James’ layout

“Here is a series of pictures from my current project. This is about 1/3 of the first half of the layout. Please feel free to post on your page (if you’d like).

This is a small town in the layout of the North East area of the US.

The water feature (creek) is not complete as it ties into one more board. Also, I stopped painting the buildings until I have them in place. That way I can blend them together better.

As a note, I am an architect, so I enjoy building the layout. The trees are a mix of woodland scenics and real “sedum” plants that have been covered with grasses, etc.

People have been hand painted.

Base is styrofoam with plaster for roads, etc. there are three panels in these pictures that I started the scenery just after Christmas 2013.

Hope you enjoy!


And now something I’ve been thinking over for a while. Perhaps you have too: it’s 3d printing.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, think of a printer that eats plastic instead of paper. And out the other end comes a plastic model – any model, of your design.

You can use them to make anything, and the more I think about it, the more excited I get about them for modelling.

There are more and more sites popping up that will print your designs off for you – you don’t even need a 3d printer, (which are not cheap).

So here goes: Is anyone using a 3d printer for their modelling? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Please do get in touch.

As you all know, I’m always tinkering with different stuff – here’s the best 3D printer info I’ve found so far.

I appreciate it’s not going to be for everyone, but I’ve given it a whirl (believe it or not, that’s how this site started – I found an online club that I loved).

Anyhow, I shall let you all know how I get on.

Don’t forget the ebay cheat sheet. Latest one is here.

Please keep ’em coming.



40 Responses to James’ layout

  1. Very nice work!

  2. Great work James! What will be the final dimensions of your layout and have you got a print of your overall layout? Really impressed with your buildings and bridges. I hope to see more in the future. Possibly a video too. Thanks for sharing with us. Cheers Rossco

  3. James, you have a wonderful 1/3 of 1/2 layout. I can’t wait to see the completed layout. Please provide track plan.

  4. Looking good James, keep us up to date with your progress. Peter

  5. Great layout! Can’t waittosee the completed layout!

  6. James, an impressive start. I think your buildings are very realistic, do you use card or styrene? Look forward to seeing more.

  7. Nice one James well done

  8. nice layout im new at this I have no clue how to put togeather a working layout any place to get plans my board is large 21′ wide and 9 ft deep but not a rectangle I have o guage

  9. James:

    Shapeways does #D laser printing. If you go to theit miniatures section (in the menu bar) and then go to model trains/railroad, you will find a variety of items in different scale, both US and European prototypes. THey usually have price attached.

  10. OOPS, 3D

  11. Nice pictures of what you have so far on your layout and very nice scenery. Would like to see more as you progress as mentioned above and a video if possible. What will be the size when you add more tables? As a retired Teamster (Red Star), I like the Roadway and Yellow trucks too. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work. Gary

  12. Hi James, I went to a 3D printing demo last week to see how it’s done.
    Last year I bought a narrow gauge diesel loco from a company called NARROW PLANET. It was 3Dprinted which included some etched brass components. I had to buy a KATO chassis to fit. It looks great. I will post a photo on Al’sweb page soon

  13. WOW, can’t wait to see more, thanks for the showing.

  14. great looking start. Next is all the detail work, tedious but so worth it. Keep going!

  15. Looking great, where did you find your street lights? My lay out is very similar, still in the track stage but the senery is very close to what I have in mind. My lay out is 4×8 and growing. Thanks and keep the updates coming

  16. I’ve purchased a number of N-scale items (cars, mailboxes) from Shapeways. The detail is amazing, and overall I’m quite satisfied. There was one item, an airplane, that they could not print. This is usually due to the design having parts too thin to print reliably within their guidelines, which are quite clear.

    The way they work is to have design submissions from designers, which are available on the website and priced in units or package deals. These may or may not have ever been printed yet (apparently not in the case of my airplane). I believe the designer gets a commission and Shapeways charges for the printing, materials, and shipping.

    They estimate delivery conservatively, so don’t be dismayed by delivery dates a month out. I got my stuff in a week. Shapeways gave me a credit for the plane that couldn’t be delivered and a contact to get the design fixed; I have yet to follow up on that.

  17. James,
    Your workmanship, detail are great … can’t wait to see the next part of this model railroad.
    Thanks for Sharing

    3D printing looking into this now!



  18. Hi, I’m assuming you are planning to buy the 3D Printer you promoted. Will you keep us updated if this thing is worth the $47 they’re asking on the hugely boring “sales letter” or is it a gimmick to sell a REAL 3D printer?


  19. nice layout

  20. James, where did you get your buildings? Were they built from kits or Scratchbuilt or purchased ready made?

  21. the buildings look great would love to see the overall layout.the 3d concept seems to moving fast will it end up making models cheaper. hope to hear more on your research regarding this.

  22. like it 3d is making me think diffently on some things

  23. Quite impressive. I wish I had the space you do, but I am limited to part of my TV room 36″X 80″ not big but interesting just the same. Hence my use of N Scale system. Can anyone tell me of a book that shows newer N scale layout. Mine is an Atlas layout book about 1985 vintage. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you


  25. Nice work James!

  26. hey like the part of the layout what is the theme

  27. Well done James, how are you making the buildings, and what of? From original drawings or are you estimating from photos? I find cutting styrene card a real pain if it’s heavy enough for walls, and building up layers for relief (eg window surrounds) seems to increase warping? Where I can I use thin ply sold for model planes and ships, and a table fretsaw, much easier on the old knuckles.

  28. Weathering guys weathering.

  29. Looks good…but just like every other layout I see…..WHEN WILL SOMEONE STOP MAKING THEIR LAYOUT LOOK LIKE ITS ON A FLAT BOARD. I mean roads are never flat…they are designed so water runs of them…carparks the same….they have high spots and low spots near the drains.

  30. Looks great, James. Looks like you are having a lot of FUN with your efforts.
    Wise choice to wait until you get all of the buildings in place before you blend the weathering of the area. ( sorry Christine, if you took the time to read his discriptions, you would have not embarrassed yourself again )
    Hey everybody, it’s a hobby, remember?

  31. nice , jim

  32. Thanks everyone. The layout has progressed from those and I will send Allistar an update.

    This layout is approximately 12’x8′ – there is 3″ of height variance on the board and several over and under passes for cars and trains.

    The small interchange yard has new lighting and switching now and a small portion of “Main Street” is shaping up too.

  33. Looks great!

  34. Very Crisp and neat layout. Love to see this kind of hard work. Cheers!
    GOPAL Daga
    Calcutta, India

  35. James:

    Thx for sharing your wonderful ideas of modeling. Your still pictures look as if you’ve still got work to do. Keep on sharing your ideas as I’ve gotten several ideas to copy from what you have already displayed.-Harold Jr.

  36. boo.

  37. I don’t know why I bother.

  38. Hello,
    Very nice layout.

  39. Hello James,
    I read with interest your comments on 3D Printing.
    I am building my own at the moment, and they are not as dear as on your picks, I can buy a good one for $399.00.
    Love to hear your comments.
    Allan from down under.

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