as equipment (locomotive) detailing, equipment and rollingstock weathering, lighting, non-rail moving items [such as moving road vehicles, travelling circus rides or construction equipment, operating mills, and so forth], but this article will confine itself to general layout scenery superdetailing basics or essentials.

"Basic scenery" would normally consist of ballasting, hills, rivers, tunnels, bridges, trestles, general landscape, rock faces, trees and bushes, buildings - everything that eventually covers the bare table top, and also backdrops.

"Superdetailing" is designed to provide that additional detail to the "basic scenery" that makes onlookers want to examine the layout more closely regardless of whether any trains happen to be running or not. In fact, with enough to look at and to think about, moving trains almost become a secondary reason for stoppng to look at the module.

My article The Credible Model discusses the basic principles involved in creating a believable layout.

This article goes into superdetailing in more, well, detail.

At one time, these enhancements pretty much had to be scratch-built, but today there are many products, such as Woodland ScenicsOsborn KitsPreiser, and so forth, available in all scales, even though scratchbuilding is still a fun (and an economy) option for all but the most finicky items that can now be produced as laser kits at a reasonable cost.

In deciding on what and where to superdetail, obviously those areas of the layout most likely to be scrutinized by visitors should receive priority attention. 
Index
Stations
People, Station Areas, Action Scenes
Vehicles, Planes, Vessels and "Street Furniture"
Trackside Furniture
Car Loads
Buildings and Structures, adjunct Scenery
Animals
Whimsy
Stations
Some are prototypical, others freelance, some kitbuilt or kitbashed, mostly scratchbuilt.
Other stations appear as integral parts of layouts under Prototype Modelling.
CPR Orangeville station and the restaurant. H0 Scale.

CPR Orangeville station and the restaurant. H0 Scale.

Port Hope GTR station. H0 Scale.

Port Hope GTR station. H0 Scale.

The C&P Cobourg station on Ted Rafuse's Cobourg & Peterborough Railroad H0 Layout.

The C&P Cobourg station on Ted Rafuse's Cobourg & Peterborough Railroad H0 Layout.

Lindsay CNR station. H0 Scale.

Lindsay CNR station. H0 Scale.

A magnificent urban station on a curve. N.

A magnificent urban station on a curve. N.

A busy wayside station. H0.

A busy wayside station. H0.

A suburban city station with a typical urban background of several storey office/factory buildings and the typical backyard scene of an older home near the railway. H0.

A suburban city station with a typical urban background of several storey office/factory buildings and the typical backyard scene of an older home near the railway. H0.

Waiting at the station. Note the placement of the figures and also the telephone kiosk and parking lot sign. H0.

Waiting at the station. Note the placement of the figures and also the telephone kiosk and parking lot sign. H0.

Junction station and station area with people, vehicles, shipments and lineside buildings. H0.

Junction station and station area with people, vehicles, shipments and lineside buildings. H0.

Orono, Ont. station (CNoR). H0 scale.

Orono, Ont. station (CNoR). H0 scale.

A quiet country station "up north". N.

A quiet country station "up north". N.

A good solid country station. 0n3.

A good solid country station. 0n3.

Lindsay CPR station. N scale.

Lindsay CPR station. N scale.

The Stratford shops and the first Stratford station. H0 scale. November 2002.

The Stratford shops and the first Stratford station. H0 scale. November 2002.

West Toronto CPR station, known as West-port on the Aberfoyle Jct. layout. O Scale.

West Toronto CPR station, known as West-port on the Aberfoyle Jct. layout. O Scale.

A radial railway station. H0.

A radial railway station. H0.

A day at a classic country station. H0.

A day at a classic country station. H0.

A shingled frame wayside station with a central umbrella open waiting area. H0.

A shingled frame wayside station with a central umbrella open waiting area. H0.

A generously-proportioned terminus station for a Maine-style narrow-gauge line. 0n30.

A generously-proportioned terminus station for a Maine-style narrow-gauge line. 0n30.

Sharbot Lake station, an exquisitely prototypical silhouette. H0.

Sharbot Lake station, an exquisitely prototypical silhouette. H0.

Beeton station. H0. An interesting approximate prototypical rendition of the former station (the gable is too shallow). Proper station boards would much improve its credibility ☺!

Beeton station. H0. An interesting approximate prototypical rendition of the former station (the gable is too shallow). Proper station boards would much improve its credibility ☺!

