Arnie answers some questions on his latest video

“I have not seen this tip from anyone, but it may not be new.

I save the saw dust from any wood work I do, (train table, remodeling, etc.).

Then I mix different colors of scenery grass and small foliage with it for landscape base.

This saves money by extending purchased material it looks good. Especially if you are doing fall or spring scenes.

Secondly, I mix water and alcohol with carpenter’s glue to the consistency of milk and use it as scenic cement. You have a comment?


“Hi All, lately I’ve been making my own trees with things we throw away or find in our yard. I have many Oak trees on my property and when the branches fall I pick the Lichen off to use as foliage.

I also use grape vines. These will dry nicely which can be trimmed. No painting is necessary as they dry to a nice brown natural color.

I use a household glue that is thick to attach the lichen to form the tree. When dry, a little diluted water based green paint will give the tree highlights.



“Hi Al,

Thanks for so quickly publishing my recent video to you on the Bachmann DD40AX.

I’ve gotten a lot of comments and requests for more information about my N scale layout.

The most frequent request is to see a copy of the track plan. So I’m attaching a copy of it.

If you are agreeable, I would like to have you share with the readers some further data about my Susquehanna Valley & Gulf Summit Railway:

> The layout is only 8ft. x 5ft. but has two levels (the lower Valley region and the upper Gulf Summit region).

> Three transition tracks join lower to upper levels and vice versa. One transition track is actually a 4 foot kit-bashed trestle with a 3% grade.

> Four trains (2 upper and 2 lower) can run simultaneously, or one train traversing the upper and lower levels in a multitude of patterns….

> The layout incorporates built-in environmental and railroad related sound effects and day-to-night lighting and environmental sound transition that can be activated by just turning on and off the room’s overhead fluorescent lighting.

> The layout is DC powered by two dual throttle MRC Tech 4 280 power packs; one for each level.

> Wiring scheme and control system panel was created by me. The control panel is entirely toggle switch operated using 55 toggle switches to power/activate 27 turnouts, approx. 10 sound effects, track signals, and lighting for numerous buildings and station platforms.

The layout was actually featured in “N Scale Model Railroading” magazine in the May-June 2007 issue (#41). As mentioned above, I am attaching a copy of the track plan that was used in the article.

Some readers have asked to see a video showing a more comprehensive view of the layout. Al, you previously published a video of mine entitled, “LIFE ON THE SV&GS.” I think this would fit the bill (you can see it here).

Once again, I thank you Al whole-heartedly for being so accommodating and providing this arena for the readers to share and enjoy each others’ work and ideas.


Track Plan SV&GS (NSR)_Modified

A big thanks to Arnie for taking the time to answer our questions.

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.

17 Responses to Arnie answers some questions on his latest video

  1. Old Trainman says:

    Sawdust is an excellent modelling material. I also save all my sawdust for landscaping. Mixing it with powder paint when dry and sprinkling it over a surface which has been sprayed with dilute pva activates the powder paint and also fixes the sawdust. Further coats of PVA and sawdust can be used to build up the surface.
    I have also made strings of ivy to hang down the sides of tunnel entrances by dipping cotton in PVA and sprinkling coloured sawdust on it.

    and Al, Thank you for your splendid site. full of inspiring videos and pictures as well as clever modelling ideas.

  2. Tom says:

    Model railroading “the world in miniature” what a wonderful, exciting hobby. A child frozen in place mouth open eyes as big as dinner plates. What a joy what a thrill what a ride! Thank you Arnie for your contribution to this site what a wonderful railroad … what a wonderful video … I have looked at it 3 times.
    Thanks guys for the tips. Thanks to everyone giving tips pictures and videos.
    Thank you Al for brining to us all. I remember and old poem about trains, and it goes like this …
    It’s not my job to run this train
    The whistle I cannot blow
    It’s not my job to see how far
    This train is allowed to go
    Its not my job to run this train
    Nor even clang the bell
    But let the damn thing jump the track
    and see who catches hell.

    Happy Training!


  3. BIGBADBOB says:

    hi al while looking for a motor and gear set to operate a turn table I came across a motor and gear from a car electric mirrors they turn at 1 .5 rev a min operating with a 9 volt battery very use full

  4. verry cool layout!! and great advice to save the sawdust, as well as a lot of other pieces of junk that can be recycled and incorporated into one’s layout!!

  5. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Excellent layout,could we see more?

  6. builder Kim says:

    Just a question.Does anyone have any experience with chalk to make a car or even a loco rusted looking

  7. Jim Kirby says:

    Great contribution, Arnie! I have a few questions for you. What kind of track did you use, and what radius curves?

  8. robert says:

    old coffee grounds dryed works great also as dark dirt

  9. Ross Johnston says:

    Thanks for sharing your layout plans Arnie. I got some great ideas from them. Cheers Rossco Adelaide, Australia.

  10. jim c says:

    Very cool indeed, this gives me many ideas for my grandson and i, do to i dont have much room anymore two of my children have moved back home one having my 2.5 grandson who loves trains. The picture is so real looking great craftsman ship. Injoy
    Cheers jim

  11. THOMAS says:


  12. tom in az says:

    I found a ansewer to my Question if the engine Arnie has comes in HO. yes it does I found it for 239.00 on line new. Tom

  13. imthepoppa says:

    thank you for sharing

  14. Lester W Larrew in Georgia USA says:

    To Builder Kim.
    I use colored chalk all the time to weather all kinds of stuff, including engines and cars.
    Lester, GA USA

  15. Will in NM says:

    I wish I could save all my woodworking sawdust for scenic material, but my shop floor usually has so much dust that blows in and spider webs that I’m not sure how I would ever separate the sawdust from the rest. 🙂

    Arnie, that’s a great layout plan exceptionally well executed.

  16. Ian Robertson says:

    Thanks for find great ideas.

  17. John McKeon says:

    I’ve yet to comment, but Al; thank you for your continued diligence on maintaining this wonderful resource! I’ve enjoyed it for a couple years every morning with my coffee. And to all you international modelers: Kudos!
    I may even post a couple pics of my efforts one of these days!
    Sincerely, John, Philadelphia PA, USA

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