HO scale water dock

Brian’s been back in touch, he’s been working on his HO scale water dock.

You may remember him from his stunning waterfront scene, his last post is here.

“Hi Al, I have just completed a utility barge for my waterfront harbour.

I saw this photo on a website of a kit that is available and decided that I need one and should scratch build it for my HO scale water dock.

Below is a photo from the website (Fos Scale Models) which I used for for inspiration.

barge for water dock

I cut the top layer (card stock to represent a metal top) to size and scored the metal plates. I sprayed it with grey primer. I had the wheelhouse in one of my many bits boxes that I could use.

making barge

Added some detail to it and placed it in position to see if it would look okay. I was not quite happy with the look and decided to remove the metal supports on both sides of the wheelhouse.

making barge

The “hull” was cut a fraction smaller than the top deck. I laminated two pieces of 0.125 inch Masonite (hardboard) to make the hull and then tapered the front of it down to the waterline. Here it is on my worktop figuring out where to place all the details – also from my many bits boxes.

making kit

kit bashing

I am always on the lookout for scale vehicle tires to use especially in my harbours. When glued onto the sides as buffers, i slice them level with the hull in order for it to sit flat on the water.

After temporary placement of the details, I gave it the once (many times) over to make sure that it looked workable before gluing it all in place. Here it is on my hand to show the small size – 3.75 X 2.75 X 0.375 inches.

HO scale water dock

Again, a different view to check placement of the details.

HO scale water dock

Same again.

HO scale water dock

While waiting for the window glue to dry I placed it in the harbour as a test. After looking closely at it in place I realized that it needed more weathering. It was not dirty enough to be a working barge in the harbour.

It pays to take a break, sit back and view your model. I did this and realized that I left off the kleets which are used to tie it up to the keyside or other boats.

HO scale water dock

HO scale water dock

HO scale water dock

Did not take long for the seagull to find somewhere to perch in the hope of finding a tiny morsel.

HO scale barge

HO scale water dock

Final weathering and all details glued in place and in the harbour to begin working.

HO scale water dock

Thanks for all that you do for this hobby and keep up the good work.


The HOn3 guy – Knysna RSA

All the best Al, and thanks as always for your blog.


Now on to another Brian, who has also featured on the site before:

“Hi Al

Further to my previous Poirot video I thought I would make a fun video featuring my Changing of the Guard scene on the OO loft layout with Airfix Guards and Band.

It includes footage from the actual Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle, my son is the Bandmaster of the Irish Guards. Here’s the story to back up the video:

“I have several ‘hobbies’ that keep me busy in retirement – railway and military modelling, walking football (to keep fit), and playing trumpet in a concert band. My enjoyment of playing music has ‘rubbed off’ on my elder son who took up a career as a musician in the British Army and is now the Bandmaster of the Band of the Irish Guards of the Queen’s Household Division.

On both my N and OO gauge layouts I have tried to include scenes where various members of the family are involved, so modelling the Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle, a regular activity for the Queen’s Guards and Bands was a challenge that had to be undertaken.

The Airfix 1:76 Guards Band and Colour Party were the only models in OO gauge that I was aware of, but being produced way back in the 60’s meant that I would have to find them on a popular auction website.

Fortunately, I did, but at a considerably higher price that the two shillings I would have paid for them when I was buying them as a boy all those years ago!!

With all the research needed to paint them from my son, I commenced the painstaking task of painting both the band and the colour party. There was one very important piece of surgery that had to be carried out – converting a side drummer to my son, the Bandmaster who marches in the band towards the back (you’ll see him in the video) with his conducting baton tucked up his sleeve. Many hours later, about 40, both Guards and Band were fully painted, and were passed inspection by the Bandmaster!

The Windsor Castle, named Wenham Castle (my Grandmother’s maiden name) on my layout is a 1:72 kit from Miniart which after a lot of filling and painting came out reasonably well.

The march into Wenham Castle is via Station Approach passing the public entrance to West Hoe railway station and the police have the ‘crowd’ and ‘traffic’ fully under control, except of course for the passing goods trains that like to make their presence heard!!!

I hope you enjoy the video. My apologies to those who were hoping to see more train action, but I think many will agree that without scenery and interesting things going on in any layout, just trains, I hesitate to say, could get a bit boring? Each to his own though eh?

All the best to railway modellers everywhere.

Wokingham, UK.”

I am getting more and more submissions from folk who are combining their hobbies – and why not? A good back story always makes a layout.