Contributors: Aberfoyle Jct., Action Traction Trolleys, Barrie-Allandale Model Railroaders (Richard Hatton [Rick's Workshop]), Belleville & District Modellers, Charles Cooper, Ganaraska Modellers, Bob Heard, Conrad Hill, Dave Mehew, Larry Murphy, Lindsay & District Model Railroaders, Maple Leaf Mafia 0n3, Markham Modellers. Midland Model Railroaders, N-Trak Ottawa, Peterborough Model Railroaders, Pickering Model Railway, Railview Modellers Associates, Soper Valley Model Railroaders, The 0n30 Trio, Tony Van Klink, TEA Valley Railroaders, Union Railroad Group.
People, Station Area and Action Scenes
These are the most obvious enhancement. Today every possible kind of person - man, woman, child, of whatever age, occupation, or engaged in whatever activity - sitting, standing, walking, working, climbing, cycling, fishing, canoeing, or whatever, is available, and it only requires imagination to place them on the layout singly or in groups. But first and foremost, layouts should have people, or it will appear to a deserted kind of operation - a deserted land where trains travel in a world of their own instead of in ours. For those in the larger scales who plan on handpainting their figures, there is excellent advice on Brian Fayle's web page.
The evening train has departed and mom is home from a shopping day in town. 0n30.

The evening train has departed and mom is home from a shopping day in town. 0n30.

A boomtown front wagonworks, with lumber being delivered for an addition and workmen having lunch. Note the roof patches. H0.

A boomtown front wagonworks, with lumber being delivered for an addition and workmen having lunch. Note the roof patches. H0.

A country station scene. A lass waits in the convertible while her boyfriend goes into the station, two dudes sit on the fence waiting for a train to town, some gravel is being unloaded for the parking lot, while a few waiting for a connection look at an old mining locomotive on a plinth. N.

A country station scene. A lass waits in the convertible while her boyfriend goes into the station, two dudes sit on the fence waiting for a train to town, some gravel is being unloaded for the parking lot, while a few waiting for a connection look at an old mining locomotive on a plinth. N.

A station area scene. N.

A station area scene. N.

A house under construction. Note also the building materials, the churned-up ground and the stray dog. O.

A house under construction. Note also the building materials, the churned-up ground and the stray dog. O.

An annual town festival, with lots of action in the river and even a tight-rope walker. Note the road barrier. HO.

An annual town festival, with lots of action in the river and even a tight-rope walker. Note the road barrier. HO.

Unhappy workers. A strike is in progress. N.

Unhappy workers. A strike is in progress. N.

A busy yard. Note the forklift truck and other "street furniture". HO.

A busy yard. Note the forklift truck and other "street furniture". HO.

Note also the tripod hoist, swamp, tree stumps and dual gauge track. 0n30.

Note also the tripod hoist, swamp, tree stumps and dual gauge track. 0n30.

A fire threatens the down-town. HO.

A fire threatens the down-town. HO.

An oldfashioned outside walk-up right out of the 1930s. Note the garbage cans. HO.

An oldfashioned outside walk-up right out of the 1930s. Note the garbage cans. HO.

Cooling off at the beach. 0.

Cooling off at the beach. 0.

An afternoon jam-session. 0.

An afternoon jam-session. 0.

Getting together at the camp site. 0.

Getting together at the camp site. 0.

Family-reunion picnic time, right down to the thermos bottles and paper plates. 0.

Family-reunion picnic time, right down to the thermos bottles and paper plates. 0.

A workmen's Chinese checkers game, with crates for seats and a barrel table top, not to mention a languid pooch. 0n30.

A workmen's Chinese checkers game, with crates for seats and a barrel table top, not to mention a languid pooch. 0n30.

Quality family time. 0.

Quality family time. 0.

A group of women in heritage attire await their escorts for the trip to the event. N.

A group of women in heritage attire await their escorts for the trip to the event. N.

Two chubby chummy neighbours have a chat. H0.

Two chubby chummy neighbours have a chat. H0.

Looks as if this repair crew has brought a sledgehammer to crack a nut. N.

Looks as if this repair crew has brought a sledgehammer to crack a nut. N.

A bad accident. H0.

A bad accident. H0.

A fairground in full swing (as it were). H0.

A fairground in full swing (as it were). H0.

Pumpers attend at a stubborn fire in the upper storey of this downtown building. Fires are a popular "action" scene. H0.

Pumpers attend at a stubborn fire in the upper storey of this downtown building. Fires are a popular "action" scene. H0.

A ropewalk across a removed trestle on an abandoned branchline. H0.

A ropewalk across a removed trestle on an abandoned branchline. H0.

A busy sawmill. H0.

A busy sawmill. H0.

The "Belly Acres" farm (that could also qualify as "Whimsy"), with all the typical activity that goes with a small family farm. H0.

The "Belly Acres" farm (that could also qualify as "Whimsy"), with all the typical activity that goes with a small family farm. H0.

A compact station square scene. H0.

A compact station square scene. H0.

Off to the station to catch the morning train. Scale 2n. 1:24.

Off to the station to catch the morning train. Scale 2n. 1:24.

Busy around the depot. A kiddie tire swing near the coal dump?

Busy around the depot. A kiddie tire swing near the coal dump?

It's a grand day and they're biting!

It's a grand day and they're biting!

A peaceful afternoon in a rowboat. H0.

A peaceful afternoon in a rowboat. H0.

... down on the farm ... H0.

... down on the farm ... H0.

A wedding and a burial. H0.

