Brian’s layout

“Hi Al, keep up the good work.

Thought that I would share this with you and other fellow modelers – from Cape Town, South Africa.

Here is a photo of my 22′ x 10′ layout under construction in HOn3 – part logging and part freelance Denver & Rio Grand Western.

And an almost finished two stall engine house (modified) Fine Scale Miniatures Engine House kit that will be placed at my logging area on the layout.

I can send more photos of structures and part scenic areas of my layout if you would like to see them.



(Images are clickable)

“Hi Al.

Interested in another.How about a industrial vacumm made from a dish soap bottle lid and a toilet cleaner bottle lid lol just have to add pipe’s.

Top is the dish soap lid with the popup lid removed and the bottom is a toilet cleaner bottle.both have a hole so I ran a piece of dowel threw each other to hold together as you see and then I instant glued the seam.and then painted silver or aluminum.

The leg’s are balsawood made to look like metal eye beams.



Thanks for the tips.

I am big on magnets

Purchase a set of small screwdrivers with magnetic tips. They are a life saver when removing/replacing those tiny screws can bounce off into oblivion.

Also, you can buy sheets of magnetic vinyl (the backing for refrigerator magnets). Use a 12” x 12” sheet to do your fine work. It will protect your loco’s and cars from scratches and if you drop one of those teeny screws they will still to the backing instead of bouncing off into oblivion.

Automotive stores sell a telescoping wand with a magnetic tip. Use it to pick up track nails, etc instead of trying to grapple them with your fingers. Also great for getting into hard to reach areas.

When disassembling items with several metal parts, stick them to a small block magnet instead of placing them loosely in a dish, etc. That way, you can’t bump the dish and have everything go flying away into oblivion.

You can tell I have had many items disappear into oblivion-never to be seen again…



That’s all today, folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you’re heading off to ebay, hope the latest ebay cheat sheet helps.



39 Responses to Brian’s layout

  1. john roat says:

    great engine house one of the best i have seen keep up the

    good work.

  2. Ken G says:

    The floor in Brian’s engine house is a bit clean, but otherwise the detail is truly remarkable.

  3. MIKE,Seattle WA says:

    I LIKE the engine house.The magnets DO work.Just ask ole “fumble fingers” I get a lot of nice ideas from this site THANKS

  4. Chris, Raunds,UK says:

    What would I do without my telescopic magnet. It must get used everyday. It is the big one on the floor at gives me the most problems – it seems to attract everything.

  5. Frank Stroot says:

    Very nice, great stuff

  6. builder Kim says:

    wow that looks bloody fantastic.Make’s my shed look like a bunch of junk.Love the use of a person in there as most only have a shed and no interaction going on.

  7. Jim, Buffalo NY says:

    Knigttrain– Great idea regarding the magnetic drivers, and magnetic sheet. I have had parts go to oblivion to many times, and what a disaster it can be.
    Thanks for sharing

  8. Jim, Buffalo NY says:

    Hey Brian, was the train shed scratch built or kit. If it was scratch built nice job. The interior detail very well done. You have given me an idea for my diesel engine house and car shop buildings.

  9. Roland Burch says:

    Great engine house. You did a good with the layout design to match the room size.

    Kim, you are very creative. Great idea.

  10. george williams says:

    One suggestion-eliminate the “you can unsubscribe” message at the top. You have a great website chuck full of great ideas. Don’t disparage your
    site with such a message.

  11. Glenn Roach says:

    Builder Kim U should not downgrade your shed. It seems the best way to see if it is a “bunch of Junk” is to get it displayed on here. Take several pictures your shed inside and outside to display it in its setting. A engine house or a big RR’s engine shop will be a pile of junk to people who have no idea of how a RR operates or the supporting areas across this country do everyday 24/7 to keep’em running.
    The engine house kit looks nice. But the RR U are modeling is at least a 100 yrs at operating moving whatever need to be to keep it running. So I suggest that a session of “aging” inside and out would make it look even better than it does now.

  12. Ian says:

    great workmanship, precise detail love the layout more photos of the layout and the shed in place would be great.

  13. Austin Wilson says:

    I have three different engine houses, but by far this is the best one I have ever seen. Awesome work and great detail.

  14. Ray Appenzeller says:

    I am really in awe with the engine house you built. Very detailed and impressive! Great job!

  15. paul Otway says:

    nice engine house

  16. THOMAS says:


  17. Brian Messenger says:

    Hi guys, thanks for all the kind comments. Floor is still fairly clean as I have not finished the engine house yet. I will send more photos of my layout as well as my highly detailed 3 stall roundhouse. I also have photos of my harbor area taken at night. Brian

  18. jeffrey sikes says:

    real nice engine house well detailed lay out looks good to nice job

  19. Tim Cahill says:

    Very nice!

