OO scale figures

Alan’s been in touch – have a look at what he’s done with his OO scale figures, stunning stuff:

“Hello Al,

like a lot of other modellers, I like building things rather than spend all the time running trains. I like tweaking things to make improvements, so I thought your followers might like my latest project.

I live in the UK and in the 1950’s, where my layout is set, milk was collected from the dairy farms in churns by lorry. Each farm had a small platform or stage at the farm entrance where the churns were placed ready for collection each day. They were then transported to the local creamery and after treatment sent by rail to the towns & cities. I’ve explained this as it might not have been the same in other countries.

Anyway, I bought a set of DAPOL workmen, and selected one to be a lorry driver collecting the churns. He originally had a shovel in his hands, so I cut this off with a scalpel blade and glued a milk churn in it’s place. I hope you like the result.

My new loco needed a crew, but instead of the fireman shovelling coal like all my others, I decided to take advantage ot the more open cab arrangement and have him watering down the coal to keep the dust down.

To do this I removed the pick from his hands and carefully drilled through his fists using a mini drill. I then got the smallest diameter wire I had and threaded it thro the holes, stripping a length off and tinning it to represent water. I am very pleased with the result. You do need Patience!

Thanks Al, a great site


OO scale figures

OO scale figures

OO scale figures fireman

OO scale figures farmer

model railway people

model railway people

model train milk churn

model train coal locomotive

model railway fireman

model train fireman

model railway truck

oo scale fireman

oo scale fireman

model railway steam locomotive

A big thanks to Alan for sharing his OO scale figures scenes. Have a look at the comments below.

I do love seeing how all of your projects and plans progress. All these years on and I still love seeing what’s in my inbox each morning.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

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



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

model train answers

68 Responses to OO scale figures

  1. Jason says:


  2. Don says:

    Hi Alan,
    Man that takes me back. In Western Australia in the fifties the milk and cream was collected exactly as you depict here. Congrats you’ve done a beautiful job.

  3. Richard Standing says:

    Merit/Modelscene do/did a railway porter figure moving a milk churn…

    Clever adaptations though!

  4. Brian Messenger says:

    Great detail in the modifications to the figures. Works very well in the scenes depicted.

  5. Paul Geigle says:

    Hello, Alan
    Thanks for posting all the latest project results on your layout. I’m just like you, as I much prefer to spend most of my time working on structures, scenery, and layout detailing. I get a little more fun and satisfaction out of that. I hope to share some of my layout work with subscribers soon on this thread. You did a remarkable job with your layout theme. I hope you post more in the future.
    Paul G.

  6. Ron Schultz says:

    I southern Hio in the 50’s milk was picked upthis way . then after the refrigerated tankers its pumpef from refrigerated holding tanks on dairy farms and dairy farms have gotten bigger now some milk 100 to 200 hundred cow.s
    ..Really big operations .

  7. Ron Schultz says:

    thats OHIO not Hio I missed the O

  8. Colin King says:

    Great conversion, really looks the part. Remember these when I was younger in Kent. Colin K.

  9. Bullfrog - eh! says:

    I also remember milk was collected from the dairy farms in much the same way in Ontario in the 50’s, although the ‘milk cans’ were of a different style. The figure adaptations are remarkable. Many ‘kudos’ to Alan for his patience, his attention to detail, and his photography – – – Bullfrog in Ontario

  10. Douglas Humphrey says:

    Very impressive Alan and food for thought for when I eventually get to build my layout.

  11. Bonny McDaniel aka Grannytoot says:

    My ex-husband hauled milk in the 1950s in Central California close to the same way. The milk cans looked a lot like the ones you have in the front of the truck/lorrie with the straighter sides and a little shorter. However the truck/lorrie was completely different as it had racks in which the cans were swung from the dock up to an upper deck when the lower deck was filled. I love these little scenes that model railroaders like you show and it brings it alive…things like the hose and remaking the figures. I’m still in the basic layout stage of my model trains but I will have several scenes…a stock yard with cowboys unloading cattle, farm scenes, etc. That is the fun part, thanks Alan.

