I’ve always been a fan of micro layouts and pizza layouts; they’re exciting to build and a lot of fun to watch as the builder’s creativity is really on display in this small size. For someone new to the hobby of model railroading, they offer a great platform to get started with. Almost from the beginning of construction, you can visualize your completed layout. That’s not to say these layouts only take a day to build… although they can if that’s what you want.
Probably the best online resource for these layouts is the website started by the late Carl Arendt, www.carendt.com. This has been the destination website for micros, pizzas and all kinds of small layouts in the model railroading world. I’d suggest you visit and bookmark this site, it’s an absolute gem. A side note here, the Carendt website seems to be having some intermittent technical issues but it’s worth the effort to get through.
What exactly is a micro layout?
From the Carendt website here’s a definition I like: “Micro layouts have been defined as small model railroads, usually less than three or four square feet in area, that nonetheless have a clear purpose and excellent operating capability. The prescribed layout size is more a state of mind than a rigid dimension.”
I tend to think of pizza layouts as micro layouts, but slightly different. Yes, they’re typically small layouts and they get their name from circular shape and they look like they’d fit in a pizza take-out box. I think the reason so many people like pizza layouts, these simple circles of track, is due to a bit of nostalgia. No matter how advanced, artistic or talented a model railroader may be, chances are very good they began with the simple circle of track. I think it’s great to revisit and reinvent that simplicity, it’s both a contemporary connection as well as a nod to the past. And of course, these layouts are just a lot of fun.
For the intermediate to more experienced modeler, a micro or pizza layout can take a couple of weeks or months to build as there’s no ceiling on how much interest you can add. Over the top design and execution can really work in a micro layout.
These small layouts actually have a longer history than you might think, going all the way back to 1925 when Briton A. R. Walkley exhibited his OO Gauge Portable Goods Yard in England. This was just five years after the 1921 introduction of OO Gauge by the Gebrüder Bing company of Nuremberg, Germany. I’ll include a list of links at the end of this article so you can poke in to the history of these layouts at your convenience; it makes for some good background reading.
Here at Raildig we’re going to focus on these smaller pieces for the next few months as we build several micro layouts and pizza layouts, from N scale to On30. Hopefully we can get some new model railroaders interested in building these small and interesting layouts along with us.
UK forum post on A.R. Walkley
Pizza Layout Videos
Category: Raildig Build Projects