Bill’s switching layout video

Starting with an apology today.

On Bill’s last post (which is here) he mentioned his switching layout video, but I didn’t post it.

So here it is:

Now on to this fab tip from KirK, which I think is spot on.

“Hi Al,

I have been looking at hundreds of postings from you and have made a couple of observations that may be helpful to modelers…

1] Always try to ’round’ corners on backdrops instead of having sharp angles. Jeff’s last post of his painted backdrops is a perfect example.

This will let the scenery ‘flow’ much more realistically.

2] When a hill, ridge, or mountain meets the backdrop, ‘pull’ it away from the vertical surface slightly and let it ‘roll’ downward a bit.

This will add more realism to the depth of field.

Don’t know if this is worth posting, but feel free if you think it might be helpful.

Best to you,


And now on to Mike – who has sent in pics of this little gizmo:

“Hi Alistair,

I just wanted to introduce this machine, which is very good for scratch building, especially if you are as ham-fisted as I am.

I’ve used it a lot on my N gauge layout (still a work in progress).

This is the machine.

It comes with software to allow you to design on screen (about an hour to learn it) and a deep-cut blade is useful.

It doesn’t cut all the way through plasticard, but a bit of work with a blade completes the job.

These are some of my scratch builds using it.

First picture is the thing as designed on the software, second the result.

Fallen down stone building:

Your readers may be interested in this machine.


My word – a huge thanks to Mike.

I had a look on ebay and
(Here’s a link for it).

I think his creations are fantastic – and in N scale too!

It looks like an impressive little gizmo.

Has anyone else used one?

Please do leave a comment below if you have.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming, and don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to get going on your very own layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Really is worth a look this time of year.

Bill’s 4×16 Switching layout update

“Hi Al

As always I appreciate your work and your wonderful site.

Everyday I enjoy reading of others modeling work and see the great variety of model railroads you post.

This weekend I spent some time working on one scene on the second module of my 4×16 switching layout.

I have all my filler ties back in on my track and all ties and rails painted so it’s time to start adding ballast and scenery.

I’ve attached a few pictures of what I’ve accomplished today and a link to a video showing the scene in more detail. I look forward to hiding pink foam board at the soonest across the whole layout.

For this scene I painted the side walls in the foam with acrylic earth tone paints then added 50/50 white glue and worked it in with a brush.

Next was I added earth toned ground cover and then foam. I soaked the foam with 50/50 white glue and sprinkled on ground cover to build up depth and layers on the foam.

The coal is real and after setting in place I added more 50/50 white glue to hold the piles together. It was a fun little project and I still have much more detailing to do but that will be another day.


Bill in Virginia”

(Bill’s last post is here.)

switching model train layout

switching model railroad layout

Switching layout

Model railroad

model railway

model railroad 4x16

A huge thanks to Bill.

I do love it when I see his name pop up in my inbox.

He seems to have had a lot of fun with this part of his layout. What a project!

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming. And don’t forget the the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going on your layout.



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here (Have you had a look yet? It really does go bonkers at this time of year…)

Ralph’s HO layout

Starting with a bit of housekeeping today.

Some people have asked me why I have stopped mailing them. The simple answer is I haven’t, and nor would I.

But, if one day, you stop getting my mails, it’ll simply be because you haven’t whitelisted my email address, and your ISP may think I’m spam.

Easiest thing to do is whitelist my email address – then you’ll always get my mails.

If you google how to do it, you’ll see it only takes a second to do.

That’s all.

Now back on to trains:

“Hi Al,

Following up on my email yesterday, here are three photos of my 68″X68” HO layout. These pictures give an over view of the layout which include a country fair, a small airport, an auto racetrack and grandstand, and a tunnel with a station on the top.

I’m thinking that a monorail running over the layout would be a fun addition… but have not been able to find such a product.

I have three trains running…..

#1. A Marklin vintage model with a 3020 locomotive & passenger cars from 1947-1954

#2. A Marklin intermodal train which circles the airport.

$3. A Bachmann “The General” which runs on an elevated figure 8 track.


HO scale layout

HO scale layout

HO scale layout

HO scale layout

HO scale layout

HO scale layout

HO scale layout

“Hi Alastair,

I just placed my order. I hope I can get some inspiration to take this to great places.


start of model railroad

start of model railway

I know some of you are often puzzled when I post pics of a layout that hasn’t taken shape yet.

But for me, it’s the whole point of this hobby: creating something from nothing.

Looking at one hell of a mess and then scratching your head over wiring is all part of the process. Every layout you have ever seen, at one point, was a rat’s nest of wires, tools, track and profanities.

All you have to do is make a start because no layout happens overnight.

A huge thanks to Phil for sharing and I wish him well.

And who can help with his monorail idea?

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you want to start on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here (It really does go mad this time of year – have a look and see for yourself!)