Wild west model train

Mike has been busy on his wild west model train layout.

If you missed his last post, it’s here.

His two posts show in spades it’s all about making a start, and I really like how he’s created this scene:

“Hello Al:

As promised, here’s an update since my conversion from Lionel O gauge to Bachmann HO. I hope this email finds you and all the other HO enthusiasts safe and well.

I’m close to completing my “Hill Valley” area now that I populated it with some trees and shrubbery. Now I need to add the lamp posts, phone poles, mail boxes, and things to fully detail the location. That’s my next project.

Meanwhile, as I suggested previously, I built a street scene from an old movie location I remember visiting years ago called “Old Tucson” out in Arizona.

A return visit in 2001 lead to the discovery that my favorite landmarks (most of the site) had burned down in 1995.

It left me so depressed that I wrote a book about it. Anyway, the site survives in many films and with photos pulled from “Rio Bravo” and several other Westerns, I was able to reconstruct the Main Street for my layout.

I found it helpful to first visualize the buildings by blocking them out in wood. Unfortunately, that makes it difficult to light them from inside. I will strive to improve.

I can’t describe how much fun this is, and it’s a great diversion from the outside state and world events.

Also can’t thank you and your web site followers enough for the encouragement and inspiration provided by their postings and ideas.

I know I still have a lot of detail work to do, but I’m looking forward to it.


Michigan U.S.A.”

HO scale street scene

HO scale street scene

HO scale street scene

HO scale street scene

HO scale street scene

HO scale street scene

wild west model train

wild west model train

wild west model train

wild west model train

wild west model train

wild west model train

wild west model train

wild west model train

HO scale street scene

A big thanks to Mike – can’t wait to see the next update on his wild west model train.

His scene reminded me of the old wild west saloon in the print out scenery range too:

There are more pics on the saloon and one of John’s videos, at the bottom of this post here.

That’s all for today.

Please do keep ’em coming folks.

And if you feel like you’re missing out on the fun, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

29 Responses to Wild west model train

  1. Paul Braddock says:

    Hill Valley, I love it !

  2. Ron Schultz Ohio USA says:

    Out standing . 3 Cheers for a job more than well done . just watched the old movie rerun a week ago. and now see the buildings in HO is a treat for these [ 86 ] year old eyes . and its the entire street . So impressive. Thanks for sharing .

  3. Bob Amling says:

    Your research and craftsmanship have certainly paid off! Your Wild West street is astounding. Looking at your model of the Alamo took me right back there, when I visited it during a business trip. I don’t understand the wood block concept; but you have me thinking about the lighting. My first thought was to drill holes from the bottom as close as possible to the building front; and then drill horizontal holes at the window locations. A second thought was to use doll house wiring materials. That being copper foil tape. It’s about 3/8s” wide and paper thin. It has a self stick backing and is solder able. That could be applied to the block front under the trim. Then you could attach lighting at various locations.
    Bob in Colts Neck Crossing NJ

  4. Jeff says:

    That looks fantastic! I love the older buildings as well. Great job on the details of the buildings.

  5. Having seen all the movies etc, you’ve done a bang up job. Patent it and sell it, would be a winner.

  6. Robert Brady says:

    We confirmed you did a great job but where’s the trains ?
    The Critic

  7. Don R - Florida says:

    Mike, your old west model structures look great. Are the buildings where the Western Auto is shown made the same way? They look similar to structures made from cardstock.
    Also, your roadways look clean. Is that just grey paint on the styrofoam platform base? Can’t wait to see more of your layout.

  8. Dondh says:

    Great job! Keep up the good work!

  9. george zaky says:

    Great job. Very precise and artistic. Your buildings and overall planning are awesome. You invested a tidy sum in the Bachmann track system so take extra care to make sure trackwork is well secured, joined tightly and correctly to keep trains running smoothly. You should spend the time to “bury” the plastic ballast and make it look old western which means you cant fix problems later.
    Keep up the outstanding work and please keep us informed.
    Keep safe
    George from LI, NY

  10. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool.!!!

  11. Walt Walters says:

    That is some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen.
    And NONE of it is manufactured, it’s all handmade! Simply amazing.
    Looks like it was made for the movies!

  12. Walt Walters says:

    On a side note, does ANYONE know where I can find a decent supply of HO Scale fish for my water scenes?

