HO scale harbor scenes

The talented Brian has been back in touch with another addition to his HO scale harbor scenes.

If you want to get up to speed, here’s one of his recent posts.

“Al, This is the first instalment.

Many years ago, I purchased the Builders in Scale Tidewater Wharf kit with the intention of adding to my future layout.

Upon receiving it, I made photo copies of the plans for future reference.

Unfortunately this kit went “missing” in one of our moves although I still had the photocopies of the kit.

I used these to scratch build three buildings for my harbor area (below) on the layout. They were also modified from the same plans to suit the area.

Recently, I was able to obtain this Tidewater Wharf kit again through a friend. I have a place on my layout now to put this kit plus other waterfront buildings on it.

I also obtained the Builders in Scale Waterfront kit in the same deal (still to be built) but the card stock copies have already been made for future use.

After an extensive bit of research on the web, I finally decided how I wanted to modify the kit and add interior lights and details. Saw a similar photo on the web, such is the way with HO scale harbor scenes. Any scene, in fact.

Again I made more photo copies of the plans and started to cut and modify them to suit my needs.

I always do this and glue (pritt-stick) the plans to card stock. It is easy and a cheap way to modify the plan rather than modify the kit and find out that it is not quite what you want. Card stock can be discarded and begin again rather than destroy an excellent kit.

Here is a copy of part of the plan, the boat repair dock.

HO scale harbor scenes

HO scale harbor scene

HO scale harbor scene

Below is a copy of the floor plan and where to start.

HO scale harbor scene

Photo copies cut out and placed over the floor plan and ready to figure out where the modifications are to be made.

HO scale harbor scene

The idea here was to open up the building from the front water level to be able to detail the interior with a ramp from the water level to inside to enable work to be done on the boats. HOn3 track used here as a guide.

Now to figure out how to get the ramp at the correct angle from the water level to the inside top front. Again using card stock for the sides temporarily.

After careful measurements, I got the ramp angle right. The track is just temporary as the correct track for the boat dolly still had to be made as well as the dolly.

HO scale harbor scene

Here the dolly has been made and test fitted under the boat.

HO scale harbor scene

The track has been made and a test fit with the boat dolly on it. The bi-fold doors can now be measured for fitment once I get round to building the kit.

The stone walls now in and a solid base (Masonite) in place

HO scale harbor scene

Again, a test fit to make sure that all fits the way I would like it to be.

HO scale harbor scene

The front and side wood walls now in place (note the nut, bolt washer castings) holding them in place.

Here is where I now have to choose between a wood or stone base for the bottom of the building to stand on. Right Way magnetic corner clamps (available from Micro Mark in the USA) come in handy when getting everything square on the base.

Still a lot of head scratching to do here on the foundations.

This is as far as I am with this build and I have not even started the kit yet. (3 weeks of work so far). This includes a scratch built lighthouse in close proximity to the above buildings. More about that later.

A kit like this normally takes me about 3 months to build the way that I would like it to be.

Many thanks.

Kind regards

Brian – the HOn3 guy in Knysna. RSA”

A huge big thanks to Brian for sharing another one of his HO scale harbor scenes.

“Hi Al

This is what my first layout looks like now but I’m well on with its successor.

I will send you some photos and description.


I’m looking forward to posting Nich’s new layout in the day or so – his pic made me smile.

Lastly, here’s the latest from Dave:

“Hi Al,

Maybe a few will enjoy seeing a bit of real steam running ?

Had a nice day out on the North Yorkshire Moors today and managed to capture a good few steam trains running, not fully operational yet, but its a good start and great to visit up there again.



That’s all for today folks.

But please do keep ’em coming – it’s getting very thin on the ground here (again!)

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to stop dreaming and start doing.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

11 Responses to HO scale harbor scenes

  1. paul (giddykippa) says:

    ive reached a low point in my mental health and simply can’t carry on with my layout i have a lot of marklin z gauge track 2 starter sets loads of wagons coaches and some diesel and steam locos plus points sets and uncouplers plus w.w.s static grass aplicator (brand new) lots of static grass and paint led street lamps z gauge houses vollmer and kibri if anyone is interested i live in lancashire not sure if im allowed to put my contact info so just in case drop al a line he can pass my details over thanks
    paul (giddykippa)

  2. Peter Briggs says:

    Dave, thanks for thinking of us 10,000 miles away for that trip down a sound memory lane! So evocative! But, you know seeing and hearing this makes me want to urge some whizz kit to invent a smoke kit we can fit to HO locos!!!!
    Lovely interlude for us, really thankful.
    Kind regards
    Peter in Australia

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Brian ; Enlighten me. Does this kit consist of blue printed plastic and you cut out the pieces ? Do windows and doors come with the kit along with the signage? Or Did you make the blue prints ? Picture # 1 and # 5 confused me..
    What type of kit is this? Just blue prints ?
    The Critic

  4. Robert Brady says:

    I did the research Brian Tide water / Builders In Scale HO Tidewater Wharf Kit #9 Craftsman Structure Kit. NIB
    185.00 all parts included just assemble. Quite expensive I noticed.
    Wooden and styrene
    Got It !
    The critic

  5. John Labie says:

    These engines are cars are beautiful and clean enough to eat off of. I rode a number of steam engines in America and didn’t dare lay anything on the engine for the oily soot covered parts. How do they keep them so clean when the fuel and operation is so messy and America can’t?

  6. Hugo says:

    I remember a commercial boathouse on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where the marine railway crossed a public street to get to the water. That was in slower times, tho.

  7. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool.!!!!!

  8. Jim Beal says:


    Great Boathouse! I will see if we can make you an Honorary member of the Gulf Coast Ship Modelers Society. Used to be Gulf Coast Historical Ship Modelers Society but they thought the Historical described the membership.

    Model on!


  9. Dave Karper says:

    I don’t know if they are still around, but a German manufacturer, Seuthe made a smoke generator to fit HO smokestacks. That’s pronounced suety.

  10. J S Friedman says:

    What a fabulous “G” scale layout and train.. lol

  11. Cord Reynolds says:

    Sorry, Dave Karper. Don’t mean to nit-pick, but ‘Seuthe’ is actually pronounced more like ‘zoy-teh.’

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