A wedding and a burial. H0.

Rock-face climbers. H0

Rock-face climbers. H0

The faces are so remarkable for their expressions. 0n.

The faces are so remarkable for their expressions. 0n.

A day's work at the factory. Gn15.

A day's work at the factory. Gn15.

Hauling a car out of "the drink". H0.

Hauling a car out of "the drink". H0.

Perhaps an unlikely entertainment feature at the station, but then if the trains aren't that frequent ... - but what happens if the call comes for "booooard", and you can't find your way out? Next train, one supposes. N.

Perhaps an unlikely entertainment feature at the station, but then if the trains aren't that frequent ... - but what happens if the call comes for "booooard", and you can't find your way out? Next train, one supposes. N.

The local constabulary is going to find him a nice quiet place where he can sleep it off.
H0 Scale.

The local constabulary is going to find him a nice quiet place where he can sleep it off. H0 Scale.

Seeding for this year's crop. H0.

Seeding for this year's crop. H0.

A family get-together. H0.

A family get-together. H0.

About to load the cattle feed to distribute it to the customers. H0.

About to load the cattle feed to distribute it to the customers. H0.

The long-distance bus gets ready to load its passengers after the train has departed. Wayne Lamb photo

The long-distance bus gets ready to load its passengers after the train has departed. Wayne Lamb photo

Contributors: Aberfoyle Jct., Action Traction Trolleys, Barrie-Allandale Model Railroaders (Richard Hatton [Rick's Workshop]), Belleville & District Modellers, Jim Burchell, Kurt Cairns, Calabogie Renfrew Madawaska, Charles Cooper, Ganaraska Modellers, Bob Heard, Conrad Hill, Dave Mehew, Larry Murphy, Lindsay & District Model Railroaders, Maple Leaf Mafia 0n3, Markham Modellers. Midland Model Railroaders, N-Trak Ottawa, Narrow Gauge Madness Gang, Qualicum Sound Timber, Peel County NGineers, Peterborough Model Railroaders, Pickering Model Railway, Railview Modellers Associates, Soper Valley Model Railroaders, T.TOCS Logging Co. by Ron Scott, The 0n30 Trio, Union Railroad Group.
Vehicles, planes, vessels
and street "furniture"
 
(road signs and so forth)
Arguably, the next most significant category is vehicles of all kinds. Care should be taken here to "fit" them to the time period and to the location. Tractor trailers, for instance, would be obviously out-of-place in a 1920s scene, and even for a 1950s scene. Care should be taken so that any vehicle would arguably fit with the time period. Again, the larger the scale, the more noticeable this consideration becomes.
Fire trucks appeal to many modellers anyway, and where there is a fire, there have to be fire trucks. H0.

Fire trucks appeal to many modellers anyway, and where there is a fire, there have to be fire trucks. H0.

A busy downtown scene with transport trailers and cars. Note the roof-top billboards. H0.

A busy downtown scene with transport trailers and cars. Note the roof-top billboards. H0.

A motorboat out for a spin. H0.

A motorboat out for a spin. H0.

A busy construction yard with several kinds of C-vehicles. H0 and H0n3.

A busy construction yard with several kinds of C-vehicles. H0 and H0n3.

A street scene of bygone days with automobiles that would be at a Classics car rally today. H0.

A street scene of bygone days with automobiles that would be at a Classics car rally today. H0.

The classic curves of the pink coupé are matched by those of the pedestrian in the pink blouse. H0.

The classic curves of the pink coupé are matched by those of the pedestrian in the pink blouse. H0.

Where there is a fire, there is a street closure. H0.

Where there is a fire, there is a street closure. H0.

Some coal spilled at a railway yard is about to be fed onto a conveyor belt to be carted away. H0.

Some coal spilled at a railway yard is about to be fed onto a conveyor belt to be carted away. H0.

A solitary canoe outing. H0.

A solitary canoe outing. H0.

A beached old motor-boat and a pair of up-turned canoes (as one would expect them to be when not in use). H0.

A beached old motor-boat and a pair of up-turned canoes (as one would expect them to be when not in use). H0.

A semi-trailer at the loading dock. H0.

A semi-trailer at the loading dock. H0.

A horse and cart come for a pick-up at the freight shed. N.

A horse and cart come for a pick-up at the freight shed. N.

Some business at the trackside shed. 0n30.

Some business at the trackside shed. 0n30.

A busy loading dock - and that's a flatcar with an interesting load. 0n30.

A busy loading dock - and that's a flatcar with an interesting load. 0n30.

A construction site with several kinds of vehicles and a mobile workmen's bunkhouse. 0.

A construction site with several kinds of vehicles and a mobile workmen's bunkhouse. 0.

Now there's something different. 0.

Now there's something different. 0.

A busy dock-side parking lot. 0.

A busy dock-side parking lot. 0.

A typical station parking lot. 0.

A typical station parking lot. 0.

Lumber yard and spur. 0.