  12. James Boyce says:

    Fantastic eye foe detail. I can remember seeing churns on a stand made out of
    Old sleepers at the end of the farm lane . Great to see that on a layout

  13. Jim C. says:

    Holy Cow!

  14. Don H. says:

    Great imagination and attention to detail. That is what I call modeling, keep it up.

  15. david howarth says:

    Some very nice detail you have added Alan

  16. ian impett says:

    very nice to see,some ideas thank you IAN

  17. Ingenious!!! Well thought out and executed.

  18. christine says:


  19. Barry Read. Devon UK says:

    Impressed ….. seriously impressed. 10 out of 10.

  20. Cord Reynolds says:

    Absolutely brilliant, Alan! The detail and realism of your layout is just wonderful. Absolutely top notch! Super job!

  21. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great work. the detail is unbelievable. i dont have the patience.

  22. Raymond Bove says:


    That is genuine modelling, loads of atmosphere. Well done.
    Recreating the atmosphere of an era, present and bygone, is the essence of railway modelling and Alan has caught it remarkably well.
    I respect and admire all those who want it absolutely right down to the last rivets, even those hidden from view, but without the atmosphere, they become showcase models.
    Raymond Bove

  23. Greg davis says:

    Awesome! Great detail and vision!

  24. paul Otway says:

    Nice work Allan,

    Where did you get the cars and trucks?


  25. Ralph Berry says:

    That’s a great use for these figures. Good idea painting them before releasing them, much easier to handle.

  26. THOMAS says:


  27. Paul Brady says:

    Indeed modelling at its best when you are able to create in miniature a past era in all its detail.

  28. Rob says:

    I remember the trains that traveled for durban to joeburg used to stop at just about every station on the way to pick up milk cans, oh my and were they slow. Seems so long ago now.

  29. wow unbelievable detail and interesting ‘scratch painting’ ideas for workmen…
    ….I’m designing a large county jail/prison (who’s got one of those??) with a rock quarry to my layout and all the ‘inmates’ will need to be ‘clothed’ in stripes, etc…..that will take some painting patience I wager….!!
    I’m thinkin the milk pickup truck should have stake-bed sides tho, to keep from ‘spillin’ the milk’…haha….jes sayin..!!
    wanna see more of your detail…how about an over-all shot of the entire layout
    …… and keep on runnin…!!

  30. Rod Mackay says:

    Beautiful job, keep it up.

  31. I really liked your innovation. Loved it.

  32. Rich says:

    Fantastic job!!! Keep up the good work.
    I visited a layout once where the creator would do surgery on the figures, repositioning the parts to create a person for a task. Yes he had patience and determination to spare.
    Rich F

  33. Kevin McArdle says:

    Very clever and realistic. Well done you.

  34. Dale Popula says:

    Alan, I am very impressed with your detailed work. I have one question that I am sure you will be able to answer? How does the driver of the lorry keep the cans on the truck when it is moving? Vibration and turns will cause the cans to move and I doubt if the drive could lift a full can back up and empty cans, will get two words from his boss. A simple chain, side, or both would due and you are really great at that type of detail. Again a very good/ great work and ingenuity.

  35. Fred says:

    Bloody brilliance…. need more figures

  36. Kenneth Seegert says:

    Very nice and imaginative I also remember going with my dad in the 50’s hauling milk from the farmer and delivering in steel milk cans to the dairy in Toledo, Ohio and then in later years from the bulk tanks that were refrigerated to our tanker truck and delivered to the Palmyra, Michigan. Thank you for the memories.

  37. plenty to see on this layout Alan , well done …Dangerous Dave

  38. Dan Hulitt says:

    I just finished building my dairy, as milk trains were an important part of many railroads. The milk cars often ran with passenger trains, as they had the speed. Well done scenes Alan. The tinned wire looks great.

