HO scale painted figures

John’s been in touch with his HO scale painted figures:


Put together a few tips I have developed for populating the towns and cities in our little railroad world.

First, I couldn’t hold the HO people for painting (pre-painted are expensive!!) so I came up with the idea of gluing them to a scrap piece of styrene, when done they pop right off for attachment to their new home on a sidewalk, park bench or waiting for a train.

(All images are clickable.)

HO scale painted figures

HO scale painted figures

Next, I needed Fireplugs or Hydrants – I took a piece of the spru-trees that plastic kit parts come on and flattened the ends with a soldering iron, then cut them off the tree, glued them to styrene and painted them.

HO scale painted figures

HO scale painted figures

Finally, my son says my forests are too healthy! They need some dead trees. So I painted a some wire-rapped tree armatures and didn’t put any greenery on them, one is dropped it in front of the burned out factory.

HO scale painted figures

John, USA”

“I enjoy your posts very much.

Many good ideas. Here’s one I’m trying.

I have a small bedroom for my new layout. I am combining HO and N to try and and get some degree of depth. The steamer in the front is HO and the coal train is N. Some will say ‘not prototipical’, but I’m having a ball.


“Greetings from Los Angeles Al!

The commercial plants and trees can prove to be costly if you need several…

I made these planters on ether side of the door by wrapping pipe cleaners around a sharpened pencil and then pressing them into the desired shape. Then I paint then with inexpensive acrylic green and glue them into the planters .

The planters are BEADS from the craft store..then I glue them to my structures ,or where needed om my layout You can make dozens of these for next to nothing…


model railroad door plant

“Hi Al.

Jim here in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada.

About 2 years ago, I tried several times sending you a video of my model train layout, but not being very computer savvy at the time, it was not a successful endeavour.

(Jim did send some pics, which are here.)

To summarise, it is a 12’x14’ HO scale layout with 14 sound equipped operating locos of which I can run 9 at the same time if I can keep my wits about me.

It is a Lentz DCC setup with 4 plug-in controllers & 1 cordless phone controller, internal building lighting, 34 turnouts & various powered accessories.

So, without further ado, lets see if this video gets through.

Keep up the great pics & videos & always informative tips.


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

That’s all for today, folks. A big thanks to Jim and John for his HO scale painted figures.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want your day dreams to become your pride and joy.



22 Responses to HO scale painted figures

  1. Cary says:

    John’s tips for details are very well crafted ideas. Jim’s layout and trains are Awesome. Model railroading really is a fun and great hobby.

    Cary B Maryland USA

  2. Mal In Wales says:

    Superb Jim!

  3. Lee says:

    Jim, great layout, really nice detail and lots of action; I real inspiration! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Greg says:

    IMPRESSIVE !!!!!! Great layout and video, Jim.

  5. Robert Brady says:

    Thank goodness for patience for i have none. I buy from china ready painted,cheap.may take 5 weeks but lord knows i got the time ( Retired ) lol! Our fire hydrants here are yellow,some green caps some red.

  6. David Schaffner says:

    Nice layout, and I may add for someone who is not computer savvy, you did a real nice job. Bravo’, seemingly, patience does pay off. Love the idea that you have cabooses on all your trains. For some begotten reason, modern day trains have abandoned the caboose……Lookin’ for more video of a great layout…

  7. Johnny says:

    Really great, you have done a really good job. Keep up the Great Work

  8. Allan K Blossom says:

    Any chance you have layout drawing of track and switch placement ? Video is awesome and thought provoking .

  9. christine says:

    Very nice layout. Cool HO.

  10. Bob in USA says:

    Yep, I too have no patience to paint N scale people, so I await my delivery from China, $5 for 100 people painted. They are late arriving; I hope Pres T isn’t holding them hostage in the tariff war.

  11. Jim says:

    Great layout with good use of space, Jim.

    Thanks for the neat tips John.

    Jim AZ

  12. Allan Jelinek says:

    Man “o” Man Jim….. Awesome layout.

  13. Woody Woodgate says:

    Hey Jim, Very nice layout and your video is also nice. All I can say is impressive!
    Still working on my layout. Woody here in Texas.

  14. Dennis Koppo says:

    Really nice videography!!

  15. Ian McDonald says:

    great layout good to see trains running. nice how to thanks for sharing.

  16. Tom says:

    Outstanding, May I ask where you acquired or how you built the grain elevators/loaders. Truely Midwest! —I’m doing something similar?
    Many thanks in advance.

  17. David Wibbels says:

    A really outstanding layout ! I loved it.

  18. RICH FATH says:

    a number of years ago I was in a model railroad shop where the owner was passing the idle time with painting people, which he would later sell. He had about a dozen people, about 1/2″ apart in a single row glued to a stick, he had several of these sticks setup. He would open a single color of paint and randomly paint several people, pants or coat or skirt, then open another color and again work his way through all the people. He worked on over 50 people at a time. by working his way through all the sticks allowed the paint on the earlier sticks to somewhat dry before the next color application.

  19. Joe K , Lake Tahoe says:

    This is really good stuff today. The tips here make modeling so much fun, as you literally are making the smallest of details yourself instead of way overpaying for an effect you can do yourself. Like Al’s buildings, what you wind up with is like Burger King, “have it your way.”
    Really enjoyed the posts today, and would love to see more of these really clever and inventive solutions. The burned out forest was just super. This email went into my saved file.

  20. “missed it by that much” who remembers maxwell smart and that famous line? Growing up in Florida I was shocked when my daughter graduated Syracuse in NY. I was puzzled at these colored top little poles bolted on fire hydrants, until I asked. they are snow whips used to located the hydrants when snowed over. Sooooo now that that is said, get busy!!!

  21. Lester W Larrew says:

    Andy, you hit the nail on the head when you said you are having a ball. That’s what this hobby is all about.

  22. Robert Burke says:

    Everything is prototypical in our imaginary world. And that’s the one we inhabit; first in our heads and then on a baseboard. Brilliant ideas, as always. Cheers

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