HO scale airport

Leo’s been in touch with his HO scale airport – stunning stuff:

“I am retired, and this particular layout is modeled after the Oregon layout with major modifications.

This layout is my fifth, housed on wheels in my garage. All lighting is LED voltage reduced via resisters.

I have no sound in any of my 50 plus locos, relying on MRC sound box (the one with about 24 different sound effects) with speakers around the layout. Sound is amazing, realistic and cost is less then “1” loco with sound equipped.

Numerous autos have lights including all my boats and some aircraft. Airport has run way lights along with beacon.

Scenery is made with hydrocal (purchased from local chemical company $50.00 for 75 pounds) mixed with play sand. Result is amazing rough, colored mountain/dirt effect without having to sculpture. I use Indian ink as additional base and add water based, various colors, as scene enhancement.

I live in Denver, CO as well and have started an around the wall lay out in a 30′ by 9′ foot room will send pictures shortly. I hope my comments are not to boring.

By the way I enjoyed all of readers pictures no matter the scale, I always learn. I am constantly amazed of the beautifull layouts fellow trains modelers have made (thanks to all I have learned so much, again thanks to you and your readers) . I am reluctant to purchase scenery stuff from professional companies but rather I rely on my own whatever I can find, make my mistakes and move on.

I do not belong to any modeler railroad group for on a whole are way to serious, to specific, time specific and rely on actual time setting vs type of train usage. Me on the other hand enjoy modeling based on little thought to anything other than what I like, what I have available to model with etc.

Leo, Langley, OK”

HO scale airport

railroad curve

HO scale airport

HO layout boat

HO scale airport

HO scale airport:

ho scale airport

HO scale airport

model train layout

model train factory

model train railroad

model railroad lights

model train control panel

HO scale airport

model train scratch build

model railway barge

model railway bridge

A huge thanks to Leo – what a layout. Loved the HO scale airport, and the barges too. I also liked Leo narrative, I think he has some wise words:

“I am constantly amazed of the beautiful layouts fellow trains modelers have made…”

It’s the same for me, I do love seeing what’s in my inbox each morning.

That’s all for today folks. Please do keep ’em coming.

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



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

75 Responses to HO scale airport

  1. Rich B. says:

    This layout is above and beyond. Almost too much to look at lol. The airport is amazing, enough there on its own.

  2. NJ Mark says:

    Fantastic job, Leo!!! The detail is fantastic and I especially like the illuminated airport and buildings. Thanks for sharing your tips and maybe you can send a video of the trains in motion next time. Cheers! NJ Mark

  3. David Hannan says:

    I think it is fantastic when modellers can recreate actual locations and time periods. However, I like Leo’s approach:-
    “…..on the whole are way to serious, to specific, time specific and rely on actual time setting vs type of train usage. Me on the other hand enjoy modeling based on little thought to anything other than what I like, what I have available to model with etc.”
    I feel the hobby should be about creating and enjoyment. If the rolling stock does not quite fit in with the scenery, then what does it matter to the person modelling? Let us not take ourselves too seriously and just enjoy what we do.

    Dirty Dave

  4. Mark says:

    More of this one please, maybe a video?
    I agree with Leo, follow your own creativity and don’t be a slave to reality.

  5. Marvin says:

    Fantastic. I love looking at the various layouts.Thanks guys!!

  6. mark Allen says:

    Gorgeous Leo! I agree with you, build what you enjoy.

  7. Peter Gladman says:

    Leo you are obviously a keen modeller although you give the impression of being very laid back in your approach to it. I liked the “I make my mistakes and move on” remark, showing that you are still learning even though your photos show how accomplished you are. I would have loved to have seen a video and heard your own sound effects.

  8. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    Particularly like the runway on an excellent layout.

  9. Joe Cavilla says:

    Wow, that is a beautifull layout excellent workmenship.

  10. John Meehan says:

    I’d love to see a video shot of the layout to give us a better sense of perspective, and if you do one, please show us your benchwork and wheeled, modular comcept! Looks awesome!

  11. Mike Adams says:

    How did Leo get access to work on the middle of the layout without any access openings. I see the steps. Mike Dayton O.

  12. Cary says:

    Like some of the other comments, would love to see a video of trains running on this spectacular layout. Great job Leo and thanks for sharing!
    Cary in KY

  13. Roy Forbes says:

    W O W !!!. That is some layout. Too much to take in but so impressive that it ought to be on permanent display somewhere where it can be more appreciated. Well done.