  20. Frank Edgcombe says:

    Great engine shed. I have a 2 bay Metcalf shed with no floor. I’ll have to add a floor, with maybe a simulated recessed area between the tracks and add all the tools, containers etc on the sides. May have to put in lighting too. I bought it on ebay and it was “finished”. Now I’ll have to “finish it” again.
    On the magnetics things. I use a magnetic sheet, but also have a strip of magnetic material across the front of the workbench. It catches all sorts of stuff before dropping on to the floor and prevents sharp modeling knives, screwdrivers etc from rolling off and imbedding themselves in my thigh or nether regions. I also bought a steel dish with a hefty magnet in it (from auto supply stores) for screws, nuts and anything steel. In the U.S. Harbor Freight sells them very cheaply. Magnetic wands are also great.

  21. George Ross says:

    Never though about LIGHTING inside Engine Shed or TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
    Along the Walls. GREAT IDEA.

  22. litacats says:

    love the details in the engine house well done

  23. Keith Carey says:

    Your Engine House is surreal. Just amazing. It just gives off a warmth. And, so inviting. The lighting. I don’t know how you guys do this. I’ve been away from model railroading since the days of Tyco and Varney. Much to learn from how you all do things right.

    What pray tell did you use for the laminate flooring. I have a Broadway Limited and an Athearn Genesis I would like to park in one of these.



  24. Martin Gliddon says:

    Great layout Brian. I’d love to see more of the harbour and an overall track plan. The comments about unsubscribing are spot on, who in their right mind would want to unsubscribe for this great site.

  25. Ken Hecker says:

    Brian, I love the interior of your engine house. I was amazed that it is HOn3. Very detailed, and believable. I have been working on an On30 three-stall for a long time, and barely have the exterior finished.

  26. alan says:

    goog job

  27. Ben Dickmann says:

    Wow! Very impressive. The detail is awesome.

  28. idris dixon says:

    fantastic engine shed, if that’s all your lay-out consist of but surely you’d have
    to take the roof off to really appreciated it…..well done any way


  29. antoine says:

    This engine house is super! Even Dutchies like this!

  30. Bernard Calver says:

    Not to take anything away from Brian’s modelling, which is excellent, I would like to introduce a word of caution to all those extolling the virtues of magnetic sheets and tools. especially DCC operators. Keep magnets away from any electronic circuitry. At best a magnet will wipe out any memory chips or at worst destroy chips.

  31. Jimail says:

    Simply fantastic detail and thoughtfulness for your engine house. So realistic and colorful.


  32. Kermit Beckmann says:

    Awesome engine shop… what is the scale that you used for this layout did I miss it. Again awesome work
    Kermit Beckmann

  33. Warren Ferguson says:

    Beautiful engine house! Your work is just superb. I thought the half open drawers in a workbench was an excellent detail. There is always the one guy who never puts things back where they belong.

  34. Ross Johnston says:

    I would love to see more of your layout Brian and possibly a video. Great work! Cheers Rossco Adelaide, Australia

  35. Hemi says:

    Absolutely STUNNING interior on that engine house! WOW!!!! NICE detail job on that!

    Kim, That industrial vacuum cleaner is AWESOME bit of sratchin’ work……. NICELY executed for what you were trying to achieve!!!!!

    Keep up the great work guys! ~Hemi

  36. Bill Roberts says:

    The detail is absolutely awesome but the upper two tracks go around the bend to the right and into a wall. Does the track end there or does it continue through the wall? Your patients must be absolutely stellar.

  37. Will in NM says:

    Brian, What a fabulous engine house you’ve built! How in the world did you get all those lights into the ceiling area? They really make your detailed interior pop. I’ve had the Fine Scale Miniatures John Allen Special kit for 15 or 20 years and I;ve never had the guts to tackle building it. Your engine house may just spur me to give it a try.

  38. Bill Harris says:

    I’m a quad and I like the train on the track, It takes me back to when I was younger
    and to build up on them.

  39. Robert J "Bob" Hutchens says:

    The floor in your ‘engine shop’ is nicer than my actual ‘Family room.floor’ I’d like to suggest a little dark shoe polish between the tracks, at a minimum. I know cleanliness is a big issue, in most rail yards, but you just can’t clean up years of “repeated droppings’ from Locomotives that thrive on proper lubrications. I am not trying to criticize your work in any way, as it is far superior to any of my layouts, but after spending several years working in a “in and out running repair shop” I’m not expecting to see “Clean like new” floors. Anyho: Nice Work. Bob H, Southern Indiana, U.S.A.

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