Michael’s HO Scale layout


This is a HO scale layout consisting of 3 separate zones. Farm, Village and Mtns. There are 2 bridges, 2 tunnels and lots of interesting things to see along the tracks. I use EZ track. It’s just easier for me to work with.

The platform is L shaped 4X8X6. DC powered.

I used plastic, laser cut; self build (balsa) and paper houses and buildings. A little bit of paint makes them look more realistic. I purchased a bundle of paper houses I saw in your emails. They were easy to assemble and add a nice touch of realism.

The roads are made from a Woodland Scenic kit. The little details like the billboards were made from actual billboard pictures I found on the Internet. I reduced them to the proper scale, printing on photo paper, and attaching them to a painted balsa wood frame.

Mountains are made from 1” thick rigid insulation, stacked, glued, cut, shaped and painted. I also added some natural stone; plaster tunnel portals, and paper retaining walls. All topped off with some mosses and grasses I bought at the craft store.

The farm scene is my favorite. The farm house is paper, the store is laser cut and the barn and silo is built. I added a lot of little touches like the wheat and corn field as well as the plowed earth.

I topped it all off with people, animals, fences, gravel roads, vehicles and a few other items to make it fun.

I added a few more pictures.



Another cracking layout. But it’s not just these gems I want to post – if you’ve put the time in and made a layout, please do send in pics.

And now it’s time to break off at a tangent. Stop reading now if you’re only interested in trains.

After my day from hell yesterday (wrestling with the technical gremlins to get the site back up) I got some very nice emails that cheered me up.

One mail was from Jeff. He just sent me some pics of his dogs (some of you may remember I’ve just got a puppy). And it got me thinking. Every dog owner I know has a funny story about their dogs. So I’m toying with the idea of starting a blog on dogs.

So if you have one, please do share. If I get enough, I’ll get busy. Saying that, my 5 month German Shepard is doing a good job of that, so we’ll see.

Anyhow, thanks for all your emails of support yesterday, all caused by the growing popularity of the ‘ebay cheat sheet’.

If you’ve not had a look at it yet, it’s here.



37 Responses to Michael’s HO Scale layout

  1. A “Dog Blog” sounds like a really great idea.

  2. I’d love to see a diagram of Michael’s 3 zone layout. This is something just like I am trying to get together myself! Great pics thanks…..
    Also I the Dog Blog – there are many around but I’m sure with your following it would be great!

    Keep up the good work – I look forward to these

  3. Those hay bales are friggin awesome. How were they made?

  4. A blog for dogs will be great! By the way, we have 2 german shepherds! They are great dogs!

  5. great pics. those hay bales r good. cheers

  6. Agree with Chuck, would like to see a diagram of the 3 zone layout. Nice looking from the pics.

    My dog is a Bassoon, half Basset and half Coon hound and enjoys sleeping, eating and drooling in that order.

  7. Michael i love your city sceene and the mountain great job keep up the good work

  8. I agree with Chuck. I would also like to see the overall 3 zone layout. I am toying with that kind of set-up but just haven’t got the right look yet. Great job on your farm setup.

  9. Nice layout. Well done. I’d like to know how the hay bales were done too. I’ve been experimenting with Cheerios for my N guage.

  10. I agree with Al, you did a great job. Do you have a picture of the whole layout or large sections, so we can see how the 4x8x6 worked out?

  11. Glad to see you back. I wondered what happened. Keep up the good work I really appreciate your site. I particularly like the tips and how-to parts. The vid’s are very interesting and 0leasurable to watch.

  12. Hey,how did u make those hay roles? awesome!!,I have two red mules,I put out a 5×5 roll of real hay,when they get it down to ho size,i take it away,the bad part is I never know when that will happen so I set my alarm an ck it every 30min,results are pretty good but I am always tired!!,got to be a better way!!! Thanks!!…….Mike


  14. Michael great job. I to would like to see photo of the whole layout. Thanks.
    Dog blog is great idea, we have a Basenji, she is constantly making us laugh.

  15. Great workmanship, very intereating

  16. Yes, many stated about the hay bails earlier. Yes, they are great looking and yes, how were they made?

  17. Want to know what the hay bales are made of-they are really neat!!

    Waiting for your reply!!

  18. nice job

  19. Great layout Michael I really like the buildings, were they scratch built or kit? either way they are impressive, well done.