Lumber yard and spur. 0.

A tandem horse dray, an oldfashioned bus and some onlookers at the lock. 0.

A tandem horse dray, an oldfashioned bus and some onlookers at the lock. 0.

A "hi-boy" lumber cart. Scale 1 (1:32).

A "hi-boy" lumber cart. Scale 1 (1:32).

Two lake vessels at harbour. N.

Two lake vessels at harbour. N.

The lazy days of summer at the boat house. Sn3.

The lazy days of summer at the boat house. Sn3.

Deliveries are ready to go at the wholesalers. 0n30.

Deliveries are ready to go at the wholesalers. 0n30.

A fire is always a popular action scene, and allows someone to show off a fire truck! H0.

A fire is always a popular action scene, and allows someone to show off a fire truck! H0.

An old-time tug boat makes its way along the river in this charming vignette of yesteryear. Sn3.

An old-time tug boat makes its way along the river in this charming vignette of yesteryear. Sn3.

Here's something different. An abandoned marine railway. Sn3.

Here's something different. An abandoned marine railway. Sn3.

A biplane flies through the gorge. N.

A biplane flies through the gorge. N.

Contributors: Aberfoyle Jct., Charles Cooper, Brian Fayle, Larry Murphy, Midland Model Railroaders, MOB Modellers, Peterborough Model Railroaders, Pickering Model Railway, The 0n30 Trio (John Vincent), T.TOCS Logging Co. by Ron Scott.
Trackside "furniture" 
(grade crossing signs, telegraph poles, switchstands, baggage carts, station nameboards, trackside signs [whistle posts, yard limit signs etc], orderboards, station boards, crossing gates or barriers, watertable monitors, fencing, trackside lumber yards, coal bins, scrap yards and so on. Of all of these, the absence of grade crossing signs is likely the most noticeable in any scale, as would be the absence of other trackside "furniture" in the larger scales in particular.
A scrap yard is an easy scenic addition, often with scrap items from your own work table. H0.

A scrap yard is an easy scenic addition, often with scrap items from your own work table. H0.

A junk yard with some interesting car loads in the foreground. 0.

A junk yard with some interesting car loads in the foreground. 0.

A busy reclamation yard. H0.

A busy reclamation yard. H0.

Prototypically represented and fenced: preserved CNR Consolidation-type 2634. H0.

Prototypically represented and fenced: preserved CNR Consolidation-type 2634. H0.

Operating switchstand. H0 fine scale.

Operating switchstand. H0 fine scale.

Interspersed renewed ties. H0 fine scale.

Interspersed renewed ties. H0 fine scale.

Culvert with retaining walls. H0 fine scale.

Culvert with retaining walls. H0 fine scale.

Grade crossing signs. (Non-operating switchstand in background [without its target]). 0n30.

Grade crossing signs. (Non-operating switchstand in background [without its target]). 0n30.

Water table monitor. 0n30.

Water table monitor. 0n30.

Racks of trackside spare rails are a common sight as replaced rails are set aside, or new rails wait to replace those that are wearing out. N.

Racks of trackside spare rails are a common sight as replaced rails are set aside, or new rails wait to replace those that are wearing out. N.

Orderboards at all agency stations are a "must". Here the impending southbound train is required to stop for orders. N.

Orderboards at all agency stations are a "must". Here the impending southbound train is required to stop for orders. N.

 Refuges on all longer trestles and bridges are common-place. N.

Refuges on all longer trestles and bridges are common-place. N.

All trestles and bridges have guard rails to discourage a derailment from becoming a disaster. Note that guard rails on narrow gauge lines are usually placed on the outside of the running rails. N.

All trestles and bridges have guard rails to discourage a derailment from becoming a disaster. Note that guard rails on narrow gauge lines are usually placed on the outside of the running rails. N.

Mobile stop-signs on an industrial spur protect the mainline. H0 fine scale.

Mobile stop-signs on an industrial spur protect the mainline. H0 fine scale.

A line-side business shielded from the right-of-way by a beaten-up old board fence. Note also the gravel roof, the trail of oil between the rails and the boards at the sidewalk. H0 fine scale.

A line-side business shielded from the right-of-way by a beaten-up old board fence. Note also the gravel roof, the trail of oil between the rails and the boards at the sidewalk. H0 fine scale.

Worn-out wheelsets on a spur. N.

Worn-out wheelsets on a spur. N.

A whistle post and a non-operating switchstand. H0 fine.

A whistle post and a non-operating switchstand. H0 fine.

A station orderboard puts the finishing touch on any station building. H0.

A station orderboard puts the finishing touch on any station building. H0.

To be specific, a CNR grade crossing sign of the early CNR era. H0. Crossing signs are a major superdetail addition to any layout.

To be specific, a CNR grade crossing sign of the early CNR era. H0. Crossing signs are a major superdetail addition to any layout.

A closed tunnel entrance on an abandoned branchline. H0

A closed tunnel entrance on an abandoned branchline. H0

A loading platform and dolly at the freight shed. H0.

