How To Get A Baseboard For Under £30 | Model Railway Baseboards

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.

baseboard tableWhile 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

A pre-made modular model railway baseboard

A pre-made modular model railway baseboard from Scale Model Scenery, ideal for smaller layouts but will need legs or a table to rest on.

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.


  1. I am disabled I got a small train set about 3 years ago it was a Christmas present, it still in the box, as my wife had MS I never had time to biuld it, I cant go down on my knees and dont have any balance, whats the best way for me to build my train set and what kind of board to use.

    • Hi John, there’s a link in the article about types of wood to use but in your case may I suggest just using a simple table. Size is obviously dependent on the scale/gauge and layout shape you’ll be working with but a dinning type table should be fine (you might even be able to find one of these going free in the local classifieds etc). Such a table would also allow you to work on it sitting down so balance etc needn’t be a problem. Hope this helps but please get in touch if you have more questions. Andy

  2. Thanks Andy I have never seen any one do a 1940 war feild I thort it would be sum thing different I have got one Base board wronged so starting again but I’m staying with the airfield I’ve been on to airfix to see about helping with the scale air craft

    • Mixing Airfix kits with a model train set would be really cool. What a great idea, not seen anyone do that before. I’d love to see some pictures as it develops. What’s wrong with the baseboard? Rgds, Andy

  3. I’m using a hm2000 and I wish to set up three sets of points I have a block of hornby r047 and a cdu unit the track and every thing else I can sort but when it comes to wireing I’m no good the cdu is new and did not come with any paper work to say how to wire it up same with the point the r047 have two wire coming from them both black I hope to make my layout said realistic as possible I’m going for a war air feild set in 40 to 45 but my main problem are the point me hmm 2000 has dc and accessories

    • Sounds good, love the air field settings idea! Well the components are all fairly standard so shouldn’t be a problem. I’d try connecting a set of track up, check the locos get power on that stretch, and build it up adding one set of points at a time. Without instructions to the CDU you could easily get it wrong so I’d leave that ’till last and just prove the rest first. You mention DC in relation to the 2000, what are your locos, DC or DCC?

  4. Hi new to hornby having big problem I have good track I have no room to build at the min so doing it in my living room I have screwed 1inch mdf to floor layer track no gaps good fishplats my locos are good but it will not run I have a hm2000 controller I have dogs but don’t they don’t come in living room please help

    • Hi Peter, thanks for writing. The most obvious thing that stands out is the electrical connections to the track which you don’t mention. How is this done?

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