Bills never ending train project

“Hi Al,

I am a long time follower of your work and have used many of your tricks & tips in the book to help build my never-ending train project.

I love seeing all the different layouts you post from around the world.

My little space is in Rhode Island, USA.

Here is a sample for you to see. Happy Modeling!


My word, Bill. All I can say is I think I speak for everyone when I say, “More pics please!”

“What do dandelions, apples and oranges have in common?

A toothbrush!

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

To make dandelions on your lawn, place a little yellow paint on a shallow dish. Dip a few bristles of your toothbrush into the paint. Now, run your finger gently along the bristles, and you will spray yellow paint in a random pattern of dandelions. Repeat this with white paint, and you have dandelions gone to seed.

I suggest you practice with water first to get the feel of the technique. Next, practice with paint on a hard surface to get your droplets the right size – thin the paint to get smaller droplets. You will probably find you need only a few bristles dipped gently in the paint.

If the paint is thin, it will give you smaller droplets. Thicker red paint splattered on a tree will give you apple size droplets. Now you can have an apple tree or an apple orchard.

Now add some wildflowers to your hillsides. Splatter a bit of mud on that truck on your dirt road. Where else can you use this technique? Hmm.

Keep on Training,

Carl in Kansas”

“Sending 5 pics of the cliffs always growing and evolving.


Bill G”

(Bill’s last post is here.)

And finally, I think Dangerous Dave has been busy (on the Sherry?) again:

“Bit of a fun video Al, all captured using 4 cameras, well we have to have a bit of fun with out layouts..



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A huge thanks to Will, Bill G, Carl and Dave. Really enjoyed today’s post.

And now, a call to arms – I need your help!

I want to make the blog and the Beginner’s Guide as good as possible, so earlier in the week, I sent a survey to all the folk who have taken the plunge with the Beginner’s Guide.

Now it’s it the turn of everybody else!

If you have NOT bought the Beginner’s Guide, would you mind taking this very quick survey?

It will really help me out to make the blog even better for you. And that can’t be a bad thing can it?

(Oh – and just so you know, the survey is anonymous so you really can say whatever you want.)

Thanks in advance!

That’s all for this time, folks. Please do keep ’em coming.



24 Responses to Bills never ending train project

  1. Alan Batcheldor says:

    WOW! is all I can say!

  2. NJ Mark says:

    Loved the detail in all of the postings. I am so glad that there are so, so many talented people who continue to inspire! Some day I hope to share, but I don’t think my stuff pales in comparison. Cheers! NJ Mark

  3. Hemi says:

    God you guys. all this layout work and such a GREAT view of it all….. I’m impressed!

    The splatter painting for flowers has always been a GOOD trick, and it seems to work very well! GREAT “How-To” on it as well!

    Keep it coming guys!!!!! ~Hemi

  4. Bob Cassidy says:

    That looks like one very busy layout! Great scenery!

  5. Leonard says:

    First let me say I enjoy all the pics and vids on this great site – especially the train cams!

    I wanted to reply to Carl in Kansas’ comment about detailing with a toothbrush. That technique is known as spatter painting and there’s lots-o-info if you google it. You might want to check out the Kemper Spatter Brush which is a clever and cheap way of doing it.

    Keep up the good work Alastair!


  6. Robert Brady says:

    Bills layout is extrordinary and Daves layout is Commerical free.
    Like to see Bill do an action video.

  7. john pistorino says:

    great and I liked the music It inspires me to get busy and rebuild my layout. But I am in a questionable problem. I have a lot of american flyer and a lot of G scale LGB and not enough room to use both. Even in the ceilings. I live in Miami and would like to see the layout in Tampa where I have grown children and grand children.

  8. Vincent says:

    Totally awsome, the best I seen. Keep the work going.

  9. William L Mock says:

    I Billy need more than pictures. I think a video would be best to capture it all. Awesome job on it too. Can’t wait until the day I can start mine

  10. Susan Cannon says:

    Bill, I have an 11-year-old nephew in Tampa (Brandon) who is CRAZY for model trains. I’ll be visiting again around Christmastime (I live in Houston). I think he would love seeing your setup in person. If we can arrange it, would you be open to showing your layout to two devoted train lovers?

