Alan’s latest updates on his layout

“Hi Al,

I have been tweaking my South Wales layout lately. I have modified the scratch built warehouse by fitting a loading dock and winch shaft, – see before and after pictures. Also I have given it a pitched roof. I think it looks better as it was rather plain and uninteresting before. I have also given the 3 gables of the bus garage a roof which looks like it’s receding into the distance. It’s actually flat pieces of card cut to shape. The garage was from my first layout but was not needed here. I used part of it to construct the creamery.

I have also experimented in trying to make the terraced houses recede into the distance but am not happy with it, but i’ve included the picture to show what I mean.

The last picture shows how I blended the road into the back scene using a small piece of paper curved upward and painted to blend in with the road colour. The bus is a photo stuck to the backscene.

Thats all for now, happy modelling


“Cigarette ash makes a good medium for making anything look grubby, it’s a bit gross and smelly but you can add a drop or two of aftershave to mask the stale smell then let it dry.

Also cable ties are great for keeping track pieces together when storing them, or for securing if you are not sure about the layout and are experimenting with designs.


And lastly, if you missed the Dave and Ken’s last post you can see it here.. It’s been a long time since I’ve had so many comments on one post.

Heading off to ebay? Don’t forget the latest ebay cheat sheet.

That’s all for today peeps.

Please do keep ’em coming. I’d love to hear from you.

And if today is the day you stop dreaming and start doing the Beginner’s Guide is here.



35 Responses to Alan’s latest updates on his layout

  1. Mark Allen says:

    alan, beautiful. Like the pitched roof much better

  2. Blending the road to run in to the backscene is a great idea Alan , the buildings all look good

  3. Julian Holmes says:

    On picture 7 where you are not happy with the terraced houses – try ‘stepping’ each roof down, keeping the roof top horizontal. The curve makes the present view look false – I lived in Sheffield, where we had steep hills, and lots of Victorian terraces. they had both an 3-dimensionally inclined roof line in some places, and mostly the ‘stepped’ appearance. The curved roofline always looked odd to me!

  4. Colin King says:

    Looks great Alan, can’t see much wrong with the mods. As Julian said stepping each roof down would help but looks ok as it is. Like the idea of the fence along side the track which you would have in real life but seems to be missing on a few layouts. A very nice and realistic layout, well done mate!

  5. Tom says:


    Looks great.

    best regards,


  6. Graeme Bregani says:

    Really good, Alan. The idea of integrating the road with a pic of the bus is inspiring.
    On picture 7 where you are not happy with the terraced houses, the difficulty is perspective. The angle of the background roof line changes from the model line. Distance objects diminish in size, but don’t usually dip downwards as well.
    I’m thrilled by your pictures, thanks.

  7. looking good, i struggle with getting scenery right. hope for more tips and photos of layout.

  8. chris says:

    looking great, like the idea for blending the road into the backscene. Keep up the good work

  9. dave says:

    That’s really nice blending the back drops nice layout .

  10. Thomas Meleck says:

    Great work, Alan. Your difficulty with the bus on the backdrop is that it has a radically different vanishing point than all the houses on the block. They all need to have a common vanishing point in order to be totally convincing. When combined with an awkward camera shooting angle that makes the result unconvincing. The camera (or a viewers) eye should be at the same level as the vanishing point in order or a photo to be convincing. The vanishing point is defined as being the point where all the angles on the buildings if extended as straight lines, converge into a single point. Any movement above or below that vanishing point will produce an unconvincing image. You might even try placing your camera at the height of the vanishing point of the housing block you find so unconvincing. You might be surprised to find the result very good. The high angle at which you shot the current photo is what gives away the fact that the buildings are pasted onto the backdrop..

  11. michael says:

    Wow! Was very impressed with the way you blended the foreground with the background. Nice!

  12. sundaram says:

    The back scenes have blended in very well. Good choice.

  13. Pete Evangel says:

    Yes, the pitched roof is better! I like the blue cover that you added. Gives it more definition. The roadway with the bus in the background that you added for depth is great. The paper you did the road stains on looks real!! I had to look very closely to see the transition from 3-D to background. Excellent work

  14. Peter Jones says:

    Really great layout Alan the scene is very well put together cant wait to see some trains running, keep up the cracking work.