What’s more, I’m getting more and more folk sending me stuff of their other hobbies, which I do really enjoy seeing too. I haven’t ever posted any, but I think I will soon. I do enjoy seeing what everyone gets up to in their spare time.

A big thanks to Poitrot Brian, and an even bigger thanks to Hall of Fame member Brian for sharing his HO scale water dock.

Really enjoyed today’s posts, hope you did too.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget, the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going on your own layout.



PS Don’t forget the latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Still updated daily.

20 Responses to HO scale water dock

  1. Now that is an AWESOME barge! Very well done, Brian! It looks almost identical to the kit. Also, happy to see another cardstock builder. Cheers!

  2. David Trigger says:

    Lovely work Brian congratulations.

    If I may just suggest a commonly missed additional detail that adds real atmosphere to tidal scenes ? I have taken the liberty of assuming this is such being a harbour within range of the seagull. So what is it ? The often filthy, scummy tidal marks and stains most “boaties” try so hard to overcome. It pervades everything within reach of course. Perhaps most notably, harbour walls, bridge supports and the like.

    I hope this helps you and our fellow modellers.


  3. Fantastic job as always Brian. Love all the small details

  4. Dionisis says:

    Fantastic work !!! The details give to modell and diorama realism!!!

  5. Bobby B says:

    bitchin salvage barge,u put alot of time in on that.I think I’ll make one for my layout,maybe,or not It must be a salvage barge cause it’s full of junk,.
    The Critic.

  6. Erick says:

    Neat; That kinda what i want to do with my train broad.

  7. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Brian. Loved the band video. Well done. Nice to see you combining both railways your trumpet playing and your family. Well done again

  8. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Fantastic detail……..love the weathered colorings….

  9. Fred stroh says:

    Great job, such details. Keep up the good work.

  10. Outstanding, I can hear the gull screeching!

  11. Robert Kent says:

    Video is OUTSTANDING. Thanks for posting it.

  12. Tom Gregelevich says:

    Awesome !!! Soooooo realistic, your time and patience and your detail is absolutely incredible. Thank you for sharing. Now is a very good time to have a hobby. Something to keep us occupied. AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME !

  13. Dan Hulitt says:

    Great stuff, thanks to Al and to the Brian’s. I remember a couple experiences with barges, one that broke loose in the darkness of night to float across Raritan Bay in NJ. Fortunately no one ran into it.
    The 2nd was a fueler barge that came up behind my brothers boat as we sat next to the QE2. My folks had just arrived home from England 🇬🇧 and we were looking for them on the decks way ip there. I swatted the hull and we got out of the way. Could not do that today I am afraid.
    Nothing like good band music. I would guess that Brassed Off would a favorite of UK Brian.

    Again, great work guys.

  14. George says:


    Your Irish Guards are totally delightful. I enjoyed your clever work and music immensely.

    But did I miss the armed trooper leading the parade? Boy, was that a modern touch

  15. Ben Dickmann says:

    Talent, skill, creativity, dedication, accuracy, neatness, artistic…. What more needs to be said? Beautiful workmanship! Thank you for sharing

  16. Andrew Aves says:

    Lone police marksman protects soldiers – interesting

  17. John Birch says:

    Lovely barge. I find it very difficult to throw anything away and it is amazing what can be produced from bits and pieces found in the box. Well done!

    I have spent most of my life as a music teacher (and played the organ for 65 years) and often railways and musicians go together, Sydney Nicholson, organist, Westminster Abbey and founder of The School of English Church music, apparently had a large layout. I have a railway encyclopedia signed and gifted to me by Gerald Knight, one-time organist, Canterbury Cathedral. You may have seen my band and guards on parade on my Cabin Manor to Gardenton Railway (can be seen ion Youtube) that was aired on this site some time back. They were bought in the 1970s and painted by my wife.

  18. Mark G. says:

    Nice build! It certainly pays to keep those leftover bits in a bin.

  19. Will in NM says:

    HOn3 Brian, Thanks for sharing your detailed barge construction photos. It really helps to understand what all went into the finished product which is absolutely top notch. Beautiful work well done!

    UK Brian, Wow! I had to go back and watch your Poirot video too. I loved the backstories for both videos and your execution of the models was spot on. Thank you (and Al, of course) for sharing such wonderful stuff with all us old geezers.

  20. DJfromNJ says:

    Brian. That barge is very well done! Simply put, you are thinking/working/building at the genius level. Keep up the great work!

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