    It looks like I’m not the only person who would enjoy a visit! I’m not sure how we could connect – could Al provide my email address to you?

  11. Roy Forbes says:

    What else can you say about this apart from fabulous. Well done.

  12. TJ says:

    Thank you Dave. Your camera work gets better with every post. The addition of music is a good thing. Please more 40’s music…

  13. Patrick Talley says:

    Bill; I agree, more pictures please. Maybe add a video & a track plan.. Absolutely awesome…

  14. All I can say is….WOW WOW AND MORE WOW….

  15. Fantastic stuff today (and always).
    Al, Since you mentioned the “Beginner’s Guide” (which I have purchased) and a survey while asking what you can do to improve the regular blog page here is my hapenny on the subject.
    I know that you are dependent on the submissions you get and that limits what you can present BUT….
    I like the format as it seems to be evolving where you have a hint or two in each post, an inspirational video (like Dave’s), A layout in progress, and a finished one. When there is a “how-to” that is also nice.
    It is the mix that makes the page.
    Seeing everything from the newest beginner to the polished professional is also great! This is especially true when both examples are on the same post.

    As to the gentleman who posted above with the American Flyer and the G-Scale… I would suggest putting the American Flyer at a “kid friendly height” table about 40 or 42 inches from the floor with a grade or two to something more “adult friendly”. The G-scale could be a loop around the eaves of the ceiling or else a kid friendly loop on the floor. Just a thought…
    In fact, with what you said about grandchildren, A loop of LGB on the floor with a couple of sidings and spurs might be a whale of a lot of fun for both you and the grandchildren. The American Flyer table at a middle height would be more for you to have fun watching the trains while the LGB on the floor would be for you to have fun watching the grandchildren having fun with the trains.

  16. Malcolm Hodgson says:

    Hey Bill!

    Did you have to wait for your wife to go out like I did before making a mess with the plaster?

    Just started on my engine shed section and it never ceases to amaze me how plaster gets everywhere (or at least it does when I am around!) At least I got 90% of it off the kitchen floor before she got home and I got the customary telling off…….

    Great work looking forward to seeing the final scenic result.


  17. Malcolm Hodgson says:


    Great video but just one concern……

    You seem to have a little problem……..

    One of the models on your layout is too large.

    You seem to have modelled a man in the middle of the layout 76 times larger than he should be!

    Nice braces by the way.

    Keep sending your updates.



  18. Allan J Jelinek says:

    Great Layout.

  19. Terry Miller says:

    For Carl: I was watching “Paint This” on PBS last night in which the painter did the scatter painting on an oil painting he was finishing. He used the techniques to create pebbles and snow on the picture. At the time I thought that would be interesting to try on a train layout–and today there you were with the idea! Glad to know that it works.

  20. Doug Tanzer says:

    Love the work here – oh to have such space

  21. Al. I never get tired of your tidbits and the great builds of all the people that have a great camera to take vids and good pics. of their work some day I will have to raid the wife’s bank account and buy a camera that will do some of my stuff up well enough to send in , be well and stay well every one !
    George E. Prinkey

  22. Ian McDonald says:

    great pictures and a good video thanks for sharing.

  23. John Cochran says:

    Is Rhode Island really a state? I thought it was just a national pun. Well, I researched it and discovered that it is just a pretty nice place. Hey, I’m pretty impressed with the layout the folks have built. It all looks natural and realistic. My dad was a railroad engineer for nearly 40 years (Santa Fe) and railroads are in my blood. If I was building an old work/engine/station house I would use small sticks also, but I would burn the outside a little with a torch. The burn look would make it look weathered. Then I would take a little creosote (the word here is “little”) and rub in inside the structure. It would look and smell authentic! John in Oklahoma

  24. Thank you all for your comments , think we all have to have a bit of fun with our layouts , after all this is a fun hobby , and something that can be enjoyed by all ..thanks again for your support , since Al posted this video the views have added another 3000+ …Dangerous Dave

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