  14. Lynn Taubeneck says:

    Leo, what a fantastic layout! I am impressed. Just a small suggestion for the outstanding job with your airport. Runways are lined with white lights and the center lights are white, except for the ends which are red. The taxiways are lined with blue lights and have green centerline lighting. Only us pilot types would recognize this. Even I would be happy to have your layout in my train room. Keep up the good work and keep on sharing.

  15. Lawrence says:

    These layouts are all so beautiful and wonderful detail. I am impressed at all of them. I am starting to set my tracks up in a third bedroom with just four walls and my trains, no sharing with anything else. If I had the patience all of these folks have I might have a layout maybe 1 20th of these. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous layout.

  16. tom in az says:

    Great job Leo, I love your style and you way of thinking about clubs. We have a great hobby let me reinterate HOBBY. Lets enjoy it. I model like you and love it, you do a amazing job. Thanks Tom in Payson AZ

  17. B Tonak says:

    A beautiful layout and well thought out. Don’t see an air port but do see an Air Force base.

  18. Lester Larrew says:

    Very nice layout. I am of the same thot as he, I don’t model any RR, time, place. I just to see my trains go around my 2 mile mainline. I would send pix/movies if I knew how.
    Lester, In Georgia USA

  19. Jim Baker says:

    A really nice display of design, ingenuity, construction, imagination, detail and presentation….just to mention a few -ion’s,

    I would critique one thing: the lack of a backdrop behind the scenes. I found myself looking at “what’s that over there in the room” – distracting from the layout.

    Give us more! Jim

  20. Jim says:

    Leo, you’ve got a lot of stuff and a lot going on. It’s great to see. I’m truly envious that you have some much space to to create as you say “what I like, what I have available”. Your efforts are truly remarkable.

    Jim AZ

  21. Herman Moore says:

    I agree with all the above – and also would like to see a video clip of this set-up in motion- I think that will be the cherry on top.
    This surely a labor of love and shows thousands of hours of planning and dedication to the hobby.

  22. Harvey Mushman says:

    Great work Leo! How did you create your water (river, pond, etc.)?

  23. Joe Wright says:

    Absolutely incredible. I love night scenes wjen things are all lit up like that. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  24. Cal says:

    Another stunning display of railroad modeling. I agree with the concept of modeling for fun and enjoyment and not to get too hung up on absolute realism.
    This hobby is, I’m afraid to admit it, is a slowly dying hobby. If we get too uptight about certain aspects and criticism, we wouldn’t do this. We do this out of love for the hobby for US to enjoy. I say phoey on the naysayers that have to criticize every detail. The ones that do that don’t have or have the patience or ability to create one of their own.
    Excellent work Leo. The amount of detail you put forth is extraordinary!!!
    Cal from OR, USA

  25. Graeme Bregani says:

    The layout and presentation is great.
    Leo shows us this hobby is fun!
    At 74 I am just starting my first layout and the support here is wonderful.
    The responses are on the mark and encouraging.
    Each of us will create our own world.
    Leo’s emphasis on ‘fun’ provokes my own ‘fun’ gene, and away I go!
    Thank you.
    Graeme, on a small Canadian island.

  26. Don Mills says:

    Mighty fine scenes. Well done!!

  27. Richard Dotter says:

    great job, love the airport, like you, also believe my model universe needs to be freelance, not too serious, and basically fun to work with, with what is available in my backyard for scenery, building materials and realism can be made from simple treasures that have other original purposes, like wood from matchsticks, and twigs from trees that fall in the yard during a wind storm. Many thanks for posting your work, very inspirational as well as thought provoking. — from an old railroader in Oregon.

  28. Curly Dave says:

    Lovely layout Leo, you certainly have put the hours in, very interesting & excellent detail. I am also retired but I can’t find that much time now, my missus sees to that although I do have a mixture of different 00 & N types on five layouts in two sheds all built over ten years.
    Thanks for sharing.

  29. Ian Campbell says:

    *Sigh* what I could do with a 30’x9′ room…. in N-scale….

    Nice to see a Phellow Phantom Phan. 🙂

  30. Thomas Murphy says:

    Outstanding. Leo. I’ve gathered some great ideas from your presentation, would see it in person. Thank you for sharing.

  31. Tom Durham says:

    Particularly like your water scenes, Leo. Presuming your scale is HO. Please send more photos/video as you progress with this great layout.

