Let's Make A Scene - Modelling A Farm or Farmyard

Did you know, that farmland makes up over 70% of the UK's land area? That's a huge amount of our comparatively small island that's taken up by farmland. There are actually over 192,000 farms in the UK. Of those, 50% are under 50 acres, many being family-run. This is why farms are always a popular scenic item on model railway layouts. So unless you're modelling an inner city scene, the chances are, you're going to be modelling at least a little farmland on your layout.

Modelling a farm on your layout

There are a number of options for modelling farmland on a model railway layout and you don't need lots of room or an enormous baseboard to create the atmosphere of a farm or open fields and farmland. And no matter what scale you're working in, OO gauge, N gauge or even O scale, you can usually squeeze a bit of a farm in somewhere! Here are a few options to get the idea juices flowing…

  • Model the edge of a field which backs onto the railway line
  • Site a barn derelict barn up on an embankment overlooking the railway
  • If you have more space, add farm buildings such as a farmhouse, barn, machine store, piggery etc.

The picture above shows our KX057-OO Derelict Barn which has been modified into a low-relief model to create the illusion of an old barn in a field sitting next to the railway line. A small piece of seafoam has been used to soften the joint between the building and the backscene. Some farm clutter has then been added in the form of a couple of cartwheels, some leaf springs and a gear leaning up against the wall. These could be from an old cart which has been broken down for parts etc.

In a continuation of the same scene, a length of LX006-OO Fencing has been used to mark the boundary between the railway embankment and the farmland. Setting the fence a couple of inches forward from the backscene adds depth to the scene, giving the appearance of rolling fields continuing off into the distance and giving the layout a rural feel even in such a small space. And of course, there's room for more clutter and maybe some sheep, cows or horses.

So what do you find in a farmyard?

Farmyards are often treasure troves; littered with bits of machinery and tractor parts. Sacks of feed, fertilizer, grain and more. Old pallets, you name it.  It's amazing what you find in a farmyard and scattered around a farm, and it's not just animals! Simply take a walk in the countryside close to a farm and start jotting down the things you see. You'll be amazed… the list will be much longer than you ever imagined, but the good news is, it can all be modelled, either using proprietary kits and accessories, or it can be scratch-built.

Farm Buildings

There are a number of key buildings that you'd expect to find on a farm, but with most farms being gradually developed over many many years, there's no definitive list of buildings you'd expect to find. Barns, stores & workshops vary in size, shape and construction depending on age and region. So there's plenty of scope to experiment and just do your thing.

Our range of OO scale building kits features some of the most common buildings and large structures you'd expect to find on a farm including:

The KX065-OO Poplar Farm House makes a great centrepiece for your farmyard 

Defining boundaries with fencing

Fencing is an essential feature on any farm. I don't think farming would be possible without them, certainly not with animals anyway. So even if you're only modelling the edge of a field, you're probably going to need a fence or two. Again, depending on the region and era you're modelling you're probably going to have a preference. The most common types are full wooden construction or wooden posts with wire. Both types can be seen all over the UK and in various different styles too. The most common is probably wooden post & rail fencing as it's easily maintained. 

We have a few types in our range that give you plenty of choices when it comes to fencing off fields and farmyards as well as a number of types of gates to go with them.

Gates wise, there are plenty to chose from, depending on the look you're going for:

Adding detail to your farm scenes

Once you've got the main buildings and infrastructure in place for your farm, it's then time to add detail. As mentioned above, even if you're short on space and can only model just a tiny corner of a farmyard or even just part of a field, there's always room for a few detailing accessories.

Here's a handy list of farmyard items that can help bring your rural farm scenes to life. Some are suited to the more modern farm while others will work for any era from the early 20th century onwards.AX001-OO Scrap wood/metal

Those are just a selection that we've chosen that can be used as they are or adapted for use on a farm scene.

Download & print this guide as a PDF here.

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