Another dose of railroad pics and tips

“Hi Al,

I have been using foam scenery for years. If you wish to make a mountain or a river, you just add foam sheet or cut away foam sheet.

I also use foam in a can as can be seen in the photo below.

Once it is set, I then carve it or sand it to what I want and them paint and add greenery.


Another reason to use foam, easy to cut out for building placement.”

“yes one tip is when making model houses use saw dust mixed with pva clue and paint it on to the model to look like pebel dash .

when dry paint it looks like the real thing any more tips i have i will send.



“Love the tips. Here’s one.

When buying a used DCC Locomotive, try to find out the DCC Decoder address is.

It makes it a lot easier to either use that address or re-program.









Syd’s post did make me laugh.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you are feeling left out, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

22 Responses to Another dose of railroad pics and tips

  1. Mont Hadley says:

    I’m currently building my mountain out of foam and I really like seeing how other people use foam.

  2. paul starr says:

    Great vidio.

  3. Dingo Sharp says:

    Fom may be a good idea BUT please be very careful when using it as most foam no matter what it is and what peope say is very much a Flamable item and will go up in flame at a blink of an eye, yes some foam does only smolder but that is only until it is hot enough to burst into flame, so fellow model railroaders PLEASE PLEASE be very careful whem using it.

  4. paul Otway says:

    nice car and layout

  5. Pete Wotring says:

    Good info-will be using on my layout-soon

  6. D.B. Lewis says:

    Nice video, Rob. I’ll remember your tunnel entrance & hedges.

  7. john creasey says:

    good tips on hedges and tunnels

  8. Carl in Kansas says:

    I like your tunnel liner, and your method for making it. It is a great idea, and a very informative video. However, I have one suggestion to make the form work easier. When you cut out the form, keep the part that you cut out, and add spacers to it like you did with the base of the form. When you glue up the 3 layers of paper, simply drop in the other half of the mold. The wood lost by the saw cut will make room for the layers of paper.

  9. Glenn Roach says:

    Using that commercial Insulating Foam is an OUTSTANDING idea that should save everyone who is or just starting to plan out a layout using that foam should save a few $$$$ in the building/expanding a layout. The one idea is to watch out an spread the word to friends & family to also look out for any new construction going on. Contractors seem to throw away enough pieces that should save some $$$$. This means U might have to dumpster dive or if u are lucky talk to the supervisor that U are interested in collecting the good sized pieces of the solid insulation and ask to throw them to the side of the dumpster and u will collect them every day or what ever schedule u can arrange with the super. keep to it to keep him happy that it is not piling up.
    The z scale in the suitcase is also an OUTSTANDING also. Keep up the great work U are doing on your layout and sharing with us also.

  10. THOMAS says:


  11. Rick says:

    I have used sponges cut to the size you want Using clothing dye for color you want Soak the sponge in to dye for about a minute or less Squeeze dry and dry over night Then white glue them to the area Work well for me

  12. BOB S. says:

    Great idea for the “Brief Case Layout” Must be for ‘N’ gage???? What size case is that?? Might start to do it this week end….but first I need to buy an ‘n’ Gage set up. That should be fun ….especially since I have been O-Gage ‘Engineer’. I received my first train when I was 5 years old,,,,,now I just celebrated my 82nd Birthday!!!….and I still have that same American Flyer Passenger train with the “Freight Style” Locomotive, 1939 Vintage…and they all still work!!!!~ Since then I added a Lionel freight train with the Red and Silver ‘Santa Fe”, ‘back to back’ locomotives…..1950 or 1952 Vintage……I’ll have to check my papers.

  13. Carl Halgren says:

    Reading the above, I had a thought which could give rise to response from some of you more knowledgeable viewers. Some of the foam insulating sheets have a foil backing. Would it be a good idea to build the base with the foil side down to greatly reduce the flammability of the foam? I am thinking about buying a thin sheet of foil faced foam and gluing squares of it on the bottom side of my layout for safety sake. Any comments???

    Keep on training,
    Carl in Kansas

  14. Carl Halgren says:

    One more thought on the tunnel entrance. Why not paint it either dirt brown or rock gray?

    Back in training,
    Carl in Kansas

  15. Mike. Griner says:

    I have been doing “n” Guage for fifty or so years. Changing “partners ” several times over my past, and consequently dismantling the layouts to move my stuff.
    I decided to make an outfit in a coffee table!
    Still working on it, but have the tracks etc. In. Trying to get the fortitude to start
    Making a mess with plaster etc. Have enjoyed your videos.
    It is still winter here in Victoria so might suck it uf and make the mess.
    The table is coffee table height, The outer dimuensions are 4 by 2 1/2 feet.
    Inside there are two levels, an industrial valley surrounded by “mountain ” and residential .
    The table has a very nice bevelled mirror insert top. The original plan was to clear the glass or replace it.
    I hope I make it to the end? Mike.

  16. Ron Schultz says:

    Kaydee makes a track and couple gauge . Its a great tool for any model rail roader.. I couldn’t build and run mine with out it . the best thing about it is the coupler height gauge . then they have these little “washers” to add to bring a car up to where the couplers are all the same height . once they are all the same height and the track has no variations in it you have a smooth operation .Kaydee’s are the only way to go here in the U S A a train layout should be a thing of joy to operate for the owner . not a constant problem after problem . So work out the kinks and enjoy your little creation .There an old country hymn that has this in it .” Keep your hand on the throttle and your eye on the Rail” I dont remember the name of the hymn

  17. Ron Schultz says:

    fire proof your foam with a coating of gypsum plaster mix and brush it on . when dry paint it the colors you want . .

  18. Rick D says:

    Incredible all the way around. No sense in specifying you have done an amazing job my friend and my hat is off to you. Al must be pleased that one of his “students” was able to turn the information into something spectacular Keep it up guys we are all voracious readers of your publications and I for one can hardly wait for the next installment. I’m sure we’ll meet one day and we can do the gongrats in person. That just came to me that it would be great for as many as possible to meet at an exotic neutral location so we could share our stories in person. To think of it that is one of my better ideas. The last great idea I had is we held the World Championships for 1/12 electric off road indoor r/c car racing here in Toronto. The event was a major success with participants from Hong Kong and China and the rest of the world with over 400 entries. A lot of water under the bridge since then but I know I got it in me for one more kick at the cat. I shall ponder it.
    Best to all
    rick from Markham, Ontario, Canada.

  19. David Ryder says:

    Thank you all for the great tips, especially on using foam to create the landscapes. I would also like to know how to build the trestle like the one that Brian built. Being an old (67) beginner these tips are really helpful. Thanks again!

  20. Bob Walker says:

    Hey Rob…. excellent primer on tunnel liners – simple & brilliant… btw – what make & model video camera are you using? -Bob W, NH, USA

  21. George Moffatt says:

    Why use foam-in-a-can to make mountains, since your readers claim it is flammable. It is easy but not safe. Stick with less flammable techniques, such as plaster over cardboard, plywood, window screening or insulation board (is it flammable, or does it just melt, I’m not sure?).

    Why endanger your family?

  22. william janmes palmer says:

    very nice to all

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