G scale layout

Tom’s been in touch with his G scale layout.

As usual, it’s stunning. Don’t just take my word for it though, see for yourself.

And please do leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your thoughts on his narrative too.

“My G scale layout was pretty much done on a whim, all my layouts have the same space.

They are all shelf layouts, 18-24 26-10, feet at both ends are just about 4 feet square, just enough to get a small engine around.

I have never been much of an operator with big yards and multi engine houses, good track work has been very important, I have thru DCC and all the headaches that can bring not to mention the expense, so this and other layouts have been basically double dog bone.

No matter how big or small a train layout you have, they just go from point to point in a basic circle!

Now with limited space and in G scale this was a real challenge, I decided to have a basic circle at one end and at the other a big turntable and engine repair and service area.

At the time there were no G scale turntables on the market (at least nothing with in a budget) so I took a lazy susan that was buried in my wife’s kitchen (Not sure if to this date that she knows it’s gone!), covered it with 2×10 scale lumber, add the hand laid track, installed a removable handle to turn it around, (the engine runs off of rechargeable batteries) its Brass and heavy so when it gets onto the turntable it just makes it.

The rest of the layout was 100% scratch built (building and such).

Being a old New England Yankee I’m pretty tight with a dollar. Most of the buildings are false fronts (not a lot of space in a shelf type layout.)

I have always been trying to make things look real. So what is a better way to do that then to use what mother nature has given us?

So many folks that have been here have said where did you get your trees and such, I explain that I just go outside and look around (now I must tell you that I live in a log cabin in the woods (lucky me).

They come back with “I have never seen trees like that” my response is, well you’re looking at the wrong end of the weed or tree or wild bush, “it the roots that your want”.

They mimic the outer growth, just pull the root up let them dry for a while spray some glue onto them and sprinkle on ground foam or what have you, even just plant them as a dead tree.

One big thing I found is the moss that grows on dead logs and such is easily scraped off with the putty knife. It will stay green for years, it will over the long run turn different shades of green then to tanish yellow color, moss gets its moisture from the air. Even after it fades out you can just spray it with a varied mixture of green stain and water.

I know I am rambling on but all this info will serve in all scales.

One other big thing I hear from visitors is “your ground cover color is perfect” I have to grin when I tell them that its just “real” dirt dried and sifted many time, spread with thick white glue ( say thick because this gives the ground texture and shape) not all ground cover needs to be flat or green like a golf course!

In the early days of railroading, tarred roads had not yet come into use, the answer was to oil the dirt, that was no big deal in model railroading, again the thick coat of glue, let it dry and here is the secret Black ink and alcohol just brushed on. ‘Don’t be neat’ – take an old soft brush, don’t brush it on but blot it, this give a different contrast to the blackness along the edges.

While I am mentioning ink, you would not believe what it can do to most everything on the layout, including those humans that look like tiny dummies.

First please change the colors that they use when making these tiny humans, purples and pinks and weird colors just take away from the realistic look, the same thing goes for skin color, try using a tan khaki color as a base and some off white or antique white, change it with every little human you create, different shades of browns with the antique whites and khakis mixed give great skin colors, highlight the cheeks.

When you are done with creating people now is the time for a very thinned out ink and alcohol mixture be sure to let the tiny humans dry for a day or so, you might need to use the ink mixture more the once all this seem like a lot of work but it well worth making it look real!


g scale shelf layout

g scale yard

g scale shelf layout

g scale hut

g scale work gang

g scale scrap yard

g scale layout

g scale layout pier

g scale layout store

g scale people

g scale truck

g scale layout platform

g scale layout

g scale carriage

g scale layout steam engine

g scale people

g scale platform

g scale store

g scale car

g scale people

g scale car

g scale water tower

g scale timber

g scale shelf layout

g scale moonshine

g scale shelf layout

G scale shelf layout

G scale trolley

A huge big thanks to Tom for sharing his G scale layout.

I love all the little scenes he has put together. I particularly enjoyed the ‘stick up’ and the barber. Did you spot them?

His narrative was also an eye opener – I never would have thought to look for roots, or paint the people like he does. Clever stuff.

Unbelievably, he’s sent in more pics of his On30 layout too, which I’ll post as soon as I can.

(His recent On30 layout post is here: On30 layout.)

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming – it’s still jolly quiet this end.

And if today is the day you get going on your layout, just like Tom, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

26 Responses to G scale layout

  1. Brian Olson says:

    Easy on the eyes!

  2. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Tom….. as Al would say “A Stunner”. The detail and the weathering is amazing.
    How long have you been working on this? The scenes are amazing.

  3. Ellis James English says:

    That is a GREAT narrative, even greater modeling. The microcosm’s involved in true modeling to me is if the layout can put a person into the actual scene. This set has done that and more. It set the time period, it set the apparel used at the time set. It went so far as to render even the old wood buildings and roads true to the ERA. This to me represents patience skill as well as allowing someone like me to see what the “artist” is seeing. Thank you. I needed your pics this morning..

