HO scale castle – Glyn’s

Glyn’s been back in touch with an update on his HO scale castle:

“Hi Al

Thanks again for the opportunity to share some ideas with everyone and for being able to learn from their helpful comments and suggestions.

I want to upload some of my videos in the near future to show trains running on the layout but I have to perfect my video editing skills first!

I thought I’d share a few thoughts on how I solved a problem at my main terminal station.

The station is built on a flat plywood base above a series of staging tracks. To say the least it looked boring even with a few buildings scattered around.

I decided to spruce it up by creating a medieval style castle town adjacent. So I stuck a castle I’d built 10 years ago (I know – sad it’s taken this long to get my brain in gear to construct this thing) on the right hand side where a large open area lay. Well, sounded like a smart idea until I looked at the castle and saw its drawbridge to nowhere looking into the void!

Bummer I thought, can’t have that, so the old cranial cogs started grinding away for a solution. Now surgeons are considered a slow breed, so it took me a while but I finally conceived a plan: build a platform level with the drawbridge and create a stone paved courtyard to house the town’s stone church and surround it with a stone wall while building the surrounding landscape to simulate a low hill side.

The idea came to me as I thought back to a holiday my wife and I took 2 years ago to Provence. We visited the beautiful medieval town of Eze with its hillside castle and cathedral. In building the fantasy layout I have tried to incorporate little vignettes that have been meaningful to me and my wife and this sounded like a perfect solution.

ho scale castle

Grubbing around in my plywood off-cuts, I found a suitable piece and mounted it on some pink insulation construction foam buttresses cut with a foam hotknife and glued it all in place with PVA glue. Unfortunately I didnt photograph this stage but as the sequence shows, I then mounted a white plastic cobblestone sheet on top and glued it down to create the courtyard.

I sprayed the courtyard with beige acrylic primer then rubbed weathering powder in to create an aged look (ground artist’s pastels work well or you can buy sets of weathering powder). Once the courtyard was set I mounted the church. It looked pretty decent but really needed a stone wall for realism.

So I found some black foam, cut it into narrow strips and saturated it with Elmers PVA glue before pressing fine talus (Woodland Scenics) into it as shown in the photos. Then I simply laid the stone wall onto the edge of the courtyard and let it dry for 48 hours – it set rock hard (pardon the pun) and looked quite realistic even at fairly close quarters.

The mountain side is pretty detailed but was very easy to build. I used the Woodland Scenics shaper sheet to would the steep sides and plastered some rock moulds I’d made onto its side. I used the leopard spotting techniques described in the WS Youtube videos, then sprinkled on a mix of blended turf, light green and medium green turf.

Then I added medium and light green clump foliage followed by gluing on pieces of lichen to simulate bushes. I sprinkled some fine talus at the bottom of the rocky side to emulate minor rockfalls and hanging vines adorn the steeper sides. These are made from finely pulled black polyester fiber soaked in PVA mix and sprinkled with fine and coarse turf of different colours. I sprayed the while construct with 50:50 PVA glue:water mix to seal it. The whole thing jutted out over a mainline track heading down to the storage yards and passing tracks so I had to glue a rock tunnel portal in before I laid the shaper sheet and plastered it all.

The net result was the conversion of a boring flat station area to an interesting little feature suggesting the station nestles in the shadow of a medieval HO scale castle town and it is now a real focal point of the layout which I had not anticipated at all.It has had many comments and has given me hours of pleasure in the construction. Hope this helps.


ho scale castle

ho scale castle

Castle mount pre courtyard

HO scale castle:

Castle mount pre courtyard

ho scale castle

7. Church wall

Church stone wall

ho scale castle

ho scale castle

Main station 1

A huge thank you to Glyn for sharing his HO scale castle update.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

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

model train answers

26 Responses to HO scale castle – Glyn’s

  1. Ken Stramel says:

    Excellent work time and much patience looks like to me. Keep up the good work.

  2. Carl Kinz\inger says:

    Well done Glyn. Keep up the great work. Looking forward to your video.
    Carl, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada

  3. christine says:

    Very cool.