  39. Hemi says:

    GREAT IDEAS! The Milk Churn is GREAT! the guy holdingthe water hose is also a GREAT one!

    BUT, may I add a little “constructive criticism?

    The guy with the water hose…. would NEVER be “soaking” the coal in a steam engine! Wet coal doesn’t burn as fast/needed for the boiler to make steam in real life! That may wind up “putting the fire out” in the firebox!

    (Not trying to knock your work), I’d simply put the guy with the water hose somewhere other then soaking the coal in a Steam engine tender! -As the guy holding the water hose looks WELL DONE for what the figure is doing and all!

    GREAT WORK on making the figures do what ya have! Keep up the work! ~Hemi

  40. Sam Walls says:

    Amazing, creative detailing. Good job. In late 40’s, early 50’s, my grandparents had a milk cow but when I visited, I would drink only homogenized milk my grandmother had to buy in town. My cousins still mention it because our grandmother did not buy milk at the store for them.

  41. NJ Mark says:

    Super crafting! The detail is phenomenal. Cheers! NJ Mark

  42. ARTHUR J ROMANO says:

    Beautiful pieces. Very colorful.

  43. Tommy Jones says:

    I remember this all, living in the fifties in glorious Wales. Thank you so much.

  44. Mike Balog says:

    Love the attention to detail… You are gifted with patience needed to carefully reposition miniature figures as you have and painting them, so they don’t shine!
    I grew up during the 1950’s into the 1960’s and remember the old silver painted milk cans farmers put out for collection at either their farm entrance or at the local railroad station. The large farms had Stake Body Trucks to take their cans to the local station. Where they were loaded into insulated ice cooled box cars or refer cars. Then a local train would pick them up for redistribution to a larger yard where they would be in a special express milk train headed for Boston or N.Y.
    There is a Story on the Central VT. Railway, of a Loaded Milk Car that was left on a siding in White River Jct. for days, that ended up missing the pick up due to train orders switched the last minute. That car sat near the station and finally the agent couldn’t stand the Rancid Milk Smell and had the yard engine push that car off to far off siding. It never made the Boston Milk Train run. The Railroad had to Pay the local Farmers for the soiled milk and lost profit. No one wanted to accept the responsibility for the mistake.. The Railroad made sure that didn’t happen again… and neither did the farmers!
    Liked the idea of that railroad worker holding a hose watering the Coal to keep the dust down.. However he wouldn’t be doing that in the Tender,, the Coal wouldn’t burn in the Steam Loco’s Firebox! Rather, he could be using the hose to fill the Tender Water Tank.. Or another idea, have the figure stand near a fire truck putting out a brush fire… Or on a farm, using the hose to water the livestock.. Besides a Water Hose, he could be using a hose to put Fuel Oil from a delivery truck into buildings, or Diesel Fuel into a Locomotive or construction vehicle. You just would not tin the copper wire, keep it short like a nozzle. ~ Mike from N.H. ~ USA.

  45. Martin Taylor says:

    Brilliant work!
    I love the hose, but what really got me was that I had an uncle who drove the dairy lorry on that daily run (in Kent), and I remember being really excited when he took me on the run with him one morning.

  46. Actually Hemi ,the fireman did wet the coal to keep the coal dust from blowing around the cab when the loco picked up speed.The water ,mostly a fine spray ,would not permeate the dense coal and as the fireman took his coal from the bottom of the stacked tender it would be dry before it got to him.
    A great and well detailed model.

  47. Will in NM says:

    Alan, Very clever repurposing of the figures. I love the back story about the churns being picked up from local dairy farmers. I too wondered if watering down the coal dust was a common practice as I had never heard of that before. Thankfully, several of your respondents answered my question. Brilliant bit of modeling! Thank you for sharing.

  48. Anton Pieris says:

    Your creations are admirable & inspiring.

