Harry’s N scale

I have another N scale for you today.

(I think all you other scalers have gone to sleep for some reason.)


I read/watch your postings on a daily basis and have learned tons from both the mistakes and successes of your contributors.

I finally finished a little more than 1/2 of an “N” gauge layout (modern, far-west setting) that sat hardly started for 3 years after taking on the pastorate of a church (in the east in upstate New York).

I’m not sure if it would have ever continued if it weren’t for our 5-yr old grandson, David, in California who asks on almost every Face Time session how I’m progressing on the train (!)

Since they might visit this spring, I realized that I had better have something running.

“N” gauge, of course, is very delicate; not something little David can get his hands on!

Here’s a video I just made for him. Someone gave me several 2’ x 4’ foam panels that were 4” thick that I used to make the mountains.

I learned a lot experimenting on the first mountain that has the coal mine.

I cut the general outline of each layer with a hand-held jig saw, and then used a large reciprocating saw to randomly cut the slopes around the profile varying the angles to make it look more natural.

The other advantage with the reciprocating saw was that it nicely gouged the surface to make it look even more natural.

The next mountain only took me about a fourth the time from what I learned on the first one. I still have 2 more mountains to go.


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A huge thanks to Harry – it’s wonderful to see the little ones being the motivation behind a layout.

Now on to Brent.

He’s a man of few words. And pictures too.

But, he’s made a start – and in this hobby that’s more than half the battle.

I also enjoy seeing a layout that looks chaotic with the creation process, it’s very satisfying to then see it finished:

“My layout so far.

My son and I have been working for a couple of months since he is doing university schooling from home and Im doing Home Hemodialysis 3 x per week and quite tired after treatments so not alot of time to work on it.


Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post, please do press the button below and share if you have. It would make my day.

That’s all for this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if you want to stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.

I know I keep saying it, but it’s so true: remember, it’s the start that stops most people.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

14 Responses to Harry’s N scale

  1. Phil says:

    Great stuff

  2. Ron Schultz Marion Oh says:

    Nice work . Love the start you have made .

  3. Rob McCrain says:

    What a great layout. One reason I like it so much is it is not cluttered up with things everywhere. There is some open space to run.

  4. Awesome KneeHigh Valley!!

  5. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Harry Nice to see that you have managed to get some long sweeping curves into your layout. It helps it to look realistic. Please keep us updated with progress.

  6. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Harry…… great job…… scenery and detail is awesome……Is that freight train coming around the mountain or through a tunnel?

    Brent….keep at it…it will start coming together.

  7. Dave S. says:

    Harry, Your KneeHigh Valley layout is amazing. I live in the American southwest and appreciate how you have built the mountains with the correct shapes and colors. I really like your rivers and streams and would appreciate knowing the techniques you used to create and paint the water features. Keep us posted on your progress.

  8. Harry,

    Here’s hoping you feel better.

    Awesome layout.

  9. Hi Harry — Very impressive track plan! Is it your own visionary creation? The multi-level runs with multi-directional traffic adds for a very appealing visual complexity. Eye-catching are the long runs that incorporate the wide sweeping curves that will create a very dramatic effect when running long freight. And the mountains will give the forced perspective of distance and vastness. I hope your mountains are removable lift-outs so you can take care of derailments or stalls in tunnels that will almost certainly occur at some time. Very nice job! — Arnie Steiner, S.I. New York (Hall of Famer)

  10. Hi Brent — Nice start on your layout. Given your physical and time constraints, you’ve made a lot of progress in a few months. I like the use of excess materials and scraps. Whatever works to get the job done! It’s all good as long as you’re having fun creating the layout. Take you time. I’m sure both you and your son will have a great time doing this project together and enjoy the fruits of your labor. And as we say in model railroading, a layout is never really finished. So the two of you will have the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time together building not only a layout, but also memories to cherish. — Arnie Steiner, S.I. New York (Hall of Famer)

  11. jerry Barto says:

    Totally Awesome!!!!!!

  12. David Schaffner says:

    Love the sound effects and the three layered mountain
    which gives me a idea for my layout…..Love it!

  13. James Uhlig says:

    Great job on scenery, nice to see sweeping turns. adds a great deal to realistic turns.

  14. James Uhlig says:

    Brent, Didn’t forget you. Great start! No such thing as scraps on a layout, use for everything some where.

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