  4. you done did a fabulous job there just keep it up
    would of loved to see a live video of your layout

  5. Superlative construction work Glyn
    the castle is priceless
    and I want MY rocks and landscape to look just like yours…!!!
    keep em runnin fellas
    StJohn in Long Beach Calif

  6. Pete Evangel says:

    Very cool look!! Question (we always have questions). The building next to the castle, the one with the “stone” fence around it. What is the underlayment that this building is sitting on? Couldnt tell for sure, but it looks like bricks or cobble stone pavers. Love your rock formations. Looks very real.

    Pete-getting more rain Calif.

  7. Jim O'Brien says:

    All I can say is WOW! Very nice.

  8. David D. says:

    Great idea. My railroad is in storage as I hven’t the room right now, but I like to read about other layouts.

  9. Roy says:

    Hi Glyn, great photo of layout well planned and lots of space I see, these layouts do take up a lot of time as for planning. Mines been broken up so many times was 25×15 now 16x 12, but having different levels does help as for space required. Being in N gauge that helps too. What gauge is yours can’t tell as from photos. Well you,keep the good work going. Roy N Somerset GB.

  10. Mark Loos says:

    Excellent! You’ve mastered how it all comes together – creative thinking, “what if”? Then why not? Hmmmm.. what can I place here, or here, or there to make the scene more interesting? What do I have? Ah.. this works! Oh, my.. I really like this! Some more thinking, more moving things around, more “tweeking” to get it just where you want it. When its done you share it and everyone says “HOW does he DO that?! And the BEST part is that if you ever get tired of it you just simply change it and your hobby is alive forever – even though never quite finished. 😉 Again EXCELLENT! Thanks for sharing not just your layout , but your creative thinking! Mark

  11. craig1217 says:

    Outstanding Glyn, some very fine realistic work there. I would very much like to see the videos of this layout.

  12. Danny says:

    Very nicely done, this really gave me some ideas on my layout. Looking forward to the video. Also I use that Leopard spotting trick and it never comes out looking as good as yours, excellent

  13. Glyn says:

    Thank you for the comments and encouragement. The stone pavement beneath the Gothic style church consists of a sheet of thin plastic cobblestone paving available from a number of the modeling suppliers. I can’t recall which company I purchased this from but Noch, Faller to name a couple, sell them in sheets which can be cut to size and painted then rubbed with weathering powders to age them.

  14. paul Otway says:

    a neat layout

    paul from Ozzie

  15. Wow!!! what a fantastic setting. I recognize your Church as being the Kibri kit that I have also built. I have a Bridal party standing in front of the steps with a priest behind them. A delightful kit to build.
    Gordon Taylor, Fife, Scotland

  16. Jim Moran says:

    Wow!! is right. Love the stone wall. What a neat idea using the castle. It;s giving me and idea for my new HO layout. Thanks.

  17. Franco says:

    Excellent work! And a big thanks for the “How To Do It” photos. Your stone wall was very interesting. When I need inspiration – I always find it on this site, thanks to so many talented builders!

  18. phillip calandra says:

    where did you buy that castle and church ,that is really nice ,love it.

  19. Robert Brady says:

    Glyn: How do passengers get to the platform stairs ? walk across tracks or you have more work to do in that area? I don’t want to see anyone hurt ,Lol
    The Critic

  20. Stephen Dean says:

    What an excellent job. That castle looks stunning.

  21. Erick says:

    Look Kool.!!!! Keep up the go work.

  22. Ruben Simon says:


  23. Ips says:

    Excellent Glyn, thank you for sharing.

  24. Brian Olson says:

    Video has been a major part of my career, still is after retirement. Good your working on that skill, such a powerful way to share our hobby.

    My favorite these days is iMovie on my iPad Pro. I shoot the video on my iPhone. Very intuitive and highly recommend it to everyone, as we all now have television studios in our pockets!

  25. John says:

    The Castle idea is a great idea… blending in an older historic icon with today… just like it is in reality, especially in Europe.

  26. robert dale tiemann says:

    nice job. a lot of work and patience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *