Paul’s N scale

“Here is a Tip that might be useful for somebody other than myself, if you care to use it – A method of scenery that I have used several times in the past on my layouts is that there are “Real Trees” in real life Like the “Black Locust” (Not all trees have this type of layered bark, But still, there are actually more than you actually think) that have a certain style of large grained stacked layers to its bark that can be broken off and then cut or broken down into smaller chunks and sections and then used (either in single layers or by stacking these layered chunks on top of each other) and used as certain types of realistic looking rock strata simply by laying and gluing those sections down on their inside and then painting them with an air brush with the proper colors to represent layers and layers of rock.

So the next time you, as a Model Railroading fan (or buff) decides to wander by a real tree, take the time to stop and take a real close look at its bark with a new perspective, Who knows, it just might be one of those that has the bark that can be used as scenery on your layout as layers of rock.

Old P”

“Hello Al.

A tip that will save you MONEY is, Take some dirt from your yard, or a lot that is the color you like, then put it in a flour sifter. The kind that has a handle you squeeze, and sift it into a bowl. Put the sifted dirt into old seasoning bottle that has small holes. You can either dilute some Elmer’s glue in a squirt bottle, or take clear flat paint in a spray can. Put a thin coat where you want the dirt, and then sprinkle the dirt there. Instant natural dirt. You can also go to the Dollar store and get some Chile powder, or paprika, and sprinkle it in spots for shading, or to add depth. Much less expensive than the stuff you buy from the hobby store.

Happy Railroading



This is essentially for N scalers. In Ontario garlic is sold in sleeves of fine net mesh (generally three bulbs pack). It stretches to a size suitable for chain link fencing. Cut the sleeve and pin it out stretched and paint it with an acrilic silver or aluminium. It will then be available to be cut to any height of fence you want. Just be careful that when you paint it is not stuck to the surface you are painting against. Try using pins to stretch it and raise it above the surface. There are quite a number of different pins available to be used as fence posts. The next thing to free. I love it.


“Here is the link to the Montana side of my layout. It is based on the small town of Rudyard on the “Hi-line” in northern Montana.

Sadly, the whole layout has been broken up and sold to provide capital for my next project. A small town in northern Germany.


Some silly deals on the latest ebay cheat sheet right now.

That’s all this time. Please keep ’em coming.



30 Responses to Paul’s N scale

  1. Angus says:

    Great idea, Paul, I have seen bark used on a layout and it works well for rock faces.

    Just a heads up, be careful of wood borer, you wouldn’t want one of those getting into your layout woodwork. Steam the bark thoroughly prior to use. On the layout I saw the bark on, the guy microwaved the bark, be careful with that though because the bark could explode.

  2. Pity you have broken up that layout , but all the best withy the new one

  3. John says:

    Very nice! That was one heck of an eclipse!

  4. Arnie Steiner says:

    Paul, very nice as an operating diorama. Track layout with mainline and passing sidings lends itself well to prototypical operation. The impression of a large expanse in a small space along with the prototypical train consists and speeds gives the viewer a good, impressiive hint of western U.S. topography (Big Montana Skies).

    Nicely done!

  5. john wisnieski says:

    Nice layout.
    What gives with the E-BAY site, All I get is vertical lines except under S scale, train tracks and under American Flyer, buildings ????????

  6. Paul Greene says:

    Hi Paul
    I’m Paul also and think you did a great job. Love N scale. My train is still my old Lionel from 1950 now in a box in my closet. I want to do what you are doing. Don’t know where to start. UGH.

  7. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    Thanks for all the tips and “flicks”. I learn something every time.
    Keep em coming!!!

  8. Pete Evangel says:

    LIked your first layout video and now I really liked this one!! To bad you sold it off. I liked the switching track use, very smooth operation. Only one train had any bounce, everything else ran so well, you wouldnt know there were track joints. Well done. Oh and the fence with all the cows. A couple of fence posts are leaning. This is absolutely the way it is is real life!! Nice touch.

  9. Tom says:

    Paul, Good luck on your new venture. Thank you for sharing Montana USA NICE!

    Thanks all for the tips. Never know when one or two will come in handy.

    Thanks Al for sharing



  10. builder Kim says:

    Paul that was cool. N scale that is small.Can amagine wireing street lights with 1.2 mm diodes be a blast. What is going to become of that layout.Heard dismantling?

