Dave’s best bits

“I am a retired engineer and have been frustrated with the high price of contact cleaner.

Well I found that automotive MAP sensor cleaner will clean contacts, motor armature’s, track, switches, etc…

It costs about 1/4 of regular contact cleaner and works just as well and will not damage many plastics.

It also is a good de-greaser.

Like any cleaner, you should avoid skin contact and inhaling the fumes.

It is wonderful for cleaning potentiometers that are noisy or spotty.

I hope this is a helpful hint.



Some pics of the layout HO – I am working on…



















“Hi Al. just put this together with a bit of Youtube copy write free music , got a sort of swing with it , but having delivery problems with the coaches to go with the A4 and a few problems (gout) so could not get in to the loft to finish the changes , but this sort of made me smile when I edited it, so maybe your members may smile along with it …?



A big thanks to Alick. Have a look at the comments below!

That’s all for this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

Don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here is you want to stop dreaming and start doing.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

61 Responses to Dave’s best bits

  1. christine says:

    Those photo’s are the best. Wonderful. Now there’s someone who knows what their doing. No playing around.

  2. Kaustav says:

    That’s a fantastic layout! I love the look of the track – very authentic. Good work Alick. 🙂

  3. John says:

    I’m never failed to be impressed by Dave’s work. Both the layout and as a film director!

  4. Steve R says:

    Nice pictures and layout Alick. Dave’s entertaining as usual, get well soon.

  5. a r murrell says:

    Wonderful pictures, a work of art, smashing.
    A R Murrell

  6. Dave G says:

    Well done, Dave!

    Always enjoy your vids!

    Hope you feel better very soon.

    Dave G

  7. Ron Schultz says:

    loved the cow catcher camera view . really shows the trackside details

  8. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    Thanks Kevin, Alick and Dave. For those of us who are not engineers, what the
    H___ is a potentiometer? (a euphemism for wishful thinking?). SLEEP IS GOOD !!! (Especially the afternoon nap). In the US. the late John Allen was
    a frequent contributor to RR magazines, and there are books of his layouts that are well worth the money. A marvelous craftsman, he possessed a “grand and
    quirky” sense of humor.

  9. Mike Wilson says:

    Dave, just wanted you to know how much I enjoy watching your video’s of your layout,I have gotten so many idea’s from you I almost feel I should be paying you!ha. Anyway, Please keep up the good work and know that you are making an old veteran very happy!!!

  10. Ron Brown says:

    Fun Video. Who is the fun music made by?

  11. Mike Street says:

    Great layout Alick, loved the Roundhouse especially. Daves videos are always good fun, hope you get better soon Dave. Useful tip for those in the States not not sure about us Limeys over here, will search for it though, Cheers Mike S
    PS. Potentiometer, well I suppose if you don’t know you don’t. Met somebody this week building a layout who didn’t know what a frog was re. Live frog or dead, he had bought both types of point off you know what, and had got himself in a right state with shorts etc on his virgin layout. But he hadn’t heard of a “frog”!!

  12. Dudley says:

    Just how big is this loft it seems to go on forever?

  13. DenTX says:

    To all the contributors to this web site thank you. Your pictures, videos, plans and ideas are a big help to both new and old modelers. Dave you are a true craftsman and artist, thank you for all your videos and sharing them with us. They have not only been entertaining but, very helpful. Alick great layout loved the ashpit. Plese keep posting updated pictures. Kevin if you have anymore money saving ideas, they are a help.
    The older we get the more we apperciate this hobby!

  14. peter benson says:

    Well done dave a lovely layout.You are a lucky tinker/////////////////////.

  15. excellent detail on the layout Alick
    Dave yer a monster HO builder bro…
    st john

  16. Bullfrog Eh in Ontario says:

    Very impressive layout Alick ! The urban scene is always fascinating, with loads of detailed support. And what else can one say about Dave’s layout ? Both his layout and his videography are always a special treat. Many ‘Thanks’ to these specialists, and to Al, for continuing this MR service, from the ‘Bullfrog-Eh’, in Ontario.

  17. Toni O. says:

    Kevin, Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to try it.

    Alick, Your HO layout is the kind of layout that I wish that I could create for myself. Really good work and your skill level is beyond mine.

    Dangerous Dave, What can I say about you? With your layout and filming skills, we could place you in a league of your own. Wish for you a speedy recovery.

    Thanks you all. Keep up the good work.

  18. Jim C. says:

    I put my frog into my Potentiometer and he croaked!

  19. Dale says:

    A note for Alick and all who post still pictures: Take a little time to place trains and vehicles in various locations. For me, the pictures that really “snap” are those where stuff that moves is in a photogenic position. I agree with others, Alick. You have a very realistic railroad.

  20. Carl says:

    Hi Dave; hear you’ve got the gout
    that’s enough to make you pout
    but never fear, don’t drop a tear
    you’ll be back at trains within the year!
    Keep up the great work and thanks for the hints and vids

  21. Raymond Bove says:

    Hi Alick,

    Congratulations on your stunning layout. It has to be one of the best I have seen recently and has this rare combination of realism and atmosphere. Your workmanship is tremendous and displays masses of attention to detail and an obvious will not to bodge anything in the pursuit of a speedy completion.
    One thing though: where are the people?


    Your energy, talent and determination never cease to amaze me. And you have the knack of making it seem all so easy. I wish you a speedy recovery.


  22. paul Otway says:

    Nice looking layout you have Alick

  23. Cameron says:

    Fantastic layout Alick. The consistently detailed scenery is incredible. Would love to know what you use to get the ash effect around the ash pit. Is it simply real ash?. Thankyou also to Dave for posting. Your videos never get old.

