Cary’s G scale update

Dangerous Dave has been in touch again – I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen a video of his layout. Trouble is, I still watch ’em, and still enjoy ’em. So here you go:

“Hi Al,

found this loco on e bay, just could not resist, its one of the first Loco`s Hornby made with DCC sound, the Duchess Class, City of Sheffield, I did have one a few years ago, but after an accident it was beyond repair, they stopped producing these a few years back, so very pleased to find one in Superb condition on E bay.. sometimes its well worth checkin on there… as you can see its a great model, runs good and for some of the first sound loco`s with DCC, it sounds very good.



Dave’s right about ebay. There are some cracking finds on it. Latest ebay cheat sheet is here (still updated every day).

And now to Cary’s G scale update:

“My name is Cary from Crestwood, Kentucky. I’ve been working on my outdoor G scale layout for almost 4 years. I have yet to lay the first piece of track, but the ground work is done, I’ll be laying track this summer.

If you want to get an idea of what the outdoor layout will look like, it’s here:

In the winter months I’m making buildings, vehicles, people etc. Basic building construction consists of a fiberglass base, birch plywood walls, concrete board for the roof, real shingles and exterior house paint.

I have both Bachmann and Aristocraft trains which are 1/22.5 and 1/29 scale respectfully. I build to 1/24 scale which is also known as 1/2 scale (10 ft = 5 inches, 6 feet = 3 inches etc.) It’s a bit of a tradeoff between having nice detail and having something that will hold up outdoors. In addition to weather elements, I know I’ll have deer and other critters walking across my layout.

Time period is late 1930’s. Location to be rural mountain area in the U.S. G scale accessories are not as commonly available as HO and far beyond my limited budget. I’m having great fun scratch building, using improvised materials and shopping the second hand stores for little pieces of treasure. The vehicles are all die cast metal and consist of toys and truck coin banks that I can
usually find for $12-15. The ability to make people (and other accessories) out of clay has really made the hobby more interesting and creative.

Here’s some of this winter’s projects, hope you enjoy.

“Ralph’s General Store”

I found the farm equipment at a second hand store and the tractor from Ebay for $8. The truck is a modified 1/25 scale coin bank.

I found the image in the front window on the internet and it turned out to be a nice touch. The packages are dollhouse accessories that I coated with polyurethane. The flour sacks are clay.

All the figures are sculpted from clay except the gentlemen next to the convertible, he’s a pewter figure I found in a 2nd hand store for $5.

The coke bottles are dollhouse accessories from Hobby Lobby. The produce was made from clay and the coke machine was built from a template I found at I found the signs on the internet, laminated and used double sided adhesive to attach them. Just about everything has been lightly dusted with flat lacquer to remove any gloss.

“The Old Woman and the Bear”

The chimney and both figures are made from clay. I found the bear in a second hand store for 50 cents and he became the inspiration for this project.

I intend to put this in the wooded area between the two towns I currently have planned. I’ll be on the lookout for accessories to place around the building to give it a more “lived in” appearance.

“The Ice House”

The truck is a 1/24 scale die cast coin bank modified to a flatbed. The tarp in the back of the truck is clay.

The figures are clay, the ice blocks are hot glue shot into a mold lined with silicone release paper. The shovel is also clay and the cart was scratch built using some wheels from a toy. (The worker is suffering from a bit of back pain)

The Ice House was built in the 1800’s for storage of “natural” ice hauled in from the frozen lakes. With the coming of electricity, the owner has upgraded his operation to include an ammonia refrigerant system.

I always look forward and appreciate getting Alastair’s emails to see what you all are up to. I hope to have trains running by the end of summer 2017 and have my layout populated with my creations summer 2018. The sooner the better, I’m running out of room to store them!

It’s so great to be able to share my progress with other enthusiasts who have the same passion. Thanks for viewing my post and happy modeling!


A huge thanks to Cary – a wonderful update, and it just to show (again!) that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have with this hobby.

That’s all this time folks. Hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. And if Cary has made you feel like springing off the armchair, rolling your sleeves up and starting your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.




Laurence’s wiring ‘how-to’

“Hi Al,

I haven’t seen many wiring how too’s for some time so I thought your readers may like this compilation of pictures where using self adhesive copper tape instead of wires can be used.

It’s easy to use and makes it easier to connect your lighting too instead of trying to join wires together and insulate them.

Install Your lights first with the wires pushed through the baseboard. Plan where the tape has to go and what voltage.

After sticking the tape into position, press down with a credit card. Any joins ” ie” corners have to be soldered. The solder flows quickly on the copper tape so don’t overheat. If you have to cross the tape, place a piece of insulating tape over the part your crossing.

Lable what tapes are for what and what voltage they carry. This may help if you have to check the circuit’s at any time.

Fit an adaptor to take the transformers this way you only have one wire trailing from the baseboard. Cut the wires of the transformers and after checking the polarity solder to the appropriate cicuit.

A box made to mount the switches for lights and points motors.

The end result. Switches will operate different buildings and street lights.

Use different LEDs for different buildings ie warm white or yellow for old type buildings

Street lights are bright white other buildings are warm white.

See what your readers think, I would love to hear their comments.

Keep up the good work Al.

Best Wishes,


A huge thank to Laurence. If you missed his earlier post, it’s here.

That’s all for today folks, please do keep ’em coming.

And if Laurence has inspired you and want to get going on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Ebay cheat sheet still going strong. Latest one is here.


Eric’s latest N scale layout update

“Hi Al

My N gauge 2016/17 Project shown early January has reached a point where I am happy to show off the improved scenery and running sessions under improved lighting.

But knowing how everyone wants information on the layout, I will get to that first.

The baseboards at their widest measure approximately 90” * 72” (229cm*158cm) they are built using Sundeala (Compressed newsprint) model board and work round a built in wardrobe with a solid wall, plus an access hatch. The track I use is Peco Setrack and their flexi track, the underlay is ready gravelled with added matching gravel between the tracks. I also use a 1.5 turn helix at the right of the layout to get the height.

Tracks are accessed by lifting away portions of the scenery, for instance the four plaster panels that make up the moorland on the left, are not fixed so lift away. To the right over the helix the castle panel lifts away and in the centre the lake lifts out. One thing I will mention here is that I do not plan a new layout by planning ahead on paper but do it in my head allowing me to alter things to fit as I go along, so don’t ask for a track plan please.

Now the layout has the mentioned moorland to the left with sheep and horse riders, with tracks circling around the lake/ camping grounds below, that seem to have come together quite nicely with boating, shop, toilet block and bungalow and even an adventure playground for the kids to enjoy when I populate with more people / tents etc.

To the right a brand new top board over the helix has a rather nice little ruined castle on top of it’s rocky perch which has turned out better than I hoped. The castle is a Noch item ordered through Amazon as I haven’t seen them on normal retailers websites. The castle appears to be made of cork but nicely moulded.

The two tracks run along the long section to the front of the layout with 8 sidings and twin track engine shed with the twin tracks showing behind. As someone mentioned on the last post it is difficult to tell which tunnel the train will emerge from which adds to the fun, unless you are looking for a derailment J

I hope you will excuse the occasional shakiness as it is difficult to keep the camera steady as you move around

Note in the back left by the hill a small lake and to the right of that note the start of a feeder stream for the big lake. There is still a lot to do but so far I am delighted by the results to date. Let me know what you think.

Eric (Leeds) UK”

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

“I’m new to your great site. I’m 66 years old, retired, and lucky enough to have my first Lionel 027 set from 1951. I’ve added to it past few years. Theme is Des Plaines, IL where I lived as a child.

Time frame is 1949 to 1961. The train set, layout, buildings, scenery, etc. sort of defined itself because Plasticville buildings from then look just like Des P looked then. Train station, bank, first McDonalds rstd., O’Hare airport which was in Des P until Chicago annexed it, and lots more. Des P was known as “City of Roses” back then and was primary local industry, so of course I have greenhouses. Lots of little touches. I find inspiration in your postings.




Sometimes the simplest things take a great deal of time. All I wanted was a bunch of lines scribed on a piece of aluminum. Being retired means I can do whatever I want as long as I don’t spend any money. Years ago I made an X-Y table to fit on a drill press. It never worked as it was not strong enough to work as a milling machine. I need eight pieces to fit in square holes on the side of a “O” guage model diesel. The lines need to represent louvers and are fifteen degree slats in real life.

Here is what I made using a support for a dremmel tool. The aluminum square tube was an interesting piece of junk I saw at the steel store. Yes I wasted a buck. I brought it home not knowing what it might become. I used a couple of 2×4 boards and cut semi circles out of the sides at about 15 degrees and made slats to go at the top and bottom to clamp on to the drill press. I used 3/8 threaded rod to hold the whole thing together. T-Y table uses a forty thread per inch screw so that each division of the collar id one thousandth of an inch. I carefully milled the aluminum until I got what I thought might work. I will cut squares out of the section to then glue into holes I will make in the model. Making this by hand using automotive bondo was just too crude and did not work well.


That’s all for today folks. Thanks to everyone – especially Eric, I enjoyed his video.

And if it’s got you chomping at the bit to get started, don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide.

Keep ’em coming folks.