HO scale buildings – Cliff’s

Cliff’s a man of few words – but the pictures of his HO scale buildings say a lot:

“Hi guys, just some pictures of my platform. Thanks for all the tips.

Trying to make it as real as possible. Need some people walking around and some more detail.

One picture is a hydrangea which I make trees out of. It’s a great hobby.


HO scale buildings

HO scale buildings

HO scale buildings

HO scale buildings

HO scale buildings

model railroad

model train

model railroad.


HO scale buildings

ho warehouse

ho apartments







Wonderful HO scale buildings from Cliff. I particularly liked the waterfall and the warehouse.

I’ve emailed Cliff because I’d love to know how long the layout has taken him so far.

I say, ‘so far’ because as we all know, layouts are never finished. But the trick is to get started – so if that’s you, now’s a great time to grab the guide.

Now on to Don.

He’s sent in something that had me nodding my head:

““Hey, Alastair:

Just a note to say how much I enjoy the messages you send out, although every one of them is way beyond me. I am a mere beginner, although I am 73 years old! Right now, I’m cursing (and not under my breath!) Bachmann’s turnouts and the seeming inability of one’s tracks in the turnouts and those “regular” tracks not meshing. Seems that the track in the turnout is just a shade higher than the other tracks, and so far, I have not been able to use a single turnout for that reason. From the reading I’ve been doing, it seems like I ought to try out an Atlas turnout and see if it would be compatible to what I already have (HO, Eze-track (spelling?!) Well, enough for now. Thanks again, and I drool each time I have a look at the wonderful layouts your readers share.


I’ve lost count of the people who have put together a layout with different track manufacturers. It usually ends in blood, sweat and tears.

That’s all for today folks. A big thanks to Cliff for shaing his HO scale buildings.

Please keep ’em coming. It’s getting a little thin on the ground this end.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

model train answers

46 Responses to HO scale buildings – Cliff’s

  1. Richard Sappelli says:

    Cliffs pictures really do say a lot. Very well done and true to life. What gauge is he modeling in?
    Nice work and keep on tracking!.

  2. Frank Cortese says:

    Excellent realistic details! You have put lots of time into your layout. Congratulations.
    Frank from Mickey Mouse World

  3. Dave B says:

    Love the quality of your scenics, most especially the ‘clapped-out’ sawmill 5**’s & some beautifully executed other buildings too but, “What do you spray the ballast with” to keep it so pristine & weed-free ? ( Tall tree to rhs of Bridge looks Supurb ! )

  4. Bullfrogeh says:

    A very realistic layout. I specifically like the lumber-yard warehouse. I hadn’t yet mounted mine into my layout, as it wasn’t ‘finished’; but, I will now. as your well weathered and used ‘warehouse’ has inspired me. you’ve caused me to reflect that not everything is ‘finished’, and completed as ‘new’, in the real world either.
    Thanks – from dave in Ontario.

  5. Steve Masters says:

    yes superb detail, and I agree regarding the tree!
    thanks Steve Masters

  6. Ron Simunic says:

    Good us of colors. No toy like, out of place scenes. Nice job.

  7. Tom says:

    You have one beautiful HO layout. I too like the old lumber shed it stands out.
    It compliments the other structures on your layout. The blend of structures and scenery is superb. I most like the attention to detail you have created. Awesome! Thanks for sharing your layout with us. Thanks Al for you make this all possible. We are grateful!

  8. Jeff says:

    Great detail

  9. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Outstanding,a true craftsman.

  10. Tim Wesp says:

    In the few years I’ve been viewing folk’s efforts to add “realism” to their layouts, I honestly don’t believe I’ve seen better. Superb work!

  11. Richard A Sommery-Gade says:

    Excellence takes time and this has a lot of that. Very very good.

  12. Mark says:


  13. excellent realism Cliff
    and the structures are very original
    keep it runnin’ fellas

  14. Nathan says:

    The detail is amazing the more you look at it the more it seems so real. Nathan

  15. JOHN says:


    I wish I had the time to get that detailed.

  16. Mark J says:

    Beautifully detailed. The blend of complimentary businesses is just right. As usual the detail is what makes a layout “pop”, the woodsaw, the machinery on the flatbed, the paint pots etc. You certainly have an eye for detail, and the skill to create it. Superb.

  17. Paul Wienold says:

    I’m twenty years into a 3 year project! Sound familiar? We all do it because it makes us happy. Soon pics are coming. I do have a suggestion though, for pictures, knowing scale would be welcome information. Thanks, Paul

  18. Ade Stewart says:

    Really like the layout, theres a nice variety of terrain in a relatively compact area, without it looking as though its all been crammed in.

    To my eye it is lacking one major thing, however – natural looking ground cover. The darker green clump foliage is good, but where there are stands of grass they are in single “hay rick” clusters (for example, along the riverbank and besides the goods platform).

