Ben’s HO layout update

Ben’s been back in touch with an update on his HO layout.

(His last post is here.)

“Hi Al, hope you are staying healthy and safe! We are in “lock down” mode here, and I’ve taken advantage of the extra time on my hands to finish some work on my layout.

I completed (well, 90% completed) the final 2 scenes on my HO layout, Hazel Dell School and Grill & Chill Park.

Hazel Dell is a replica of the one-room country schoolhouse I attended in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade.

Grill & Chill Park is a replica of a park I frequented as a young man, where we would fish, fly kites and wash our cars.

I’ve now created a total of 7 scenes on the layout. I will take a summer-time break from my model railroad work to enjoy the outdoors and do some “real” fishing.

This fall I’ll start up again by adding two additional train runs with more mountains and scenery.

I suspect this second phase of the project will keep me busy for another 2 years!

I posted an update last year and received some wonderful and very helpful advice from folks, so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for that.

And of course, my hat is always off to you Al, for maintaining this blog and helping us all share in the fun of the hobby.

I’m posting some pictures of the 2 scenes here, but I’ve also added a new video that documents how I created them.

Thanks again, and stay safe out there!

Ben From Chicago, Illinois”

HO scale layout update

HO scale layout update

HO scale layout update

A big thanks to Ben for his pics and video (did you catch the musical intermision?)

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you start on your very own layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here for just $9.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

18 Responses to Ben’s HO layout update

  1. John says:

    Great layouts.


  3. NJ Mark says:

    Great scenes. I love the kids flying their kites! Cheers! NJ Mark

  4. Terry Miller says:

    Great ideas but what I really want to know is how you hooked Alexas up to start the trains!

  5. george zaky says:

    Fabulous video, layout, theme and artistry. Many thanks for the wiring diagrams and how you did it. So many useful hints were given and I so appreciate that. I will be looking at this video a few times.
    Enjoyed the intermission.
    Be well
    Big Al
    George from NY

  6. Mike says:

    Beautiful work Ben!

  7. Bob Amling says:

    You nailed the water scene! Your attention to detail is awesome. I like your idea of working the template on the bench. I was thinking of doing a smaller scale of that a few weeks ago. I was placing tall grass in a mud puddle. Working one reed at a time. Since I was adding blossoms on the end I couldn’t use paintbrush bristles so I gave a straw broom a haircut. So drill a hole in the table dip the reed in glue then some ground cover to get the blossom the more glue on the other end and stick it in the hole. Quite tedious. Always looking for an easier way I considered cutting a scrap of poster board to fit between the tracks and then prepare it with grass, dirt, mud and water. Punch a bunch of holes and start planting. I haven’t gotten back to it but you’ve given me inspiration.

  8. Robert Belk says:

    Great stuff, BEN!!!!!!!!!!!

    What is the size of your layout?

  9. man of many talents , well done on the layout , and keep up with the guitar and singing ..Dangerous Dave

  10. Ben
    What a great layout enjoyed your video and your intermission I love the picnic
    tables and the trailer good ideas

  11. Will in NM says:

    Ben, Well done! I loved the video and your great explanations of how you wired the lights and created the pond at the park. Also the historical photos of your school house were a nice addition to the story you’re telling. The Social Distance Song was a nice interlude and very entertaining. Thanks for sharing all of it. Keep us posted with your next projects.

  12. AMIT SIHI says:

    Kool Song

  13. Gerald says:

    Ben, I liked how you included a black family at the picnic table. You don’t see that in most model railroads. Great work on the sceneries. Gerald

  14. Ben Olson says:

    Thanks for all the comments, they are much appreciated! To Robert Belk who asked about the size of my layout: It’s a “U” shape – One leg is 18 feet long, the second leg is 12 feet long and the third is 8 feet long. I’m looking to add 2 more running lines this fall BUT>>>>just after I sent this to Al, we had a heavy rain storm that knocked out our power. My layout is in the basement, and with the power out, the sump pump failed, resulting in the basement flooding. None of my train stuff was damaged, but we are cleaning up and repairing wall and carpet damage. I hope to have everything up and running soon, with an update later.

  15. Don says:

    Great work and video!

  16. Alabama Mike says:

    Ben, great scenes and good information on how you built them. I enjoyed your video and intermission. I look forward for more. Thanks.

  17. Stephen White says:

    Hi Ben, I loved the song. Great lyrics and well played. Fantastic scenery, you have the knack. Thanks for the video. Looking forward for the new tracks.
    Best Regards
    Steve, NSW, AUS.

  18. Gary Mitchell says:

    Hi Ben great video, your layout looks great.
    Gary from NZ

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