Dave’s N scale layout

Got this in from Dave which I rather liked:

“Really enjoy your daily emails.

I’m 77 and decided to build my first model layout since I was in HS.

Chose N-scale on a hollow core door using Kato track at the recommendation of my local train hobby store.

Started last year and I am nearly finished.

Wanted to model early 1950’s in a NM/SW Colorado type free style landscape.

The depot is a model of the Glorieta, NM station using Red River Models of Tyler, TX kit.

The passenger train is the “starter kit” from Kato which is the first diesel passenger train.

The freight train is pulled by a Bachman 4-8-4 which was the last steam engine for Santa Fe.

I love Santa Fe because my Dad worked for them from age 17-65 as a telegrapher and Agent in E. Texas.

The hollow core door is topped with 1″ insulation foam and a second layer is used for the middle section.

The mountains are made from the left over insulation. There is a camping area on the back of the layout behind the mountain and next to the RR bridge that is not very visible in my pictures. Bought most of the building on E-Bay except for the depot kit.

Three of the buildings have the names of my grandsons on them-Bryce Wheels and Deals (Loves cars), Blake Broadcasting Company (BBC), and Jacob Cauley Texas Music Conservatory (will be a music major in college). May add a backdrop later.

Dave & Carol
Houston, TX”

A huge thanks to Dave – I do love reading about your layouts and how folk add their own little twists.

Jim’s also been in touch, and I’m glad he has – you all know how I like an update (his last post is here)

“Greetings, Al.

It’s getting a little cooler here in the desert. So I’ve been working on weathering rolling stock.

I tried paints, acrylic and enamel but I personally prefer chalks. They allow for better control in applying layers for more or less weathering effects.

I remove trucks and couplers, then spray Dull Coat in flat finish, dust with chalks in different shades of rust, brush them in and lightly re-coat with Dull Coat.

Then I weather the wheels, trucks and couplers with thinned coats of enamel paints in flat black, rust or both depending on the effect I want.

Here in the U.S. rolling stock can be quite pricey, $25 to $40. They look so great out of the box with so much fine detailing and then to “dirty em up” to look prototypical is a bit daunting. In any event, I made a video with a new Scale Trains ET44C4 which by the way is a fantastic highly detailed model and the weathered well cars and some containers.

Hope you enjoy

Jim AZ”

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here

That’s all this time.

Don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to get going on your own layout, just like Dave and Jim.

Keep ’em coming.



41 Responses to Dave’s N scale layout

  1. Sonny Eppes says:

    Would like to have that for my grandson to see. Had a 9-5 HO ft my son and I built long ago. Always wanted an n scale.

  2. Roy Forbes says:

    It looks very good and in really a very short time. You have included plenty of detail and obviously a lot of thought went into it. Well done

  3. Tom Durham says:

    Absolutely first class modeling. Like especially incorporating his grandsons interests into the scheme. Thank you Dave for a great result.

  4. Bill Austin says:

    Thanks for the affirmation. I started my own N-scale layout in my garage at age 69 (I’m now 71). I keep thinking I’m too old for this scale but continue to slowly work on it.

    Your layout is magnificent. Now that I see what can be accomplished by someone in my age bracket I have renewed inspiration to keep at it.

  5. Ralph in Eureka, MO USA says:

    Nice job Dave. I’m nearly 72 and you have given me hope that someday there still will be a small n-scale layout in my home!

  6. Jim says:

    Amazing how much one can model in so small a space. Very nice work. Novel town square.

    Jim AZ

  7. Cary Price says:

    Great job Dave! Really like the way you gave some thought to the time period mixing both steam and diesel. Also using family names for your store fronts, I’m doing same for my garden RR project. Your layout is very well thought out, hope you enjoy running for years to come. Thanks for sharing!
    Cary in KY

  8. John Reynolds says:

    Very well done!
    Fantastic little layout!!!
    A little about the Santa Fe Northerns…. While I am surprised to hear they were the last steam on the Santa Fe, there is more to the story….
    For those unfamiliar the Northern has a wheel arrangement of 4-8-4 or if you count axles European style 2-4-2…
    Right now there is one Santa Fe Northern that has been restored and runs in the United States… It is a big engine and resides in Southern California. Big as it is, it is roughly on par with some other famous Northerns running in the United States… That is very likely to change next year! In 2018 another Santa Fe Northern is scheduled to be brought back to steam, this time in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Albuquerque Northern is from Santa Fe’s last class of Northerns and is one of the heaviest/largest Northerns built for use in America (and possibly the world). I believe this is the prototype for Bachmann’s N Scale Santa Fe Northern and the one running on the layout…
    Again, excellent work! Excellent for any modeler but especially so given the age of the builder and that this is a first layout!

  9. Warren Ferguson says:

    Great work! I’m particularly impressed with using your grandsons’ names in the business district. I’m seventy six, and still accumulating things for a layout. Hope to get going soon. Congratulations on a beautiful job! Warren in Alabama

  10. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    Dave….You have done yourself proud….I am 75 and still building custom layouts by “Word of Mouth” only…Keep up the excellent work….Mike

  11. Kevin McArdle says:

    Beautifully done, and just the right amount of visual interest, buildings, scenery and track plan. Wishing you many hours of enjoyment with your railroad.

  12. Rich B. says:

    Gorgeous layout, not too complex and like the Plasticville village (may not be actual Plasticville). As a model railway should look.


  13. Bob Miller says:

    Great job Dave. I started my first layout when I was 65 in HO scale and was not even close to the excellent layout you have completed. I am now on my fifth one at 75 and you have given me new enthusiasm. Once again,you are a very talented individual …nicely done.
    Bob from beautiful downtown Pelahatchie Mississippi

  14. Thomas Murphy says:

    Grand work Dave, your pride and enthusiasm shows well in your accomplishment.

