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How to Build a Hornby Baseboard

Hornby Baseboard

Your baseboard is arguably the most important piece of your Hornby track, the unsung hero of any good layout. It may not seem like much, but the baseboard is the canvas on which your ideal layout is created, so it makes sense to have the best one possible. If not, you could end up with problems down the line, such as uneven track and derailed locomotives (no one wants that).

Luckily, Hawkin’s Bazaar is here to save the day with our handy how to guide! Follow the instructions below and you’ll have the perfect baseboard in no time. Just remember to be careful, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment and ask! To see our full Hornby range, simply click here.


We know how it’s always tempting to build the biggest layout possible, but that’s not always the best idea. It takes a long time to get a layout just right, so don’t go too big too soon. You can always add to it later remember! A baseboard of 1,800 mm x 1,200 mm (6ft x 4ft) should be more than enough space for any set, plus there’ll be some space for any little additions you’d like to make.


Though you can use just about any flat, firm surface for your layout, we think the best is a sheet of insulation board. You can pick them up at just about any DIY store, or some places even sell them specifically for model train layouts, so do some research and find what’s best for you.

You’ll also need to build a frame of soft wooden battens to mount the board on. These should be 50 mm x 25 mm or bigger, and will run across and along the underside of the baseboard at intervals of up to 600mm.


Before fitting your board onto the frame, be sure to cut some notches into the upper side of the internal frame sections. This is so you can route your wiring under the baseboard if you ever need to, which will massively help the presentation of your layout. No one likes messy wires laying about the place after all. Also, make sure that your battens and board aren’t warped before you start construction. This could cause some major set backs further down the line.

Now, for the main construction! Fix your battens together in a grid, forming a rectangle that’s the same size as your baseboard. It’s entirely up to you how you do this, either with glue, nails or brackets. Once that’s done it’s time to fit your baseboard onto the frame. The same rules apply here, so do a bit of research and decide which is the best method for you. If you go down the glue route, we’d advise using an extra strong adhesive, as a glue gun (or similar) just won’t do the job.

What next?

It’s really up to you where you go from here. Many sets come with a Hornby TrakMat, which are ideal for beginners and those who want a general layout already set up. If your TrakMat is plastic, then use double side tape to secure it to your baseboard, if it’s paper than use PVA glue. Of course, you don’t have to use a TrakMat!

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