Amsterken gets bigger and better

“Aloha From Hawaii
(The land of little/no model rail)

If you are interested, I have attached some Photos from my modified Carolina & Southern N scale garage layout.

I have been working on it for about a year plus, but not a-lot of time to really devote… Lots of Woodland scenics pre-made trees… Grade may be a bit steep…

Just thought I would share before I start building my structures, adding signal lights etc..

Wouldn’t mind critique… Feel free to post.

Never mind the JR train … :) can show my collection some other time…

Respectfully Yours,
CJ of Honolulu
Colonel, USMCR Retired”

And now for my fave video of the whole year. I love the way Ken has added text to the video, showing how he’s made this wonderful, fun, layout.

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

That’s all this time. Please do keep ’em coming.



PS The Beginner’s Guide is here if you can’t bear sitting on the side lines any longer.

30 Responses to Amsterken gets bigger and better

  1. Thats a great layout CJ. What are the dimensions?

  2. Nice layout you have done there CJ ,, small can be just as good ….and Ken that sure is some layout you have built there …both very well done

  3. Amazing details in Amsterkerken. Extreme realistic creation. Bravo

  4. Nice job, Colonel! Like you, I don’t have a lot of time to devote, but I have a space about this same size and have have finally deecided to do my first ever layout, also in N-gauge. I live in New Mexico and would like to model after the old Santa Fe Super Chief (rode on it as a kid between CA and Chicago). Your scenery and landscaping are very well done. I’d really be interested in seeing the whole layout plan as it’s hard to see that in your pics. Looking forward to seeing your completed project with buildings, signs, etc. Great job!

    Mark E, TSGT, USAF, Ret

  5. Great layouts guys.

  6. Thanks all. The layout is about 40 inches wide and maybe 8 feet long…
    I believe the original Kato track plan design was approximately 30″ x 5.5’?

  7. a genius

  8. Nice blend of awesome work and fine detail.
    I really liked the blend of colors with the trees.
    Great job Amsterken!

    best regards,


    P.S. no mountain too high nor a valley too low … as long as the train will go!

  9. Nice detail very Good Layout!

  10. Outstanding layout. You’ve given me some ideas towards a layout I have been longing to construct. Hopefully, this spring. Terrific pictures, too.

  11. Very nice layout

  12. Very impressive. Love all the details. We love trains- use to go to a place in Pa. that had rooms filled with running trains and our kids just loved it. That is a great hobby.

  13. What a brilliant layout! I am absolutely green with envy. I would love to be able to have the time and room to build something like that. Attention to detail is fantastic. Well done!

  14. Both layouts are nicely done. CJ’s layout looks to be an Autumn scene while Amterken looks to be of a European city. Don’t they drive in the left side of the road there or have they adopted the American way of driving on the right side? The cruise ship looks like it is a floating city in it’s own right. Either way, both layouts are of fine quality. Keep up the good work fellas.

  15. Hey CJ great use of space and wonderful detail, keep up the good work. Great job Amsterken! I love the forced perspective with the backdrop and backdrop buildings, the depth you get is incredible. Can’t wait to see more, and thanks I’m gonna be up late because you guys have really inspired me. Everyone keep doing what your doing, we love to see it.

  16. great layout love seeing how one gets started and then the follow on cant say finished because we are never finished see something we like from these pictures and videos we just got to have one. the video unbelieveable love the supports and what you made things out plenty of tips thanks.

  17. Hey CJ – nice pix showing all the progress you’ve made. Very appealing. Keep up the good work and eager to see the ‘final’ photos and a video at some point.


  18. Hi Ken; that is an amazingly super-detailed layout out. It’s extremely well done; especially impressive knowing so much has been accomplished with ‘trash’ and scraps of all sorts. Waste not, want not! Very creative use of things (e.g., auto parts) that are totally unrelated to model railroading. That’s really thinking outside-the-box. So I think when referring to your source materials it should be called “Treasure Trash”.

    I love that super long suspension bridge spanning the room! How did you construct it?

    Are all the structures kit bashed? Where did you get the backdrop images for your printouts?

    Keep up the great creative energy. Hope to see another video as you add elements and progress.


  19. Aloah CJ!! Great scenery on your layout and i liked what i saw. Well done! Carry on!
    To Ken I really liked the way you modelled the whole set up. great stuff. I want to see your layout running so please put a video of that on the site soon.
    Both layouts gave me ideas for when i start building mine in my 20′ x 18′ shed. Cheers Rossco

  20. Mahalo to all!

  21. Thank you so much for the awesome response … Reminds me when the kids come to see the layout and you open the door… Priceless …. Thanks again for all Happy Hollidays…. Amsterken…..

  22. @ Arnie First the bridge was originally The Varazano Bridge in NY city for another layout.. I saw this bridge when I was in Rotterdam , Loved it so I converted it … It just worked out that it was a fit..
    Second.. I say 80% are kit bashed from the original kits. The rest i try to change up somehow…
    Third .. All backdrops are from pics on internet with out that I would have had to go and get them for myself… Besides I am not selling them just cutting them up into small pieces then glue together .. For all you copyright buffs…I don’t just put the back drop on the wall I angle them like 10% towards the wall really depends on the pics how much you can lay at the desired angle. Then put a blk light under backdrop keep a inch or so to let the blk light shine its also good to put just white paper on under side to amplify the blk light.. Goodluck Arnie..

  23. Toni, most of Europe drives on the right except in the UK and Ireland. Since most of us are right-handed, driving on the left leaves your sword-hand free for jousting and suchlike, which is sure to come in handy sooner or later. On the downside, all the Polish and Romanian lorry drivers we have working over here are on the wrong side of the cab to see you properly in their mirrors before pulling out to overtake something on the motorway, but we’re too polite to complain. Sigh!

  24. Looking great looks a bit clinical and clean

  25. I was on that ship in Amsterken three years ago. looks just like the the dock and the surrounding area. Great JOB>

  26. Really nice Dude!

  27. You’re also quite the artist,… and comedian.

  28. Very nice detail on the layout Ken, please when you do the follow-up show sdome more of the nice control panel that was vissible for a few seconds.


  29. CJ, wonderful trackplan. I’d rough up the trees a bit so the leaves are not so perfect and exactly the same color on each tree.

    Ken, please get a Hero camera and take us for a ride. This is an amazing layout, and I’d love to get down and experience it in scale. The bridge is epic. I’m in the mood now for an Amstel Light. I think I missed it, but what is your scale/gauge?

  30. Very nicely done Colonel. Your grades do appear to be on the steep side but it is difficult to achieve vertical separation on a small layout without a steep grade. Those of us with limited space have to learn to compromise and you have done a great job. The vertical transitions at the top and bottom of the grades are more important for smooth operation than the actual gradient in my humble opinion. Keep up the good work sir and I thank you for your service. Enjoy your well deserved retirement.

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