  24. Archie Y says:

    Great idea about cleaning but where do I find automotive MAP sensor cleaner? Great pictures Alick!! and Dave yours are always wonderful!

  25. A very impressive layout Alick i do like the loco yard very precise detail. thanks for the tip kevin i will look for it in auto shops or hardwares. a great video Dave just one more for the collection. i go back over them all the time for help ideas and just to watch all the trains going at once.Thanks Al the emails are just so helpful.

  26. john roat says:

    Great layout ………..

  27. From Dave ..Thank you all for your comments and the poetry re the gout , hope to get the changes done soon (keep taking the tablets) ..and Alick your layout looks to be one great project that will be some layout when completed …cheers All

  28. Harry Kubarek says:

    Wow! I’m just getting into the hobby and if I can do half of what the video showed I’m going to have a blast. Great Job.


  29. john holland says:

    well dave what a fantastic layout.
    I’ve just bought a shed 20ft x 10ft and I really dont know where to start
    could you help me with the layout please.


  30. Colin James Franklin says:

    Just loved to see all you have done in loft as its credit to you ok. .God Bless you from Ferntree Gully Victoria, Australia.3156

  31. Peter Trick says:

    Dave this makes me so sick and jealous, well done you have worked so hard for the enjoyment of all us model train buffs, i guess I need a bigger house to make this happen. Well done good man you are a credit to us all.

  32. graeme Coleman says:

    Like the work,
    Have seen your layout b4, but this time it seems so well presented. especially the video clip.
    working on n scale Nth American layout with some Australian influences.
    But have a lot of old oo in storage from my youth [ a lomg time ago ] and a small English seaside town layout [probably Cornwall] will be my next project.
    some of your ideas will be poached for that.
    thanks again for sharing your layout.

  33. Helmut Eppich says:

    Great video and trains. As usual. Always enjoy watching your videos. Your layout has such a homey feel. Hope you get better soon!

  34. Jim Baker says:

    I think the ballast and ground cover on Alick’s layout are some of the best I’ve seen. Ties and rails are not “laid on top” of ballast, and clutter around things like the ash pit give a very realistic look.

  35. Cary Price says:

    Great layout Alick! i’m blown away with your weathering techniques especially the steam loco and the paved roadway, really first class! Please do keep’em coming. Cary in KY

  36. Jim says:

    Very impressive layout, Alick. Great and thoughtful attention to detail with the round house area being my favorite. Job well done.

    Jim AZ

  37. A potentiometer is a variable resistor. A rotary “volume control”, is an example.

  38. Dan Piccolo says:

    Dangerous Dave, what do you have for the track bed? It’s not ballast, it looks like some sort of rubber bed.

  39. Warren Ferguson says:

    I might as well put in my tupney’s (is that even a word?) worth on Alick’s HO layout:
    Yours is one of the finest I have seen, and I’d love to see more of it. Could you send a track plan ? I especially liked the realism of your work. Thank you for posting! Warren, AL, USA

  40. James D Mehl says:

    Those photos are very well done, Thank-You for sharing them, I would be very proud of a grand looking layout that looks like Yours!

  41. Robert Brady says:

    YO YO Dangerous; in your next video could we hear some whistle sound and some steam release and some wheel flange scrape sounds?Your vids are great and entertaining. Continue on Dave!

  42. Art says:

    Great layout! Keep up the good work.

  43. Chris Sylvester says:

    Wow that’s a really nice job on your lay out especially the turn table and round house great detail thanks for sharing it !!

  44. Robert Brady says:

    OH Magoo you’ve done it again!

  45. GREAT DETAIL, DAVE. Makes one feel like you are RIGHT THERE.

    Keep up the good work

  46. this is great, best i’ve seen.

  47. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Alick Outstanding !!!! Nothing else to be said about it.

    Dave Thanks for the video. Get better soon. Having suffered from Gout myself I know what your going through. Luckily the tablets work very quickly.

  48. Oldtaz says:

    That is one beautiful layout a lot of Detail I would love to see that 1 and person

  49. Douglas Gard says:

    very very nice. i am envious.,

  50. Oscar says:

    Really first layout that show exactly the way of reality, it is so real! Good work Alick!!!!Oscar

  51. Jim Robinson says:

    Some of the best work I’ve seen with ground effects. I was especially impressed with the “dirt road” around and near the roundtable. Weathering also is excellent.

  52. Erick says:

    That’s kind a what mine is going to like.

  53. Ruben Simon says:

    Alick – if it weren’t for the backdrop, I think these photos were taken from a drone in real life. Even the roads show well-used patterns. Fantastic work!

  54. Jerry Barto says:

    Totally Awesome !!! So realistic !!! Great work !!

  55. Richard Sanchez says:

    Very nice layout. Enjoyed the Video.

  56. Alick, you certainly have that rust, dirt and grime down to a science. This is by far one of the most realistic looking layouts that I have seen on this fine site. Kudos Sir!

  57. James Malins says:

    Great Work on that layout. Well done and thanks for sharing

  58. John says:

    Dave, I am interested in making a turntable for G scale. Any information on the Turntable would be gratefully appreciated.

  59. Kevin McArdle says:

    Wow and amazing.

  60. Edward McGinley says:


  61. Thomas J Amenson says:

    I have a general question in regards to wiring – I have a old American Flyer train set with a 4B transformer ( late 1950’s set ) – what gage of wire is required from the transformer to the tracks. I just took it out of storage to have a hobby in my retirement.
    I’m not sure if this is the right way to ask questions.
    Thank you

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