  4. George Zaky says:

    You blew us away with your ON30 layout now you did it again with your G scale. When Big Al says something is a stunner you pay closer attention and a stunner it is. Thank you for the great tips. If you have a story behind the scenes let us know and a video of the trains running would be well received.
    I have Kin in Camilus, daughter went to SU, I engineered the fan system for the old Carrier dome so I say be well & Go Orange!!

  5. Glenn Kindred says:

    Amazing detail. That’s the trade off- G Scale give you the size you can really model and you’ve done an amazing job. I’ve always stayed HO to allow a “bigger” layout. Really nice. The locomotive picture looks fantastic.

  6. David from Utah, USA says:

    From the real dirt to the weathered wood walls to the shingles which have seen better days to the wrinkles on the faces of the inhabitants, this is the most imaginative layout i have ever seen. i had to return several times to absorb all there is to see. FANTASTIC.

  7. Stephen Hill says:

    Tom , that is remarkable craftsmanship, amazing to know that you created all that scenery from scratch and imagination . Very intense detail . What a stunning piece of art , and it is art work sir., don’t sell it short . I sense a large deal of your person in those scenes , you can suss out the personal detail and talent and shear time and effort you put into each scene … truly remarkable.

  8. John Bullock says:

    God is in the details! Fantastic!

  9. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Tom…..I have lost count on the number of times I have viewed this post of your G-scale layout. The detail in the scenes like the shave and the stick-up and the stills amazes me how you did all of this from scratch. Truly artistic. I am still curious how long all of this took.

  10. Charles Lambour says:

    If it were anymore realistic it would be alive. Amazing.

  11. John W Richmond Jr says:


    I assume your layout is here in South County , Rhode Island from the names on your buildings. If you would like a model train buff to visit to see your layout, I would love to stop by. I live in Newport.

  12. Robert Gevert says:

    Talk about realism!! This layout has it all!! I especially liked the way he modeled his humans! Superb job Tom.

  13. Rob says:

    Truly a STUNNER. If I didn’t know it was modeling some of the scenes would certainly have passed for the real thing! Amazing work. AND (standby for my pet peeve)…your fascia boards blend in nicely with the railroad and the scenery as opposed to so many that stand out garishly and detract from the scenes. Thanks for that!

  14. TJK says:

    Where did you purchase all those unique figures?

  15. Jeff in Seattle says:

    Oh My Gosh, This Is Amazing!!! And G scale ta boot!!! Thanks so much for sharing your creative work with us. Very inspirational museum quality!

  16. William says:

    Absolutely stunning accomplishment!!
    One question however. It’s G Guage but what scale are you using? We know there is a difference between gauge and scale.

  17. George A. Sease, Jr. says:

    FANTASTIC!!!! There are not enough words to express this work. It is so great. I am green with envy. Thank you for showing your great fantastic work.

  18. Frank Vozak says:

    I have seen so many great layouts that I have become a bit jaded. but honestly this one of the two most stunning layouts I have ever seen . The scenes pop into place and almost look like a painting. I am really impressed \that this layout captures so much action in G scale i9n such a limited amount of space.

  19. Raymond McNeil says:

    WOW! The realism that this person executed is astounding. This layout is a glimpse of what our world looks like. The time and exercise of the people, structures and scenery is second to none.
    Keep up the great work and God’s Blessings to you Sir!!!

  20. robert dale tiemann says:

    nice. i love those old steam engines.

  21. John Philip Ruetz says:

    Looks like it took a LOT of work. GREAT job.

  22. Johnathon Hendricks says:

    So talented. One awesome layout.

  23. Glenn Dean Holden says:

    Wow- fantastic level of detail, and the weathering on everything- spectacular!

  24. Tom Staton says:

    I must admit that I am not great runner of the trains, mainly because with the size of the layout the train only runs twice a day, first thing in the am to get folks to work and 5pm the get them home or to stop off at a local watering hole a quick trip to one of the brothols! “As stated many times this is an adult layout. There is a second smaller engine that only has one purpose it carries convicts back and forth when needed. I’ll try to take a few shots with the train in them, Its about as nutty as I am, when you see it it should give you a laugh, one flat car carries a copper still, the other is for my pal Dave he is a collector, (good stuff of course) this time he had us pic up used bike, severs USED toilets, and even the kitchen sink, He owns the caboose, it used to have a observation seats on the top, but he found to many of his workers were sleeping up there so he tore it off and and also removed the john. Well enjoy a good laugh. Tom da ole guy

  25. william james palmer says:


  26. Nick Novogradac says:

    A fantastic layout.in G scale The overall photos were great. What I enjoyed the most was the close ups of most of the scenes and the story each one told. The amount of detail in each scene was awesome. It;s really tough to say which one was the best. but my favorite one is the still on the one truck flatcar and the gentleman making moonshine. Thank you Sir for a fine presentation of your layout.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *