More tips and pics

“i just though i would share a few pictures of the mountains and water fall i have been working on.

So far this is the best ones i made, im kinda new at this so i hope everyone enjoys these

thanks for taking the time to look


“Hi Al.This is the tower i did with the strobe light.And this is a transformer station i been working on.The transformer is a burnt out relay cover with window blind parts for fin’s.And used instant glue tips cut into sliver’s and clear beads inbetween for insulator’s.I’m doing a few more tower pieces and then hook lines up and such.Will keep ya updated.


Dear Al,

The box it came In.

The layout I had prior to this one I had a very long time ago. I kept it in the garage next to my Dads workshop. From there it provided hours of enjoyment for a number of years.

But like many layouts it became neglected, dusty and fell into disrepair.

On one memorable afternoon I came home from school to find my beloved beagle standing on the layout chewing its way through the small town and most of the rolling stock. I forgave the dog but it was too late for the layout.

As you can imagined this experience has somewhat shaped my approach to the new layout. I am quite determined that this layout not become a victim to vermin or dust. Thus “the box”.

Although the lid (pictured) makes the whole thing pretty heavy I think it will protect it when it is not in use and hopefully make it more reliable when it is.

The lid itself is 9mm MDF with some light pine framing to stop it bowing. I also attached couple of gas struts to the lid to help lift it up and down.

The front panel folds down flat to expose the control gear. It can fold either flat or all the way down for when I am working on the layout and don’t want to be leaning all the way over the control panel.

The black wire ducting is made from some sections of steel stud work. You need to be careful not to have any exposed wires inside the duct. I have also painted them black inside and out to provide a bit of insulation.

The steel studs are quite light and a fraction of the cost of an equivalent plastic duct. I think the studs cost a total of $8. The studs interlock so you can unclip the top plate to get access to the wires when you need to.


That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming – and don’t forget the The Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to stop dreaming and start doing.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

52 Responses to More tips and pics

  1. Robert Scheurer says:

    How large is his layout?

  2. Phil Busby says:

    Hello Al,

    I really liked Andrew’s mountain scene with water fall. I think that adding height to a layout helps with the realism as real countryside is rarely flat.

    I also liked Camarons ideas and it makes me realise I must protect my own layout in the sub zero garage at the moment with some covers and some residual heat.

    I love your site Al as it always seems to fire up my enthusiasm for the hobby.

    Warm Regards,

    Warm Regards

  3. Mike says:

    Top stuff Andrew, got any spare time to help here?

  4. Ralph says:

    Andrew – a very impressive waterfall. I would be very interested to know how you did it.

    Kim – what a great way to make a transformer, I suppose any little pill box or similar could do the job. I cant wait to try one.

    Cameron – A great set up, I am continually knocking over scenery when I drag the dust cover over my layout.

    Dave – I am one of your greatest fans, if my layout ever reaches any decent standard it will be due to your example of what’s possible.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    Andrew, that waterfall and mountain scene is one of the best I have seen. Wish I had the vision to have imagined that. Great job.

  6. Keith at Sibford says:

    Andrew: The waterfall looks great. Could be know how your made it?

  7. builder Kim says:

    That’s some nice water you did.Your beagle ate your layout lol sorry.Been there.That’s a nice layout box you did.Dave sure is a hard worker.I like all his work he has done.Dave ever consider putting realistic looking telephone poles or power poles in your layout.I designed some you may find good.and have had them posted on here.Easy to make.Im down sizing my Ho layout and am selling off all my engine units cheap.I have gone DCC.I have 9 engines modified.thanks everyone for the tips and thanks Al.

  8. paul starr says:

    Great waterfall very realistic,with regard to covering the layout,dust will always be a problem in the end,so some type of cover is always good.The best cover is a sheet of perspex,ideal for fiddle yards.

  9. Sheila says:

    Good job Andrew. Cameron, I think I would have made the lid from plexiglass – less weight and you could always see inside. Kim, excellent transformer and is Dave finished? It looks like he is. But I bet not. Wonderful posts and ideas as usual. Now off to my layouts. Thanks to all.

  10. truckman1999 says:

    I like your layout,very much thanks for shareing.

