N scale mountain – Bill’s update

Bill’s been back in touch with his N scale mountain update:

“Hi Al,

Over the last weeks I’ve continued to work on the mountain that anchors one end of my N Scale mountain layout.

Since my last post I’ve gotten the top removable section of the mountain completed and have planted a forest on its sides. This was a fun endeavor for me as I really enjoy the scenery building that comes with making a model railroad.

In addition to working on the mountain I’ve also done additional small projects on the layout including weathering one of the engine houses and adding more trees to other areas.

As the weather starts to cool off I’ll start to make a number of automobile kits I have and paint and weather those. I also have a growing pile of people to add to the layout as I get areas farther along.

Always fun things to do!

The video shows rock construction of the lift off top and the second covers adding in ground cover and foliage.


Bill in Virginia”

N scale mountain

N scale mountain roundhouse

N scale trestle bridge

N scale factory

N scale tunnels mountain

N scale turntable

N scale mountain

N scale sidings

A huge thanks to Bill – stunning stuff. Can’t wait for his next one.

It’s quite a story he’s putting together with this N scale mountain – I do love the way he works, from adding wax paper to the existing scenery, to working out what part of the mountain will have trees, and what part will just have bushes.

It’s satisfying to see an update like this without any seam between the two mountains – that’s the great thing about plants and any kind of green. As Bill said – he had lots and lots of trees at the ready…

I did enjoy seeing the finished mountains on the bottom in the video – and the plaster on the new top mountain. It really shows the step by step by process, and Bill’s mountains really do look fab.

It’s hard to see the seam in the mountain before he gets busy with the ground cover and trees to hide it. Impressive stuff.

If you’re looking for his last post, it’s here.

Or if N scale is your thing, here’s quite a few N scale layouts for you.

There are lots of posts on mountains on the blog. For some reason, I always think of Glyn’s mountain layout.

That’s all for this time folks – please do keep ’em coming.

Don’t forget to send in your mountains pics, whatever scale you’re working in. We’d all love to see them.

And lastly, the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to stop dreaming, and start doing.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

40 Responses to N scale mountain – Bill’s update

  1. Michael Horn says:

    Stunning geology if nothing else. But so much more!

  2. Your mountain is one of the most realistic stone mountains I have ever seen beyond the natural ones. Congratulations!

  3. Brian Rockey says:

    Wonderful scenery Bill.
    Brian, Wokingham UK

  4. Robert Brady says:

    very very nice Bill , so realistic. Wish it was HO though.
    The Critic

  5. Gregory Running Elk says:

    I love this mountain, it’s very realistic and I would love to learn how to make my mountains look as good as this one. Thank you for sharing and keeping this hobby alive.

  6. Beautiful detail, very well done

  7. Dwight in Toronto says:

    This is one of the most convincingly realistic miniature railroads ever featured on this sight.

    As an aside, I’m wondering why Robert Brady says “wish it was HO though”. What difference would that make?

  8. Great layout

  9. Stunning Scenery!!!
    One of the best mountains that I have seen in any scale since the 1960’s and John Allen’s famed Gorre and Daphetid.
    Never mind, not “One of…” It is THE BEST that I have seen since John Allen.

  10. Fred Gevalt says:


    Wonderful mountain scenery – subtle colors, and tree placement. Really looks like the real thing. You obviously had a lot of fun doing it!

    Fred Gevalt

  11. Steve Ruple says:

    Looks awesome Bill, coming along very well. Nice job!!!!!!!!!

  12. don kadunc says:

    Another great tutorial.

  13. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Wow….Great scenery detail and love those trains running. Your detail on the roads is awesome.

  14. Warner Smith says:

    I have no words. Your work is as real as it gets and love the ease of your presentation. Thanks for allowing us into your world……. Magnifique…….

  15. Ben Olson says:

    Stunning work on the mountains, they look so real! Enjoyed watching the trains run as well. Thanks for a great video!

  16. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Great scenery!! Nice Job!!

  17. William says:

    Absolutely great rock work.
    It would be nice if you could video while you are doing it. I’d like to see how it gets from 3:47 to 4:04.

  18. Bob Martin says:

    Wow, very nice, looks as if it touched the hillside I would get my fingers dirty.

  19. Marklin ed says:

    Great mountains, what detail for N gage railroad.Looking for more of your layout.
    Ed Cairo NY

  20. Bill in Virginia says:

    Hi all – Bill in Virginia here. First thank you all for the kind comments! I really have a lot of fun doing scenery and enjoy mountain building most of all I think.

    To William who asked about how I do it if you go to my YouTube channel and look for the following video title it will show you how I apply the plaster and carve to get the rock effect. The video is called Model Railroad N Scale Mountain Scenery and How To Process. In that I show how I got started on the mountain by the twin tunnel portals

  21. Gene says:

    I agree with William: how you make the mountain would be a real asset . They look so real, we would love to see how you do them.