A loading platform and dolly at the freight shed. H0.

The tourists are back . N.

The tourists are back . N.

Thrown the switch and gone for a dip. 0n30.

Thrown the switch and gone for a dip. 0n30.

A scrap yard with a battered old fence always rates as a line-side feature.

A scrap yard with a battered old fence always rates as a line-side feature.

A time-honoured scene at the platform as the baggage has to be expedited. H0.

A time-honoured scene at the platform as the baggage has to be expedited. H0.

Rail replacement was a constant operating necessity, and in bygone days (before welded rail) this was a common track-side feature. H0.

Rail replacement was a constant operating necessity, and in bygone days (before welded rail) this was a common track-side feature. H0.

An old-time "stub switch". 0n.

An old-time "stub switch". 0n.

Section house and crew.

Section house and crew.

Contributors: Aberfoyle Jct., Belleville & District Railway Modellers, Burlington Modellers, Charles Cooper, Richard Chrysler, Ganaraska Modellers, Maple Leaf Mafia 0n, Muskoka Model Railroaders, Larry Murphy, Lindsay & District Model Railroaders, Ontario & Eastern Model Railway, Narrow Gauge Madness Gang, Pine Ridge Modellers, Union Railroad Group.  
Car loads
Some gondola, ore and hopper cars come from the manufacturer equipped with loads, but flat and bulkhead cars usually cry out for some kind of a load, be it lumber, vehicles, machinery, pipe tubing or whatever. No railroad ever stayed in business running empty cars all over the place.
A gondola car well-laden with fine sand, a staple railway-needed commodity in the steam days for locomotive sanders. 0.

A gondola car well-laden with fine sand, a staple railway-needed commodity in the steam days for locomotive sanders. 0.

Farm machinery has been a common flatcar load, dating right back to the railways' pioneer days. 0.

Farm machinery has been a common flatcar load, dating right back to the railways' pioneer days. 0.

Underway to summer exercises. N.

Underway to summer exercises. N.

An old bus goes to a museum. N.

An old bus goes to a museum. N.

Worn-out wheel sets fetch good money on reclamation. N.

Worn-out wheel sets fetch good money on reclamation. N.

A consignment of pipes (black drinking straws) for the Keystone pipeline. N.

A consignment of pipes (black drinking straws) for the Keystone pipeline. N.

Two 50 ft flatcar loads of worn-out rail going back to the steel mill. N.

Two 50 ft flatcar loads of worn-out rail going back to the steel mill. N.

A precious load of boreal old timber and two 40 ft bulkhead cars of wrapped lumber. Another 60 ft load of wrapped lumber is on another bridge at the rear. N.

A precious load of boreal old timber and two 40 ft bulkhead cars of wrapped lumber. Another 60 ft load of wrapped lumber is on another bridge at the rear. N.

Roll out the barrels. Let's all have a barrel of fun. N.

Roll out the barrels. Let's all have a barrel of fun. N.

A 50ft "gon" woodchip load, and in-behind, an old-time piggy-back trailer flat. N.

A 50ft "gon" woodchip load, and in-behind, an old-time piggy-back trailer flat. N.

Broken-up asphalt going for re-cycling. N.

Broken-up asphalt going for re-cycling. N.

A 50 ft coal hoppercar under the coaling tower. N.

A 50 ft coal hoppercar under the coaling tower. N.

A load of old springs going for scrap. H0.

A load of old springs going for scrap. H0.

A marine engine about to be shipped. Also note the fencing of the reclamation yard. H0.

A marine engine about to be shipped. Also note the fencing of the reclamation yard. H0.

A shipment of newspaper print. Also note the busy loading ramp. H0.

A shipment of newspaper print. Also note the busy loading ramp. H0.

All kinds of scrap iron. H0.

All kinds of scrap iron. H0.

A flatcar with a full load of two-inch piping. H0.

A flatcar with a full load of two-inch piping. H0.

Flatcars with hydro poles-in-waiting, and a gem of some old boreal forest in the background. N.

Flatcars with hydro poles-in-waiting, and a gem of some old boreal forest in the background. N.

The village is about to get a new pumper. 0n30.

The village is about to get a new pumper. 0n30.

Loads have just arrived by road and rail to enclose that windy frame. 0n30.

Loads have just arrived by road and rail to enclose that windy frame. 0n30.

A flatcar in the process of being loaded. H0.

A flatcar in the process of being loaded. H0.

A shipment of "old" and "new". 0n30.

A shipment of "old" and "new". 0n30.

Bulkhead car lumber load. H0.

Bulkhead car lumber load. H0.

Contributors: Aberfoyle Jct., Charles Cooper, Midland Model Railroaders, Larry Murphy, Lindsay & District Model Railroaders, Muskoka Model Railroaders, Peterborough Model Railroaders, Union Railroad Group.
Buildings and Structures, adjunct Scenery
Commercial building roof top. Note also the weathered old advertising. H0.

