Military model train layout

“Hi Al

Following on from an earlier lay out on your email, attached is another attempt at incorporating a military element. The lay out represents the period around 1939-41 in Germany and combines military with civilian operations. The town Fraustadt (in the then West Posen Province) exists but my layout is entirely fictitious. The tanks are mark IIIs of First Panzer Division. It is still very much a work in progress.



I have no idea why I like the military layouts so much – but I do!

Next is a ‘how-to’ sent in from Toni. There were lots of comments on Arnie’s layout, in particular the fire scene. Here’s what Toni sent.

“For the people who inquired about the burning building. You can create a similar building using a multi-floor building. Materials needed: one multi-floor hotel or office building model and about three or more electronic candles.

step 1) Assemble building and paint per instructions except for the floor(s) the you want engulfed in fire, and the floors above that if you plan on a huge fire.

Step 2) After the painted building is dry, add dark soot colored weathering material to the top of the windows, on the floor that is to be burning, with upward strokes using a wide brush.

Step 3) Paint the inside of the building, on the floor that is burning, a medium shade of grey. This will help to darken the room’s interior. You do not want it to be black. The grey helps to reflect the flicker of the electronic candles.

Step 4) If possible take the electronic candle circuits out of their casings.

Step 5) Disconnect the LEDs from their flickering circuit boards. Remember to mark which leads went to what pads on the boards. Attach long wires to the LED’s leads and connect the other wire ends back to the circuit boards. Remember the LED’s polarity.

Step 6) If the candles have On-Off switches, disconnect them and solder longer wires to the circuit boards and the wire’s other end to a switch that you perfer to use and connect that switch to your control panel or an unseen location on the building model. If you are using more than one candle, be sure to wire the them in parallel to the one power switch.

Step 7) Now secure the candle’s LED to the inside of the room that is to be burning. If using more than one candle per room, do not group them together. Secure the LEDs in different places in the room. You want it to look as if there are multiple flame locations in the room.

Step 7) Figure where your fire fighting models are to be and color the areas under and around the models to look wet. Remember that street asphalt and sidewalks will be a few shades darker when wet.

Step 8) Locate your fire equipment models for action.

Step 9) Step back and admire your work and bask in the ahhs and wows from your family and friends.

Side note:

I am retiring an old microwave and hand blender from kitchen use. The microwave will now be used for drying scenic material and the hand blender will be used for pulverizing the dried scenic material for spreading on my layout.


A big thanks to Toni and Paul.

One last thing – have a look at the latest ‘ebay cheat sheet‘. Lots of new stuff on there.



21 Responses to Military model train layout

  1. Very nice indeed.

  2. hi i am thinking of doing a winter scene for my oo gauge railway is it possible to use snow spray and cover with pva glue to protect it? if you have a better or easier idea that would be great thanks gordon ps i am in the uk

  3. “Nazis! I hate Nazis!!” ………Indiana Jones ;o) Kidding aside, it’s a really cool layout. Well done!

  4. Hey Toni, Thanks for a really great idea. Was wondering how to get that
    little extra flicker and your, how to, hit it perectly. Thanks

    And, Thanks to Al for this great site.

  5. I have used the spray snow flock and when I needed to remove it .. well lets just say I wish I never used it. Woodland scenic has a far better product for that now days.

  6. Following from Jeff it just needs a few Mosquitoes and Typhoons flying overhead : )

  7. And nice ;layout by the way

  8. Just another idea for a painting tool. I recently parted out a microwave oven that had ‘expired’ and kept the motor which turns the interior glass plate, and the plastic ‘spider’ with the wheels upon which the plate rides. I made a box using 1/2″ plywood, 11 1/2″ square which rests on sides that are 2 1/2″ wide x 11 1/2″ long. All ends are mitered for appearance. Drill a hole in the exact center of the square piece, in my case 5/8 ” diameter. Mount the motor on the underside of the piece with 1/2″ sheet metal screws with two small washers to prevent the screw tips from penetrating the top. I then gave the whole thing four coats of aerosol laquer spray to keep the wood clean, and also provide a smooth, hard surface for the ‘spider’ wheels to roll. The addition of a long shanked SPST toggle switch and a short power cord, a re-purposed six foot extension cord, and you have a turntable for painting that turns at approximately 6 RPM and stops dead when the switch is turned off.

  9. Need the add that ‘Big Bertha’ to a flat car for your fine layout!


  11. I like it, What about a railway set in Germany in 1945, The russians coming from the East & the British and the Yanks coming from the West.

    In between the Germans forces retreating.?

  12. Hi , what scale are the tanks? I made some white metal Challengers in N gge but they are very heavy , I suppose like the real thing, and I can only pull 4 at a time. Also can we see a close up of your tank transporter wagons? are they low loaders?
    Good to see so much variety & innovation. I have seen a few pre-D Day models, but never one from the Axis side. Danke !, D/

  13. Hi Duncan. The panzers are HO from Roco so are quite light. The aircraft area are all 1:72 so there is a mixing of scale – the 1:72 scale area is separated from the rest and is at the front. Will send through a photo of the panzer transporter- all Roco with different serials. I guess they are low loaders.

  14. PLEASE SIR CAN I HAVE SOME MORE ”PICS” I just am gaga for military railroad scenes – not too many out there – Would love to know where and if there are more pics of this stunning layout to be seen ?

    Loved the great article on the fire scene – definitely will be using that in some of my builds – was trying to figure out how to simulate burning in a Bunker – Now have the answer – This can also relfect gunfire flashes – very nice

    All your articles of of great interest – Keep up the good work – I know it is loads of Hard work and love’s Labor but always remember there are thousands of us out there that truly appreciate this.

  15. Thank you Al, for printing my “Tips” and “How to articles.”

    For Gordon Scott,

    I do believe that a better choice would be to use a thin layer of white plaster and a layer of diluted white glue sprayed on the plaster.

    Having to remove the spray-on snow can be a gooey mess. while removing the plaster is easier by chipping at it and vacuuming the plaster up, or you can just leave it and paint over it with other seasonal colors and replant foliage.

  16. Nice job Paul of providing so much content into a small layout. The military theme seems to have always held some favor among model railroad modelers.

    Oh, and I want to give a big thanks to Toni for providing readers with a step-by-step on how to model a burning building of the type that was recently shown by Al of my N scale SV&GS Railway.

  17. Very nice place you have, the open timber buildings are quite nice! I’m doing a N scale 1935-1945 American Army Post/Fort layout. I served seven years, 1970-1977 in the Army.

  18. What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively helpful and it has helped me out loads. I’m hoping to contribute & aid other users like its aided me. Great job.

  19. HI Toni, any chance you could include some photos of the LED candel conversion please


  20. nice military layout , for those who are modeling N-scale like me I used micro machine military magnifiers for my military train , they the perfect size for n-scale , I have flat bed cars w/ tanks trucks and jeeps and painted my flat bed cars camoflosh colors, and painted ( 2 ) engines to match , and bought some US Army box cars & a caboose

  21. A nice throwback to the WW2 days very outstanding

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