In the UK, villages, towns, and cities often have marketplaces or market squares. These places can range in size, from small pedestrian areas to larger market squares, often with purpose-built market halls, and adding a market scene to your layouts and dioramas can really enhance scenic interest for viewers. So, in this guide, we will explore how to create a small marketplace scene for your model railway layout.
Market Square Inspiration
For this guide, we'll be building a small market scene diorama on one of our smaller baseboard/diorama boards, the BB006. The idea for the diorama comes from visiting one of the market towns in the Yorkshire Dales. The market town, on either side of its main street, has a pavement and cobblestone area. Which in turn is lined with buildings, such as shops, cafés & pubs, etc. I also noted a traditional market stone cross with bench seating surrounding it, which adds further scenic interest.
Building The Market Scene
For this build, the following tools & glues are used.
- Deluxe Materials Super Phatic Glue
- Deluxe Materials Roket Card Glue
- UHU Glue for the texture sheets
- SX002 Corner Jig Tool
- Steel Ruler (For marking out & using a straight edge for cutting)
- Cutting mat (To protect the workbench surface & for cutting on)
- Tweezers (handy for handling small parts)
- Craft knife (for cutting texture sheets & releasing parts from the parts sheet)
- Sanding stick (Cosmetic nail file sanding sticks are ideal)
The items used for the build
- BB006 Small Baseboard
- Butchers & Dairy Shop Backscene Elements
- Terrace House Backscene Elements
- TX026-OO Cobblestone Texture Sheet
- KX023-OO Pavement
- AX013-OO Ironwork & Manholes
- AX012-OO Litter Sheet
- MP041-OO Bicycles
- LX471-OO Hanging Shop Signs
- GB003 2mm Greyboard Card
- BP011-OO Market Day Scene
The Market Day Scene bundle consists of the following:
- LX067-OO Market Stalls
- LX138-OO Market Cross
- LX239-OO Parish Notice Boards
- AX024-OO Bunting
- MP012-OO Wood & Concrete Benches (Pack of 3)
Let's start building...
First, the assembly of the BB006 baseboard was conducted. For the assembly, use the Deluxe Materials Super Phatic Glue, which provides an excellent strong bond. The BB006 assembles using the slot & tab method, which is quick and easy. Assembly time takes no longer than ten to fifteen minutes.
BB006 Small Diorama Baseboard
With the baseboard assembled, it's time to install the back scene. I used two backscene elements: one depicting terrace houses and another featuring a butcher's and dairy shop. To create the illusion of height, I mounted the terraced house element on a greyboard card and glued it onto the backboard, positioning the roof section just above the backboard.
The BX003 Terraced Houses Backscene Element
First, I cut a sheet of Greyboard card to the required size using a craft knife and steel ruler as a cutting guide. Then, I also cut the cobblestone surface texture sheet to fit the Greyboard Card, again using the same tools.
Next, I applied UHU glue to the non-printed side of the cobblestone texture sheet and carefully stuck it into place onto the Greyboard card. The Greyboard card I'm using is 1.5mm thick, I glued two of these together for the required thickness I needed.
TX026-OO Cobblestone Texture Sheet Glued onto Greyboard Card
The road section. For the diorama, I'm only partially modelling a roadway. For the road, I've used the road texture from the KX025-OO Modern Road Bridge Kit. Alternatively, you can use the TX158-OO weathered Asphalt Road texture sheets instead. Like the cobblestones, I've glued the road texture onto a 1.5mm thick Greyboard card. Like the cobblestones, I've used UHU glue to stick the road texture in place.
The road texture after being glued & fitted onto the diorama board
The Cobblestone section was glued and fitted using Roket Card Glue. A short section of KX023-OO paving was also assembled and glued into place along the roadside with Roket Card Glue, as shown below.
The pavement and cobblestones installed
To finish the ground textures, I cut out a drainage channel from the AX013-OO Ironwork & manholes sheet and securely attached it using UHU glue. You can see the result below.
AX013-OO Drainage channel
The butcher's & dairy shop back scene elements, like the terraced houses, were cut out & glued onto the Greyboard card. They were then glued onto the backboard with Roket Card Glue. They've been fitted so they sit on top of the cobblestones, as shown below.
The butcher's and dairy shop back scene elements, were carefully cut out and affixed onto the Greyboard card using UHU glue. Roket Card Glue was then applied to the rear of the Greyboard card & the shop elements were positioned on the backboard as shown below.
The Butchers & Dairy shop elements fitted
Adding the details
Now that we have set the stage for the market scene, it's time to add the intricate details. The focal point of the diorama is the traditional marketplace cross, which is captured in the LX138-OO kit as showcased below. This kit is incredibly user-friendly and very easy to assemble. We highly recommend utilizing the Deluxe Materials Roket Card Glue specifically designed for this kit.
The LX138-OO Market Cross Kit
To assemble, glue the two halves of the cross together (with the laser engraved sides facing outwards). Then, slot the circular steps onto the bottom of the cross (with the laser engraved detail facing upwards), starting with the smallest one first and adding the remaining three steps in increasing size. The largest step should be placed last. See the illustration below.
Assembling the kit
The Market Cross was then glued using Roket Card Glue & fitted onto the diorama. Here I've left it in its natural grey colour to represent stone. The cross can be painted in matt acrylic paints & weathered with weathering powders if required.
The Market Cross was affixed to the diorama using Roket Card Glue applied to the base of the cross. The cross has been kept in its original grey colour to resemble stone. If desired, the cross can be painted with matte acrylic paints and weathered using weathering powders or Humbrol weathering paint pens.
The Market Cross
For the good towns folk to sit & rest a wee while whilst at the market, some seating benches in the form of concrete & wooden type was used. An extremely easy & quick kit to assemble. Paint the wooden slatted parts whilst still on the parts sheet. I used a Noch Paint Pen, which is fast drying. Once painted, release the parts from the parts sheet by cutting them free with a craft knife.
To provide a comfortable resting spot for the townspeople during their visit to the market, we've added seating benches in the style of wood & concrete type. These benches are incredibly simple and fast to assemble. For the wooden slatted parts, it is advisable to paint them while they are still attached to the parts sheet which makes it easier to handle. I used a Noch Paint Pen, as it dries rapidly. The Humbrol paint pens are ideal for painting the wooden benches too. Once the painting is complete, carefully detach the parts from the sheet by cutting them free with a craft knife.
The MP012-OO Concrete & Wood Benches
The parts were assembled using Roket Card Glue, as shown below.
Assembled MP012-OO benches
The benches were carefully glued and fitted around the market cross area. As illustrated below.
The seating area by the market cross
Another feature commonly seen in and around marketplaces is notice boards. Specifically, those found in parish, village, town council, or local community areas. For this feature, I've used the LX239-OO Parish Notice Boards kit, which provides a total of six notice boards:
- Two floor-standing
- Four wall-mounted
Additionally, this kit also includes those essential notices for displaying on the noticeboards.
LX239-OO Parish Notice Boards kit
The kit is easy to assemble. Each noticeboard is made up of a backboard, frame, front doors, and a top lip. For the clear glazing, use the clear packet provided with the kit. The assembled notice boards are shown below.
The assembled notice boards
The floor-mounted notice boards were glued together back to back, to create a double-sided notice board. After the glue dried, the notice boards were affixed in a prominent spot by the market cross, as shown below.
The installed floor-mounted noticeboards
A single wall-mounted noticeboard was securely glued & mounted onto the wall of the butcher's shop. See below.
Wall mounted noticeboard
Now that the market cross area is finished, the focus has shifted to the market stalls. I opted for the LX067-OO Market Stalls kit, which includes four stalls complete with canopies and fruit & veg crates. The kit offers a selection of coloured canopies to choose from. The image below shows the canopies, fruit & veg, as well as the veg crate bottom sections.
The canopies, fruit & veg, create bottom textures
The Market stall stands laser cut parts sheet
Each stall consists of two trestles, a table, and a canopy frame. Once assembled, the stall can then be fully equipped with a canopy and crates for storing fruits and vegetables. Use Deluxe Materials Roket Card Glue to assemble the market stalls.
Stall ready for canopy & crates.
Next, the fruit and vegetable crates were assembled and securely glued into place, as shown below.
Fruit & veg crates
Finally, the canopies were cut, folded, and glued onto the top of the stall frame. You can see the result below.
The completed market stall
The stalls were completed and then securely glued onto the diorama. To add more visual interest, two sets of eight-compartment vegetable crates were also glued at an angle on the front of the stalls, as shown below.
The market stall area
The final touch to the scene is AX024-OO bunting to add a bit of colour. This was glued & fitted to the building walls & on the stall canopies, as seen below.
The scene has been further enhanced with some AX024-OO bunting, adding a vibrant touch of colour. The bunting was glued into place with a small dab of UHU glue, and then carefully glued and fitted onto the building walls and stall canopies, as shown below.
The completed market scene
Now, all that remains is to install a few model figures, a road vehicle like a market trader's van, some litter, and a litter bin. I've already included a bicycle, a folded-up newspaper, and some plastic bags. Take a look at the photo above and see if you can spot them.
The market day diorama can be easily completed over the course of a weekend or a day, so makes for a great project for your layouts. Looking for a corner filler on your layout, a small market scene like we've shown here will add scenic interest. For market stall figures, look at the likes of Noch, Prieser, Modelu amongst others to populate your market day scene. Further interest to bring the scene alive would be the addition of market day sounds being played via a hidden speaker connected to an MP3 player, phone, tablet, etc. Sound files can be found online, search for sound effects websites.
The market day diorama is a great modelling project for your layouts. It can be completed in just a weekend or even a single day. If you're looking to fill a corner on your layout, a small market scene like the one shown here is ideal. To populate your market day scene with market stall figures, the likes of Noch, Prieser, Modelu, and others produce suitable figures. To make the scene even more lively & add extra realism, use an MP3 player, phone, tablet, etc, connected to a hidden speaker, playing market day sounds.
For market day ambient sounds search online for background sound effects, various ones like BBC sound archive which a selection of market day sounds can be found here.