Commercial building roof top. Note also the weathered old advertising. H0.

An off-beat-style water tank typical of narrow gauge operation. 0n30.

An off-beat-style water tank typical of narrow gauge operation. 0n30.

A very well-detailed weathered old track-side building supply place. H0.

A very well-detailed weathered old track-side building supply place. H0.

A small stone factory building, with great dormers and a detailed loading ramp. 0n30.

A small stone factory building, with great dormers and a detailed loading ramp. 0n30.

Float your Fanny down the Ganny festival. (Ganaraska Modellers, Port Hope, Ont.) H0 scale.

Float your Fanny down the Ganny festival. (Ganaraska Modellers, Port Hope, Ont.) H0 scale.

A ramshackle old trackside plant. Note the roof work detail and the activity in the foreground. H0.

A ramshackle old trackside plant. Note the roof work detail and the activity in the foreground. H0.

A fine three-storey factory building once common at lineside throughout Ontario. H0.

A fine three-storey factory building once common at lineside throughout Ontario. H0.

A Peterborough-ish backdrop. Peterborough Model Railroaders. H0 scale.

A Peterborough-ish backdrop. Peterborough Model Railroaders. H0 scale.

An overhead view of a small sawmill, with the roof taken off to display the inside detail. H0.

An overhead view of a small sawmill, with the roof taken off to display the inside detail. H0.

A thoroughly well-detailed ageing elastic rabbit-warren-style plant. One cannot be strapped for time to create something like this. H0.

A thoroughly well-detailed ageing elastic rabbit-warren-style plant. One cannot be strapped for time to create something like this. H0.

A close-up view of the back building and loading platform of the H.T. Gordon Bra & Corset factory. H0.

A close-up view of the back building and loading platform of the H.T. Gordon Bra & Corset factory. H0.

A curved trestle is an eyecatcher on any layout. N.

A curved trestle is an eyecatcher on any layout. N.

Logs and rock at the bottom of a water fall. N.

Logs and rock at the bottom of a water fall. N.

A station area lumber yard with lots of saw dust. H0.

A station area lumber yard with lots of saw dust. H0.

An icebreaker abutment and in the background, some anglers. H0 fine.

An icebreaker abutment and in the background, some anglers. H0 fine.

A yard enclosure and shack that have seen better days. H0.

A yard enclosure and shack that have seen better days. H0.

An old-time two-stall engine shed and sand bins. H0.

An old-time two-stall engine shed and sand bins. H0.

A neat urban rail-side backdrop. (there are those who will recognise it as being a little bit of Peterborough, Ontario. H0.

A neat urban rail-side backdrop. (there are those who will recognise it as being a little bit of Peterborough, Ontario. H0.

An old one-stall engine shed, with all the debris and bric-a-brac that surrounds it. H0.

An old one-stall engine shed, with all the debris and bric-a-brac that surrounds it. H0.

A lumber company with rail service. H0.

A lumber company with rail service. H0.

That's a cottage that has seen better days. H0.

That's a cottage that has seen better days. H0.

Farms and barns are an integral part of rail scenes everywhere - farms were a major reason for a railway in the first place. H0.

Farms and barns are an integral part of rail scenes everywhere - farms were a major reason for a railway in the first place. H0.

... and farms and barns were quickly followed by elevators - obviously with this one, time has moved on. H0.

... and farms and barns were quickly followed by elevators - obviously with this one, time has moved on. H0.

A short spur to an old power-station  in the country. N.

A short spur to an old power-station in the country. N.

Orangeville roundhouse. H0 Scale. Bob Heard.

Orangeville roundhouse. H0 Scale. Bob Heard.

It looks as if it's being rebuilt, but one has to wonder why. Sn3.

It looks as if it's being rebuilt, but one has to wonder why. Sn3.

Campground cabin, biffy and dock. H0.

Campground cabin, biffy and dock. H0.

A swampy glade. H0. Photo (and swampy glade ☺) by Eric Potter

A swampy glade. H0. Photo (and swampy glade ☺) by Eric Potter

A lumber yard - always a popular feature - with rail service. H0.

A lumber yard - always a popular feature - with rail service. H0.

Viaduct at Port Hope. H0 scale.

Viaduct at Port Hope. H0 scale.

It's amazing what a colourful backdrop sheet will do to enhance the scene. H0.

It's amazing what a colourful backdrop sheet will do to enhance the scene. H0.

A neatly-kept 2-storey home in an older neighbourhood. Note the grass growing between the wheel-base in the driveway. H0.

A neatly-kept 2-storey home in an older neighbourhood. Note the grass growing between the wheel-base in the driveway. H0.

An old two-storey icehouse. H0.

An old two-storey icehouse. H0.

A neat Quonset hut that could remind one of the home of the former Aberfoyle Jct. layout! H0.

A neat Quonset hut that could remind one of the home of the former Aberfoyle Jct. layout! H0.

