Paul enlarges his waterfront

“Hi Al thought I would send you some photos of how I increased the size of my waterfont scene using toilet paper and PVA glue.

The included photos show the plywood extension and the initial steps in applying the TP & PVA.

The TP is applied about 4-5 layers thick with the PVA gluing the layers together.

You see me “pushing” the still wet TP with the paint brush to form waves which are heading toward the shore and bulkhead.

In these photos I angled the light such that it highlighted the waves that were formed by pushing the wet TP with the paint brush. You can see the 3D effect of the visable waves. At this point you have to let the work dry which takes a few days because of the thickness of the TP. Once dried my wife stepped in because I failed at an attempt to match the color of the existing water scene. Naturally if you were doing this all at once there wouldn’t be any need to color match and you wouldn’t have to hire an artist.

In these photos you can see the fan brush we used to highlight the tops of the waves with white paint. You must remove most of the paint from the brush by passing the bristles over some waste material. What you are then doing is called a “dry brush” effect on the wave tops.

The next photo shows the jetty I built to protect the pilings that hold up the dock by the fishing shack. This photo also shows the blending of the colors where the old and new water meet. Lastly is a photo of the overall scene. The credit for this method of producing the water effect goes to Marklin of Sweden and his videos. The best part of this method is the 3D effect of the waves.


A huge thanks to Paul. Over the years there have been lots of water ‘how to’ posts, but I think this one is particularly good.

That’s all this time folks.

And if you think it’s time to stop dreaming, and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

John’s wiring update

“Hi Al,

Thought I’d send an update on the wiring of the WV Energy coal mining railroad.

I’ve decided that the railroad will have 3 DC power blocks, 2 will run most of the trains.

The first will be to run the trains around the weird-shaped loops, the second will be for the track going to the coal mines, and the 3rd will be for making up trains behind the scenes on the storage tracks under the mountains.

As I got down to wiring, I remembered various devices and LEDs required several different voltages, as does the lighting on the layout. This then required either a separate stand-alone power supply for each voltage, or some sort of board with various voltages available. I decided on the latter.

I bought a 15amp 24 volt DC supply, and have several DC to DC reducers that are adjustable. One is set at 12VDC, another at 3.5 for my motor driven switch machines and the LED’s associated with them (600 ohm resistor on those), and another for 2VDC for LEDs.

These little DC not DC boards are pretty cheap from Ebay, cheap enough that I don’t cry too much when I blow one up – which I have done to a few. I also found that the Atlas type switch machines like around 14V AC, so I added a transformer for that.

The main board and stuff is also under the mountain.

I found that I needed a place to work, so I built a work space and put it on drawer slides, that way I can still get around the back of the layout, and pull out the drawer for as much work table top as I need, since I had plenty of room under the layout, I made it 48” wide and 36” deep.

After things get running and my focus moves away from scenery and wiring, I’m going to make a railcar weathering, decaling, and adjustments area with all the stuff on the work-space to do those tasks. I also will be setting up locomotive maintenance, oiling, wheel cleaning, and if I ever decide to add sound to my loco’s, a place to put in the decoders for that.

My track plan has the mines as a 1 track entering, and a loop. I bought a auto-polarity reversing circuit from a company over on your island, they make some really trick stuff and are reasonably priced, fast shipment too! I may experiment with their signal controllers if I get trains running. Anyway, I will update on how the loop track works in the future.

Lastly for this note is that I’ve nearly finished the backdrops for the mine section of the layout. I bought light, nearly white yellow colored “mat” cardboard that is used to cut out for the framing of artwork and pictures under the glass, most I used are 32” X 40”. They are very smooth and quite ridged, and take the acrylic paint I use well. I found some plastic joining trim used for thin plastic sheeting, like is used on a bathtub surrounding wall, we call it FRP – fiberglass reinforced panels, and the trim fits the card stock pretty well. I chose the card stock because as can be seen in the picture “behind the scenes” the card stock is bent to follow the mountains. I think the backdrops came out pretty good, they were fun to do as well!

As always, thanks Al for your hard work on the website, and for all you do.

John From Baltimore”

A huge thanks to John – some very clever stuff going on there. Can’t wait to see it all in action. If you missed John’s last post, it’s here.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming. And if you’d like to start on your very own layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Have you had a look at the latest ebay cheat sheet yet?.

Dominic’s HO layout

“This is the main section of the layout and town of Dorothy. The town gets it’s name from the ghost town of Dorothy, Alberta, whose old grain elevator is still standing, and I made a copy of it from photos. It stands with my larger elevators.

The Ukrainian Church is at the top centre of the photo.

HO model train layout

This shows my “Dorothy” grain elevator #903. I chose that number as it is the radar outfit I was in while in the USAF. The other elevators are numbered 905, 907, and 909.

The shows shows my “elevator row”. 903 is dwarfed by the others, but that is how small the prototype is.

This is my first annex which is accessible by a removable one track trestle. The annex is my “Cudahy” area containing Red Star Yeast and Milwaukee Vinegar Company, The Campbell Bell Foundry, and my favourite, the Romanowski Coal Company.

This picture is the other end of the “L” shaped main layout. It has a six house residential area, Saint Ambrose Park and fountain, and the Russian Church and bell tower.

HO scale

HO scale

There are several shelves above two sides of the layout. One set has all HO gauge equipment and the other has my American Flyer, Lionel and Marx collections.

A little over lapping here. This is the central area of the main. Visible is the J.B.Meyer Organ Pipe factory, which is a hundred year old operation here in Milwaukee. The streetcar and passenger station is an old Tru-Scale mission-style kit.

This is a closer look at the Romanowski Coal Company. They were down the street from where I lived back during the Second World War.

I can provide more details if You want and more close-up pix of things of particular interest.

Close up of scale model of full length wooden 32 foot Bombarde pipe.

The old photos are of the original church of Saints Peter & Paul in Mundare, Alberta. This was my parish for a couple years back in 1955.6.&7

I made the model from these photos as the old church building is long gone.

The dome is covered in gold leaf flakes. And if You’ll notice I owe the model the three smaller domes. They are more difficult to make! They, too will be gilded.

Many, many more refinements to be done as time, money and interest demands!

Eventually there will be lighting in all the buildings by zoned LED areas.

This church, being the largest feature on the layout, has coloured glass windows throughout. (Not picture windows depicting saints, etc.)

I make the windows by using high gloss acrylic varnish and a broad brush to draw the liquid across the mullions or window frames. It is a long and tedious operation. It’s almost like blowing bubbles! Sometimes it forms a sheet, sometimes it will break. Then I must repeat the process. To get colours I use a thin water-colour wash and let it spread on the “glass” I can repeat this as often as needed to get the right tone.

This whole process has been quite successful, and I have made dozens of windows in this manner.

Dominic, Milwaukee.”

A huge thank you to Dominic.

What I love about Dominic’s layout is his theme – your layout can be whatever you want it to be. And I’ll bet he’s had a great time putting it together too, which really is what it’s all about.

That’s all this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you’re looking for inspiration to make that first step.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.