Mardon’s layout

“Hi Al.

Hope your doing well. I have found what others may find really useful in an old VCR I tore apart.

That silent worm gear with motor in there. This is a silent gear and runs very slowly. This motor is the perfect worm gear to set up a engine turn table. It has to be silent as it is in a VCR. Here is a photo of it. That gear the worm turns,can have a short post attached to it and up threw the table to a turn table. Also its a very strong motor to use say a track cleaner or other projects. The other pieces found in the VCR as well can use them as car loads. sort of remind me of that atom smasher they have in the ground.VCR is a thing of the pass but holds some good recyclable stuff in there. Gives others ideas right. so what ya think Al.”

“My name is Mardon Callanta from Manila, Philippines.

35yrs ago, I experienced my first train set – a Tyco HO Amtrak set bought in San Francisco while we were there vacationing. Since we dont have hobby train stuff here in the Philippines – it took me 4yrs of summer vacationing in the USA to gather various tracks and building kits.

My mom lent me her table tennis ping-pong table to set up my HO set and everything was really crude – just a bag of lichen and wire for trees, crudely painted grey on the table to represent roads, a white styrofoam mountain that looked more like a building structure than a mountain, a few unpainted building kits and the tracks themselves. Thats about the totality of my train experience back then. This lasted for a couple of years, then everything was boxed for good. I think that box was thrown out by one of our maids back then.

35yrs later, I started to go back and try model railroading again. I went for N scale, so layouts could be smaller than HO – and also because I dont have ample space for a 4’x8′ layout anymore. I started looking into Japanese N scale last March 2013 and got hooked by subscribing into JNSforum – a forum for people modeling Japanese scenery, buildings, etc. Kato became my brand of choice for my tracks and trains which really have an abundance in choosing my concept.

I would like to share with you my first decent layout after getting back into model railroads again. Its been 35yrs since I’ve owned anything related to model railroading, so please excuse my meager attempt. I enjoyed your website and have been inspired about doing a small railroad layout and hopefully share to your subscribers as well.

This 30″ x 48″ layout is called Byodo-In 360! The Byodo-In temple became my focal point because of how it was situated like an island around a pond. My design concept was to replicate the walking path of the actual temple in Uji, Japan – but using train tracks. It is still under construction and it seems there are still many details to add.

Here are some pics and a youtube video (please pardon the poor quality of the video)

Mardon Callanta
Manila, Philippines”

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Should I add the parts for Kim’s track cleaner?

Please do keep them coming.



39 Responses to Mardon’s layout

  1. Well done Mardon .nice little layout

  2. What you have is a fine layout…I like how the Temple is the main part of the layout and the Japanese gardens around it

  3. Great little layout Mardon, I especially like the Japanese style track support and the fact that your layout is a sort of ‘figure of eight’ with the trains going past on different levels/tracks. Mike S

  4. Nice little layout. Well done…


  5. ….and the backdrop with the mountains looks great

  6. You have a great layout, Mardon. The Japanese garden is a very good touch.

  7. Very nice layout and a very interesting story. I am glad you came back to modeling. Send more please.

  8. Very cooooool. My dream is to have a layout like this. Time money and space keeps me from it.


  10. Well done Mardon, I picture you sitting back with a cool drink watching the trains go by.

  11. Wonderful job. I especially liked the green water around the temple, it looks just like the lake out my back door.

  12. Yes, it is a small layout, but there is nothing “meager” about the effort. Well done, Mardon!!!

  13. I have got to remember the idea of using old vcr parts. Thanks for that idea. And the layout was great!

  14. Quite different from the Western layouts I’m accustomed to, but very pleasantly so. A nice evocation of Japan.

  15. Mardon.
    I liked your layout with good focus, more importantly I enjoyed your story.
    Ronald Jones

  16. You have nothing to be pardoned about, for you have created an interesting and nicely crafted layout Please keep up the good work.

  17. Has a nice sense of the Japanese simplicity style to it, almost like a rock garden…

  18. very nicely done and your backdrop is great too. Congratulations

  19. BEAUTIFUL. Simple with the temple and garden – just like the Japanese temples and gardens that I remember from Japan.

    Great idea about using the motors from the VCR – very creative.

    I’m working on getting back into modeling after having a train board in 1964. You give me inspiration.

    (While living in northern Thailand years ago, I ran my trains using flash light batteries – fun.)


  20. very nice layout good to see a train running.

  21. Mardon`s Layout.


    Great layout is there any possibility of obtaining a track plan of this layout.

    I would like to do the same layout myself,if i could get a copy of the plan,i would be very graetful.

    Mike M

  22. Cool layout in a small space the temple and station could be a great area for lighting for night scenes too the greenery around the temple colored indirect like they do on landscaping in real life gives me ideas for my garden railway .

  23. well done its a great little layout well detailed you should be proud my layout is just beginning 8×4 ho and I have bare table so good on you

  24. well done, very nice good change of layout .wish you all the best for the future.

  25. I enjoyed the Japanese layout especially the temple, gardens, tori gate and the background. I taught for two years at Zama H.S. outside of Tokyo in the 1960’s. Also, I climbed Mt. Fuji.

  26. loved your layout was a little problem with the voloumn as none on video and this end works ok

  27. Very interesting layout. Great to see one that is totally different than what many of us model. Did you scratchbuild the temple? Great job – thank you for sharing.

  28. Hi mardon,im an english man living here in the philippines been here about 6 years now.i was a bit more lucky than you in the respect that i had model raiways back in englang so when i decided to move here i packed up all my train stuff and had it shipped over.i now have a layout here in my house

  29. I love it.
    I live in Oahu in Hawaii and we have a full size Byodo In Temple duplicated in concrete painted red with a pond of Koi fish in the front. It is the most beautiful place to visit on Oahu.
    I hope I too get into N gage lauout sometime.

  30. Loooooooove your layout & the garden is a perfect touch.

  31. A very interesting story and a very unique layout. Really love the backdrop and the Temple. Great work.

    Jim AZ

  32. What voltage do these VCR parts run on?

  33. Very nice layout. Love the backdrop and especially the main focus of the temple surrounded by water. It looks very peaceful. Keep up the great work.

    Cary B

  34. wonderful track plan and interesting scenery. inspirational! Keep going!!

  35. Wow…. I was just starting planning (started but delayed 1yr by an accident) your layout has a lot of inspiration to me – should I continue or not, if you have then why not, thanks for sharing

  36. Can I use these print outs with o gauge trains.

  37. Beautiful layout, Mardon! This is the first I have seen in the Eastern style, and I’m blown away. The serenity of the temple, bridge and surround is wonderful. Thank you for sharing with everyone! Warren in Alabama

  38. Mardon thanks for sharing your beautiful layout. Leo Oklahoma

  39. Dear friend, You have nothing to say that you are sorry about. It is a fine video of a beautiful layout. It was well planned and nicely creaed by a person who just got back into the hobby of model railroading. My hat is off to you sir.

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