More of your model railroad pics

“Hello Al,

I appreciate your emails and all the information.

Over the past 35 years I have built almost 100 of these Buildings & accessories…..about 60 in this 4 x 8 layout.

Someday I hope to do a more detailed layout.

Best Regards


“Hi Al,

This is a small trash bin project for O scale layouts.

The first thing you need to find are the plunger caps from insulin syringes. I am insulin dependent and have an ample supply of them, too bad I am in HO scale.

Once you have the caps, paint them whatever color you want your trash bins to be.

Stuff some paper into the finished bins and top that off with scraps of stuff left over from your projects.

Put a drop or two of diluted white glue on the trash to hold it in place.


“All some very simple images.

The partial American flag image was from the American Flag Company that was destroyed when a pipe burst right over the layout.

I scratch built the depot station building as well as the loading dock. The cars and barrels have been rusted out.



“Hi Al … just wanted to add some further comments on my Dog-bone layout … it was constructed of 2 x 4 wood framing with 3/8″ plywood table top surface …

the entire surface was covered with 3/16 ‘ cork (roadbed material) and painted green …

all Gargraves track was used with 054 and 042 curves … all switches are 042 …

the layout not highly detailed but meant to give the visual illusion of detail …

refined detailing can be added but right now I am just into running the trains …

the most complete layout I have ever had and still a work in progress …

will further advise on this layout and follow up on a layout I started a few years ago but had to temporarily abandon to finish off some attic space …

Bob … German TN … USA”

“Hi Alaster.

I’m uploading a new video, duo of U 26 C Union Pacific from your little friend.

I hope you like it and share it.



A big thanks to John, Dennis, George, Bob and Cassio.

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

Don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you wan to get going on your very own layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS Got a question you need answered? Have a look at the forum.

How to make model buildings for your model railroad

“As my “Little Layout” nears completion (The first module that is), I had an open area needing a “Landmark” building.

The kit I chose was Al’s “Canal” Warehouse. Of course a few modifications were necessary as the building is one of his “low relief” structures and I needed a full 3 dimensional structure. (Actually I needed two for the planned area but…)

Here is a tutorial on how I built one of the walls.

Hopefully this will give someone else an idea or two on how to use Al’s buildings to give you unique structures that are your own.

Part of the fun of this hobby is creating your own little world and modifying kits is just one way to make that world “just a little bit different”.

What you see in the first four pictures is the kit as printed and the beginning of the process of adaptation.

Once I know the parts I want, it is a matter of putting them together with tape and then securing them to card.

For card I use soda can boxes primarily, they seem to use a better finished card than some other food packaging boxes.

You will notice I have cut out all the windows. The “magic” happens soon. One thing with ALL paper kits is that the windows are a weak point when compared to the plastic kits common in the US and elsewhere.

Part of this tutorial is all about adding dimension and clarity so that your paper models are as realistic as the plastic or card models available from the hobby shop or from any online retailer.

Among the tricks I have learned over many kits now is to build the walls with one layer of card at a time. This is more time consuming but the cuts are easier and cleaner.

I have used a bit of colored card to “paint” the inside of the building and I have scribed all the mortar joints in the wall to give a three dimensional effect to the brickwork.

Now I begin dealing with the windows. I cut a single thickness of card that I painted black. I used a black “Sharpie” pen to color the edges of the card as these edges are VERY VISIBLE in the new window frames.

Once all the windows are framed, it is time to start glazing them.

I use clear plastic from various sources. This project used the packaging from a set of Peco points (turnouts/switches).

The first thing I do is secure a bit of white card to my work surface with blue painter’s tape. I use a sharp pencil to trace inside the window frame. The frames are not all the exact same size but they are pretty close. Choosing one of the larger openings gives you a little more space to work with.

The work surface I am using is one of the common “self healing” cutting boards. They are not fully “self healing” but they are good for many models before replacing.

You will notice that once I have the window marked on the card, I add the mullion lines to match the window design from Al’s kit. The clear plastic is then taped over the pattern I have made and then scribed. I use the flat side of an exacto blade to scribe the lines and then also a cheap scribe from Harbor Freight to deepen and clean the scribed lines.

Here is a bit of the scribing process. This should show the completed scribed windows also.

Now that I have scribed windows, painting is the next step. This is easy and fun.

A clever modeler can see how the look of a building could easily be changed with choosing a different color for both the window frames and the mullions in the windows. The print for the Canal building had black mullions and frames so that is what I did here.

The process is a simple one. Wipe paint onto the windows you have scribed and then wipe off immediately with a paper towel.

The paint will stay in the scribed areas and give you the look you are looking for. It does take some practice but it is easy and gives you very nice windows for your print out kit.