  11. builder Kim says:

    okay just read above again. will it be N scale also.

  12. Tad Heath says:

    WOW VERY VERY VERY COOL!!!!!!!!! love the BNSF !!!!!!!! All but war bonnet 741 had the handrail off the back of the cab…that’s the only thing I found wrong!!! Lol I had to out that in there to make a funny cause I love the whole thing!!!! Excellent job and u should be very proud of that layout!!!!!!

  13. great video and hints thanks.

  14. Greg Rebman says:

    I really like the track work. I especially liked that the trains disappeared behind the backdrop to obscure the loops which makes the operation more realistic. As I am so interested in this layout I have a few questions.
    It appears the layout is not too large which is another plus. What are the layout dimensions?
    I noted trains traveling in both direction on some of the tracks. Is this a DCC operation.
    What is the maximum grade on the layout.
    Finally could we see a track plan as it appears that trains are switched between tracks behind the backdrop?

  15. Ross Johnston says:

    Great video Paul! I liked your scenery and general layout. I also would like nthe dimensions and track plan. Cheers Rossco

  16. THOMAS says:


  17. Don Bartletyti says:

    Nice layout and rolling stock. A suggestion for your next video is to put your camera or telephone on a tripod. The drunken bird perspective is distracting – and simply avoided.

  18. Lindsay McIsaac says:

    Hi from NZ, thanks for one of the most realistic videos, a true to life speed, nothing like a whole train trying to do a circle inside a football (or whichever code you follow) field at about 100mph (or 160kmph in real terms) Keep up the good work.
    Lindsay in NZ

  19. Tony Foderaro says:

    Great looking layout

  20. Gary M says:

    Great layout……. tips are great too

  21. Steve Joyce says:

    Please DO NOT strip bark off trees!! This is a protective layer for them. It fends off insects and helps them retain moisture. Great if you can find some branches that have fallen off and use that, but please leave the live trees alone.

    Steven M. Joyce

    Eagle Scout and BSA leader

  22. Jack G says:

    Loved the film clip.

  23. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Paul Nice layout. Pity you had to break it up to fund your next project. Obviously the fun for you is the construction. One thing that we often see, and your video helps show this is the siting of buildings on a layout. The majority of layouts have the buildings etc plonked on the layout and clearly show that they are just paced on.I appreciate that removal maybe necessary for whatever reason but it can be simple to embed the buildings into the site. A wooden block cut to the same size as the building to be placed then covered with cellophane kitchen wrap placed on the layout to stop scenery sticking to the block can be used to bring the grass or whatever right up to the edge of the block allow to dry then remove the block and place your building into the space left by the block . Looks part of the layout not just a random building plonked down.

  24. ARTHUR J ROMANO says:

    Really nice scale speeds. Signs of great track card and cleaning. Nice equipment too. Movin’ to Montana soon. Gonna be a dental floss tycoon.


  25. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Great Layout!! Great for small areas!! Well Done.

  26. Will in NM says:

    Paul, You’ve created another wonderful and interestiing N scale layout and video that captures the essence of rural Montana railroading. I didn’t see any problem with the way your buildings were integrated with the landcaping as someone else had mentioned. I did find the repetitive engine noise recordiing a bit annoying — I would have preferred regular DCC engine sounds or some tasteful background music.

    There was one unprototypical sudden stop of one of the trains, but not a real problem. You’re obviously a very skilled modeler to put together two such amazing layouts in N scale. Sorry to hear they’ve been dismantled and sold, but I’ll look forward to seeing your Northern Germany town when you get it built. Thank you for sharing your amazing works with us.

  27. Tony, Kitty Hawk NC says:

    Paul, Excellent layout! You really captured the feel of a small town in Montana by not cluttering the layout. It looks like most of your buildings are scratch built or kit bashed, and they really work well. Keep us posted on your next layout!

  28. Paul, very realistic, especially the part where the Amtrak train has to wait in the “hole” for the freights to rumble by. I’m interested to see what you do with your German-based railway.

  29. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    We have used bark (approx 5′ x 6″) on part of our club layout – it took a while but looks effective. So, great idea as posted on the site.

  30. James Malins says:

    Like Arthur I really like what I think are scale speeds and it certainly gives the impression that I have experienced when seeing the real thing.

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