  11. Austin Wilson says:

    Awesome job Andrew, wish I could create something like that waterfall and mountains. Looking good. Austin.

  12. Nice waterfall effect there Andrew ,and a great idea with the box Cameron

  13. Cord says:

    Magnificent, Dave!! I hope it being done doesn’t mean no more video!

  14. Peter the Mackem says:

    Brilliant Dave, fantastic layout. But a big thank you for the advice you gave me about powering the lights on my layout and the tutorial you did for powered points. I have followed your guidence and looks great. Once again thank you, you are a true gentleman.

  15. Glenn Roach says:

    Andrew to make that waterfall look any more realistic would be to have real water running down and across the layout.
    Dave for only working on your layout for 5 years it looks awesome to me. Hope that your layout will not disappear when the Lord calls you home and future generations will not be abe to enjoy it as much as we have those videos you produce.
    To Both of U keep up the great work on your layouts to make some of us jealous/green with envy to not have the skills to think of or build anything.

  16. paul Otway says:

    love your water fall looks so real

  17. Al W says:

    I’d like to borrow Andrew’s mountain and stream for my layout. He’s done a great job. Very nicely done Andrew.

    Kim has really used his imagination with the strobe and transformer build. Very good skills in putting this together Kim.

    Cameron’s box looks very professional and custom made by someone who knows what he’s doing. Great going Cameron.

    Dave’s model railroading just blows me away. His attention to detail leaves no stone unturned in my opinion. Thanks for all your filming and explanation Dave

  18. THOMAS says:


  19. Bob Virnig says:

    My Uncle had a good way to prevent damage to his layout such as dogs chewing it up. He installed ringlet bolts in the ceiling with cords reaching down to attaching points on the corners of the layout. The layout sat on several saw horses that could be folded up and put away. He would raise the layout up to the ceiling when not in use and lower it onto the saw horses when he wanted to run the trains.

  20. D.B. Lewis says:

    Really nice work here, as always. Ever thought about getting a more polite dog?

  21. Dick Jueckstock says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Great layout! I was interested in the dimensions of your table and the scale. Is it HO?

    Thanks, Dick

  22. Anthony says:

    One word ” amazing”

  23. paul Otway says:


  24. david jones says:

    this is excellent the best ive seen yet,regards david nsw australia

  25. andrew says:

    hello everyone, thanks for the nice coments, this is on a 4×8 table and is a HO scale. the water fall was made from clear silicone, i just poured it on where i wanted the waterfall to be, let it cure slightly and then used a toothpick and pulled the silicone in a downward motion until it looked like running water. i have since put in the lake at the bottom and have completed several parts. i will send pictures of the updated layout shortly

  26. Ed Clark says:

    Andrew, Impressive water effects, thanks for sharing your secrets.

  27. Lee Barry says:

    Quite ingenious his box to cover and transport, if necessry, his layout. I kept the bottom of the carboard carton my Z scale layout came in. I lined it with 1/2″ thick “blueboard” insulation, on the four sides and the bottom. I use it in the trunk of my car to put my layout in when attending shows. It is only 37″ x 27″ x 10″ and fits very well in the trunk of my 2003 Ford Taurus. The rear seats fold down some to haelp with it. If I had the space I’d like to build something like he has to cover his, the top could act as a “run in track for any new Z locos, they need to be run in for 30 minutes to 2 hours. What I am using is a “plexiglass” cover, I should have had it made out of LEXAN but with stupidity also comes knowledge and “If There’s A Harder WAY, I’ll Find IT !!!”

  28. Francis says:


    Love the idea of the cover. Let us know how well this works. No offense intended but I think you will still have a dust issue. Anyways, show some pics of your layout!

  29. dave says:

    Like the tower Is it scratch built ?? looks to be heavy wire soldered ??

  30. Superb layout model. Thanks for sharing. I like it.

  31. Chris KA9WLU says:

    How did you make the tower? I’m an avid ham radio operator (KA9WLU) and would like to add my love of radio to my layout.

  32. William says:

    That waterfall is magnificent. The fact that you bulit one that is tiered and not just a single drop is great. The different drop heights and change of direction make it even better. Your project is definitely inspirational to the rest of us.