Onde the windows are painted and dry, I cut them out to fit each space. I glue the windows into place with Formula’s 560 Canopy Glue.

This is a PVA type glue that dries clear and adheres to almost any surface. It is designed for the model aircraft folks to glue the clear plastic canopies to their model airplanes without the clouding that would occur if they used a solvent based glue.

These pictures show the trimmed windows being installed and how the completed wall looks with the clear windows in place. I also used some other bits from the kit to complete the top of the wall.

Here I am finishing the building. It took some creativity to plan for the floors and the roof. These buildings may receive interiors some day and lighting as well so both the floor of the second story and the roof had to be removable.

This is my “little layout” as it currently is…

Every building began as one of Al’s print-outs…

There is a little to finish (the backscene mainly).

A huge thanks to John for putting this together.

His last tutorial on the print out buildings, which is just as detailed, is here.

His engine shed tutorial is here.

I’m alway reminded of his ‘pizza pye’ post too.

And this one.

I’m constantly amazed at the scratch builds that come in from the print out scenery.

I still haven’t managed to put it all in one place yet, so some of it is in the store, and some of it’s here.

But this chore is moving higher and higher on my to-do list, I really would like to get them all in one place soon.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming – I can’t tell you how empty my inbox is at the mo.

And lastly, don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you wan to get going on your very own layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS Got a question you need answered? Have a look at the forum. There’s quite a few questions that need answering at the mo!

How to make sure your bench is level for your model railway

I’ve had a few emails in after yesterday’s post.

It seems Rick’s “belt and braces” approach to his bench work struck a chord with a few of you.

And it’s not just Rick going to great lengths.

Bob’s also doing a thorough job on his layout table.

(Here’s his last post.)

“In my last post I said I was going to do things right this time around.

So I got out my Bosch Pro Laser Level and identified that my new L-girder framework to take into account the slope in the floor.

The room originally was going to be a screened in patio thus the slope. I tended up full-blown 16’ x 28’ addition to the house. There is a difference of ¾-in in 8’.

I started with building an 8’ section and a 6’ section of framework. The two sections highlighted in this picture:

The red line represents where I used the laser. I built four sets of legs, two sets for each section, and setup the laser at the high point.

I made the first set of legs so the top of the L-girder at 42” and lined up the lase with the top of that set of legs and then swung it to make that height on the 2x2s for the other legs of that framework and built that set of legs.

In the videos I watched about L-girder framework they recommend adjustable feet for the legs so you can avoid the use of shims as much as possible.

I looked up leveling feet and they are expensive to my way of thinking. One of the videos suggested tee nuts and hex bolts. I bought two 25 packs of tee nuts at $6.98 each and a box of 50 hex bolts for about $14.00. I put them on the legs:

This will allow about 1-in of adjustment once the framework is put together which should be adequate since the initial height of the leg sets has been set with the laser.

After patting myself for saving by using hex bolts and tree nuts, I looked at the legs and thought: All the weight of the frame is going to be resting on four ½-in wide hex bolts. I studied the situation and decided I need to create wider feet for the legs.

My solution was to take a piece of 1×2-in left from the cross bracing and mark off squares and then use a ½-in forstner bit to drill holes in the center of the squares. The holes were the depth of the hex nut head.

layout table

I drove the bolts into the holes with a hammer. The dark strip on the bottom is a strip of whiteboard that I glued with contact cement with the smooth side down to allow the feet to turn easy on the carpet. Next I cut each block to make individual feet.

layout table legs

The finished product adds about 1and 1/2-in to the height of the legs.

layout table

As I go along I will submit updates and discoveries.

Bob, Virginia”

A huge thanks to Bob.

Some of you may think this is a lot of effort to go to – but as Bob found out, getting your bench / table level is critical.

A table that is not level, uneven or wobbly table will slowly drive you insane and sap all of the enjoyment from you.

I’m with Bob: tables that aren’t level are the work of the devil.

Please leave a comment below and share your own thoughts – I’d love to hear them on this.

Now on to Wayne – I missed these last few pics from him before he disappeared on his bike trip.

I thought I’d post them because there are some layouts where raw enthusiasm just shines through, and Wayne certainly is in this camp.

If you want to get up to speed on his HO scale, his last post is here.

“The power & water shed has a very large vert. tank, to run the the diesel engines for power & water.

Across the road is the equiptment maint. shead.

I have work bench’s, a10 ton chain hoist,outside work benchs, & a vert.gas tank, one gas pump, & one diesel pump.

Stoped at a small train store in lompoc I went crazy. They had all kinds of HO rolling stock from a estate sale.

Wayne, The old biker”

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming. To say it’s thin on the ground this end would be a big understatement.

And lastly, don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you wan to get going on your layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS Got a question you need answered? Have a look at the forum.