  13. Mike Balog says:

    Hi Mike:
    Great Accomplishment,,making that Old Western Movie Town, from Memories and actually being there years ago. Only comments,, where is the Railroad Station located? You need a Water Tank Tower near the station, a coaling bin or wood bin for the locomotive to refuel. You have a Siding to set out cars on.. how about a loading dock and ramp by the siding? ALSO,,, the Stable, wouldn’t be that close to the center of the town business block.. It would be at the end of the Town on a dead End Street.. why? Cause of the Smell of the Animals and the Stable!!! You could put those pole rails up in front of each building for people to tie up their horses and buggies to. Even have a Bank Building, with Gas Light Street Poles along the “wooden” raised sidewalk for lighting at night. Near the Stable, you could have an animal pen outside to keep the horses in. A small pond for water for them too. AND away from the RR station, have a Stub Switch and straight track leading to a Cattle Loading Pen, with the gate and chute ramp leading to a couple of “Cattle Cars” parked there so the Cattle could be loaded or unloaded onto the cars.. Think you also need the Town Sheriff’s Office and jail. There is a Sub-Division of New Homes that was built on divided farmland in my Town.. The Developer changed the Name from “Sleeper Village” to guess what famous Western Movie Name? “ROCK RIDGE” in the “Blazing Saddles” movie… Keep up the good work.. Waiting for your next installment. ~ Mike, In N.H., U.S.A.~ Mon. Jan 18, 2021.

  14. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Mike…….great job on your research and building of those structures. I look forward to seeing how it will look when you complete the rest of the scenery.

  15. Harold Loeblein says:

    Outstanding!! I also watched a lot of old western movies. You did a great job.

  16. Terry Price says:

    Great work and detail. Don’t look like paper walls. How did you make all the stone
    work? Looks like you carved each stone out.

  17. Mike hill valley looks great and the old west buildings show your hard work
    I can’t wait to see more congrats!!
    Bob from florida

  18. Tom Christopher says:

    I live in AZ. been to old and new site. great job. Tom

  19. My first thoughts after seeing the first picture, was where is the “Back to the Future” car or skid marks! Seriously, what a great detailed city you have made, and what tops it most is that it is all handcrafted! Bravo to you for the diligence and patience to follow through on this.
    Thank you for sharing and I, as many on this string, look forward to many more instalments as you progress.

  20. Greg Bonner says:

    Old West is looking good.
    A couple of suggestions, to augment Mike Balog’s. The Livery Stable should be much larger with rear exit and stable yard(s) along side or behind the stable building with a barn or lean-to for hay/straw as well as a few watering trough(s).
    Also missing a few outhouses and a town watering well.
    Keep up the great work!

  21. Thomas Meleck says:

    Hey Mike, You’ve done a terrific job. Your model work really brings Old Tucson back to life. Your Courthouse Square is also reminiscent of Universal Studios backlot as well. I am a Production Designer for Film & TV. My director and I location scouted Old Tucson for a film in 2000, At that time it was remarkably far more dirty and decrepit than you’ve depicted it in your model. i understand that they have managed to rebuild it, and currently operate as a theme park these days. Of course it’s been temporarily closed now owing to the Covid19 concerns. Some of the original houses still stand, although they’ve been refurbished. Perhaps it’s worth a revisit. Seeing your model though brings back many memories of the place.

  22. Scott Llewellyn says:

    Mike thanks for the memories you brought back to me in your old Tucson layout. Myself and my family visited there back in the early 70’s. I’ve been in most of the buildings there. Actually I met a few of the actors from the movie boys from company c and greg almond was playing the piano at the saloon. Beautiful work and can’t wait to see the next update.

  23. Alabama Mike says:

    Mike, great work. It is amazing how you made all those buildings from wood blocks and photos and memory. The town really looks great.

  24. Joe Hastings says:

    Great job. I went to university of Arizona 58 thru 61. The movie companies would pay students $10/day to act as crowd. I was in Rio Bravo and some others. Met most actors esp J. Wayne and Mar O’Hara. Your bldgs are right on. Any way I could get prints of your bldgs. I’d love to create old Tucson for my layout. Ohio Joe

  25. Michael Dowling says:

    Hey Mike,
    Your western street scene is fabulous! You’ve really captured the look of buildings from the Ol’ West! I really like your model of Jackson’s Livery/Stables. What did you use to model the adobe bricks? It looks perfect!
    Keep having fun!

  26. Quinton Parker says:

    I’m restarting the hobby I discontinued in high school thinking I would “get back to it year”.
    That was 1974.
    Well, its “next year”, hence the questions.
    Are these scratch build?

  27. Quinton Parker says:

    I meant were there any parts from other buildings, kit or otherwise?

  28. Eugene Shjaffer says:

    I love the idea of using a set from “Back to The Future” as a model for your layout! Great work.

  29. David Lester says:

    In the first photo the corthouse resembles the Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott, Arizona.
    The buildings you have created are fantastic. Really shows the late 1800’s Arizona.
    buolding style.

    Dave in AZ

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