  32. walt emerson says:

    WOW! That will take your breath away! Beautiful job.

  33. I belong to the Miniature Railroad Club of York and we don’t adhere to any specific time period or road name. We own the building we are in, 30 foot by 90 foot, and we are about having FUN with the hobby as well as the history of railroads. The only restrictions we have are absolutely NO plastic wheels and use metal couplers (mostly Kadee). Maybe that’s why we have been around for almost 75 years! Since I joined them and signed up with this site, I have learned so much. Now if only I could figure out how to send some pics of my layout….my server won’t allow any “file size out of range”
    Norm Lawrence in York, PA

  34. Chuck bartunek says:

    Outstanding,can you give us the track plan?

  35. Tom says:

    BRAVO, LEO! What more can I say.

  36. Ian Mc Donald says:

    unbelievable layout, airport lighting just magic, great detail. your remarks on your layout down to earth and you have had a lot of enjoyment building it thanks for sharing.

  37. Danny Marso says:

    Fantastic layout, so much, it is hard to take it all in ! You have a wonderful layout, I wish I had the room that you have, to build your empire ! Love it !

    Danny Marso,warwick,RI ,USA

  38. MICHAEL GLASS says:

    LOOOOOOOOVE Your layout.

  39. Rob McCrain says:

    What a wondrous layout. You can look for hours at these photos and keep finding new things to study. Well done. Rob McCrain – Farland Howe.

  40. Art Bearden says:

    Mr. Leo.
    I think that if you ever get a video of your lay out with the lighting it would be lovely a watch. Let me be one of many to say you have a wonderful lay out.
    Art in Florida

  41. david howarth says:

    Well done with that layout ..so much detail and so many things to see …well done /….Dangerous Dave

  42. Robert Rolfe says:

    What a GREAT job you have done. I like the, do as you want approach also. I am starting a new layout after my first layout has been in boxes for 25+ years ( that life thing ). I do not care what someone else thinks as am not building it for them. I want to watch the trains move. I do think ( other than the pilots input ) everyone else should stop putting in there 2 cents worth, yes everything could be better, however give the man the credit for what he has done and if you have better , SEND IT IN.
    NV Bob

  43. Jim Kolich says:

    A lot going on in this layout. Each scene gives you the idea of what’s going on. Not just random buildings and scenery thrown together. Some of the scenes remind me of areas here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The rivers with rail/marine traffic. A few of the bridges, The intermodal terminal. They all remind me of the Menomonee Valley and Jones Island here in my town. Fantastic work on this layout. A video would be great.

  44. Dave Fairfull says:

    I love your layout and your philosophy.
    Two thumbs Up
    Dave F
    Ontario, Canada

  45. Jim Sulkosky says:

    Looks great keep up the great work

  46. Marc babins says:

    Really amazing. I am in search of a layout with airport can you direct me to a place to purchase?

  47. Cary B says:

    Wonderful layout, the many different scenes are amazing. All the posted pictures give a really great tour.
    The lighting at the airport is definitely my favorite. Thanks so much for sharing. Cary in Maryland

  48. David says:

    “Magnificent” is the word that comes to mind. And that isn’t enough. Looking at these photos made me feel like is was really there, hovering in a helicopter watching the real thing. My hat is off to you!

  49. I have never replied before but had to comment on Leo’s layout. I was a Crew Chief on F-4C 50 years ago in South East Asia, love me some Phantoms.
    I have a 4×8 N scale that sets uncovered in my unfinished basement for over 10 years. With your fine layout you have motivated me to clean it up and get it running again. Thanks again Leo, stay safe.

    Skip in NJ

  50. Jared says:

    Wow….I just finished my first concept and will take the next 6 months to strategize and budget. This is beautiful and I see so many of the ideas I have. I’m inspired…

  51. Bill Holt says:

    Planes,Trains, & Automobiles !! I like your sound idea.
    Awesome layout, GOOD JOB !

  52. The above so far have said it all, “BELEIVABLY AWESOME”!!

  53. Jim S says:

    Busy, Busy, but a lot of great detail to enjoy looking at.
    Airports are tough on a model railroad, simply because it’s difficult to depict a reasonable scale length runway, however, I think Leo’s done it well.

  54. Bob says:

    Without a doubt Fantastic .GOOD JOB!!

