Mel’s railroad layout

“Hi Al,

I’ve been following your posts for quite some time and have enjoyed the brilliant idea contributions from you and your horde of followers. I’ve been modeling in N gauge on and off from 1970. My current layout began seven years ago when I retired to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania across the pond.

I’m seeking any responses to the pictures of my layout to confirm/deny my “good work.” Thanks for keeping a hobby alive in this age of I-phones, I-pods and other wastes of one’s time.

Mel”

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“Hi Al,
There are so many well built layouts thru out the world it seams, both here in the U.S. and overseas, that the builder or builders have put in so much time building and making the scenes so real and literly an exact copy of the area or towns that it was built to represent, yet the one thing that it seems the builders neglect to do to really make the layout look real, is to weather the cars, scenery, buildings, tressels, streets, etc.!.

The buildings look like they were just painted or built—-the streets look like the cement was just layed, the rail cars look like they just came from the factory that had built them, the same way w/th autos, trucks, construction equipt. etc.etc. ..

I do not have the skill to begin to build a good layout, and sure haven’t the talent to weather everything on the layout, so I give them credit where is due, but everything would look so much real w/weathering !

Just my 2-cents worth.

Jack in Tn”


And Hall of Fame member Dave has been in touch again:

“Hi Al ..had a good day upon the Moors to day ..some great steam Loco`s running …

Regards

Dave”



Latest ebay cheat sheet here – still going strong.

That’s all this time folks. Please do keep ’em coming. Don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if Mel or Dave have left you feeling inspired.

Best

Al



36 responses to “Mel’s railroad layout”

  1. Brian Messenger says:

    In reply to Jacks comment about “new” and “weathered” layouts. I totally agree with him BUT there are a lot of very well done layouts that are nicely weathered in all aspects. If Jack were to look back at some of the posts here, (mine included) he would see this. I am a great believer of every thing must be weathered (except for showroom vehicles of course).
    My 5 cents worth (inflation)😄
    Brian, HOn3 🚂 modeler – Knysna, South Africa

  2. Eric says:

    Great scenery Mel the hills almost look real, look forward to seeing the completed layout.

    Eric (Leeds) UK

  3. Roy Perkin says:

    Hi Mel
    It’s looking like you are doing great work, but without these “wastes of times” probably most of the members would not be viewing this fantastic web site.
    Regards and keep up the great modelling.
    Roy
    HO Ontario CANADA

  4. Rod Mackay says:

    Although I do weather my British stock, I haven’t done so with the Italian stock as this is relatively high resale value stuff and I’m less sure that people are willing to pay more for such “improvements” in the continental market and, since no-one locally is into Italian modelling, it might leave my executors with a problem trying to find a home for it via e-Bay or whatever. Italian stock, being mostly electric-hauled, is in any case cleaner than our steam-era stock was, but they do have a serious grafitti problem over there, I’ve put a bit on buildings but not on the trains.
    Rod

  5. Simon says:

    Hi mel, the first photo is fantastic and looks…. well…… real. A very convincing build.

  6. ted grimm says:

    Also adding people doing things as well would look more real

  7. steve says:

    Well Done Mel ,
    keep up the good work
    Steve , Sarver Pa

  8. Ismail Farid says:

    Mel,
    I envy the time you have to spend on such a great project. Love your sceneries. I have both N and HO scale trains, but when scratch building structures, my eyes just go “wonky” when working on N scale. Keep up the great work.
    Ish from Kansas

  9. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    Right on Mel….Looking good…Like the SW desert rock formations…Keep up the good work…Mike

  10. Randy Hinke says:

    nice lay out. Got my train fever going again. Randy from Oregon

  11. Bill says:

    Mel, NICE JOB!, and geologically well detailed. You’ve given me some ideas for landscaping my layout.

  12. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    I really like the first photo Mel and the other photos as well. A look of spaciousness. Very well done Mel

  13. Keith - USA says:

    Weathering is a must for reality, but I can understand the thought of preserving the value of a car or engine. I find that using artist’s chalk works well as there are a multitude of colors, and if after you have used it and don’t like it, it can easily be wiped off.

  14. Great video. Thanks

  15. Lewis Gaiser says:

    very nice N scale layout
    Loved the vidio at the end!

