Eric’s model railway tips

“Hi all modellers.

Welcome to my rather unusual contribution today. Normally we see people starting their layouts and giving progress reports as they go.

However this time the video is a striptease of my N gauge layout ‘The Smeedle Valley Railway’.

This took quite a while for me to construct but I think you will see why as I strip away the scenery to reveal my tracks below and how I build in accessibility as I go.

A layout is all very well but if you can’t get to the tracks below the scenery you will have problems, guaranteed.

You will also see my hands and twisted fingers that make building a layout a challenge and are one of the reasons I keep starting new layouts, to keep them working.

A lot of my present layout is made up of plaster panels that have been made to be removed as well as the boarded areas like the town and lake areas that lift away.

One funny bit occurs in the third section of the video when I try to remove a board that I had put a screw through and not realised it was there. The boards used are Sundeala compressed newspaper.

I hope this helps give an insight into what goes into construction and how I construct the plaster panels to be removable as seen in the four pictures below.

I make the panels as shown then paint with poster paint followed by adding various blends of grass, joins can be easily disguised with foliage, bushes and lichen.

Note already one panel in place. Cover the area with cling film and mesh to mould the plaster cloth to. But you can use other ways to pad out the spot.

Here you see i have laid plaster cloth over the area. Note the cling film stops the mess from going everywhere. The cloth is a cheap open mesh, this fine for the first layers

Now when dry i then use a plaster rich cloth like Noch or Gaugemaster produce, this gives a much smoother finish ready for painting. Note i have blended this to the existing plaster cast. Once dry this is a full removeable panel and the way most of my panels are made.

Hopefully this will give people a few ideas and get them started on their own layouts.

Hope you enjoy.

Happy modelling.

Eric”



Latest ebay cheat sheet here. Still updated every morning.

Whatever scale you model in, there is some wonderful advice in Eric’s video – just like in the Beginner’s Guide.

A huge thanks to Eric.

Please do leave your thoughts below if you have a tip or you’d just like to commment.

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

Best

Al

PS

26 responses to “Eric’s model railway tips”

  1. NJ Mark says:

    Smeedle is one awesome jigsaw puzzle. Great job. Cheers! NJ Mark

  2. Peter Daly says:

    Sorry, but I had trouble looking at the pictures and trying to make out the script.
    The colour didn’t work!

  3. Really smart way to go. Access to everything. Love the town lit up at night. You’ve put alot of time and thought into your layout. Good job Eric. Farmer AL

  4. David Pugh says:

    Your railroad is awesome. You do more with crippled hands than most people can do with good hands. It is nice to see that you do not let anything stop you absolutely beautiful I am going to try to incorporate some of your ideas into my platform to access my Railroad beautiful absolutely beautiful thank you.

  5. Tim McCrorey says:

    This is a great tip for making scenery and ensuring track access. Just what I needed right now Eric, thank you.

  6. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    Great concept well executed.

  7. Can you show a video of what plaster you use and how you mix it. This is a awesome job on your removable pieces.

  8. Eric says:

    To 11.24
    Hi there, I don’t use plaster normally only rolls of plaster cloth, one you would know as Modroc, this is quite open weave and not plaster rich. The second is a fantastic cloth roll made by Noch and also sold by Gaugemaster here in the UK, this is really rich in plaster and smooths with fingers once applied, if you want you can add a smoothing or carving plaster on top. Hope this helps.
    Eric (Leeds) UK

  9. David G Couisins says:

    Great work, cleverly done but I don’t think I could go to all that trouble. Our layout has been designed from the outset to give easy access to all areas.

  10. Brian moretti says:

    Very cool , you show a lot of skill and patience when building and taking it apart if you need to .. wish I would of thought of this before I built my over losing sections

  11. steve joyce says:

    impressive how everything blended. No seams showing when it was all put together

  12. Gene pinson says:

    This is SO COOL, and it gives so many possibilities
    It gives the flexibility for those who have to move their layout ,relocate or go to a show
    you can change the scenery without rebuilding everything
    allows for additions, etc. without total remodel
    I LOVE ,LOVE, LOVE THE CONCEPT
    gene in PA, USA

  13. Terry Miller says:

    Great layout but how do you deal with electrical wires (street lamps etc) on the removal pieces?

  14. Brad Bourne says:

    Eric;
    Love the layout, and wow! what a fantastic puzzle. Just getting to that point on my layout and will put your concepts to use. A good reminder to keep access in the plans. Looking forward to more from you.
    Brad

  15. Rick Manning says:

    Thanx Eric, a very inspiring video, my hands are somewhat like yours making it a challenge to work on my favorite hobbies. Thanx for motivating me to get back to work. Nice railroad too.

  16. Eric says:

    Thank you all for your kind and encouraging comments.

    To 3.37 pm Electrical connections to the removable panels are simply done with pull apart connectors, one part fixed to board so easy to separate. Obtainable from most model shops, you can see these on the video where I remove the river/ hatch panel.

    Eric

  17. TOM SAWYER says:

    GREAT LAYOUT, AND VIDEO. SOUND IS VERY POOR.

  18. Andrew Aves says:

    Delighted to see a branch of Grace Brothers in Smeedle

  19. Jim MacLean says:

    Truly amazing work. The absolute best 3D puzzle I ever saw! Great stuff Eric. Jim from CB.

  20. steven waltmire says:

    I am currently in the design stage of an ON30 in my basement. Your removable panels are just the item I was trying to think of doing, You have done an amazing job of making the hidden part accessible in an easy manner, yet kept the scenery so smooth.

  21. Mike Childs says:

    Great job Eric. Thanks.

  22. Ronald Jones says:

    Eric , this a very clever layout and scenery plan, you have shown what thinking outside the square can achieve. You have achieved a lot with your bent hands I salute you. Regards Ronald Jones From Aus.

  23. John says:

    Clever, and very helpful. I hope to use a similar concept on my O guage layout.

  24. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Eric, great job on your layout. An easy way to take everything down when you have to move. I wonder how hard it would be if you can interchangethe parts with other parts, ” landscape & track. Hum!! We will have to see what I do with mine. Again Eric, great job.

  25. Doug Young says:

    WOW!!!
    Great job. You have solved a dilemma for all of us.

  26. Geoff Kerr says:

    Fantastic job. Best access design I’ve ever seen! This gets my vote for #1 access design. I was wondering how you could service all that hidden track and keep it clean.
    I would think that you might be able to buy the plaster matting used by doctors to set a broken bone. Have you tried that?

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