HOn3 brass K-37 – Brian’s layout

Brian’s been in touch with pics from his very first layout. Have a look at his HOn3 brass K-37 on his narrow shelf:

“Hi Alastair.

Photos below are of my first HOn3 layout built when I lived in an apartment many years ago.

I mentioned in my last post that I would find the old photos of my first narrow gauge layout, and here they are, attached. They were scanned and saved as jpegs for use on computers.

At that time I only had space for a narrow shelf layout (15 inches wide). That included the front drop down scenery.

HOn3 brass K-37

I built an ā€˜Lā€™ shaped layout around two walls.

The quality of the photos are not the best as stated in my previous post and were taken in the late 19 seventies.

Below, the track was laid in place. The backdrop backing is 3 mm Masonite and the cloud sky is a commercial one fixed to the wall. The base under the track is ceiling board to deaden the sound.

HOn3 turntable

Some of the intended buildings placed temporarily to visualise what the end result would be and where to mount the foam scenery.

building HOn3 layout

Below is the ā€˜Lā€™ section with a trestle bridge over the valley with foam forming the mountains.

plaster for mountains

HOn3 brass K-37:

Here polystyrene foam is used to form the mountains on the main section.

HOn3 turntable

Below, create stone (plaster) was used to cover the foam and Woodland Scenics rock molds were used to cast the rock faces and then applied to the front face of the mountains.

 narrow shelf layout

Crete stone gave the right earth colour as a base coat before adding the greenery. A cast stone arch bridge was cast to span another hollow in the front.

narrow shelf layout

More of Woodland Scenics grass was added using white cold glue before putting on the greenery to the face of the mountains.

HOn3 brass K-37

A closer view of the cast stone arch bridge.

HOn3 brass K-37

Here you can see how the control panel was incorporated into the scenery in front.

HOn3 brass K-37

A PFM HOn3 brass K-37 locomotive crossing the trestle in the corner. Unfinished scenery in the foreground.

 HOn3 brass K-37

A lot of action here on this section as well as at the engine terminal facilities. The water tank still needed to be completed.

HOn3 brass K-37 shelf layout

Below is a card stock mock-up of the intended coaling tower. (I assembled a Campbell scale kit). The Rico station is a plastic kit assembled, repainted and weathered. In front is a brass C-16 painted and weathered. I painted all my brass locomotives and weathered them as well as the rolling stock.

HOn3 brass K-37 freight

Passenger cars at the station, picking up passengers and the locomotive will collect the cars for their intended journey.

HOn3 brass K-37 passenger cars

A view of the scratch built HOn3 turntable. Powered by hand.

model train turntable

A brass Westside model C-16 crossing the trestle with a string of scratch built refrigerator cars.

HOn3 brass K-37 trestle bridge

The HOn3 brass K-37 returning with stock cars to the town.

HOn3 brass K-37 trestle bridge

A view of the storage track in the foreground next to the turntable.

narrow shelf layout

Storage track on the right with the caboose on it and showing the unfinished water tank kit.(Durango press kit) as well as the finished coaling tower kit.

HOn3 brass K-37

Top view of the HOn3 layout. Roundhouse roof skylights still had to be cut out.

 model train turntable engine house

A view from inside the newly (at that time) scratch built three stall roundhouse before all the interior details were added.

 engine house interior

A stock car train being readied for dispatching in the yard.

model railroad freight cars bridge

This view shows the installation of the DC control panel with a home built DC controller resting on the face of it.

Unfortunately this is as far as I got with the building of it.

I had to build an HO scale display layout for a hobbies fair. I used to get involved every second year with the Round Table and YMCA to provide model train displays at them.

The above layout was sold to a friend minus all the buildings, locomotives and rolling stock. He added it to his home layout in another city.

All the above was built in the late 19 seventies.

It was a great learning curve from here. (And boy, have I learnt a lot since then ).

From the very early 2000 thousands I switched to DCC, putting decoders with all the bells and whistles in all the locomotives and have never looked back.

All the best and please big Al, keep up the excellent work on the blog.

