More from Rod

Rod’s been back in touch with some new pics and some good advice:

“Sue gave me a little digital camera for Christmas and it can get into places the old ones never could, which is an awful temptation.

It’s fascinating to get sight of new angles, and a revelation how much better the little people look from a more natural eye level, but horrifying to see all the cracks, paint glitches, and various unfinished bits you left because ‘nobody was ever going to see the back’ of something.

I wish now more than ever that I had made the blessed backscene boards removable.


(Images are clickable)

(You can see Rod’s original post here.)

“When coloring plaster rock or retaining wall castings with diute washes of acrylic paint, you can sprinkle on fine ground foam (greens and yellows) to simulate growth of lichens, moss or tiny plants. No additional adhesive is needed.

Thanks, Dan Schaffer”

“Hi Al,

Hope all is well. Here is the link to a new episode of the Big Curve Project.


That’s all for today my friends.

Please do keep ’em coming – it’s gone very quiet at the mo.

And if today is the day you decide you’re going to do more than sit and watch, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

49 Responses to More from Rod

  1. PAUL WILKES says:

    Nice layout

  2. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    Great pictures and comments. Thanks

  3. Bob says:

    The detail is awesome and inspiring! Great work!

  4. John says:

    Great scenery Rod! I liked the garden and the graffiti!

  5. Michael Ankerson says:


  6. Lawrence Keesler says:

    You are much too hard on yourself. It’s startling how much more realistic everything looks from this vantage point.

    Your work is amazing! Thanks for posting.

  7. Luc says:

    It feels like sitting in a classroom with a good teacher clearly explaining everything to us. Brings me a few years back.

  8. Peter the Mackem Jones says:

    Fantastic layout Rob, thoroughly enjoying the pictures. Pete

  9. Peter the Mackem Jones says:

    Hi Rod, your layout is wonderful fantastic attention to detail look forward to seeing a lot more. Pete

  10. Hi Rod, You have a nice layout and the pictures were okay too, also it makes the people look a bit more realistic when you get in amongst them. B you should reduce the Formate of the camera so it takes a smaller picture as if one tries to download the original it will take a fair while, as they are huge.

  11. Ian says:

    That vegetable garden has veggies that look good enough to pull and eat. I only wish I could make one half as good.


  12. Joe Gray says:

    I’ve been having a bit of the same decision to make and I think you just made my decision much easier… Thank you so much for these great pictures and words of encouragement.

  13. chris says:

    Great photos, love the garden veg

  14. maverick405 says:

    Great detail, I love the graffiti, and the garden; as has already been said, they look good enough to pull and eat :o)

  15. Bonny McDaniel aka Grannytoot says:

    Rod: Great photos and details in the layout. I don’t see anything that looks out of place.

  16. paul Otway says:

    love the street scene

  17. jim says:

    love the graffiti on the building

  18. Felix says:

    At times we have the urge to over analyze scenes and methods.
    I think the best approach is to lay it out a you want to see it and just go on. If you find a glitch, just review your changes and alter until you get it comfortable. If you are striving for perfection on the first try you are wasting time and effort. You alone know what you want accomplish!
    Just my opinion!

  19. Colin King says:

    Very nice layout Rod, nothing looks out of place and the detail is really good. Based on a UK layout it’s nice to see the Land Rover. Great work.

  20. Richard H. Meyer says:


    In your photo, “Servo From the Sea”, the rock formations are a work of art. We have a rock area on the back of our property that looks very much like the flat area. So real it’s scary! Great work.

  21. Nice one Rob , dont forget he may want a TV as well, and nice pictures a good tip there Rod ..

  22. Nice photos Rob i want to put a veg and fruit plot in, got some ideas now thanks. good to see some more talk on the big curve project your getting there, like the shuntmens shed, light it up with a xmas light bulb wont burn down.

  23. Bob Miller says:

    Very well done Rod ….Excellent detail and it looks like a well done layout. It’s obvious that a lot of thought and work went into this project.

  24. Dan in Va says:

    Rob, I love the swimming hole scene and the garden scene, great detail.
    Farland I love the way you explain everything you do. You remind me allot of how I am on the way you think about the little things. For instance the little shack and him needing a phone.excelent work from you both.keep them coming.

  25. John Warnecke says:

    You got the real feel of a place and country and so realistic to. I always think that a model railway is nothing without a realistic setting to place it in and you have captured a place in time so well.
    I don’t have as much space as you unfortunately (wish I did) and I am building my layout now but only have 8 x 9 ft space but will be following lots of your ideas. Hope you don’t mind. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

  26. Rod says:

    Richard H, the reason the rock looks so good is it’s real rock, nothing clever on my part. We live near an old quarry and the limestone splits nicely with the frost so I could find suitable “slices” in the stuff lying around to form the surface of the little headland, then I just Polyfilla’d it in over a rough of polystyrene foam and tried to paint in the plaster to match.
    Thank you everyone for your kind comments, much appreciated. John W., the layout’s only 11 by 9 so not too different, look forward to seeing yours too.

  27. Ian says:

    Rod, It looks fantastic! I was curious…..I do like the gantry overhead equipment….it is so lifelike too…..did you buy it or make it? Ian

  28. John Reynolds says:

    Very nice work.
    Note, may years ago Cliff Grant (founder of Grant Line Products) built an O-Scale shay. He had it photographed by John Allen (Gorre and Dapheted, a fellow modeler and a professional photographer) He used those pictures to refine his model work and his shay took best in show at a national NMRA convention.
    The unblinking eye of a camera can be a harsh critic.
    Your work holds up very well to the camera’s scrutiny.

