A while back I acquired a wine box. I was about to throw it out when I idea struck me.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if opening the box revealed a tiny little railway?
The wine box is just about big enough for a N or 009 gauge oval.
As it’s a wine box, a wine themed layout was in order.
How about a little vineyard with a railway bringing in supplies with a train carrying the wine way? That would be a delight to find in a wine box.
After a bit of research 😉 I realised vineyards aren’t that exciting visually so a little something extra was needed.
While pondering this I happened to glance up and notice Lord of the Rings was on TV. It was the moment when Frodo Baggins, Sam Gamgee, Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took set off from the Shire. Perhaps under the influence of too much research, I thought too myself “Hobbits like ale, wine and mead; they probably had a vineyard, so why not make my railway in a wine box themed around a Hobbit vineyard”.
That was it and and that’s what I’m now making as a bit of fun.
The base is polystyrene tiles onto which I can build and carve easily.
The front of the Hobbit houses are made from air drying clay so I can shape them and carve in texture for the wood etc that the Hobbit homes were made made. A hollow has been made in the hill and the clay front placed at the front.
As an extra feature, I’ve used a Traintech LFX4 lighting circuit that creates a wonderful warm glow fire inside the Hobbit houses and which can be seen through the window.
The track is Peco 009 crazy track in an oval. This runs around the inside of edge at the front and right hand side of the box, disappearing into a hill at the rear which also houses some of those wonderful little Hobbit homes.
The front of the Hobbit houses are made from air drying clay so I can shape them and carve in texture for the wood etc that the Hobbit homes were made made. A hollow has been made in the hill and the clay front placed into place.
As an extra feature, I’ve used a Traintech LFX4 lighting circuit that creates a wonderful warm fire glow look for the inside the Hobbit houses and which can be seen through the windows.
Inside the oval is a pond and a vineyard.
The pond is just a hole in the, painted green and filled with white glue which dries clear. I’ve then added vanish to the top to create a sheen. The pond is fed by a small river crossed by a bridge.
The vineyard itself is scatter made from crushes garden plants. The grape vines sit in raised beds – more scatter built up in rows – into which I’ve placed tiny sea foam branches and topped with green scatter.
At the top the hill and rear I’ve placed trees to hide the join with a cloud backscene.
Next up is to to find a suitable locomotive. Obviously off-the-shelf locos won’t look the part.
What would a Hobbit train look like? I’ve no idea, but it would likely be fairly simplistic so I’m having a good at making something vaguely like Stephenson’s Rocket.
I’ve started trying to make one from a Kato N gauge chassis and a bit of Meccano tube and bent Copper pipe for the funnel. I’m not sure how I’ll get on with this but it has potential.
So far, it’s been a lot of fun and a bit out of ordinary.
I want to improve the Hobbit houses, rework some of the detailing around the door and the path and flower beds. Being in a box means it’s small enough to keep under a desk and do this in quick sessions when I don’t have time for working on my main layouts.
More to come.
Picture credit: Hobbiton by Tom Hall, reproduced here under Creative Commons license 2.0
Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.