  16. Darrin Peterson says:

    nice job like the videos

  17. mark st john says:

    excellent layout
    really nice detail
    keep em runnin fellas
    stjohn in long beach calif

  18. Dave Fairfull says:

    Your layout is coming along very well Mel!
    Dave you have made another very good video. Beautiful, and the colours too.
    Dave F
    Elora, Canada

  19. Steve Iredale says:

    Mel,
    I think what you have going is very nice. It takes hours and hours of time and money.
    Will post some updated pics of my lay out. Weathering is great I think the color
    chalk is the best, like somebody wrote. Some people have better skills time and money imagination. This is why this site is up and running THANKS AL !! Keep it up Mel. Stay safe while working on the lay out. Best Steve S. Cal

  20. Joseph Lurker says:

    Looking good Mel!

  21. dave says:

    NICE !!! One day I will get time to build/finish my G out door garden RR TOO many big construction jobs now !! but will help finance it !!

  22. Ray Suckling says:

    Hi Mel, the layout does look good and I do like the way you have done the overhead bridge but could you please include a track plan to give some idea of how all the pictures fit together. Ray………..

  23. Dan says:

    I like your layout. I am working in N scale myself and, first, just want to get up and running, which it is, then landscape it, and, lastly, after everythingis OK. weather everything, which is what I think you have in mind.
    My layout is the Salt Lake Route featured in MRR mag with a lot of expansion of area and track. I plan on beginning landscaping soon. Weathering is later. I also plan on having 2 eras, early diesel and steam, modern diesel by changing the buildings and running stock with the engines as needed for different periods. I just want to have fun and enjoy. I will make it up as I go.

  24. walt emerson says:

    Mel, you did a great job on your layout, wish i had that talent! walt

  25. Larry Cowden says:

    I agree, weathering is a key element in creating believable cars, engines and scenery. Go take some pictures of local engines, cars, trestles, and such. Study them and see how weather has affected them. Take some old worn out cars and try to imitate the effects with paint and sprays.
    On the photos, high angle shots do little to impress a viewer unless the angle can portray depth and a sense of a story. Lower angle works better. Play with shutter aperture, speed and lighting more. Take a basic course locally on it and practice, practice, practice! If using a DSLR, invest in a good macro lens!

  26. Ronald says:

    Enjoyed seeing the great work. My feeling is to do what you like and if you are happy with it, than that is all that matters. Also was pleasantly surprised when I read that you retired to Bethlehem Pa because I was born and reared there. Thank you for posting the pics, it is always great to see others imagination at work.

  27. allan says:

    hi all I know there are those among us modellers who must have everything just so but my 5cents worth says hey that’s ok but as for me I am not interested in building a layout that is true to life merely one that my kids will be happy to enjoy so my only goal is a layout that follows one theme and one railway line eg great northern set around a rural depot with grain bins and a freezing works and so all good to those going after an authentic look but hey all good to those that just want to run trains too and too not all of us are good at landscaping
    thanks allan

  28. Marcus Reynoso says:

    Love it

  29. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great layout in progress weathering is a craft on its own and I am not in to it keep the trains rolling. nice video Dave thanks for sharing what you like outside your loft layout.

  30. NJ Mark says:

    Mel, The scenery is fantastic. I love seeing everyone’s stuff. It all inspires me. I just need the time. Cheers! NJ Mark

  31. Clint H. says:

    I loved the video Dave, thanks.
    Mel,
    I think you are doing a great job on your layout. I really appreciate you sharing it with all of us.
    Al,
    Thanks for this site. I enjoy all of the pics and comments. It has renewed my obsession. I have a HO layout and I am just starting a z scale layout. I have collected trains since I was 7 years old and I am 57 now. I have G, O, HO, N and I got started with Z scale when I was stationed in Germany. I have been more of a collector than modeller, now I want to be a modeller so this site with everyone’s imput is very important to me, so thanks again Al and the rest of you.
    Crazy collector Clint
    Wilmington Ohio

  32. Martin J. Payne says:

    Like what is see. Keep doing what you are doing. Take care.

  33. Good work. Nice to see you have “talent” what we do for the “love of railroading”.

  34. Nice work. Keep doing what you are doing on your layout.

  35. idris dixon says:

    Hi Mel, I love your tunnel approach into the hill side, one can just imaging a train bursting into view as it comes out of the tunnel, just like the real thing
    Keep up the good work
    Idris, Pencoed S.Wales

  36. Ron Hart says:

    Layouts looking great.

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