Fred’s stunning night time scenery for his model railroad

Fred sent these pics in.

He’s a man of few words, but with pics like these, he can get away with that. Stunning stuff:

“Hutton Ave backdrop, showing fibre optic “lighting tubes” in various color LED lights, and wires for separate “pica” LEDs

Front Side in Daylight (lit) roughly painted)

Front side (Lit)

Rear Side of Hutton Ave Backdrop (Lit)

Rear Side of Hutton Ave Backdrop (not lit)

Forming street lamp shades 5mm

Hand formed lamp shades (5mm) from beer can aluminum!

My lights – pica and Z size pica LEDs from Evans Design – thousands of them!

Beginning City “RingRoad” in plexi backdrop. Note that lit autos not yet on last section of bridge, but will eventually form a lit continuum of nightmarish traffic past east end of city, over rail yards, past east end, over suburbs, and into background beyond. Background cutout is just visible. I’ve been working on it separately on bench for two months. More on this later.

For scale:

Wow! Some of Fred’s pics look so real. He really has nailed this night scene.

I know some of you will want to see some more day light pics – I know I do.

Fred mailed me last week to say he’s putting together a ‘how-to’. Can’t wait for that!

Now on to Dave:

“Hi Al

Well after a couple of weeks away, got back home now and of course just had to go and have a running session on my layout… just uploaded so here it is.

I have missed my trains, but got to admit enjoyed the sun this time of Year.



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A huge thanks to Fred and Dave.

That’s all for today folks – please do keep ’em coming.

If you want to send anything in, please just email me (hit reply to any of my mails).

A quick heads up though. If you attach lots of pics to one email, it won’t get through.

Best thing to do is don’t attach more than 3 pics to one email – but send as many emails as you like.

Hope that makes sense.

Oh – and if you’re a HO chap, please do get in touch – it’s all getting a bit thin on the ground this end.

One last thing. Pleased don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if today is the day you get started on your layout.



Robert’s N scale layout

“Alastair —

Last year I sent you a few pictures of the start of my layout.

I explained that I was constrained by living in a NYC apartment, but found a layout upon which I based mine to fit on a 2-1/2′ x 5′ hollow-core door (N scale).

I’ve been adding various structures, streets, and a few details.

There is a downtown area consisting of Woodland Scenics buildings, and then a residential area using some houses you and your readers may recognize! There is also a little side street which at the moment is used for auto service: gas/petrol station and a service shop.

Much work to look forward to: ballast for all the track; complete the other side of the hill that was cut through to allow the railroad to get to the town; a small mountain at the other end with a tunnel; lots of detail scenes; businesses to go along the sidings; etc., etc.


Robert in Washington Heights”

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

And now on to Andrew… which is another N scale.

(I’m wondering where all you HO chaps have gone? Seems to be all N scale at the mo.)

Unfortunately most of Andrew’s pics can’t be enlarged – but some can.

“Hi there…

Building a N scale layout… 15 ft by 7ft area…

Tri deck…. lower level staging

Climb (desert scene) upto a middle deck…

Middle deck main yard…. industry..

Via a helix upto top deck… river cayon to a small depot area… then back down helix to staging.

Work in progress… started sept 2019

Here a few photos..



N scale model railroad

N cale model railway

N scale model train

A huge thanks to Rob and Andrew – I don’t thing I’ll ever tire of seeing what’s in my inbox each morning.

If you’re a HO chappie, please do wake up and send some pics in with a narrative. It’s all getting very N scale at the mo. Not that I mind, but it’s nice to keep a balance.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you start your very own model railway – the Beginner’s Guide is here.



Dicks answers some question on his N scale layout

Old Taz has been back in touch.

He’s very kindly taken the time to answer your questions.

Have a look at his layout – which is here – that way his answers will make a lot more sense.

“A lot of questions popped up I will do my best to answer most of them. Let’s start with a hard one.

First: My spellchecker was in the wrong language, Sorry!

Now, as for the water. I lived on and fished on the Bighorn River for 18 years saw it almost every day.

Like I said before, I like depth. I start with a color of the bottom of the river. Then pour a very thin coat of Realistic Water from Woodland Scenic. Let that dry and put other color that mimics the river moss (oil base flat). Then another thin layer of Realistic Water.

The last coat is tinted just ½ a shade. Let this dry. Then I use Impasto (clear gel acrylic medium). Stipple it on with the end of your brush. FIRST PRACTICE ON A PIECE OF GLASS. I used a 3/8 flat brush for that. Then a touch of flat white on the downstream side of the rocks, bushes and logs

For the camp fires you need 2 yellow and 1 red blinking lights. The ones I use are 12 volt and the blinkers are built in. Wire them together to make sure there working. I hate to finish a project and find it doesn’t work. I’m always testing it as I am building it. The three lights go in a capsule. I used a top off of a clear eyedropper rand then a little hot glue to hold all together. Some black paint to cover what you don’t want light to come through. Glue your micro light filament to the top. I only use four or five pieces of the filament. I had to buy a kid’s toy to get it. It’s expensive. I found that the rough end gives off more light. Look at the pictures.

I let the fishermen get in the water wherever they want after I cut their legs off.

For the magnets I’ll try and get some pictures. I’ve been using what they call earth magnets. The ones I get are wrapped in rubber. I found that when I take the rubber off, they are smaller and stronger and also easier to work with. Use the screw to raise and lower the magnet which, is fastened to your building.

As for the new car look, I’ve been putting them on the front porch to weather, but they keep disappearing.

The switch motors, I’m thinking would work on N and HO. I think the pictures are going to say more than I can. Take the electronics out. Keep the two red wires to attach your power wires to.

There’s a notch in the lid for your wires. Close up the servo. The servo travel is a little over half way.

I hope the pictures help.


n scale switch motor

N scale switch motor

n scale switch motor

n scale switch motor

n scale switch motor

I will get into Saw Mill next time! Thanks all for the GREAT REVIEW!!!

Happy Rails To You!


Next on to Mike, who has made a good start:

“Hi Al:

Been a while since relocating trains from 10×12 room to full basement.

I’ve finally settled on a final “L-shaped” track plan featuring three main lines on two decks, inter-connected with switches. Now I have a lot of landscaping to do. Cheers.

Mike from Michigan, U.S.A.”

Now on to Dave:

“Hi Al,

I am 74 years old and starting my first HO layout.

I’ve been enjoying your posts for several years and decided to just go for it.

I have a room in the basement that is 22′ x 13 1/2′ and I used AnyRail to design a layout that will fit the room.

I will be using DCC for control. I think I have two reverse loops designed into the layout so I can turn the train around no matter what direction it is headed.

I bought two AR1 auto-reversers but I’m not sure how to correctly wire switches A and B.

Also, I am hoping your audience can determine if this layout is even feasible. I can use all the advise I can get.

David, Bloomington, Indiana”

A huge thanks to Old Taz, and who can help David?

That’s all for today folks. Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you want to make your start – just like David did – the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Still sniffing out deals everyday.