Dave adds rust to his rails

“Hi Alastair,

My son and I have a layout under construction and we found a product that resembles wild grass or dirt, depending which side you use.

It is available in many craft stores and is called “pot toppers”. They come in 2 sizes, 10.16 & 17.78 cm..

You fit the topper into the top of small clay flower pots and push the stems of your artificial flowers through the topper to create a potted plant.

We created the abandoned signal tower using one 17.78 cm pot topper.

Tommy USA”

junction tower 2009-01 (a)

junction tower 2009-01 (b)

junction tower 2009-01 (c)

“Hi Al

Thanks for putting these pictures up for people to see and comment, here are few taken of the terminus station with some trains this time!

This was the first test run a couple of days ago, with some final track tweaking a couple of minor electrical issues and thorough cleaning it all works OK. The pictures show a typical view of somewhere in south west England in the early seventies as an example.

The work continues, detailing the engines which some are “straight out of the box” the buffer beams require full detailing, people, signals the list goes on as we all know! While again I stress virtually all what you see is off the shelf I estimate about 30 hours total to create this station.

If your readers wish to know the sequence and checks along the way I would be happy to list them as even with this simple approach there are pit falls and I have fell into many of them! Hope you like the station coming to life at last! Engine sheds next! As I am sure your readers might notice I am a diesel hydraulic fan! but I have steam and other diesels awaiting a run!



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“Hi Al
Just uploaded a video again, this shows the upper level now near complete with the track rust added and viewed with the truck cam, also a good tip starting at 5.40 on how to make a card building look like a stone dressed or pebble dashed cottage / out building.


Latest ebay cheat is here.

A big thanks to Dave, Tom, and Steve. Particularly liked Dave’s truck cam. And yes, Steve, we’d love to read your check list! I know what you mean about the pitfalls – there are lots listed in the Beginner’s Guide.

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



34 Responses to Dave adds rust to his rails

  1. david howarth says:

    tommy , I like the idea of the toppers , could prove very useful…..and Steve you have done a great job on your loft layout , your station area looks great especially with the added footbridges …Dave (Dangerous Dave )

  2. Jerry Truax says:

    If I ever make a trip to the UK I want to visit Dave. Thank you for all of the video’s. You have a great layout.

    Have A Blessed Day,

  3. Gary W. Stilson says:

    Absolutely outstanding video and extreme detail shown. You make me wanna go into my basement and create more in my layout. O gauge takes up so much room…thinking I may change to HO.

  4. PETE says:

    I love the truck cam Dave uses for his videos. The finished track weathering and vegetation is superb.The only thing I find annoying is the unrealistic sound of the locomotives. That has convinced me not to spend hard earned money on sound decoders. That probably sounds a little uncharitable given how much effort has been put into such a brilliant layout, sorry Dave. Keep the vids coming.

  5. Rob McCrain says:

    I am pretty sure Kevin Tregunna demonstrated how to texture a building like tha a month ago.

  6. Keith Revell says:

    What is the ‘truck cam’

  7. Where can I get a camera car like Dave is using? N gauge preferred.

  8. John Guenther says:

    I like all of the information you provide. I would really like to know what brand of camera Dave used in his camera trucks.

  9. Gene Fricks says:

    The stone-facing tip is quite useful and even beyond the small buildings. The overall layout is magnificent.

  10. Dave Fairfull says:

    Nice job Steve. You have done fine work so far. Dave another great video. Thanks for the submission they but another smile on my face.
    Dave F.

  11. Ian Bell says:

    Dave, where did you get the truck cam from? I’ve searched on eBay but can’t find one.
    Ian, Australia

  12. Allan says:

    Hello young Dave,
    You are the greatest modeler that I know of,, and I am totally envious of you.
    Where do you buy the on board cameras and are they very dear.
    Keep up all your great work, and movie making.
    Allan from down under.
    P.S. As a fellow pom I understand every word you say, so don’t let anyone say you mumble.

  13. Col SARLL says:

    G’day Dave –
    I watch your video every time Alastair puts it up for sharing. I’ve seen many Club exhibition layouts here in Oz and a few in the UK including Alton @ Aylesbury Buckinghamshire 9 years ago, but yours has to be the best I’ve seen anywhere. Your running commentary and your truck-cam just make viewing so much more to enjoy. On my 5-acre property in cattle-grazing country 60kms SW of the Gold Coast in the huge Tweed Valley of Northern NSW I have a 9m x 3m shed layout that’ll run all 4 Regional Lines’ steam pre-1948 passenger & freight trains – when I can find the time!! to finish laying about 100m of track on 2 levels similar to yours past 2 through stations that each have a branch line to a dairy & an oil depot, and bedding down a rural township etc. Keep up your good work. You’re an excellent mentor for me, being a retired accountant for 9 years. I just have to learn to do what you’ve done, just as no doubt you did, many many years ago. Rgds Col Sarll, Tyalgum NSW, Australia.

  14. Dr Bruce says:

    The observation of unrealistic engine sounds is a valid one. But having that said the search for a scalar solution is fraught with complex obstacles.. To begin with, scaling of volume is logarithmic not linear, sounds are reflected from obstructions, reflected sounds are acoustics which include harmonics and spectral absorption, sounds can also and as well, ravel in a curve-linear fashion and needs to be treated in its totality..

    So what can be done? The cheapest practical approach is to pick realistic dominant narrow spectrum sound sources and modulate it for sound volume. Selected dominant sound sources can also be captured by narrow focus microphones for amplification, mixing and selective rebroadcasting; but this brings a host of additional problems to bear such as unwanted feedback loops.

    In summary, I would welcome discussions and contributions from fellow modellers with some sound-mixing experience. So don’t be shy and join the discussion.
    Dr Bruce


  15. peter briggs says:

    Dave’s track rusting and discoloured sleepers are great – did I miss how this was done? Its the singular most authentic touch to model railways the bright pristine tracks look so unreal, Dave’s finish is superlative – well done mate! Can we have a ‘How To’ session?
    Thanks to all for taking trouble to show us their efforts, its really appreciated by us all!

  16. Ian Mc Donald says:

    really enjoyed the pictures and video, especially the how to. well done to all.

  17. michael brookman says:

    Weathering track adds so much to a layout! Inspiring photos all the way around. Thanks!

  18. Jerry Birkbeck says:

    I found Dave’s cam truck and filming excellent. Two queries Dave:
    1. How large is your railway room?
    2. How do you gain access to the upper level?

    I am slowly building an EM Gauge layout in my garage around (eventiually 3 sides). it’s approximately 6m a 4m – so a good deal of space. I have set the level of the board at 1.5m above ground level. There is an upper tier for the station which is 75mm above that. I hadn’t planned to have two levels but I acquired (for free) a half completed layout over 15 months ago and this is the section which has two levels. To take them down to grade I have initially kept the upper level atba consistent height of 75mm above baseboard level and taken it through to hidden sidings The ground level yard and approach tracks remain at thay level. So when I finally finish this the station and its setting will be contained and lit within a type of proscenuim arch (ie a stage set) with all the `rest of the network’ off stage. The railway is British Railways circa 1959 (when I was train spotting) and ex GWR. Hopefully may post something towards the end of 2016!



  19. Rod Mackay says:

    I’m actually quite impressed with the sound system on most locos. The problem to me is not that they don’t sound like the class represented, but that they aren’t smart enough to know what’s happening, so you end up with silly effects like a loco going through its whole start-up sequence when it just lost voltage for a second during a shunt, or sounding like its romping off to Scotland when it’s actually inching into a shed on tick-over. I know you can “drive” the system in detail with a sound control system, but that sounds like more a distraction than a pleasure.

  20. Robert Kind says:

    Can you put the engine sheds up for sale again?

  21. lawrence castell says:

    Dave where did you get the camera car from? and how much was it

  22. David Wooff says:

    HI All, Happy New Year.
    In response to Tommy USA’s useful post for UK bases people, I have seen the ‘Pot Topper’ stuff in a few variations available in shops called The Range. they were alongside the Oasis type stuff for floristry work.
    Happy Hunting

  23. Peter Anserian says:

    Thanks David.
    It’s amazing.

  24. danny says:

    Blood good show mate.
    Like the new video camera wagon. Where did you find it.

    As always like receiving your update Alan. Keep up the good work and happy training every one.
    Danny from Wiluna WA (For now)

  25. THOMAS says:

    Dave while I love to watch your trains run the racket from the sound leaves a lot to be desired ! If you can or will turn down the volume please . Thanks .

  26. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Tommy USA……. “pot toppers”………..I got to take a look at that. Nice idea.

    Steve….. Great looking station and trains……

    Dangerous Dave….. your videos, tips, trains and layout never ceases to amaze me.

  27. Paul Case says:

    People keep referring to the rail rusting yet it didn’t show up in the video presented. What gives?

  28. Ray-Pa. USA says:

    Hi Tommy: Love your abandoned signal tower. Really looks good,
    Only as a suggestion: Probably should weather the staircases and the foundation to match the condition of the building. Weathering powders do wonders to add to the “old” condition of things. Also, some tall weeds here and there would add to the scene. Possible some graphiti on the building?

    Keep up the great work! Best regards: Ray

  29. Will in NM says:

    Tommy, Nice suggestion. I’ll have to look for “pot topper” at Hobby Lobby or MIchael’s.

    Steve, Yes, the stations and platforms definitely look better with some locos and cars on the tracks. Is the spout thing in the third and sixth photos water for steam locos or diesel fuel?

    Dangerous Dave, I enjoy all your videos, especially the “how to” ones. It’s very good of you to share your knowledge with us novices. The cam car is really cool for showing off your layout from the track level perspective.

    Thanks to all the folks who have submitted ideas, photos, videos and comments to this website. And especially thanks to Al for continuing to make it possible.

  30. Erick says:

    Looking good. i hope mine comes out that good.

  31. Ruben Simon says:

    Yes, Steve, I’m starting to smell a little live action a’brewing.

  32. Ted Eggleston says:

    Like so many of the other fans of this video, I’d really like to know where Dave got his cam truck and if available in N gauge. Thank you so much. Ted Eggleston

  33. Dave Karper says:

    Apparently some model railroaders have never had the privilege of hearing locomotives up close.The model sounds at maximum volume are but a whisper compared to the real thing,. Also, the size of the speakers give only higher frequency tones, whereas locomotive sounds are heavily into base and sub-base. All the more reason to not waste money on sound.

  34. Brian Olson says:

    Another product I’ve used a couple of times for realistic dirt is used coffee grounds. After each pot, I empty them into a plastic container, let dry and then spread where needed. I most recently used it to create a fall garden with pumpkins and corn stocks.

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