  22. Ken Mabie says:

    Tell me about your black roundhouse in the photos. I grew up in a small town that had one in the junction yard. I intend to build a replica for my HO layout. Did you have a kit or some plans from somewhere. Looking for any assistance. Thanks, Ken Mabie

  23. Great mountain and scenery work on your layout! — enjoyed seeing the train running!

  24. Very talented!

  25. Thomas says:

    Thanks for running a train !

  26. Bill in Virginia says:

    Bill again – Ken are you referring to the engine house I have by the coaling tower? If so that is an old Heljan kit. A three stall roundhouse that I got off eBay a while back. If you are referring to the other one that is an old card stock kit I also got off eBay that was already assembled but I weathered and touched up

  27. David L McNeil says:

    I liked seeing the P.I.E. truck on your layout. I haven’t seen any of them in years.

  28. Bill Luxford says:

    Greetings from Bill in New Mexico!
    Very good work on your rock geology with what looks like one side of uplifted or folder hills. Nice trackwork on the mountain line with a crossing, tunnels, cliffs, rivers; gorges and different styles of track river crossings. “You done good!!”
    Speaking from over 65+ years of playing/modeling/working with trains from HO scale all the way up to Inch and a half scale with S, On30, On3, G1/2″, O two rail and O three rail in between but, not in that order! (O-3r, S, HO ,O-2r, On3, !.5″, G1/2″, & On30) but, I’m now confined to arm chair! modeling at (82.) Nuts!!!
    I do have a question about your roundhouse? You show four tracks coming off the table but, the roof lines up front look funny for a 4 track house . I can’t figure out how you would get 4 tracks in under the roof the way it is laid out and get supports for the roof in the right places without the roof falling if you ever got any snow or water or even a person walking on the roof. Peaked roofs run onto the flat roofs that aren’t drained and vent stacks that are in funny places. I think you would have been better off using two sides of the long single stall kit for the outside walls and using the other two sides and spare end to make up the backside. Use parts from the old backs and fronts and clobber up a higher front line and pitch the roof down to the back. Then use a single piece of PVC or cardboard to make up a flat roof slightly raised in the front down in the back for drainage. Then put the vent stacks over where the steam engine stacks would fall with either the engines backed in or nose first. The steam engine roof vents have large funnel or rectangle shaped funnel’s to direct the smoke and steam out the roof. Diesel track vent stacks can be much smaller and evenly spaced over the track centerlines. Just a thought since American Enginehouses are designed totally different than British Engine sheds. British sheds tend to be set up on parallel tracks and US roundhouses are set up on a fan shape off the turn table. The American design uses less space from table to building. Anyway, just a suggestion or thought to change that one area. Otherwise, it ALL looks great.

  29. Will in NM says:

    Bill, Another great video! You make dramatic scenery creation look so simple yet there is a lot of artistic talent needed to achieve your results. What exactly did you use to cut the pink foam board that gives it the striations? Beautiful job and thank you again for sharing your process with all us newbies.

  30. Norman Rosen says:

    Bill, as a geologist, let me say that your first picture is excellent and one of the best depictions of rock layering that I have seen, Very well done,

  31. Jim L Robinson says:

    Great work! In addition to the quality of your work, I appreciate that you’ve given us some broader views of your layout (contrasted with a lot of close-ups–which also are good. I like both the close-ups and the back-off-and-get-a-broader-view shots!)

  32. Mountain looks awesome and I am sure it was fun. Nothing like a great forest on a mountain. Well done.

    The rest of the layout also looks great, hope to get more updates .

  33. Charles J Eyster says:

    Most impressed with the dynamite mountain! I can’t help but wonder, even in N gauge, how much does the cap weigh? With the plaster, even thinly placed, it looks to be quite large around. Is it cumbersome to move “mountains” (couldn’t resist…..)?

  34. John says:

    Now that’s a great rock mountain.Than you for showing the wax paper trick (just what I’ll need to do on my next layout).

  35. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice i like it a lot.

  36. Richard Smyth says:

    Simply amazing work. Such impressive mountains. They must have taken ages ( and skill) to build
    as for the gentleman that said wish it were HO just imagine the space it would take up plus the sheer weight of the scenery.. I. Have been working in HO al my life and British 00 starting with Hornby Dublo. I find that N is much better for scenery because a lot of us are downsizing plus the new N scale products run so beautifully!

  37. Rich says:

    Absolutely stunning !! I agree with previous posters about the rock work – VERY realistic if you’ve ever driven thru the mountains in eastern USA, that is exactly how they look – all tilted and folded at weird angles.

    Also kudos for putting vehicles and especially tractor trailer rigs in realistic places – sometimes get tired of modelers plunking vehicles in places that there is no way to get in or out if it was the real world. Just my pet peeve.
    Keep up the great work !!!

  38. Steve Ruple says:

    Awesome mountain top Bill, you do such excellent work on all of your layouts. I would say you are the king of model railroading !!!!!!

  39. robert dale tiemann says:

    always love really good scenery

  40. Don says:

    nice layout & love the mountains

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