    Grasses, thickets of brambles, and hardy weeds will grow with abundance wherever there is ground available, particularly in abandoned or slightly run down areas where humans have left lovely disturbed soil. Perhaps there should be a greater variety of plants in many different stages of growth and all of different heights.

    The house atop the cliff by the river, excellent. The vegetation here really works well. And the trackside vegetation in image #8. But in some of the images the vegetation seems very uniform and, if I’m honest, rather sparse.

    Please, I don’t mean to criticise, your work really is a pleasure to see. Thanks so much for sharing.

  19. paul Otway says:

    great looking layout

  20. Tad heath says:

    EXCELLENT !!!!!!! I love looking at these….cause no matter what they look like u never see a bad layout here ..EVER!!! KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK EVERYBODY!!!!

  21. Ian Campbell says:

    Gorgeous detail, Cliff.

  22. Paul Vogel says:

    Great imagination Cliff ! Your detailing was superb !!!! Thanks Paul

  23. John Parker Clayton, CA says:

    Very nice work, and when you add the people, it will come to life…you should be very proud….now send us a video with those trains running… can’t wait to see it all… John P Clayton Ca

  24. Clark says:

    Like a couple of the other fellas, I REALLY like the shed with the wood stacked in it with the saw. Coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

  25. Phil Knerr says:

    Wow. We moved this past July, so my layout (what I could salvage) went into several boxes. Not quite ready to start rebuilding yet, but I find your pictures very inspiring Cliff!!!! Excellent modeling skills displayed. Keep up the GREAT WORK!!!

  26. Jim says:

    Nicely weathered and detailed scenes.

    Jim AZ

  27. Cary E Price says:

    Hi Cliff, It’s obvious you enjoy the detail work, looks great and hope your having fun. I love thinking about details I can add and what household, improvised materials I can use to get the desired look. I share your passion. Just to echo one of the other comments, it would be nice if we would all mention the scale in our posts, sometimes I don’t know if i’m looking at N, HO or O. Good luck Cliff, look forward to seeing more of your creations. thanks for sharing. Cary in KY

  28. Kevin McArdle says:

    I see some South River model works building, and beautifully done craftsman models. Keep up the good work.

  29. A few people have asked about scale – it is given in the title – HO (which is 3.5mm:1ft).

    Well done Cliff. As others have commented, trees look good. How about a post showing how you make them?


    Steve, Lincs, UK

  30. Nice work there Cliff with plenty of detail especially in the buildings ..Dangerous dave

  31. Garry says:

    Great work. A modeler with skill, patience and the restraint to keep it all looking so very real but still not jumbled together.
    Thank you, Al, for bring this sort of inspiration to all of us.

  32. Bob Sandone says:

    Great layout Cliff. Plenty going on on a smallish layout.

  33. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Great detail……..now add the people to make it come alive……

  34. Ed says:

    I love the detail in all the buildings.. a lot more than any others I have seen using a great imagination and to me art taking a fair amount of time to create.

  35. Lester Wayne Larrew says:

    Nice detail. That much detail I may never have on my2 year project that has already taken me 30 years, and 5 different track plans, lol
    Lester in Jawja

  36. DJfromNJ says:

    Congrats on truly outstanding details. Your efforts get a grade of “SOS,” which translates to Simply Outstanding Stuff! Keep up the good work.

  37. Balint, Joe says:

    Hi Cliff, may I suggest the name “Tweezer’s Lumber” for that great little business.

    Maybe a tag line: “Scale Lumber Supplies or Splinters Removed by Tweezer’s”

    I love your post! Chug, chug, clang clang! TMF = Too Much Fun

  38. John Floyd says:

    I love your scenery, well done looks awesome, especially the tunnel.

  39. Rob McCrain says:

    Stunning work Cliff. Very clever of you to make trees out of Hydrangea. There were a couple of your photos I felt were particularly good. In them, your camera placement and lighting gave a sense of realism. Nice going.
    Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  40. Marklin ed. says:

    Great layout Cliff, people will help bring it to life. Thanks Cliff
    Marklin ed.

  41. Will in NM says:

    Cliff, What a great-looking HO layout you have created there. Like others, I especially enjoyed your lumber shed with the radial arm saw. Your details are top notch and will look even better when you get some figures added to bring the scenes alive. If we could grow hydrangeas here in the desert I would like to try some of your tree making techniques. Perhaps you could post a “how to” guide for us? Also I’d love to see a video of your layout with the trains running.

    Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing your photos with us.

  42. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool.!!!! I going to make mine look something like that.

  43. Andrew Aves says:

    Superb layout Cliff. So much to see without being cluttered – I should love to see a track plan
    Andrew in Oz

  44. Gerald Edgar says:

    The lumber shed & adjacent ‘fence’ are outstanding! Wow!

  45. Lacey says:

    Wow, that is absolutely amazing Cliff. Jim really likes it!

    Lacey & Jim

  46. robert dale tiemann says:

    nice detail.

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