Amsterken at night

Ken’s been back in touch with a fab video of his Amsterken layout.

But first we hear from Bud:

“I’ve been getting your emails for a couple of months now.

They are always interesting to read. I have a tip fr all your readers.

My wife has used this material for years to stick things together, it can be separated easily and there is no mess before or after.

She calls it museum glue. The container has this label: “MINI HOLD” by What’s Next?, Inc. in Carbondale, PA18407.

This material (Says the label) A wax adhesive for Miniatures, Model Railroaders &Photographers. Apply a small amount to hold items in place. Will not stain finishes or dry out. Residue can be removed with soap and warm water.

(When I get it on my fingers I just rub my fingers together to form a small ball, and place it back into the container.)

My train table is 4×8 feet with 3 Marklin HO Scale trains run with 3 transformers.

I’m in New Jersey USA (not the Isle of Jersey).


If you missed Ken’s brilliant Amsterken video of his layout last time, it’s here.

This time, he’s done a night scene. Brilliant.

“Well we be moving forward on upper level …

Overhead wires almost done, i get the wire from my Mig welder .30 mig wire then solder ….

One of the things Im trying to do is get all block lights working with everything else, smooth…

Track is 75% done with little problems here and there…

Lighting up this little layout has been a lot of fun …

Model railroading covers so so so much. Its not funny, I really dont know any other hobby like it …

Mechanic, engineer, historian, Electronics, model builder, every aspect to life really shouldn’t be called model railroad. It should be called model life ……

Always recycle I have two buildings on my layout that are made from car parts ..

One, is two tail light lenses from a 68 ford mustang studd upright then a piece of glass and some sandpaper for roof…

Another was a 40 ford grill shell put upside down and well la…

Most of my layout is made from scrapes of wood , wire, models, life … Dont throw anything away…

The first vid is daytime looking at details…

Second is night time working on light distortion …

Hey what is light distortion? Its when light reflects somewhere you dont want it… Like the wall …


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

We’re all done for today.

Please do keep ’em coming – just hit reply to any of my mails to share your pride and joy.

And if today is the day you leap into the unknown and make your start, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



38 Responses to Amsterken at night

  1. john creasey says:

    very nice

  2. Gene Turner says:

    I thought the daytime view of this layout of Ken’s was great!
    The night time view is AWESOME !

    I think the hobby may have found another Magician/modeller such as John Allen in Ken. The detail and effects that Ken has on his layout are beyond description. Certainly this layout is one of the most inspiring that I have seen in a long while. I especially like the very small spots of light on the backdrop indicating a city in the distance…. fibre optics perhaps? A GREAT effect.

    Ken is on his way to becoming a legend. Thanks for presenting this layout to us.

  3. Mike Wilson says:

    Bravo Ken,

    make wish that I was walking down the street at night. It’s very clever and I’ll be very happy to get 1/4 as good a result as what you have there.

  4. Ed Dunaway says:

    Simply Amazing detail work.

    Lighting is Fantastic lots of work it shows.

    So Realistic in it’s essence.
    Watched the video 3 times.
    Daytime Video is Amazing.

    Hope to see updates in the future!


  5. Rob McCrain says:

    Very inspiring with Amsterken. It sounds like that glue would be perfect for me. I don’t like to mount anything permanently on my layout. For me, mixing things around is part of the fun. Thanks to all the contributors with their wonderful ideas. Rob M.

  6. Rich Mace says:

    Bravo! Most impressive. The advice not to discard ANYTHING as it can be used in reconstructing each modeler’s version of reality is gem in itself. Most of my modeler friends are self-confessed hoarders as am I. I look forward to the next installment in this hopefully never-ending saga. BTW, I live in central Queens and am currently creating a diorama of a San Francisco cable car route.

  7. Pete Evangel says:

    Ken, how did you get the EMT lights to wig-wag? (alternate). Most impressive layout.

  8. Brian says:

    That is stunning simply stunning,i only one usable hand but even if i had two i could never achieve 10% if that,wow.

  9. Clément Drolet says:

    Je suis impressionné par tous les détails. Comme dit Mike: thanks for presenting this layout.

  10. Monique Welten says:

    Bravo Ken, it is a stunning layout! Being from the Netherlands, it almost makes me feel home!

    Well done.

  11. Tom Oliver says:

    Wow! That’s all I can say, and now I have a lot more work to do on my layout. Your lighting is fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
    Tom Oliver

  12. John Coffey says:

    Real nice ,lights realy show good for the night lights you are doing great ,keep up the good work.

  13. Erik K. says:

    Simply beautiful!

  14. Tom Pica says:

    I wish I was there to enjoy the realism. Great Job!!!!

  15. Christine says:

    I like the lights, the lighting, but I make my layouts about the trains, country side with grass, trees, mountains, valleys, freight yard, lots of switches, three to four main line tracks. A building or two, and a house or two. And I like steam trains, I try my set up as if you went back in time.