  33. Jim DeNoia says:

    I am beginning to start a new HO train layout-I was an avid user of the old O and O27 stracts in my younger years. How Do I connect the track together to have continous power. I the past I used the plugs on the O and O27 track for continuation.
    What is the secret here???????????Please help

  34. Terry Baskin says:

    Very good job on the water fall and the mountain and hills. However I think you need very many more trees and bushes. Thanks for the pictures. They were very nice.

  35. Rick says:

    Andrew ; Awesome waterfall . We are preparing to make one on our layout . Thanks for the tips .
    Nice layout Dave . You have been working hard ; it shows .

  36. Randy Hinke says:

    nice set up.

  37. Lee Barry says:

    What I have over my Z scale layout is a “Lexan” clear cover that drops down over it. The Lexan is a little heavier than regular plastic or plexiglass. It goes over the outside of the layout with about 3/4 of an inch larger than the layout. The only hole in it is a round one where the plug goes to the layout for power. I thought about using a “slot” rather than a hole so I would not have to unplug it every time I needed to take the cover off. Of course my layout is only 37″ x 27″. The layout in the above pictures where he uses a drop down lid could have used a thing similar to mine and not had any dust problem. Of course any cover is not going to keep one from having to clean the tracks in “Z” …

  38. Carl Halgren says:

    Cameron, I like the cover on your layout – the gas struts are a great idea. As far as I can see, all that is needed to complete it is to paint the inside of the lid a sky blue.

  39. Victor Smith says:

    I have a question. What kind of lighting do I use to light up the whole layout to simulate sunlight?

  40. Ross Johnston says:

    The waterfall looks great. Cameron’s box is very good. Dave you have really changed your layout and now there is n upper level. I can’t believe you did all those changes in 3 months. Well done!
    Cheers Rossco Adelaide South Australia

  41. Brad says:

    Re-the box.Maybe it would have been better to use a fiberglas top due to weight savings. I did something similar awhile back and found an old fiberglas truck cap at the boneyard.I told the owner of the junk yard I would remove some parts for him in exchange for letting me cut the cap.He obliged me and I spent a few hours(3.15) removing parts from cars so he could sell them.In return I got my cap piece and made a box cover out of that.Cost me nothing but a little time

  42. Brad says:

    Oh yes kudos on the waterfall,wonderfully done!!

  43. Roger says:

    So sorry I missed some how about dust and mice.

  44. Wm Althaus says:

    Always enjoy seeing everything everyone submits. Great modeling from T

  45. Dennis says:

    I have a nice folding ping pong table that no one wants. Has anyone used this type of table for their layout and if so any information will be very appreciated. Thanks

  46. Mac Hayes says:

    Great idea, but I wonder if draping a piece of light fabric – a bed sheet, or maybe even just cheesecloth – over the layout would be enough; if you don’t have pets to keep out of the works. I’m hoping to have a Matterhorn or even an Everest replica in my 4′ x 8′ portable layout, which would need some overhead support for a fabric cover.

  47. Mac Hayes says:

    Second thoughts: I’m amazed at how effective the simple backdrop scenery is – just simple mountain silhouettes and a suggestion of an ocean. Looks very good.

  48. Will in NM says:

    Jim DeNoia: What you need are some HO rail joiners. They’re little flat pieces of metal about 1/2 inch long and slightly wider than the base of the rails that connect two separate pieces of rail to each other. If you bought an HO train set, it should have come with some already installed on the track pieces. A cross section of the rail joiner looks soemthing like this:

  49. Jeff Sams says:

    I love the water fall too. Great work!

  50. William Orton says:

    Your waterfall and mountains are outstanding. I hope mine will turn that well on my layout. Great work.
    The subtlety of the backdrop is really creative. I want to use that for my backdrop as well. Simple, yet gives a 3D perspective in a very small space. Very creative.
    Thanks for posting.

  51. David M. Swanson says:

    I am currently rebuilding my layout in the trusses above my garage. Yes, I had a mouse problem. I put out poison, but the mice went and stored it in one of my buildings, so 20 mouse traps later with a piece of bacon, did wonders. They also like the wiring in my boat motor, so I now leave the cover off in the winter.

  52. william janmes palmer says:

    liked the scenery loved the case for the railroad

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