HO scale waterfront shelf layout

Brian’s been busy with his HO scale waterfront shelf layout (his last post is here if you missed it)

“Hi Al, layout expansion.

Seeing that I like waterfronts so much, I decided to use a corner for a new harbour.

It will be called Pelican Bay mainly for small freighters and fishing boats.

Below is the start of the planning stage (middle right) and what I had in mind. I will be utilizing buildings from my old layout that were built about 7 to 8 years ago.

HO scale waterfront shelf layout

HO scale waterfront shelf layout

Here I used a wall section from my old layout which gave the shape that I needed.

HO scale waterfront shelf layout

Before placement, I had to paint the grey wall to look like this, a random stone wall.

HO scale waterfront shelf layout

I used the wall and buildings to mark out where the base had to be cut.


Here the base has been cut, wall in place, buildings placed and made sure there was enough room for the boats to dock or pass.


This is the continuation of the bay around the corner to the freight terminal building.


HO scale waterfront shelf layout

Here it is all coming together with base painted the right color, Podge was painted on in a thin layer to get the feel before pouring the WS realistic water. As I have said many times before, I only use WS water as I have always had great success with it in the past. (WS = Woodland Scenics)


Two views of the final layout of Pelican Bay with the waterfront lights placed.



A few night shots of Pelican Bay. Not a good clear picture below as my ‘blue overhead light blew’. As said before, all the buildings on my layout have full interior and lights.

HO scale waterfront shelf layout

HO scale waterfront shelf layout


HO scale waterfront shelf layout

HO scale waterfront shelf layout

This is where I am at the moment.

I have put buss wires under the layout, droppers from all the lights, connected it all up and all is working.

I will need to buy a a load of switches for all the lights. These will be mounted on the facia front.

That’s all for now and will keep updating as I progress.

All the best

Brian – the HOn3 guy – Knysna RSA”

A huge thanks to Hall of Fame member, Brian for sharing his HO scale waterfront shelf layout.

I really do enjoy his posts and how he works.

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 join in on the fun.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

14 Responses to HO scale waterfront shelf layout

  1. James Yuille says:

    Outstanding, congratulations, one of the very best layouts I have had the joy of seeing in many years.

  2. Charles in California says:

    Very nice large layout . I noticed two levels in the pictures, so I am curious to know if you plan to link them by helix or some other way no obvious to me in the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Not a train in sight

  4. Jim Welton says:

    Beautiful work, Brian. I am building new buildings and boats now for Port Union.
    I notice another dock and more boats in the background, will this be another water scene? Please post for us with updates.

  5. Robert Brady says:

    Can’t wait till you put the Scenics water in the river/canal. Work in progress hey.so so good.
    The critic

  6. Brian Messenger says:

    Charles, the difference in height (15 inches) will not allow for a connection between the two levels other than a helix. No room for one as in HO it takes up 16 square feet. My train room is only 14ft X 10ft.
    The top level is all logging and has plenty of operation in a complete loop.
    The bottom level is point from the harbour to the engine terminal facility and a yard. More than enough to keep 3 operators busy all on DCC.
    Brian – Knysna RSA

  7. dana green says:

    this is one of the best ever…got several ideas for my seaport I am currently working on, thanks for sharing your layout…great job

  8. brian great layout I love the harbour and the 2nd level
    keep up the good work

  9. Michael W.: There were no trains but there had been because I saw their tracks!

  10. Chris Beard says:

    Your modeling is right up there with some of the best. I’m looking forward to seeing your layout in either Model Railroader or Model Railroad Craftsman

  11. Gary M from Long island says:

    A few choice words……IMPRESSIVE and OUTSTANING………one of the best if not the best scenery detail I have seen on this site.

  12. Will in NM says:

    Brian, WOW! What a great layout you’re building there. You’re obviously a very skilled model railroader. Thank you for sharing the whole series of the waterfront development. I really like how you staged the future harbor area when working out the track and structure locations. I never would have thought of cutting out a section of the layout and dropping it down to create the right water level. You are a true innovator and I feel lucky to share in your adventures in model railroading.

  13. Looking forward to seeing the finished product. Looks great.

  14. Stephen Hill Woodstock GA says:

    Brian , kudos to you sir , your display is impeccable, amazed at the detail , how do you manage to make it look so real ? I try , as I’m certain many must , but at the end of the day I’ve nothing to compare to most of what y’all post . Simply amazing , a true talent sir , thank you for sharing your art , it is an art . Serious stuff . Most incredible!

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