N scale harbor crane

Kaustav has been in touch – he’s shared some impressive pics of his layout, particularly the N scale harbor crane.

“Hi Al,

I noticed that you recently re-posted some of my old photos and it seems people are still loving it!

Here are some new collection of photos of the layout. Would you believe that I’m still not done with the layout even after 9 years?

This small little layout (less than 18 sq ft) can hit a punch way above its weight, and that’s what keeps me hooked.

I have been doing some other miniature stuff in recent days, static dioramas, scale models etc. but most importantly I am taking preparation for my next HO scale layout that plan to start building at the beginning of next year.

But I am still not done with Wrightsville Port and I’ll start with a new layout only when I can call it done! My website and YouTube channel has more recent details of my latest works, in case you or the viewers are interested.

As always, it’s a pleasure following your website and watch some great model making and fun model railroading. What you do is truly wonderful for the greatest hobby out there!



n scale harbor at night

n scale harbor at night

N scale harbor crane

N scale harbor crane

N scale harbor crane

model train harbor

n scale building

n scale building

N scale harbor crane

N scale track plan

N scale harbor crane

N scale harbor

N scale harbor crane

And here’s Kaustav explaining how he made the barge:

A big thanks to Kaustav for sharing his N scale harbor crane – I never grow tired of his stuff.

I’m always saying layouts with a theme turn out the best, and I think this is another good example of that, but coupled with Kaustav’s weathering skills as well, it really is a stunner.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going on your own layout.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Had a look yet?

PPS More N scale layouts here if that’s your thing.

58 Responses to N scale harbor crane

  1. Dennis Finegan says:

    Wow! That about says it all. Thank you for sharing this great scene.

  2. Raghu says:

    Great detail. Loved the barge video.

  3. fantastic presentation, marvelous detailing.well presented.

  4. Malcolm Hodgson says:

    Excellent work! What really sets this apart is both the attention to detail and the attention to scale. Making sure that everything is the correct size and spacing from everything else pays dividends.

    North Wales

  5. george zaky says:

    Just when I thought I ‘ve seen the best, somebody like you shows up and blows me out of the water. Big Al has to use the word stunning and that isnt strong enough. The video is outstanding. You have set the bar level beyond reach.
    I hope you continue to add to this venue and teach us mortals how to do it.
    Thank you
    George from NY

  6. Roland says:

    Awesome! A true artist

  7. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Al said it all- stunning! The video is really helpful and motivating.

  8. I don’t know that I have ever seen a more realistic looking layout. Great work.

  9. Jack Benjamin says:

    This layout defines the term: “ The WOW Factor”

    Incredible. Well done!

  10. Chuck Bartunek says:

    A true masterpiece , the detail is amazing.

  11. Rangeryder says:

    Great video, very informative and technically excellent.

    However, the “GLUE” MEK is a carcinogen, extremely toxic and can and will cause cancer if comes in contact with the skin, Not to mention what it will do to the lungs.

    The reality, the video should come with a disclaimer!

  12. peter gladman says:

    Your use of the word stunning is spot on when applied to the video(s) alone.

  13. Rod Mackay says:

    Crikey! That’s stunning!

  14. WOW! SUPER detailing! And yet Kaustav makes it look as though it’s really simple; you just need to take your time. The painting, weathering and final detailing make this model look SO authentic! AUSGEZEICHNET!!!! JAWOHL!!!

  15. Andy Jackson says:

    Looks like a good layout for switching! Is there a staging yard or tray out of sight?

  16. Deltasig says:

    Very talented. Show us more!

  17. Kaustav says:

    Thank you everyone for such encouraging comments. I am really glad that you all liked the layout and the video. There will be a few more addition to the layout in the near future, so this audience will see a lot of photos and videos – I’ll ensure to send the first cut of the progress to Al.

    To answer some of the questions:

    @Andy Jackson – yes, the layout has a staging yard. The main is extended beyond the layout behind the tall building on the left in the very first shot.

    @Rangeryder – Thank you for pointing out about MEK, however, as far as I am aware the chemical is harmful in certain conditions but is NOT carcinogenic.

    That being said, I don’t claim to be an expert and I do recognise that government reports are often old and outdated. If you can please share a more recent and reliable source that identify the substance as carcinogenic, then I’d definitely put a disclaimer in the description of the video.

    Thanks you all for the comments and inspiration.


  18. Curt Wright says:

    Excellent, Outstanding, Amazing, and of course Stunning.

  19. Gene Busch says:

    Unbelievable !!!

  20. Jim AZ says:

    Very nice. You have modeling skills to be envied. So much detail and your layout is finished only when you want it to be finished. One can continually tweak, add or change all parts of a layout. Just ask Dangerous Dave. ;-).

    Jim AZ

  21. Well done Kaustav’..a realy interesting layout ..Dangerous Dave

  22. Jim Kennedy says:

    Hello Kaustav. LOVE the harbor scene. Where on earth did you get the blue container crane?? I have been looking for an HO scale container crane for years
    (one that is affordable by the way). If you built it from scratch where did you get
    the plans? I would really appreciate your reply.
    Jim Kennedy / Denver

  23. ALBERT LUPPO says:

    Dedication to reality, definition, detail percentage of largest to the smallest. Not many Model Railroaders have the time nor the patience to embark on such a magnificent layout that Mr. Kaustav had attacked and completed.


  24. Fast Eddie says:

    Fantastic, I learned quite a bit from your video, and decided to subscribe, and found a bunch of jewls at you Youtube sit. And the pictures on Al board were breath taking. What excellent excellent work. You must be an Artist!!

