The name Paradigm (pronounced paradime) means an idea, concept or model, an example to be followed and therefore describes quite well what was aimed at achieving. After some extended thought and discussion between members a set of guidelines were formulated, using these guidelines the general shape was devised along with the track plan and control positions. Because of breaking new ground with many ideas, alterations were required during the building process, some to incorporate further ideas, others to work around problems but the changes were always done keeping in mind the original concept.

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Construction began by making the steel frames for the modules these were 2000mm x 1000mm using 50mm x 50mm x 3mm steel angle. At each join between modules, holes were drilled and location studs welded in one module to give positive horizontal and vertical alignment, the A‑frame legs also had vertical studs on top that keep the modules together. There aren’t any bolts or clamps to lose, the modules simply interlock and hold together under their own weight. Using this system has proved very beneficial in ease of assembly, reliability and time; it only takes around one hour to set up and 30 minutes to disassemble.

The scenery base was made by gluing blocks of styrene foam together and then carving to the required shape, the cork roadbed being fixed to this with PVA glue then sanded smooth, track was fixed and ballasted with PVA. Acrylic paint of various colours was applied to the foam surface and then sprinkled with sand and a range of different coloured flock powders while still wet. Trees were mostly made from cuttings of Nandina (Japanese Bamboo) these were dried and then sprayed with diluted PVA glue (50% glue / 50% water with a drop of dishwashing liquid to act as a wetting agent) Various coloured flocking material was sprinkled on and when dry the finished tree inserted into the layout.

In an attempt to keep the layout reliable, it was decided early in the planning stage that all wiring should be protected from transport damage; to this end, all wiring was installed inside the foam scenery. As polystyrene foam has an adverse effect on electrical insulation, the foam was tunnelled through and garden sprinkler hoses installed then the wiring fed inside these.

All points have live frogs and have been modified to improve electrical reliability and have a micro switch fitted underneath to energize a relay that controls the frog polarity and LEDs on the control panel to keep operators informed of point position. Using a variation of the common earth wiring system the layout is divided into control blocks this allows multiple trains on each line. There is also have a 2-channel master/slave override system that allows any controller to be a master to any or all others or be a slave to any other. 50-watt halogen globes in custom-made housings and powered by 12 volt down light transformers provide even lighting for the layout.

A later addition are the working wind turbines, these started out as Cornerstone kits, while stationary they look very nice, but the decision was taken to go one step further and have them operate.

A steel shaft (a cut down 100mm nail) was inserted in to the rear of the hub and then bearings were set in to each end of the top housing, this gave free spinning blades. The drive motor and reduction gearbox are mounted below ground level and a small chain transfers drive to the top shaft. Both the gearbox output shaft and the top shaft are fitted with plastic tubing to increase their size for smoother running and to help the chain grip them. A switching power supply drops the main layout voltage to the required 1.5 volts, there is also provision for battery backup. The turbines smoothly rotate at the correct speed and are very efficient at producing all the power for the town of Paradigm, if you notice the trains slowing down please step to one side to let the wind through. With this new technology, Paradigm can proudly claim to be one of the greenest display layouts. To prevent damage, the turbines are removed from the layout and transported in a custom-made box.


HO scale (1: 87)

Overall size: Variable 10 metres x 2 metres or 8 metres x 2 metres.

Two mainlines of 21mts total each (2.5 scale kilometres in viewing area)

Separately controlled shunting area at front fitted with home made magnetic uncouplers.

Fully DC and DCC compatable on all tracks.


Paradigm won the award for best layout as voted by peers in July 2005 at the Stawell exhibition which is organised by the Grampians Model Railroaders Inc.

Paradigm won the award for best layout as voted by the public in June 2006 at the Ballaratt exhibition which is organised by the Ballaratt and Districts Model Railway Club Inc

See photos of construction and scenes here.

Specially built racks that will fit on any standard trailer were used for moving the layout; these we constructed to keep transport easy and damage to a minimum.

Paradigm has now been retired from the display scene.