Model train flat bed load

Roger sent this in.

It’s the second of three – but I’ve started with this one as I thought it excellent.

Hope you like it!

“Hello Al

Here’s the second of my FREELOADS for flat wagons – and I think my favourite. I’ve been storing the tops from washing-up liquid bottles for a while – convinced that one day they would appear on my layout. Stuck a couple together and lo and behold.

After you have cut off the tagged, press-in tops (which you keep!) it’s important that you match the halves up perfectly – then you’ll notice that you have a natural, free-standing base. Glue with superglue – works fine with these polythene bits and pieces.

Once painted, you could stick them straight onto the wagons – but I don’t like using glue on trucks – so I made bases for them, attached them to the bases with glue and thread – then used tiny blobs of Bluetack to secure the whole thing to the rolling stock.

Checked it out – and once loaded they fall just short of the height of an OO scale coach – so they’ll pass through tunnels – and probably okay for HO too. And they’re exactly the right width.

Please don’t ask what they represent! Got the idea from old photos of similar looking loads which I’m sure nobody but the manufacturer could identify. Point is – they look great.

Best wishes to you and all out there.


Pretty good eh? A big thank you to Roger.

Lots more here in my fave resource. A real treasure trove.

One last thing. Thanks for all your emails on the ‘ebay cheat sheet‘. Hope it’s saving you a fortune.



54 Responses to Model train flat bed load

  1. A Very good idea , look like giant Turbines , well done Roger

  2. they look like turbines or generators for small power plants. they also could be large electric motors

  3. Dear Sir,
    Many thanks for your mails. I am a new modler. I need youradvice pleas. I would like to build model rly for my grandson. he is 4.they have a space for about 120cm long. my son wants that baseboard could be folded in half, when not in use. please help me.can you suggest any books, please

  4. Dear sir,
    Many thaks for your mails. I am a new modler. I wish to build model rly for my grand son who is 4. They have a space of 120 cm long. My son wants that base board to be able to fold in half when not in use. Please how to go about it

  5. Hi Roger

    You appear to be a man of my ilk. Now as to what your ‘bottle top’ reuse might represent, I suggest 2 off 500HP electric squirrel cage motors commonly used to drive conveyor belts. To improve the appearance you might consider affixing a small (scaled down 6″x9″ with a horizontal groove indicating the separation line between the body and the lid) simulating the electric wiring terminal / control box usually found on such motors. If you’re interested in further refinements please let me know and I’ll elucidate on further details. In any event keep up the good work

    regards Dr Bruce

  6. just great something you make it look so real they look to me like turbo engines for hydro schemes

  7. Perhaps they are dynamo or transformers for heavy industries?

  8. Hi,

    Thanks for this great tip!

    These loads look like ball mills for ore processing or big electrical motors or electrical generators.


  9. I like what I see. They remind me of old style generators or motors. But all that aside, very creative and a good looking addition to the lay out

  10. Roger, They are fairy bottle tops ,what ever you want them to be,but damm they are good, It just goes to show what is out there in peoples brains. excellent.

  11. Now that’s what I call recycling! Very clever and well spotted Rodger!
    Waryam may like to check out a company called “Steam Powered Video” They do loads of books too and I am sure there will be plenty for the beginner to the worlds greatest hobby

  12. Simple, but very ingenious. Keep up the good work!

  13. im going to add some to my layout, so simple,it pays to wash up thanks.

  14. What a superb idea and so very practical…combining left over item’s and thus slightly less crap for a landfill..Thank you

  15. great idea will look good anywhere on layout. one evening will produce several. thk u

  16. Nice job looks a generator for a power plant. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas on train control using multiple linear taper potentiometers. I wanted a control panel with pots or rheostats controlling short distances in my train yard etc. Any ideas welcome

  17. Wow! I don’t usually like many homemade things on a model railroad unless they really look “real”…and these do. I’m freelancing an agricultural area railroad and those gizmos look like something a packing house or processing plant might use…thanks from California!
    Bonny aka Grannytoot

  18. good add for any layout i like it a lot and thanks for shering it with us

  19. I knew there was a reason I was saving the tops (lids) of those Wood & Craft glue bottles. Thank you Roger Only problem is may have to buy more flat cars to haul them or just stack on loading dock to save money. Now does anyone have a good idea for the empty bottles?

  20. I’m totally in agreement with Dr. Brruce. After getting a look at one of these after painting, my first impression was big HP electric motors. Nice work Roger.

  21. I like this a hold lost. All of your thing are great.

  22. Roger, this is ingenious. If the good Dr. Bruce cares to ellucidate I would like to see the details but regardless, I am going to use this on my layout.

  23. Agree with all previos comments, look like electricity generators of some kind. Good wok.

  24. Thanks for the tip. Simple yet colorful. Looks easy to apply paint to get a variety.

  25. Thanks for the great idea. Very colorful; with it easy to paint I can get a series of several for the flat cars and a loading doc.