Kettle Creek viaduct. H0 Scale.

Kettle Creek viaduct. H0 Scale.

This lighthouse is an adaptation for N scale from a popular series of coppertone pencil sharpeners with various motifs - no surgery needed, just a paint job.

This lighthouse is an adaptation for N scale from a popular series of coppertone pencil sharpeners with various motifs - no surgery needed, just a paint job.

A scratchbuilt warehouse on the O&Q Railway - each shingle has been cut and placed individually from cigar wrappers - that is ingenuity and patience!

A scratchbuilt warehouse on the O&Q Railway - each shingle has been cut and placed individually from cigar wrappers - that is ingenuity and patience!

It doesn't take long for one of the newer icons of the world we live in today, to make its way onto a layout!

It doesn't take long for one of the newer icons of the world we live in today, to make its way onto a layout!

Contributors: Barrie-Allandale Modellers (Richard Hatton [Rick's Workshop]), Belleville & District Model Railroaders, Richard Chrysler's Hagersville Sub., Charles Cooper's Eagle Lake & Northern N, Erin Mills Model Railroad Association, Ganaraska Model Railroaders, Bob Heard, Conrad Hill, Credit Valley Free-mo Group, Lindsay & District Model Railroaders, Maple Leaf Mafia 0n3, Neville Meads, Larry Murphy, Narrow Gauge Madness Gang, N-Trak Ottawa, Peterborough Model Railroaders, Pickering Model Railway, Union Railroad Group, Soper Valley Model Railroaders, TEA Valley Modellers, The 0n30 Trio (John Vincent), T TOCS Logging Co. by Ron Scott, Tony Van Klink.

Animals

Any model railway that includes cattle pens or a farm or two, definitely also needs some animals. And out in the wilds (or perhaps in the not-so-wilds), a bear or two, and some deer. Even a miniature eagle? Osprey nests have become popular. must be the Kawartha influence.

Cattle pens were once a standard station area feature. Note also the busy station platform. H0.

Cattle pens were once a standard station area feature. Note also the busy station platform. H0.

A family farm and a walk down to the station past the cattle pen. N.

A family farm and a walk down to the station past the cattle pen. N.

Moorland sheep. N.

Moorland sheep. N.

A donkey stands guard over grazing cattle. N.

A donkey stands guard over grazing cattle. N.

Packing plant and cattle pen. H0.

Packing plant and cattle pen. H0.

An osprey nest. N.

An osprey nest. N.

The deer graze while daddy bear looks around for his family. N.

The deer graze while daddy bear looks around for his family. N.

The eagle has landed. N.

The eagle has landed. N.

Teddy bears' picnic. N.

Teddy bears' picnic. N.

This bear has had a good breakfast from the spilled grain, but everyone is in for a rude awakening at the yard. N.

This bear has had a good breakfast from the spilled grain, but everyone is in for a rude awakening at the yard. N.

A relaxing afternoon in the country. H0.

A relaxing afternoon in the country. H0.

The ducklings make the best of the throw-aways. Scale 2n. 1:24.

The ducklings make the best of the throw-aways. Scale 2n. 1:24.

A moose in its favourite pasture. H0.

A moose in its favourite pasture. H0.

Up a tree and waiting it out. N.

Up a tree and waiting it out. N.

Moose in glade. H0.

Moose in glade. H0.

A beaver lodge. H0.

A beaver lodge. H0.

Mummybear has taken over the shack. H0.

Mummybear has taken over the shack. H0.

An osprey nest. H0.

An osprey nest. H0.

The cattle are about to moo-ove to market.
That cattle car even has on-board sound of a mooing cow. H0.

The cattle are about to moo-ove to market. That cattle car even has on-board sound of a mooing cow. H0.

Cattle sheds and pens. H0.

Cattle sheds and pens. H0.

Donkey rides and ice cream - a traditional seaside experience.

Donkey rides and ice cream - a traditional seaside experience.

Contributors: Jim Burchell, Charles Cooper, Erin Mills Model Railroad Association, Conrad Hill, Kinmount Model Railway, Lindsay & District Model Railroaders, Narrow Gauge Madness Gang, Soper Valley Model Railroaders, Union Railroad Group.

Whimsy

Whimsy? Yes, that tongue-in-cheek twinkle-in-the-eye ingredient that comes so naturally to the narrow-gauge modellers because their layouts portray an innately-humorous whacky branch of railroading to start with, but with some imagination, it is possible to present the humorous side of life and raise a smile from the onlooker. 
Basically there are four kinds of "whimsy": 

The straight whimsy - such as a bunch of workmen leaning on their shovels, or having a breaktime chowder or even a beer. For a while there was a layout that sported a Tim Horton's (a popular Canadian coffee and doughnut chain) with five police cars parked outside. Well, even seemingly innocent humour can backfire sometimes, because a visiting retired police officer took exception to it, with the result that that little vignette got scaled down to two police cars. Can't win 'em all.