  29. Rod Mackay says:

    Ian, sort of both, the overhead is Sommerfeldt brackets and catenary sections, but it is still quite a work of art planning what masts, brackets and lengths of catenary you can fit where to make a workable scheme. They do a very good guidance manual (extra, but worth it) explaining how to plan your overhead and assemble all the bits. Italian overhead was trickier than some as the insulators are plastic with tags in the top, and soldering and superglue are not good bedfellows. The overhead ‘works’ mechanically (ie you can run under it with the pans up) but is electrically dead as it would have been too costly and difficult to wire up the fiddle yard as well as the scenic area. Total cost of all the overhead gear kits was about £300 but I found I’d overordered slightly and have some spare. Dear, but worth it.

  30. Rod Mackay says:

    Oh, and thanks everyone for all the kind comments, sorry about the size of the photos, will look for the instruction book! Happy modelling.

  31. John says:

    FANTASTIC Rob! Great commentary as well mate especially the bit about not giving the little hut power coz it could catch fire n take ur whole house wiv it! Loooooooool!!!!

    JohnE UK

  32. bob jamieson says:

    I loved Farland Howe’s vidio! Being born in the USA it’s very interesting to see the UK in a train layout.

    I wonder why Farland had no Brittish accent? My dad was a Scottish American. My grandparents were both born in Aberdeenshire (but met in Chicago) so I can, if I want, speak pretty much like a Highland Scot.
    My maternal grandparents however were German and Austrain but see myself as being Scottish.

  33. Martin Vagoun says:

    Never seen a grafitti in RR project yet …. G R E A T !!!

  34. Andrew Underwood says:

    The station scene is very much as you see at our local station on the Rome – Florence line (Orte, Orvieto, Chiusi, Terontola, Arezzo). The rolling stock and the liveries are just right but, certainly on our line, the goods shed would not be in use: that at Terontola (the junction for Perugia and Foligno) is a railwayman’s club! Cortona’s is unused but the structure is very well maintained (thankfully graffiti is only manifest in thecities such as Arezzo) as are the rail links; this seems to be true of most on our line.
    Great work let’s see more.
    Meanwhile back to the MGN in North Norfolk (not many of those in Tuscany!

  35. NJ Mark says:

    Just some really AWESOME work!! Thanks for sharing. Cheers! NJ Mark

  36. Craig Burton says:

    Excellent Rod! This is the same as HO scale?I am O scale,FANTASTIC JOB!it’s tough enough with O,my hats off to you guysThe gorge scene,your people are very realistic,are they bendable? Thanks for the look see!

  37. Rudy says:


  38. Jim says:

    Great work fella’s. Always great to see layouts with super details. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  39. Barry hespenhide says:

    One word, AMAZING

  40. JOHN YOUNGER says:

    Farland I don’t know if what I did would work for you or not. I found on the internet a 100 ft roll of 3 ft wide paper (probably have 80 ft left) which worked perfectly for me since my layout is 6 ft wide. I taped two pieces together equal the size needed and the drew the track design. I was able to actually lay the track on the paper and using a magic marker draw the center track line.I then laid the paper on top of the plywood with many sheets of carbon paper underneath and using a star wheel tool (used by seamstress to mark material) and transfered the center line to the plywood. . Since some of my track was going to be elevated I measured 2 in on each side of the center line for cutting the roadbed. Also I took the 6 x 10 paper to Office Max who scanned it reducing

  41. DJfromNJ says:

    I love to seeing the artistry presented within the various layouts, AND the interactions between hobbyists. Many thanks to Al for providing a place for everyone to exchange ideas/comments/etc!

  42. Al Luppo says:

    When I was in the USAF, after we completed a mission, our commander always would meet us in the intel room and either screamed or gave us a thumbs up.
    Rod your layout deserves a “WELL DONE”. Keep these productions coming please.

  43. Graeme says:

    Hi Rob, Ive been a long-time admirer of your fine work and find that you and Dangerous Dave are my inspirations. Ive been working on anew layout for a little over year now and I am using woodland scenics sub-terrain for all of the inclines/declines and raised track – this stuff is so versatile, I found it eradicated the problem you were speaking about on getting track to line up with supports.

    congratulations on a wonderful project.
    yours sincerely, Graeme

  44. Eric Pallister says:

    Absolutely brilliant, many thanks for sharing

  45. Mike Matejka says:

    well done Rod!

  46. Thomas Meleck says:

    Hey Rod, Really terrific photos. It looks like a great layout that you put a lot of thought & time into bringing it to life. If you’re having difficulties seeing or wanting to see more of the rear of your structures, you might try placing a mirror behind them. By shooting into the mirror the resulting image with your camera, the resulting image will be reversed. However, with digital photos it’s a relatively simple process to flip the images back to right reading if needed. No need to destroy your backscene boards. Thank you for all your work & obvious talent.–Tom

  47. Jim Logue says:

    Looks great!

  48. Walt says:

    Very nice layout!
    Love your attention to details!

  49. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Rod……graffiti…….water scene…..catenary……and a very clean
    City… did it all. Great detail

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