  15. Ron says:

    Really impressed with your layout Alan, the way you’ve blended the backscene in is impressive. Well done, keep up the good work.

  16. David Dunning says:

    Alan I think if you make the the receding house line level rather then sloped it should work.

  17. THOMAS says:


  18. Rod Mackay says:

    Beautiful. The lift shaft up the front of that warehouse really helps, makes it less forbidding but also breaking up the straight run of windows makes it seem bigger by adding interest, the eye lingers on it longer.

    For the terrace, you could try building up to a mirror, disguising the edges of it with some overhead structure such as shedding round a conveyor or telfer crossing the road above roof height, there were plenty of those used for colliery waste tips.


  19. Christine says:

    I don’t know guys, just looks like too much play stuff to me. What I use to do playing as a kid on my bedroom floor looks something like that. I am happy your having a good time. Sometimes you can keep it simple and use weathering and it will look so real.

  20. Christine says:

    The weathering on the track, on the train, the grass, looks real good.

  21. Roland Burch says:

    Alan, you have a great layout: background, buildings and track plan.

  22. jim morris says:

    Beautiful layout. Jim

  23. Dave Biddles says:

    Compliments as others, on the transition of the warehouse – and on the ‘pasted-bus’ – Very cleverly done. In addition to the ‘vanishing-point’ theorising….. There are two transitions which mar what is otherwise a very good SWales effect of the downhill-terrace : The Yellowbrick link-houses are too overscale to appear behind and , are angled inwards instead of away and also ‘chop-off’ too radically and need the end heavily masked. Better without as the terrace is excellent except that, where optically it disappears at the far end, the backdrop is also overscale to the optical size of the houses. A line of trees to break the transition would take care of this but I’d also drop the ‘expanse’ of green field to get the far hedge at the eye-level where the brownish line runs at the moment.

    RU actual South Wales? Newly commencing TT using grandson as my excuse, I build wargaming scenery, hedges & trees from scrap and scouring-pads and would ‘swap-skills’? Perhaps Al’ would facilitate e-dress’s.

    Al’ – I may have missed the post… What did you call your pup and can we have a recent pic’ because he was one fine looking Al-station.


  24. dan o wiseman says:

    great job on the back gound dieing into the wall good work , but you know lets run some trains, I have painted and cut out and pasted all for now , looking foward to the next big derailment , the video with camera mounted on the train is really where is it at , dan o

  25. Tom Lawton says:

    The comments above about the vanishing point have mentioned almost everything, but the lines that converge there are horizontal lines running away from you. Verticals remain vertical, and horizontal lines that are not going away stay horizontal. So stepping the terrace would be great,so you can change the scale quickly, but keep perspective. And the horizon is defined by the vanishing point of the modelled terrace. Note also the bus may have a different vanishing point, but still on the horizon.
    And the roofs in the first shot are great, but like other backscene tricks, only work from one viewpoint. So make that viewpoint the same for all the tricks in the one view!

  26. David .. Dangerous Dave says:

    Nice job you have done there Alan

  27. Graham Smith says:

    To put it simply – them’s bostin!

  28. Delightful…
    Very nice work…
    The blending of road and backscene is a tricky one and you pulled it off very well. The bus adds to the transition…

  29. Rob McCrain says:

    I think it is great, not perfect but inventive. Keep on pasting collaged blemded backscenes. I like it.
    Rob McCrain

  30. Robert D. Bouskill says:

    I think your art work looks great.

  31. Larry Mlynek says:

    Nice job.

  32. Ruben Simon says:

    That first photo – I thought it was of a real place. One comment on the windows that stick out along the row of houses in the next to last photo and the distant ones in the last photo: there’s a dark line under them. I’m not familiar with housing like that, but it just seems to me that it’s a perfect place for rodents to make their nests. Those in the last photo which are nearest the camera appear solidly on the ground, which makes more sense to me.

  33. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    Alan’s idea to add ‘receding shapes’ to ‘flat’ background scenes is excellent.

  34. JC says:

    Looks good Alan.
    Some nice improvements. The pitched roof and shaft really helps.

  35. Roger says:

    Very Nice Alan. Is that an N & C coach in picture 7?

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