Rob’s tips and tricks

Have a look at Rob’s layout – it’s a cracker.

Now here’s his short video of tips and tricks. Brilliant!

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.



18 Responses to Rob’s tips and tricks

  1. Mike Wilson says:

    G’day there Rob,
    Thanks for the hint and tips. I’m getting quite a few and am hoping to start on a layout.
    Cheers mate
    Mike in OZ

  2. Arnie Steiner says:

    Thanks to Rob for some very helpful tips to new and experienced modelers alike. It’s always welcome to find substitute materials for us in scenicking as the commercial model railroad products are always quite pricey.

    One suggestion I have is regarding the weathering of asphalt roads, or any weathering using chalk or chalklike substances: It’s a good idean to seal the powdered surface. Over time, surfaces become dusty on a model railroad layout. If you clean using a moist cloth or even a vacuum cleaner, you will continually wipe/suck away some of the weathering powdered surface. So, I use a spray of Testors Dulcote or some cheap dull hair spray to seal the powders in place. This will keep the powders from being removed during cleaning at a later time.


  3. Mark Allen says:

    Great trick on the asphalt, will be a huge help, thanks

  4. Ed Clark says:

    Re; paint. I go to Lowes and buy their custom mix samples @ $3.00 each. More than enough to paint a 4×8 layout, you get the exact color you wish. Just smile to the Lowes guy. I have several shades of brown, gray and green. Then I dribble grass dust etc on it while it’s still very wet, sometimes on the 2nd coat.

  5. THOMAS says:


  6. Hi Rob,

    1st of all thanks for the insight into how you’ve created certain aspects of building a layout, I’m sure they’ll be incorporated into many layouts from here on. 2nd to your request about the backdrop, as you seem to have a horizon maybe continue the aspect that the water extends over to a distant piece of land “Like the shoreline of a Bay, or Tertiary Inlet (River Mouth) with more land and buildings on the other side of the water then the original horizon wouldn’t look out of place. I hope this gives you some food for thought!

    Stemar, (Downunder)

  7. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great tips everyone helps us up and coming train buffs.

  8. paul Otway says:

    Very interesting Rob

  9. Joe K says:

    You just advanced the V & T at light speed. What great tips/ideas. And the money savers are always appreciated. Any ideas for dirt and hardpack? There is some asphalt on the V & T, but a lot more dirt and hardpack. Thanks so much for the video.
    Al, your site is just great. Thanks for the effort in creating a place for these great guys to share.

    Joe K

  10. Richard in Oregon says:

    This is by far my favorite site. Thanks for a great service. Re: paint…. I look for “mistakes”… the local hardware stores and Home Depot (and Lowes too) have quarts for a couple bucks… and usually they are just right for ground. colors.. They have even added color “free” to make the color I want. My local hardware store even let me split a quart and added color to part to get two similar, but different colors…. and still only charged me $5.

  11. Peter says:

    Thank you for your most informative video. Simple but great ideas. I look forward to using your tips on my little layout.

  12. Desert Rat PHX AZ Tom says:

    Me too on the Lowes Paint. some of them are premixed and cost $1.00. Great small jars I keep them in many colors. Tom in the Desert.

  13. Hi boys, love all the tips they are great my son & I lost our lay out we had in the 2013 floods & so we are slowly getting new things so we can start a new lay out & your tips are going to help us a lot with the new lay out.
    As for Rod I would not remove that back wall it looks to good, as for your question what to do with the drop down bit I would put a hinge or 2 on it or just a piano hinge then a clip at the top of the back to hold it in place so that the extra bit you put on top can be folded down if you need to get in on that side to do any repairs & it can be coloured the same as the rest & will not look out of place. You have done a good job with it so far don’t wreck it by taking it off just because of that 1 bit my friend, love it Heather & Jason.

  14. Cary B says:

    Thanks for those tips Rob. They are always helpful and welcome. We never stop learning from others. Keep them coming.

    Cary B

  15. Warren Ferguson says:

    Hello, Rob. I thoroughly enjoyed your video. I’m also impressed with your dedication to Farland Howe. Please keep sending in your tips and tricks. I learn so much each time I watch them. And, Al, thanks again for providing such a wonderful site for model railroading! I check it out every morning with coffee. Warren in AL

  16. David Hannan says:

    Thanks Rob! You are never too old to learn! Tips I did not know!

    Do not worry about teaching your grandmother to suck eggs! Keep the tips coming! Regards, Dirty Dave

  17. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Hello Rob, Steve here. I am so impressed with your lay out, very nicely done. I am wondering were you received your heavy equipment for the road group, road grader, front loader, dump truck ect… They just don’t have toy stores here in the U.S. like they do over seas, like Germany. I lived in Germany for about nine 1/2 years. I guess I will look it up on line and buy them that way. Happy Railing.
    SDG from Saint Petersburg Florida.

  18. Steve says:

    One thing to add to Rob’s tip is that you can often pick up paint that has been rejected because the color wasn’t what the customer wanted. I picked up a gallon of a tan paint for about $4 US Many stores have a bargain bin around the paint section

Leave a Reply

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