Military model train layouts

Andy’s been in touch with his military model train layout – he’s done some excellent scratch building:

“Hi Al and all the dedicated followers

In a previous post, you mentioned your fascination for wartime dioramas within the railway theme and I guess, thanks to my past, I am no different.

I have attached a few pics of just the one side of my very much in progress layout which is set on or around 16 March 1942.

The scene is a small port/harbour that has been taken over by an undisclosed Commando Battalion who are, in conjunction with the Royal Navy, preparing for Operation Chariot, “The greatest raid of all time”, namely the Raid on the Normandy Dock, which took place on 28 March 1942.

(I mention that more for the benefit of your younger followers as I do not wish to insult the older farts like myself).

Further for the youngsters (haha), this was where an old destroyer (HMS Cambeltown) was stripped down to look like a German ship, packed with 4.5 tone of high explosive and accompanied by 18 smaller craft (wooden motor launches, a gunboat and an motor torpedo boat), set sail for the French Port at St Nazaire with a mind to ram the Normandie dock and put it out of action thereby preventing the Tirpitz from having a suitable dry dock for repairs.

(Without boring your readers with the detail, Jeremy Clarkson did a superb presentation of the raid on youtube)

Back to my layout… the challenge was finding a suitable backdrop to the little dock that I have built (and herein lies a challenge I have not been able to solve, but more on that later).

Being 1942 and in keeping with the rest of the layout, I wanted a throw-back on the Victorian era and thought that an old warehouse would do the job.

But nobody had a warehouse that fitted the period in question and I had to return to the internet of things to find photographs of what I was looking for.

And I was in luck. I found two suitable options – The one being a photo of the Metropolitan Wharf (I don’t have a clue as to where it is) and another of a completely different building, a nice, old, stone building (which I guess could have been a warehouse).

So I downloaded the photos, pulled them into Photoshop, got them scaled to the right dimensions for OO and then started modifying them in terms of length, etc to fit in with my little harbour.

Military model train layouts

Needless to say, being a complete novice at working with cardboard, it took a few attempts where the demolishing company situated down the road at Stonemill Hamlet (My closest town to “Bridgeport”
were the only winners.

Eventually,I managed to construct something that I was reasonably happy with (it still has some imperfections but these are relatively minor in the greater scheme of things).

The Photos show the finished product with a narrow platform out front.

There is still plenty to do on the scene such as:

Solving the water problem in my dock (hope you like my scratch built dock gates), finish the concrete ground works, placing the figures, building the 2 Bofors guns and sandbag emplacements, the hoists above the warehouse doors, finish making the torpedo’s, place my sailors from Langley Models and so on and so on and so on…

…you guys know the drill.

Military model train layouts

Now, because my warehouse also serves as the divider between two completely different scenes, I needed to do something on the other side and found a factory that I could modify, on Wordsworth Model Railway and here I must sing the praises of the author (Mike) for the fantastic work he has done. It is a site worth (excuse the pun) visiting for any English OO modeller.

Military model train layouts

Al, you provide a far greater service than I think you imagine in keeping this hobby alive for all, old and young.

I also extend a thank you to all those contributors out there who have given so freely of their knowledge and experience as the many tips help to keep this amazing hobby affordable for so many of us.

That’s all for now and keep on trackin.

Johannesburg RSA.”

A huge thanks to Andrew for adding to the military model train layouts on the blog – he’s been kind enough to supply me with the artwork he used to create his scene, so I will get it on the site as soon as possible.

I think it really does show in spades with a computer, bit of cardboard and glue you can create anything you want to.

Now on to Dana.

He’s used some of the prints and some imagination to help him with his wonderful harbour scene:

“My first ever Harbor/seaport site coming along with a lighthouse, sea captain house, 50+pine trees, (all my own designs – new ideas with a working lighthouse headlight), all my railroad layout scenes supported by my wife’s (Eileen’s) painted backgrounds…working on two sea vessels…stay tuned…a railroad wide short of our current D&E Model Railroad included…coming next…


printable buildings

A big thanks to Andrew for another military model train layout, and also to Dana.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

11 Responses to Military model train layouts

  1. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Andrew Very clever use of Photoshop etc to make both of your warehouse buildings. Will be interested as I’m sure other site users will be to see the finished product.. I find it interesting the way you have used your space by having 2 separate layouts each side of the dividing warehouse.I would find this a pain having to go round the other side of my layout to view that scene but if the space dictates this then again a clever use of the space.

  2. Mark T. Pianka says:

    very nice a job well done !

  3. Nicholas Pauley says:

    It looks great did a good job I retired and I’m getting ready to get back into it I got about eight sets of trains ho so I guess I’m going to find someplace to put my layout…. Thank you so very much for showing me what I could do…

  4. Tim Cover says:

    Nice Job. Done to Detailed.

  5. charles huffman says:

    I just purchased your Beginners guide, I have almost completed my first building (I call it a ware house) and it is fabulous, I will continue to purchase your bundles, I think they are all really cool and I’m really getting into modifying and adding things to the buildings as I go, what fun and they will all look great on my 4X8 train layout, thanks for everything, the videos have really inspired me

  6. Tony Kitty Hawk, NC says:

    Nice job Andrew and Dana!
    Andrew- can you tell us a little more about the 2 sided layout? It sounds interesting, but I didn’t quite follow what you are doing. Thanks!

  7. Doug Godbey says:

    Very neat and Military fashion. Nothing out of place and everything where it belongs. I would expect to see this type of organization on a well established military installation. I’ve been stationed on Depot level supply bases and this is how it should look with a proud staff. A commanding officer would be very happy with his men and staff if it looked like this. MASSIVE WELL DONE, mate!

  8. James Maitland says:

    Great job on the waterfront. FYI I an opportunity to visit St. Nazaire in 2018. I had learned of the Cambeltown attack while at the US Naval Academy in the 60s. I was amazed to see the actual site and walk across the dock gate. In addition there is a memorial on top of the closest sub pen which has one of the guns from Cambeltown on top. You have committed to an exciting time in history. If you would like I think I have a photo or two I could send you.

  9. Andrew in Johannesburg RSA says:

    For Tony in Kitty Hawk…..If you can imagine a base board 800mm wide, draw a line 400 mm from the one side and lay a length of flexitrack as straight as possible. Now position the warehouse I described over that track (obviously there is a doorway on one end haha). As per my sample picture, the one side of the warehouse containing the “Metropolitan Wharf” would face toward the harbour scenario and the other side which has the grey stone finish faces onto the parking bays. In this way, the 800 mm board is split into two completely different scenes aided by the height of the warehouse (in my case, 3 stories high plus the roof). One could of course increase that height with a sky backdrop but I was concerned about stability and decided to pass on the option. Apologies if my initial explanation was somewhat sketchy and I hope this provides the necessary clarity.

  10. Andrew in Johannesburg RSA says:

    For James……Many thanks for the kind words and being an “old soldier” myself, I agree that it was both an exciting and a scary time in history as you put it. Pity we never learn???? The pictures would sure be a great addition. I don’t know if you have watched Jeremy Clarkson’s presentation on the raid on Youtube, but I think it was very well done and as an ex-Navy man, you would probably enjoy it. Thanks again for your input. Kind regards. Andrew

  11. WOW–great job

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