TheBrickster

Lego Trains & HO Scale Landscaping

12 posts in this topic

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I was just wondering, have any of you utilized HO or model railroad lanscaping with Lego Trains? I see that a few train fans utilize the green grass matting, but how about tunnels, trees, and other model railroad landscaping. I believe I've seen one layout that looked pretty good (will post an image if I can find it).

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Carl Greatrix has some stunning pictures, where he has combined lego with (non-lego) grass and tunnels.

Personally I think it looks GREAT(rix), and I agree with Carls comments about Lego elements most often

beeing too shiny to get that natural look on grass and trees. So, I'd like to try something similar :classic:

See Railbricks article about Greatrix display.....

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I very recently stumbled across this diorama, which is a HO-Scale/LEGO hybrid. Even though the builder has put down an effort into it, I can't help but think that it looks, well, meh.

Honestly though, even though I think using scale-modelling materials and tools to build landscapes could, and probably would, look nice (like in the catalogs from late 80's - early 90's), I can't get over the nagging feeling that it's a bit like cheating. Plus, landscapes of that type are single-use only - once it's in place there's no reusing it.

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It's great indeed, how he combines the two. I don't like how he modifies LEGO, but his landscaping is awesome.

About H0: that's scale 1:87, Minifig scale is around twice the size, so for trees and buildings it isn't an option. But a combination of LEGO for the trains, track, buildings and vehicles, and a non-LEGO landscape sounds very interesting. :thumbup:

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I've seen this done all over the internet, but never delved into it my self. I don't know why, but I just can't get excited about non-LEGO scenery. For me, part of the fun is trying to make your layout look more realistic using only LEGO elements. I know it can get pretty expensive building realistic looking trees, but for me the reward is what it looks like and being able to say to people it is all LEGO elements. I think everyone has their own take on this though and their own level of comfort with using non-LEGO stuff.

-Dave

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This is an interesting topic. :thumbup:

In my opinion, fully LEGO scenery is better because it provides more opportunities for little whimsical scenes for exhibiting. That seems to be waht kids love and it was the little details everywhere that kids (and adults) were looking for that kept them at my layout longer than others.

And it's more fun to do fully LEGO scenery because it is sometimes more challenging and easily modified if need be. :classic:

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I've considered using non lego scenery, but mostly to emulate the 70's catalogue pages. They often used spraypainted boards and card surounds on the train layout pictures.

Since the introduction of the modular houses, which I feel represent a jump in the detail of town models, I'm more interested in building totaly from lego elements. I agree with others that this adds to the sense of achievement and the ability to change things later.

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O scale (1:48) is much closer to LEGO size than HO. Many pre-made landscape elements for O scale would work fine with LEGO trains.

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Background scenery should not distract from the foreground models. Partly for this reason Lego historically has used a variety of art and illustration techniques for the backgrounds for idea books and cataloges. Painting cardboard clusters of trees works. I've also found success cutting thin sheets of colored foam commonly available at craft stores. These integrated nicely with and extend the Scala foam scenery system for backgrounds. If you like the train idea book look then go this route.

Another model railroad item that I can highly recommend is Woodland Scenics Readygrass Vinyl Mats (http://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/items.cfm/ReadyGrass) Unlike previous products, these mats don't shed and are used widely for temporary train layouts and wargaming miniature battlefields.

- BMW

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I think Carl has done a great job in his layout mixing non lego elements. I especially like the use of his ballast, it does look a lot more realistic, he has found a nice balance as he qouted.

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With Lego, it's the challenge to create something realistic with the possibilities that the fairly crude Lego pieces offer. The result is sometimes fantastic, but strictly speaking, it can never compete with the realism of HO (and other scales) trains and scenery. They're just two different things and can't be compared.

That being said, I think that using some of the model train scenery materials for background works fine and can be really nice, like grass mats for the underground or plywood elevations or ramps (maybe covered with grass mat too). However, model cars in a Lego town or model train type people in a Lego train or at a train station would look totally out of place.

Something in between, like ballast under/between the railroad tracks or maybe real sand in a dump truck looks of course very realistic and is certainly not ugly but I prefer using Lego pieces anyway.

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