HO scale figures

Donald has been in touch with his first layout, and have a look at the HO scale figures he has added.

A first layout is an achievment in itself, but adding figures to it really does bring it alive.

Adding people and creating simple ‘mini scenes’ is simple enough, but what a difference it makes:

“Hi Al,

I’m Donald, I’m new at this but, I’ve been a train lover for 60 years. This is my first HO layout.

Most people I’ve sent pictures too said they love it.

I hope you and the master layout builders find it interesting also.



HO scale figures

HO scale figures

HO scale figures

HO scale figures

HO scale figures

HO scale

Now on to Paul:

“Hi Al,

Way back in September I wrote to you with details of a T-gauge layout I’d put together.

It was fun to do and it’s possible to fit a lot of stuff into a very compact space when the engine is the size of a matchstick. That was the issue though, it’s a very fiddly scale to work with and with eyesight not as good as it used to be I took it apart and started again, this time in N gauge.

The board size is only 72cm x 55cm though. Unless I built a diorama (and there have been some good ones on the site) I needed to be economical with the space available. I settled on a double track tram layout with turn-backs at each end, and with intermediate stops along the way. A single tram plies the route end to end and then makes the return journey.

The track, power unit, sensors and controller (which detects which sensor has been triggered) are all Tomix. This layout is so small that I might even get round to putting some scenery on it – that would be a first for me – but we’ll see how we go.

This is the construction sequence if it’s of any interest:

My carpentry skills being somewhat rudimentary, I put together a baseboard made from an old bathroom cabinet:



I covered it in cork sheeting so that things wouldn’t slide around:

This is the layout:

And here it is put together:

Because the curves are all tight radius (17.7cm and 14.4cm) only short wheelbase vehicles (like trams) can negotiate them.

It’s not the most exciting layout, but if you nothing else to publish (I know your inbox is sometimes a bit empty) this might fill a an empty day 😊.

All the best,


That’s all for today.

A big thanks to Paul for sharing his HO scale figures, and to Donald and Dave too.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today’s post has inspired you, and you want to make a start on your own layout, don’t forget The Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

19 Responses to HO scale figures

  1. Impressive work!
    For a first layout, you did yourself proud.
    Looks like you used both the black (steel) and grey (nickel silver) EZ Track. — I am not sure about mixing the two but — Theory and reality can be very different things. In theory there might be an issue with the mixing of the metals, in reality, there may not be any problem at all. Your scenery is very well done.
    I understand about attics, lofts, and heat — no fun when the weather reaches either extreme.
    Given the realities of T scale, that is a very interesting layout that you seem to be working one!

  2. Robert Brady says:

    Donald I see you have the old iconic Alaska GP40 Bachmann starter diesel set.
    Great beginners set. You’ll soon add to your stable, I’m sure.
    So far so good.
    The Critic

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Dave; Buy two ac units that stand on floor self contained. You would enjoy your trains more in 78* air
    The Critic and a follower of Dangerous Dave
    Why haven’t you AC’d the loft before now ?

  4. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Donald Well done for a first layout. I would ask you to take care as you progress with trying to keep everything in scale. Perhaps take another look at your rock sizes beside the track and in particular your ballast size. Well done again.
    Paul What a fun little circuit. Comment:- slow the tram down a little and perhaps longer stops stand stills at the stations. I think you would be well pleased if you did detail it. It does capture your attention.
    Dave what can we say. Thanks for the vid re the trains. My wife is convinced your garden is a garden centre. I have secretly agreed lest she try and get me to do the same with our garden.

  5. Dave…..why don’t any of your trains stop for passengers?

  6. george zaky says:

    From what I saw thru pics you did a bang up job on that layout. Just like me you started wit EZ track at first but you will trash them and make layouts with #4 or 6 turnouts, PECO tracks, or other brand, for passenger trains and more reliable running- no derailments. I suggest you wire the switches to a separate control board. Your planning and building skills are there so congrats on a great first job.
    Can I move in with you LOL- I’ll bring the AC unit.
    George from LI,NY

  7. Rich B. says:

    Excellent job first layout. Only thing is ballast and rocks in “G” scale. That’s OK but sharp boundaries should be retained with landscape. Meaning keep rocks off of grass, roads and such. Do like electric detailing, not often seen.

    Regards, Rich

  8. Erick says:

    Great job.!!!! Mine is going look something that. Keep up the good work.

  9. Bill in Virginia says:

    Donald and Paul – wonderful layouts. Both are interesting and well done in Their various stages of completions .

    Always so fun to watch Dave run his trains

  10. Dan says:


    You’re just kidding us about “first layout,” right? It’s awesome whether it be your first or fifth layout. It would be great to see a track diagram.

    What really makes this layout pop is the power lines. It must be tedious work installing them, but they add 10 points to the reality scale.I didn’t notice the rock scale until readers mentioned it. You can probably come up with a back-story that explains the need for bigger stones in Alaska. It’s your railroad, you make the rules — and the stone size.


  11. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Bravo Don…….nice job…….layout looks great. What are the dimensions of the layout?

  12. THOMAS says:

    Thanks Dave … I love to see your trains running … although I have to wear ear plugs to kill the sound .

  13. David Schaffner says:

    I can never get over the complexity and creative genius of Dangerous Dave’s layout I can not even imagine having that many tank cars or passengers cars for that matter. Love the big bridge and the backdrop, that really sets it off.
    Not only a great landscaper and planner, but one hell of a videographer to boot. Would like to know where he gets his houses and buildings and the old cars…I like steam locomotives more than the diesels, but that’s just my preferance.
    The only word I can use in conclusion is STUNNING!

  14. Bill from CT says:

    I agree with Dan about Donald’s power lines. I don’t notice them on many layouts but Donald’s add immensely to the realism. Great job!

  15. Thank you all for your comments , as for air conditioning units , well yes a good idea , but as you could see from my other hobby , I like to spend warmer days out in the garden ,I do tend to spend more of my time on the layout during the winter months , and David Schaffneer my houses buildings are mainly Metcalfe build or Hornby own skaledale , and of course a few from Al,s selection box , the trucks and cars are mainly Corgi ……Dangerous Dave

  16. Frank says:

    Alright…. all good stuff. It’s always nice to see Dave’s work from far away. His trains always seem so majestic and demonstrate what smooth operating power looks like. Even the sounds they make is impressive.

    I am glad Donald finally got to build his layout…. looks good with a lot of interesting elements.

    And Paul’s itty bitty layout will look great after he adds buildings and scenery. With a complete loop or maybe an “add on” panel it would be awesome. But I agree that something is better than nothing and he’s not letting an inability to have a large layout stop him from enjoying model railroading. All these small railroads are inspiring me to build something compact. A 4″x8″ or even a 4×6 foot layout doesn’t seem so small to me like it used to. At least you’re running trains and not just keeping them stored away.

    Frank in Orlando

  17. Stephen Hill Woodstock GA says:

    Donald, very impressive work indeed . I enjoy the scenes snd scenery , makes it all come alive . Keep it simple is my motto , looks great runs reliably , built to be enjoyed .
    Thank you for submitting your work .

  18. william janmes palmer says:

    nice beginning

  19. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Donald…… great job for first time. I love the electrical wires on the poles……great detail touch.

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