  49. Wes Henry says:

    In the US , the milk cans were “hundred weight”, each holding 100 pounds of milk, the standard unit of bulk pricing. My dad told me his farm in New York State had an employee able to carry four at once, and to put them on a truck bed two at a time. Shefield Dairy sent a train on a “milk run” to pick up the milk from loading platforms. Lionel reproduced their box car. I still have an original milk can.

  50. Andrew Aves says:

    Thank you Alan – Great modelling work. I should love to see more of your layout – it looks awesome
    Andrew in Oz

  51. James Malins says:

    Wonderful detail and truly impressive layout. The detail makes such a wonderful atmosphere.
    Like many others here I remember those churns, staying at my aunt’s farm we would trundle those churns across the yard on a flat trolley and then lift them up to a stand on the side of the road where the lorry would collect them.

  52. John says:

    … or course now I’m going to be looking at all my people figures differently, determining if I could convert them into other task-oriented action figures. Very clever what you’ve done here!

  53. Larry Ripplinger says:

    What a terrific idea! You are a person with great talents to do this! Keep up this good work for our hobby!!

  54. Mr. Ron says:

    As Alan mentioned in his opening dialogue, he enjoys building than running trains. That is true on most layouts but especially on smaller layouts. Running a train over and over the same track can get boring after a while. Remember the train running around the Christmas tree! I too get enjoyment from designing and building rather than running. Running trains and the background should complement each other for a complete experience.

  55. Terry Watkins says:

    AWESOME!!! Great Set Up! Thank You for Letting Be Sean.

  56. Jim AZ says:

    Nicely done. Creative and effective. Definitely adds uniqueness to your layout.

    Jim AZ

  57. Terry Miller says:

    Just wondering if the hose guy engine/coal car is a static display or whether it actually runs on the layout. If so does the fact he’s straddling between the two units cause a problem on curves?


  58. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    Like the thought and work behind this and the final personnel are excellent.

  59. Wdbnder says:

    Amazing detail and creativity! Especially liked the tinning of the wire to create the water look! Really amazing.

  60. Brian Olson says:

    Totally understand, my favorite part of the hobby is the building. sometimes I have to remind myself to… you know… run trains! Great work!!

  61. robert dale tiemann says:

    very cools.

  62. William Schart says:

    I had a Lionel set when I was a kid back in the 50s with an operating reefer. You loaded in milk cans a lot like yours in the pictures via the ice hatch on the roof. There was a special section of track with an unloading platform. You’d spot the car there, then press a button and a guy popped out the door with a can. The cans had magnets on the bottom to stick on the metal platform. Quite fun for a kid.

  63. william j plmer says:

    well done

  64. Steve Ruple says:

    Nice pictures

  65. David Trigger says:

    Utterly brilliant ! Having been raised in “Dairy Country” in the Exe valley of Devonshire, UK in the 50’s, I fully felt at home seeing these wonderfully depicted scenes. Thank you.

    I noted the comments on damping down coal dust too & thought, ‘I know Ray was on the footplate, I’ll ask him’. Here is his response:

    “It was done all the time David, coal dust was a problem especially at the engine coaling depots at Exeter St Davids and Exmouth Jcn, the engine fireman would hose down the coal in the tender with hoses to keep dust down too.”

    Full credit to Ray Hall for being as helpful as always.


  66. John Birch says:

    Well done! I love the detail. But Hemi, the firemen did use the hose to spray water on the coal. I saw them do it regularly.

  67. Rocco Maley from New Jersey. says:

    Very ingenious.

  68. John says:

    Yep. That’s brilliant figure work. I helped with milking on a small farm in Cheshire, UK, before school in the early 60’s and that’s how we did it. I helped drag the churns off the sack barrow onto the platform for the lorry to collect and to bring the new empty churns back to the milking parlour for filing on the next two milkings.
    Thankyou Alan, for some memories and an idea for my layout

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