  20. Mike, very nice work. Great attention to detail. Inspires me on my
    less productive moments.. Thanks.. Rog

  21. Congratulations Michael. Very nice layout. The down town scene and the crop scenes are great. Like many of the other readers I would love to know how you built the crops, fields and hay bales.

  22. Mike, I like the farm scene and yes those hay bails are awesome! Much to do about nothing, but a lot to do about something. I like the concept of mountains town or village and farm it all fits your layout and the addition of the different types of bldg. etc. makes for a wonderful layout. I am happy for you … show it off proudly! thanks for sharing!

    Al, I like the concept of a ” Dog Blog” awesome! Some of my best friends are dogs. Glad you are back up and running … sure missed you.

  23. Al, now about the dog blog. My wife Chris and I our dog died. Her name was Ginger. We had her for almost 13 year. She was with us the time our children were growing up … Ginger died the year my son was graduating from high school. She was a border collie and spits mix. She was beautiful. She had a small bell around her neck. To this day at times we can still hear her jump down from the bed and that bell ring. Yes she is still with us. Ginger holds special memories in our hearts. Can’t wait for the blog to share our memories of her. I am a lover of dogs. Share stories of other dogs I have been in association with through the years.They truly are our best friends.

    If the dog blog is anything like this railroad blog It
    will be awesome!

    Thanks for all you do for all of us … I do not like to speak for others but I think I can this time we are all appreciative and great full for all that you do.

    best regards,


  24. Great job Mike. It’s great to see somebody putting their signals at a realistic height. You have an interesting seasonal mix of snow on the conifers, freshly ploughed fields, and newly cut hay! Who cares! Have fun. (Yes, please tell us about the hay bales) Thanks, Don

  25. great layout the detail is unbelieveable. love to see more pictures.

  26. The street scene is fabulous. The layout overall is excellent.
    Dogs: I have a female German Shepherd ( bitch at times ). She is the fourth GSD I have had, all the others being males. Heide (kennel name ; Wiimaurs Raggamuffin ) will be 11 yrs old on 23 March. She got the first two Sheep Herding Titles a month before her 9th birthday, and only had 7 formal training sessions. Us two oldies ( I’m 75 and she is 10 & 11/12 ) took part in two herding demonstrations in mid December at the DogsVictoria exhibition.

  27. Michael’s layout is nice and, yes, I want to know how to make the hay bales, too. Really good job of the furrows on the farm.
    Would love a dog blog. I’ve owned almost fifty dogs in my lifetime and have lots of stories including a couple of German Shepherd tales (pun intended!).
    Grannytoot (working on HO, N, and Z)

  28. Do you have the track layout published somewhere?

  29. Nice !! that’s some of the most detail of farming I have seen .The rest is great too !

  30. Mike excellent photos of an outstanding layout. Detail is amazing. I also would like to see the entire layout. Not the track layout, but the relationship of the 4′ section to the 8′ section to the 6′ section.

  31. Hi Michael, fantastic layout, keep up the good work.

    Al, I think you are doing a wonderful job too.


  32. Wonderful, Michael… Have you produced a video of your Layout? I would love to see it…. Many of your scenes look fascinating… I would like to add a logging mill and a coal loading cite in the mountain area… Chuck


  34. Outstanding work on the areas shown would like to see 3 things 1:a picture of the entire layout 2: a track plan of the layout with curve radius listed 3: more photos from each section. I have been working on a “L” shape layout for a while now. I was trying to hold the minimum radius to 30″ but finally gave up on that idea cause I just could not get it to work. Now am trying to hold the minimum to 28′ and it looks like it may work. I wanted the large radius because of full length 89ft. passenger cars, pig flats and 4 and 8 door auto box cars. I know they will run fine on 24″ but they look so much better on the larger radius curves(personal opinion) if it comes out half as nice as yours I will be happy. Hope to see more of your fine layout in the near future. dlwdan

  35. Great job. jim

  36. Great layout. Every morning I wake up to this Al fantastic.

  37. Have been in dogs a lot longer than in trains. Would love a dog blog! We have 2 Pem Corgis who run our lives. Wouldn’t have it any other way. We recently moved to a 2 story home in Maine. Neither dog had ever seen stairs, having grown up in a one story job in SC. Sidney has finally learned how to navigate stairs and is sleeping on my bed where she grew up. Evan on the other hand wants nothing to do with stairs so sleeps alone in the kitchen. Very sad.

    Working on my HO layout, now 6 months in production, and learning much from this site. Thanks to all who have posted pics and tips. Great work Alistair.

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