  25. Raymond Lutz says:

    fantastic details

  26. Raymond Lutz says:

    Extremely beautiful details in all scenery shown. Very enjoyable

  27. John Reynolds says:

    Truly amazing

  28. Kaustav says:

    Thank you for your kind comments and appreciation – goes a long way to motivate me to finish other less ‘meaningful’ things and get right back to making models!

    @Jim Kennedy – the container crane (just like the all other cranes and ships) are all scratch built based on real prototypes. This one is based on the first 32 Ton container cranes in the Port of Seattle back in 1960s (The era in which the layout is set).

    There was a 2 part article in N Scale Magazine outlining every step of building this crane in March/April and May/June 2015 issues. If you cannot track it down, you can connect with me in Facebook /Instagram /YouTube and leave your email address – I can scan and send a copy.


  29. Brian Messenger says:

    I find it hard to believe that this is n scale. The detail that you have achieved is beyond belief. A fantastic layout with an incredible amount of detail. Well done.
    Look forward to seeing more and loved the videos on the barge.
    Brian – the HOn3 guy – Knysna RSA

  30. Rob McCrain says:

    This must be the best layout I have ever seen. A track plan that includes a harbor on the inside. All those ships and watercraft. You have all the elements beautifully built and weathered. Placement is careful and thoughtful. It is brilliant.
    Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  31. Unbelievable! It looks more like an artists rendering than photos. WONDERFUL!

  32. Tom Sallee says:


  33. Stunning was an understatement. Simply spectacular. Everytime I see workmanship like this it gives me the added incentive to go back and do some major upgrades. I wanted to add a water feature to the refinery area I am building but alas I don’t have the space. I have a recreational water feature that I will send some photos of.

  34. Bob Grant says:


    Could you tell me where you bought or how you made the tramp steamer?

  35. TOM SAWYER, GA.USA says:


  36. Kaustav says:

    Thank you all for your continued encouragement and comments. I’m so glad that you are enjoying this little layout. 🙂

    @Bob Grant – all the vessels are scratch built. The steamer was the first ever ship model that I built back in 2009. Unfortunately, I don’t have the phots anymore. It was there for a long time in All Model Railroading forum but now that the forum is no more all trace of it also gone. If I manage to locate them somewhere in my HUGE photo storage, I’ll share it here.


  37. DJfromNJ says:

    Kaustav, you are an inspiration. Your attention to detail is what sets your efforts apart from others. I especially like the effects of high & low tides on the bulkheads: very realistic, yet missed by almost all other modelers. Keep up the good work!

  38. thomas bray says:

    truly an amazing layout…even more amazing when I found out it is in n scale….

  39. Bill Volquardsen says:

    Very impressive! I find it hard to believe Kaustav has achieved such incredible detail in N scale. His modeling skills are as good as George Sellios or John Allen’s from the early days of HO scale. Keep up the great work! Your video work is also superb — especially the synchronized picture-in-picture effects.

  40. Keith Carey says:


    I want to say something about your work.

    Your dedication to this layout is more than a “project”.
    This is a “labor of love”.
    This speaks of your “compassion” and “devotion “.

    We who have been modeling for 7 years.
    After a 40-year gap to spend our time raising
    a family, we are drawn away with home and garden projects. Then, usually in the winter, we can devote more hours to our layout.

    Many times, we have displaced energy because
    there is a new segment of the model build we fearcwex
    are not capable to build what we vision in our minds.

    Thank you for saying in so many words….
    “the best part is yet to come”.

    Keith Carey

  41. James Steidl says:

    Very inspiring photos.

  42. Kevin McArdle says:

    Great, not good things come in small packages. A true craftsman layout with amazing attention to detail. Reminiscent of George Sellios and the Franklin and South Manchester railroad. Thank you for sharing. Maybe next time a video.

  43. Fred Gevalt says:

    Kaustav –

    My compliments! This is really a gorgeous model, nicely planned, with a curvilinear fascia to give it an organic feeling and a longer perimeter than you’d ordinarily have with a straight one.

    I think the patina and weathering (rust) on your feed conveyor is a masterpiece, and the derelict factory, overgrown with vines and trees genuinely looks like it’s been there for fifty years or so!

    Congratulations – a real work of art.

    Fred Gevalt – Boston

  44. JOHN DELMERICO says:

    Very Nice work

  45. Harold says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It made my day.

  46. How extraordinary, your skills even exceed those model builders in Hollywood

  47. James says:

    Awesome detail work! One of the best layouts I’ve ever seen here!

  48. Rob McCrain says:

    The tutorial video was good. The sandpaper on the end of the skewers cut at an angle is a very good one that I have not seen before. Rob McCrain

  49. Glyn Jones says:

    Beautiful modeling Kaustav and an inspiration for us all. Keep the pics coming!!

  50. Paul Stocks says:

    Words fail me. Amazing – stunning – unbelievable and much more.
    Totally inspiring scene.

  51. Brian Olson says:

    The port scenes are awesome, love the ships!

  52. Jim Robinson says:

    Super work! I appreciate your inclusion of the overhead of the whole layout. Closeups are great and necessary for communicating the details, but some of us like to see the forest, as well as the trees!

  53. Don says:

    well done from the loading docks to the realism of the grainery.

  54. Mike Langford says:

    Wonderful work!

  55. Steve Ruple says:

    Awesome build on the barge, thank you for sharing the video on how to build it.

  56. Macbear says:

    So many amazing ideas, many already commented on. Thankyou, Kaustav. I’ve been trying to get tyres for a truck I am trying to scratchbuild, and you’ve solved my problem – an order for black heat shrink has just been placed. I also see how to make the tyre treads. I hope my technical skills will be a fraction as good as yours.

  57. John V. says:

    Very, very creative layout…well done.

  58. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice layout. really good scenery.

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