  16. Barry Pearlman says:

    Another type of glue comes to mind; in the US, it is called rubber cement. Rubber cement is meant to be used as a contact adhesive, but it still works if only one part has the cement applied.

    After application, if some of the cement gushes out when the part is placed, let it dry a few minutes and then rub it with your finger and it too balls up and can be removed easily.

    If in some time in the future you want to remove the part, gently rock it to a side and it will come loose. You can clean up the old cement by rubbing it and then picking up the ball. It usually does not affect the paint or whatever the part is stuck to.

    This is not a product that you will find in Lowe’s or Home Depot, but rather in an office supply store like OfficeMax over here. I am sure that those reading this in a non US location have a similar establishment in your own country.


  17. Rudy says:


  18. Absolutely Incredible details and effects. Where some might see it needs a lot…Others see the Magic as it stands…!!!!!

  19. Carl Halgren says:

    There are two ways to apply rubber cement. One is to apply it wet, as Barry suggests. One advantage is that, while wet, objects can be moved and positioned a bit. The second way to use it is more permanent, like contact cement. Apply a thin coat to both of the mating surfaces, allow it to completely dry. Put the pieces together exactly where you want them. Once they touch, they can not be moved.

    One more hint – when you rub the rubber cement to remove it, save that ball. In the future, when you use rubber cement, and it overflows to areas where you do not want it, use the ball like an eraser to remove the excess rubber cement. (In the days before computers, this rubber cement ball was called a mouse!)

    Carl in Kansas

  20. June says:

    sailed on this HAL ship twice. Love seeing this tribute in your layout. Keep up the great work. Love the background work too. Amazing!

  21. Danny Marso says:

    Thanks to Bud from Jersey, going to look up that mini hold,I think it will come in handy for several jobs on the D&WRR,thanks again !

  22. Terry Miller says:

    This is great layout and Ken is really gone wild with lights–however, he’s missing a bet by leaving out the red light district just a few blocks from the train station & dock. Bet those lights would really stand out ! lol

  23. Louis F. Caputo says:

    Puzzled that the running train had no lights on.

  24. David Hannan says:

    Wow! That is stunning!

    Dirty Dave

  25. Merl Fisher says:

    ? How do all you guys keep the voltage with all the lights on the table

  26. william bican says:

    That is really amazing I am just starting my layout and now I have some great ideas. keep up the good work

  27. Robert Brady says:

    Ken: What can I say? Except! want to see the finished product from morning to night
    Thank,Robert B

  28. Erik says:

    Isn’t the windmill going in the wrong direction?

  29. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Hello Ken, out standing both day and night time viewing. I was texting about your lay out on how you had a center point yesterday to C.J.. When you open the door and standing at that point, the bridge across the room was the center point of your lay out. On your day time thier was always something to look at as you walked around the room. C.J. had a great lay out but he didn’t have any dirt, some people want like clean lay out’s and some like it with some dirt. It all depends on how and what the person like there table. Hat’s off to you and keep on Railing.
    From all of us across the big pond and Hat’s off to the big rails, Al & Dirty Dave.
    SDG Saint.Petersburg Florida USA

  30. There is not enough adjectives for layout. Absolutely awesome!!!!

  31. Robert Dickson says:

    Very impressive. I enjoyed it.

  32. Pete Wotring says:

    Do you have a flower in your area called Seedum? spelling may not be correct!Any ways they make super trees and all that has to be done is cut them off after the first frost-which you proberly do not have-then when they are beginning to change color-cut them- dry for a few months-cut to length-trim -spray the cheapest hair spray-we use White Rain -about$1.00 a piece-sprinkle green-yellow-red-orange ground foam on and then litely spray White Rain on-this will keep the material from falling off-I have made many and they turned out -lookin great! would like to know what you think about this and how yours have turned out!!I have never payed for any the Seedum!!
    Good Luck

  33. Ian McDonald says:

    very good night time video. amazing talent and composure to install all those lights. thanks for sharing.

  34. Ernie says:

    Ken, your lighting effects are super, great job!

  35. The layout is amazing! The lighting and affects are ingenious! I never have seen the lighting affects were even close to yours.

    I also live in New Jersey USA I am working on an O guage Pennsylvania RR layout taking scenes from Philadelphia Pa. to Camden and Cape May New Jersey. Almost a year into my layout and maybe 1 to 2 years to go. My grandson now 8 months old will be 2 years old in September 2022. My goal to have most of it completed by them Work in Progress but never completed… haha.

    You have given me good ideas and tips that I will be using them. I solely agree when you said model railroading covers so much more……

    Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!.

  36. Robert says:

    Nice layout Ken but watching a video of you checking light distortion was somewhat like watching paint dry high point of video the windmills.

  37. Bill Mitchell says:

    Is the passenger train called the Midnight Express? It seems to be running kinda fast through the city. Love the whole setup though. It’s beautiful!

  38. James says:

    Oh my, I seen the silhouette of a giant!!!
    My goodness are you in the land of the giants!? 😁

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