  55. Robert Brady says:

    Fantabulous , everything else has been said .
    The Critic

  56. Brian Rockey says:

    Great layout Leo. Nice to see some unusual areas such as the airport – impressive lighting. Very realistic sea. Brilliant.
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

  57. Steve Joyce says:

    Me thinks he is trying to rival Minatur Wunderland in Hamburg. Really nice work.

  58. Fantastic layout, with emphasis on scenery with fine detail. Brings back many memories from days gone past working on my own layout. Fussing with scenery to get it to look real and fitting the location. My layout was a combination of B&M, D&H & NYC. Took many locations from each and put them all in one BIG mess

    Keep up the good work and happy modeling.

  59. George Zaky says:

    Creative genius at work here. Every submission should include SCALE!, and some techy stuff like what track, turnouts, power blocks, etc so while viewing the awesome and incredible layout we can be overcome with the stuff that makes it all work. All the previous & wonderful comments are true especially the ones that agree with your approach.
    To us craving more from the “Rock Star” nothing from you is boring!!

  60. Robert Kaylor says:

    Leo, Very impressive; thanks for sharing your narrative and pictures. As a retired Coast Guard aviator and a lifelong fan of the good old Phantom 2, I took keen interest in the aircraft you’ve employed. I am considering modeling the train-ship interface so I’d be very interested in a video tour of your water features if that’s possible.

  61. Mike Balog says:

    Hi Al and Leo:
    Great Detailed Layout… Especially the Lighting… Just wondering WHAT Scale are the USAF Fighter Jets,, the Phantom II’s and the Helicopters on the Base ? At on of the Model RR Shows, the Big E here in New England.. I picked up a Walthers C-47 (DC-3) and a WW 2 German BFW 109 fighter.. Have several Monogram Dc-3 kits I bought at Walmart years ago on sale. But they are Not HO Scale. Sadly, Walmart no longer carries decent model kits and the Hobby Store in my “Town” went out of business years ago. I also have that Walthers Swing Bridge… is yours the same model or is that the double track RR Bridge ?, they are Great Bridges. What size LED’s did you use for the Runway Lights? Having flown, I agree with Lynn about the color of the runway lights at actual airports…

  62. Richard Stern says:

    I see a lot of work and a lot of detail great layout. Now make the planes fly. Just kidding Old Taz

  63. Erick says:

    Looks pretty kool.!!!!! I hope mine turns out that good.

  64. Brian Olson says:

    Aviation a big part of my career, good to see this airport. I have a small landing strip on my N Scale Layout. Nice to connect my love of aviation with my love of this hobby.

  65. Rich B. says:

    Already commented here, nothing changed. Still stamp of approval with airport even with no tracks crossing runway lmao. 🚦

    Rich Again

  66. Harper Goldwire says:

    I found Shapeways and ordered N scale 1/160 Phantoms, tow tug, and jeeps.
    As ex-Air Force I plan on just a corner of my 4×8 for a hanger and partial flightline.
    The Phantoms I ordered 2 have folded wings and 2 are flight ready.
    In these modern times if you can’t find what you want in your scale, 3D printing
    from Shapeways is affordable. Leo great layout and envious building size.
    There is no wrong or incorrect layouts, it’s doing your own thing.
    Alastair…Thank you for providing a much loved service.

  67. Eric Dawson says:

    Wonderful layout. Makes me wish I still had my basement .

  68. Frank Pumillo says:

    Another fantastic and wonderfully beautiful layout!

  69. Steve Ruple says:

    WOW !!!!!, nice airport and an awesome layout, so much to see !!!

  70. robert dale tiemann says:

    so much stuff. wild. looks more like real cities than most layouts.

  71. Jeff in Seattle says:

    Wow, Leo’s got it all. Another inspirational layout. Thanks

  72. Tony Weisbecker says:

    Another awesome layout especially the airport . Thanks for those pictures .

  73. David S. says:

    Leo, many thanks for mentioning the MRC Sound Box. I run DC only HO and have wanted to add sound but couldn’t find the right product. Thanks also for the photos of your wonderful layout.

  74. Daniel says:

    Fantastic!! Build it however you want !!! Regardless of time period or style !!!

  75. jacin mueller says:

    airports require a lot of space , trying to replicate is honorable but NO way realistic nice try , considering that their are NO 1/87 aircraft , !/72 comes close , Ertl made a dc-3 that was is compatible aside from that very few aircraft models exist in scale

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