Model train people

Dan had been in touch again – this time about model train people.

They are something some overlook, but as he points out, they really brings a layout to life.

And what’s more, he has a wonderful tip for picking them up very cheaply too:

“Al, one of the responders asked for the people of the B&M as I did for the Santa Fe.

Here they are!

There is a park neat the Winchester Highlands station. Overall view.

model train people in park


model train people picnic

A vendor

HO scale park

Best ride in the world!

HO scale park swings

The park is an active place.

HO scale kids playing

You are never too old for a time in the park.

HO scale park bench

Gazebo time.

HO scale gazebo

A little relaxing near the pond. (In a previous post you saw a train pass the pond.)

HO scale park

A commuter from a previous train walking on the bridge over the tracks.

HO scale platform

Worker at the produce transfer house.

model railroad loading platform

Workers at the Goins Lumber yard. (Yes there are two places with my name. Walt’s choice.)

model railroad loading platform

The police and fire fighters are also present at Winchester. Typical fire house in the area.

HO scale firehouse

Someone is getting a new sofa.

model train loading people loading platform

Got to get the news papers delivered for the morning coffee.

HO scale house

The afternoon lemonade is ready!

HO scale house

A family stop for food and a rest stop.

HO scale car

Work at Goins Lumber and supply.

HO scale warehouse

Dock worker at a B&M Ft House

model train forklift

Waiting fro the train.

model train passenger platform

Delivery at Alfonso Mill.

model railroad hills

Going to work.

HO scale freight

Switch man at LL tower. All turnouts are hand throws. So someone has to throw them.

model railroad building

Loading at Lowell Junction. ( The back drop was done using water color craft paints and dabbing with a brush. The trees are a plant we call Sedum or Ever Lasting. They turn reddish in the fall and last through the winter. When dry they are sprayed with glue and then a mix of ground foam colors.)

model railroad signal box

Freight station worker at the Lowell Junction Ft,. House.

model railroad passenger car

At the Bag-O-Crete plant and the Bowery in the back ground. Carling Black label.

HO scale warehouse

model railroad freight

HO scale freight

LJ tower. There are worker inside, too.

model train freight car

RR worker.

model train freight car

It is the people who make the layout live. On the layouts I have either done or done the scenery, there are probably 1,000 little people. I know that on one grand station I did had at least 100 people on the platform.

At train shows, I pick up bags of people that they are selling from layouts that have been decommissioned, (torn down.)


A huge big thanks to Dan for sharing his tips on model train people.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

29 Responses to Model train people

  1. George says:

    I love the ideas of shade under the trees and everything else. Looks great, never seen it before.

  2. Brian Olson says:

    I envision a time where we’ll be able to project holograms of people on our layoutsl People moving around, doing things. Our trains move, so should the people on the layout.

  3. Stephen Hill says:

    You’re right , gotta have the peeps. With a little effort and imagination they can , as you say sir, bring your layout to life . I like the fellow’s idea of holograms ,thatwould be cool.

  4. Raymond Peterson says:

    I am in total agreement that people bring a layout to life. My one question is why hasn’t someone invented a flat paint for peoples’ clothing? Virtually every model person I have ever seen has very shinny clothing which just isn’t realistic. Just seems to me that there is an opportunity for someone to make a real contribution to the hobby.

  5. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Dan- Excellent work! Most modelers don’t pay attention to this detail, but it can really make or break the ‘feel’ of the layout. I can tell from the photos that you give the same creative thought to the placing of vehicles on your layout- another feature that is often overlooked. Well done, thanks for sharing!

  6. Don says:

    love the church & park settings, over all well done.

  7. J. Frye says:

    Dan, great work with the people, I especially like the park scenes. Like many, I don’t have enough open space to do the trees spread out like yours, wish I did.
    I find one challenge is that the people I get are in like 6 poses, and I’ve been experimenting with heating them up and re-positioning their arms and legs. It’s tedious. I wish someone would just have figures standing, legs and arms out where one could position them as needed, to be climbing a ladder, bending over a workbench, or the million other poses people are in.
    Anyway, great job with this slice of layout scene building!
    John from Baltimore

  8. Bruce Young says:

    simply marvoules

  9. Russ Miliotto says:

    Dan, I really like your layout. I am about to start mine next year and you have given me some good ideas. Can you share the people sets that you used?

  10. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Raymond- in reference to your question about flat paint. I spray just about anything plastic (except windows) with Testor’s Dullcote. It might take more that one coat but it will accomplish what you are looking for.

  11. DJfromNJ says:

    Great layout, especially the people!

    When AI is fully implemented, I’d expect all living creatures to move, shadows will fall as a miniature sun traverses the sky, etc.

  12. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Dan… are right….. the people make the scene. Great job on the park and the rest

  13. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Raymond…. There are flat paints…. Look at Tamiya

  14. Sam H. Maryland, USA says:

    Very nice. I’ve always added people to the display. I even found some unpainted ones that must be over 40 years old. I painted them and added them to the mix this year. I just need to work on the scenery more. Mine is pretty basic at this point, but we normally rebuild from scratch every year to give it a new look.

  15. Malcolm says:

    Brian Olson’s comment about holograms is interesting. One thing that most layouts could use is moving vehicles. I’ve seen vehicles stopped on highways and at traffic lights for years! There are some motorized vehicles available, mostly in the larger scales such as HO. Never seen it in N or Z scale. Maybe Brian could elaborate on his hologram concept if he actually has some technical expertise.

  16. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice work.the tetherball game was anice touch, along with the old cars.

  17. santafedan says:

    Russ, they are from various manufactures. The Walther’s catalog has all of them.
    The ones from the grab bag from the train shows, I have no idea.

  18. Mr Ron from South Mississippi says:

    I would add a fence between the train tracks and the public areas as it is obviously missing.

  19. santafedan says:

    Mr. Ron, this is 1950’s. We did not need fences then. We knew better. We also did not wear helmets when rode bikes.

  20. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    People make the scene.

  21. Brian Olson says:

    Small scenes make a huge difference! Got some inspiration here. Thanks.

  22. robert dale tiemann says:

    really cool. tetherbal, love it

  23. william james palmer says:

    keep it going well designed action scenes.

  24. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Alan and Dan- I too prefer scenery modeling and very much enjoyed seeing your inspiring vignettes- thanks for sharing!

  25. Jim AZ says:

    Great series of scenic photos. A snapshot in time. And yes, people do add to the realism in those pictures.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  26. Steve Ruple says:

    Nice scenic pictures

  27. Ronald Kehl says:

    People and vehicles make scenes come alive!!

  28. Louis Frederick Caputo says:

    I too appreciate the time/energy required to include “real” people in our layouts. And it’s well worth the effort as noted by the many positive responses. A suggestion of my own is to include blinds and curtains/drapery — especially in residential buildings. Not many homes or apartments are without some kind of window covering — their inclusion makes for a huge difference in terms of realism.

  29. SantaFeJim says:

    VERY nice pictures. Crisp and clear. You can almost feel the heat. Makes me want to grab a lemonade and find some shade.

    EXCELLENT LIGHTING source… what did you use?

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