  15. Dan Ogle says:

    Just wonderful.Makes me want to build

  16. Ed Anderson says:

    Good job, you inspire me!

    I’m 73, and like you am starting my first layout since a kid at home.

  17. Tom Sallee says:

    Dave. You did better than good. You did real good! Tom

  18. Jim Kreamer says:

    That is totally awesome!! Great effort!!

  19. Jim Sulkosky says:

    Looks great Happy rail roading.

  20. JAMES K STEVER says:

    Excellent workmanship

    After looking at the N scale layout you have completed, It has inspired me to starting my N and HO scale layout.

  21. Ian McDonald says:

    a great layout plenty of scenery very nice detail, lots of track . thanks for sharing.and looks like a lot of fun with the grandkids

  22. Rob McCrain says:

    You’ve done a spot on job of this layout. Well done, Rob McCrain Farland Howe

  23. Dr. Bob says:

    Great start Dave! I love the way KATO engineers their track but it needs to not look like a surgical implant. I’m speaking of the symmetrical lines made by the engineered ballast on the layout. Ballast is poured then spread over track ties. The results are smooth and somewhat uneven symmetry along the tracks. KATO track is by no means a bad track to use, it’s just a personal preference on my way it looks. Please do not be offended, I meant no harm. Although the layout looks great! I can tell you put your heart into the scenery and preservation of a lot of details for the grandson.

  24. Ross Johnston says:

    Great job Dave! I really enjoyed your photos of your layout. Thanks for sharing. Cheers Rossco, Adelaide, South Australia

  25. Steve I says:

    What a great job! I like what you have done with such a small space.
    I also use Kato track, I am still building my HO layout. I have been absent
    to post anything as of late, but will soon. Getting to my point, not sure of the
    person name? But I agree, not to be hurtful,but helpful. Kato makes their
    own ballast for that track. I believe if you ballast your track you will be alot
    happier with the end result and the look.
    Steve I S. Cal

  26. Bill Imperatore says:

    WOW Dave!!!…what a great looking layout! I love it!


  27. Len says:

    Really inspiring for us super seniors who are just starting out in N guage. Nothing to be afraid of with the approach and advice you got. Well Done and Thanks for Sharing.


  28. Thomas Timberman says:

    I like to watch trains no matter how big or little they are. These just as good as the last ones. Now 76 and working on an N model railroad It is 2′ X 6′ all the space I have. I enjoy N and my age I do have Arthur’s Itis in my fingers but all the better the exercise keeps my hands and fingers limber. I love model railroading and just cant can not say enough about it’ Keep up the great work. Thanks Al for all you do. It has been awhole since was on here. Glad to be back!! With all that is going on please stay healthy and safe safe. Prayers for all too!
    Thomas Timberman USA

  29. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Dave nice layout. Really like the very subtle small height difference at the front of the layout. It works really well and breaks up the whole front of the layout. Have to agree with Dr Bob and Steve1 the Kato track is not the nicest of tracks. It does look very artificial but each to his own. Perhaps trying KAto ballast would change the look. The rest of the scenery etc is very well done with a lot of thought obviously put in the design.

  30. Robert Brady says:

    Now If you add another door and L shape it what a great expansion u would have.This could go on & on.I’m an HO guy and I want to expand all the time.Great job by the way!
    The Critic

  31. Robert Brady says:

    P. S. Dave; by the way add a B unit to that diesel and that motor cycle is a bit out of scale just say n .lol
    The Critic

  32. Robert Brady says:

    To JIM AZ;first seen you layout before and super love it.Now Can those Chinese Containers,( Covid ) They sell Nice looking Finishing washers to add to your beautiful wood frame work.And where’s ( F R E D ), flashing rear-end device?
    The Critic

  33. Marvin Johnson says:

    I’m still working on my weathering skills, but have not seen any examples of Graffitti on containers. These are like a blank canvas to the Graffitti artists, and would be a great opportunity for modelers to add personal messages. Have any of your followers attempted this?
    Marv Johnson
    Kildeer, IL

  34. Bill Roberts says:

    Out standing layout from top to bottom! How do those people keep the streets so sparkling clean?

  35. Gary M from Long Island says:

    To Dave & Carol…….Loved the N scale layout BUT I have enough trouble with the HO scale size. I spend a lot of time looking around for things I drop off the layout table. But that’s me…. Your layout is great.

    Jim AZ…… great weathering job…….great looking train and layout.

  36. WillBill says:

    Great layout. Fill in the gaps below the balast. Then it will be fantastice.

  37. Nice to see Dave and Carol sharing the kudos. A very nice job, indeed. I may have missed something, but when did they move the Statue of Liberty out west? Haha, very nice use of an otherwise useless door. Keep it up and add that b unit to the SF.

    Jim, I have used powders for some weathering, but I now need to dig up those chalks. Those well cars are really sick! That is a compliment to be sure!

    Keep em running guys and gal!

    MN Dan

  38. Norman Kivari says:

    your layout is incredible you gave me some idea’s i have O gage

  39. Gary Mitchell says:

    Hi Dave & Carol from NZ
    Your layout looks great, encouraged me to get stuck into my N gauge layout which I haven’t touched for a while.
    Regards Gary

  40. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Great layout, Enjoy the fun with your grandson!! Well Done!

  41. Stu says:

    Great job Dave. Really impressed with the detail. I’m 75 and retired last year after 51 years as an advertising art director so I’m also into details. I’m working on my first HO layout in 35 years.

    Jim AZ, nice job on the weathering. I prefer the softer touch so kudos to you. Really enjoyed seeing the double stack train (DSTs), especially the lead “K” Line container. I worked on their advertising for 31 years.

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