Brian – the HOn3 guy from Knysna RSA”

A huge big thank you to Brian for sharing his HOn3 brass K-37 loco pics. His very first layout!

You can see his second ever layout here too:

HOn3 brass locomotives

And there’s loads of Brian’s stuff in the Hall of Fame.

Next on to the Beginner’s Guide – which is just $9 for the next day or so.

Thanks to everyone that buy it every years to support the blog. Frankly, without folk like you there wouldn’t be a blog.

Things are tough at the mo, and I refuse to get myself into the mess I did in 2019. So if you enjoy the blog in the morning with your coffee, please do grab the guide today. I’d really appreciate it.

I know many of you already have the Beginner’s Guide and buy it just for the new printable buildings – that’s absolutely fine by the way.

In fact, if you’ve done that, thank you for supporting the site.

Here’s the offer again (just for a day or so).

I know we are all taking a pummeling with the cost of living at the mo, so I hope I’ve put an offer together that:

A) Puts a big smile on your face

B) Keeps the blog chugging along

I’ve never known it be so quiet in all the years of doing this, so I’m pinning my hopes on the new printable scenery buildings, and of course, the Beginner’s Guide.

Here’s what you get all for an amazing $9 – let’s start with the 5 new printable buildings:

model railroad printable buildings

Heres what they look like on there own:

5 new printable buildings for your model railroad

All the buildings are HO scale. Just reduce the print by 54% for N scale.

In addition to the 5 new buildings above, you also get all these:

other printable buildings

And here’s Bonkers John in his usual fine form:

If you have ever mulled over whether to buy the Beginner’s Guide, now is the time to grab it.

(A lot of you already have it and just buy it for the new buildings – that’s fine.)

It’s just $9 and you get every printable building on this page bundled in as well: It’s $9 for the lot.

The Beginner’s Guide sells at $27, but today you are saving $18 just on the Guide.

Bundled with the guide are all 19 buildings on this page. They sell at $9 each on the store. So that’s a $171 saving.

All in all, you are saving $199 dollars – it’s a real saving too, have a look at the store and see for yourself.

I know many of you already have the Beginner’s Guide, and you are buying it just for the new buildings alone, and that’s absolutely fine.


So there you go.

And if you’d like to feel the warm glow of supporting the blog, the silly $9 offer is here.



PS Just so we’re all clear – this silly sale is only for a day or so.

PPS Also, any purchase on the blog comes with a no quibble, money back guarantee, no questions asked – I really do want you to be delighted with your purchase.

model train answers

6 Responses to HOn3 brass K-37 – Brian’s layout

  1. Henry van Wyk says:

    Hello Brian
    Was this the layout in your flat (apartment for the USA) in Humewood? I remember visiting there once with my dad, and then I saw the layout in the house in Sea View in the room with the coved corners. Brings back memories from very long ago?

  2. George Zaky says:

    What a nice trip down memory lane. You started your life ( no longer a Hobby but a life style) as an iterant modeler, great eye for a pleasing visual, and a mind set to get it right. That’s why it’s such a thrill to see your work and we all are eager to learn from the master.
    That K-37 is a beauty and that Shay is my favorite.
    Your fan base is hungry for even tiny crumbs so thanks for this submission and let us know what you’re up to.
    Big Al
    Master Brian, cup of Java, sunny AM- very nice. šŸ˜Š

  3. Kevin McArdle says:

    Great things do come in small packages.

  4. Brian Messenger says:

    Hi Henry, yes it is the same layout that you and your dad saw at my apartment on the beachfront. Definitely brings back good memories Thank you.
    Brian – the HOn3 guy in Knysna RSA

  5. Brian Messenger says:

    George Z, thank you for all the kind words. At the moment I am taking a break from working on the layout (track laying on the final leg of the bottom level and then mount all the point motors under the layout)
    BUT still assembling kits for the balance of the bottom level and painting lots of detail castings for my bits box to add to the layout at a later stage as and where required.
    Also trying out my newly acquired portable airbrush on said castings as a trial.
    Brian – the HOn3 guy in Knysna RSA

  6. robert dale tiemann says:


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