Yes, one has to be careful with "whimsy", especially in the other three categories - "gallows", scatological and spicy humour.
One good reason is that model railway layouts are naturally viewed by young impressionable minds, and one doesn't really want a six-year old asking "daddy, what's that couple doing over there?". So the watchwords are discretion and good taste, especially for layouts on show to the public. But yes, even prestigious layouts such as Aberfoyle Junction and the Ontario & Eastern had their "twinkle-in-the-eye" moments. You didn't notice? Well, that's because they succeeded in being discreet. 

Coffee and doughnut time on the morning shift. N.

Coffee and doughnut time on the morning shift. N.

Hobo squatters. H0.

Hobo squatters. H0.

A narrow gauge delight. A "directional signal fluid" factory! So very reminiscent of the whimsy Rowland Emett cartoons. Gn15.

A narrow gauge delight. A "directional signal fluid" factory! So very reminiscent of the whimsy Rowland Emett cartoons. Gn15.

From an S scale layout on display at a weekend model railway show: "This Sunday 'S' Sin or Salvation". S.

From an S scale layout on display at a weekend model railway show: "This Sunday 'S' Sin or Salvation". S.

"Occupied". H0.

"Occupied". H0.

We're not sure when or how, but we're pretty sure she's going to get a lift. 0n30.

We're not sure when or how, but we're pretty sure she's going to get a lift. 0n30.

The cows have been shipped, but the cowclaps remain behind. H0.

The cows have been shipped, but the cowclaps remain behind. H0.

"A bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, and thee to paint." 0.

"A bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, and thee to paint." 0.

Oh dear. H0.

Oh dear. H0.

If there's no fire hydrant handy, a telephone pole will do. H0.

If there's no fire hydrant handy, a telephone pole will do. H0.

Haggling over the price. H0.

Haggling over the price. H0.

Problem here is that the deceased is not quite dead, his hands are trying to lift the lid, his moll is about to faint, and someone with mallet in hand is about to make sure the funeral goes ahead. Not your usual funeral by any means. H0.

Problem here is that the deceased is not quite dead, his hands are trying to lift the lid, his moll is about to faint, and someone with mallet in hand is about to make sure the funeral goes ahead. Not your usual funeral by any means. H0.

"Uplift bras will never let you down". Store front of the ageing brassière and corset plant. H0.

"Uplift bras will never let you down". Store front of the ageing brassière and corset plant. H0.

Private. Members Only. It says so on the other side of the gate. What else you don't see in this image are the two voyeurs at the top of that rock face. H0.

Private. Members Only. It says so on the other side of the gate. What else you don't see in this image are the two voyeurs at the top of that rock face. H0.

You have to be kidding? But the "top secret" does not faze the cameraman. Now that's whimsy! The scale is a secret too, but something like 1:24 might fit.

You have to be kidding? But the "top secret" does not faze the cameraman. Now that's whimsy! The scale is a secret too, but something like 1:24 might fit.

Now that's a billboard to get your morning going! Scale 2n. 1:24.

Now that's a billboard to get your morning going! Scale 2n. 1:24.

And what the Sam Hill might that contraption be? Scale 2n. 1:24.

And what the Sam Hill might that contraption be? Scale 2n. 1:24.

A literal rendition of "lying down on the job". H0.

A literal rendition of "lying down on the job". H0.

An old old engine wreck - and one really has to look for it. There are numerous rumoured and real disappearances of engines and cars in early railway construction, but none as spectacular, or as still visible, as this one. H0.

An old old engine wreck - and one really has to look for it. There are numerous rumoured and real disappearances of engines and cars in early railway construction, but none as spectacular, or as still visible, as this one. H0.

Hanging out the washing beside a railway line was every railway wife's nightmare for generations. H0.

Hanging out the washing beside a railway line was every railway wife's nightmare for generations. H0.

That must have been one hot chili! Sn3.

That must have been one hot chili! Sn3.

On a G railway, the engineer doesn't have to worry about Rule G - he can stop to slake his thirst with his favourite friar every time he goes by ... Gn15.

On a G railway, the engineer doesn't have to worry about Rule G - he can stop to slake his thirst with his favourite friar every time he goes by ... Gn15.

Outhouses are a natural for a little scatological humour - they're easy to build and can be modestly concealed - this one may look like a two-holer, but on closer inspection, it's really only a one-holer.

Outhouses are a natural for a little scatological humour - they're easy to build and can be modestly concealed - this one may look like a two-holer, but on closer inspection, it's really only a one-holer.

 Contributors: Aberfoyle Jct., Barrie-Allandale Modellers, Belleville & District Model Railroaders, Jim Burchell, Brian Fayle, Ganaraska Modellers, Kinmount Model Railway, Neville Meads, Larry Murphy, Niall MacKay, Muskoka Modellers, Narrow Gauge Madness Gang, Peterborough Modellers, S Scale Workshop, T.TOCS Logging Co. by Ron Scott, Union Railroad Group.
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