  26. Great Job, looks like a turbine, if you paint the ribs on the side with a little black paint and weather they would look used and have the new ones as there replacement. Looks sharp. Good Idea, Thanks

  27. Looks great.

  28. Roger,
    A great imagination put to good use. They remind me of turbines you might see in a large factory. I also save a lot of “parts” hoping someday I will find a use for them. Wish the tops came in a smaller size. I would love to use them on my N scale layout.

  29. That’s a fantastic idea and a Roger say’s they look like turbines/electric motors/generators. Well done.

  30. Love those. Look like generators, turbines, large ship motors.

    Great job.


  31. This is another great idea. I know N guage doesn’t have a lot of accessories and most of them have to be made and I’m always looking for ideas. I go to an Arts and Craft Store and stroll the isles with my mini ruler and just look at all the trinkets and stuff to see if anything looks like I can use it.

  32. hi every one i have just joined this site and have just got into n gauge model railway i live in exter have bought alot of railway locos and loads of wagons i like american and german stuff i want to build a layout in my loft anyone know of any local groups in exeter area where i can meetup and discuse n gauge model railway your help much apreciated.

  33. Fantastic idea, shall be saving fairy tops now. Reminds me of the days when we saved fairy bottles but mother always took soo long to use the soap. Who remembers the adverts. What I need is an idea for making pedestrian bridges please. Regards Di

  34. They could also be large fans, or rolls of conveyor belting – or the large machinery suggested by others – good work Rodger!

  35. WOW! and all this time I been tossing them in to the recycle bin. This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing your idea.

  36. It never ceases to amaze me the amount talented model railroaders that are out there! To be able to visualize that from just looking at the lids from squirt soap bottles is definetly seeing outside the norm. Fantastic idea and execution. Keep the ideas flowing.


  37. Brilliant..! That’s thinking outside the box..!!!

  38. hey Roger ,
    cool loads they look like old style generators for electric plants , i wish they made them small enough for N-scale , i made my own military train with micro machine military magnifiers which are a little bit smaller than original micro machines

  39. a terrific idea for flat car loads

  40. Took one look at the finished product and immediately said to myself, generators… fantastic joy at-a-boy. Great thanks for sharing.

  41. A very imaginative and artistic re-cycle!

  42. Some one most likely called it on this one guy , but I would say they look like turbines for power generation or rolls of metal form the foundry or steal mills ?
    Just a thought , but I would say brilliant idea and keep that up so we all can try your ideas on our RR,s -By the way I started working on a 6′ X4′ base for my new
    Pike a couple of days ago , I am trying to see if I can build the base from all 1″ and 2″ foam sheet and get it to carry the load of track , train and scenery+ wires and glue along with the roadbed all together at one time ?

  43. Very nice now I know why I save the things I do. Very inventive and excellent reproduction of a electric motors. Great job!

  44. Brilliant. I always save thees now i know what i can do with them.

    Thanks Roger keep them coming.

    Dave .

  45. I really enjoyed this and the bridge made from cheap razors. Very imaginative!! My name is Cal and soon I will be able to send in photos of my Cheyenne Intermountain Railroad. Under construction in the mountain building phase. Love being a member here.

  46. Brilliant thanks for showing.

  47. What a great idea! So ingenious and simple. What paint did you use for the silver nozzles or shafts? It looks very realistic and leveled out very well. I’m just coming back to model railroading after many years. Since retirement, I have built custom rifles, but arthritis has made it pretty difficult. I have sold off some of my larger machines, but they haven’t been moved yet, so I can’t build a layout until they leave. My wife says a place to park her car would be nice as well. I’m keeping my Myford Super 7 lathe and Clausing vertical mill and tooling, so I can do repairs. I live in Alabama, in the U.S of A. Any suggestions on sources for supplies, types of paints I should use for HO steam era American railroading. I really enjoy the projects and comments. Thank you. Warren

  48. Viewed a painting video not long ago that hit heavy
    On fact that as a modeler you are creating illusions.
    Looking at all the responses about what these bottle
    Caps could be, I congratulate you for creating a very
    Successful and might add attractive illusion. Great job.
    Dan Renwick

  49. Just have to say, “Very clever”!

  50. I love the idea of using scrap materials – they do look like “something” but it does not matter exactly what they are meant to be, they are super!

    More please! I wish I was that inventive!


    Dirty Dave

  51. I work in a steel mill and we ship loads like this all the time. The only think I can add is that in reality these would be extremely heavy and there would be wedges of some sort on each side to keep them upright. You have the thread tie down correctly wrapped (belly wrap) but it is to light. Would most likely be chain. I can’t get over how good they look. Thank you.

  52. WOW!

  53. Very nice! A person can use the necklace chain sold in craft store’s to tie down the load insteam of thread. Many thanks on a great idea. Nick

  54. WOW.. Who woulda thought….. Seriously? I am impressed!!!!! NOW the question is, who do I (or how do I) make up a posting like this on what I’ve done?

    I love the idea, more scrap in the recycling pile that can be used and look good with a small amount of effort! I’ll be doing this, and calling those I so up, large electric motors…..

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