When first starting out building a model railway, it usually comes as a shock to find building a baseboard isn’t quick or cheap. Here’s a tip that’ll get you a baseboard for under £30.
While it’s not difficult to build your own model railway baseboard to do it properly can take longer than you might expect (see below). And if you don’t already have the appropriate DIY-type tools already it can cost more than you might expect by the time you’ve purchased the wood, tools, and materials.
If you want to get started on a budget and are just dabbling and so don’t need something too permanent this tip is perfect.
Before going further, however, two warnings.
These baseboards aren’t for everyone.
For starters, they’re small – ideal if just starting out and for N gauge layouts but won’t be suitable if you’ve got large plans in mind.
Secondly, these baseboards aren’t particularly stable, so if you’re planning sophisticated layouts with lots of scenery or want a large layout you’ll probably be better off building your own baseboard or using a pre-made modular configuration of boards and then fitting legs made from an appropriate wood.
So what’s the suggestion?
Nip over to Amazon, or your local DIY store, and get a wallpaper pasting table or folding table. They’re available from under £30. Get a wood-based one, as you’ll need to drill and screw into it so the metal variety won’t work.
The above two warnings were given for using these tables as model railway baseboards.
One of these was around stability. You can, however, improve the strength of these tables by screwing some lengths of timber to the underside, across the longest length one on each edge and one down the centre. I’d also fit diagonal structs between the top flat section and the legs to make it more robust and less prone to wobbles.
If you decide folding tables aren’t for you and plan to build a baseboard, see What’s The Best Wood To Use For Model Railway Baseboard
And don’t forget modular baseboards
As mentioned briefly above, I’d also recommend you take a look at modular baseboards. These are small self-assembly baseboards that are supplied in sections so you can build the layout up over time – if you need to. The best thing is the sections or modules start at very reasonable prices.
Take a look at these from Scale Model Scenery for example. There are a number comfortably under £30.
> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy. Affiliate notice: If you plan to buy the products on this page or similiar, please use the links here. These will take you to carefully selected businesses, including Hornby, Rapid Online, Amazon, eBay, Scale Model Scenery and Element Games, through which you can buy products mentioned. These links are made under their affiliate schemes which means that although the price to you does not change I receive a small commission on the orders you place which helps me maintain this site and allows me to create more articles like this. Please see my disclaimer for more information. Thank you for your support, Andy.