Ron’s layout in his shed

“Hi Al, thought you would be interested in some pics of my layout, I built this layout over the last 12 months in my 6ftx6ft shed.

I didn’t have much room as you can imagine, so I just made it up as I went, I tried to get as much in without making it look overdone, the buildings I made from the Metcalf range and the rest from scatter materials etc.

I wired the layout for dcc, and the lighting is 12v-6v-3v, all the 12v is run from an old computer power pack that I converted, all the locos have sound fitted exept the little jinty, all the locos were scrapped and cut up by BR, the only one to survive was the jinty.

Thanks for all your info and tips and ideas from this web site.

Cheers Ron, Manchester.”

“Hi Al,

Never done an entire loco thank heavens, the time commitment must be huge, but I have had to make a couple of simple chassis sort-of from scratch, albeit using commercial axles, wheels, gears etc. The first was to replace a cast whitemetal chassis block in a loco kit which seemed to have been cast with the sides at an angle to each other, quite unsalvageable. I had tried sending it back as a complaint only to be told the pre-drilled axle holes were “supposed” to be breaking out through the bottom of the casting on one side “to make it easier for you to fit springing”! Yeah, right.

The second one was because a mate turned up with an old K’s kit of a GER tram-engine (like Toby the tram engine) which wouldn’t run. All it was, the body was a little low one end and the cowcatcher was fouling the rails and shorting out. It just needed a little Plasticard pad sticking onto the chassis mount, so I did that, held it in place for a count of thirty, said “There, fixed it!” and whipped my fingers away – needless to say I had superglued the plastic to a bit of skin as well, and the whole chassis flew into the air, tore the skin loose, and fell to the tiled floor with a resounding bang. It was one of those old K’s ones with the motor sides and bearings glued together and integral with the frames, so a total write-off (I couldn’t get the motor to run again properly, although I did try). You should have seen his little face, a proper picture, so I had to replace it.

The replacement was made from 16th brass frames, bolted together for drilling of axle positions and tube spacers, and fitted with flanged bearings, reamed for Romford axles. The old chassis was a four-wheeler but the real things were six-coupled so I thought I’d do it right, although there was no point adding cylinders and running gear as they would be behind the side-skirts. I used a Branchlines slimline gearbox/motor mount and a Mashima motor, and added little black ‘platforms’ either end to form floors for the driving cabs. For some reason, the model had never had a chimney, I think the real ones were just stovepipe-type but all I had in the junkbox was a cast one for a GWR King, so that had to do, capuchon and all. That was a bit of a departure from prototype, so I painted the finished loco blue and brown and moulded a little face onto the end in low-melt solder, sculpted with the iron and a bit of chasing with a ball cutter in the minidrill – great fun but wear goggles.

The photo shows the new chassis in the foreground, the reassembled old chassis and tidied-up body behind, and a Reverend Awdry book for livery reference!



I was wondering if you’d like to feature my newly repainted 28xx by hornby?

It’s not finished but I hand painted it and it’s going GWR wartime black,

I’ve attached some photos for you


Mike aged 16″

And the latest from Dangerous Dave:

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

Big thanks to Rod and Ron! And of course, Dangerous Dave. Don’t know what it is about his stuff, but it’s always very watchable.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming. If you want to share anything, just hit reply to any of my mails.

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

Why let everyone else have all the fun?



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

15 Responses to Ron’s layout in his shed

  1. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    “Dangerous” Dave’s stuff is “always watchable” due to
    plenty of action, great camera work, great scenery, and,
    most of all, plenty of VARIETY. I always love watching, even though I only understand half of his dialogue (not
    his fault).
    Keep it all coming.

  2. Mike you have done an excellent job there , and Ron you have a nice layout there in your shed and well done on the repair work

  3. paul Otway says:

    nice job on the paintwork

  4. Ron, you certainly have what it takes to be a Model Railroader: the creativity to make things up as you go along ( in a very good way ) and the ability to put it all together, nicely I might add. Rod you also have worked hard to find ways to bring things together. Mike has done a fine job and I wish I had his ability when I was a young man. Keep up the very good work. Lastly, Dave has again showed his fine work in our craft. He sets a high mark for us to follow. Dave, you have done great work!


  5. Bob Miller says:

    Nice work Ron. The small layout looks great and has all the features of most large layouts. I am impressed with your work….well done.

  6. Michael Wykes says:

    Ron – I think your layout is outstanding. Your backgrounds, in particular, stand out. Great job on the painting and the perspective.

    Mike – Wow, your paint job has a professional look.

  7. Cary Price says:

    Hi Ron, where there’s a will there’s a way. The biggest challenge to getting started for most is finding the space for a layout. Glad to see you found a way to get the space you wanted. Detail looks great, would love to see some larger views, video perhaps of how you made it work in a 6×6 area.
    Cary in KY

  8. Walter .... Greenlawn, Long Island, NY says:

    I’ve seen many layouts on your great site….many telephone poles with no wires, suggest using sewing thread to go between the poles to make it more realistic.

  9. Robert Brady says:

    Dave,My gosh how many coaches do you actually have? that new loco really hauls butt even with 17 cars. Fun Vid. thank you

  10. Ed Martin says:

    Allister and model railroad hobbyists,

    I have loved talk and model trains 🚂 since a small boy when Santa brought me my very first Lionel 1952 number 2033 Union Pacific diesel silver set. I still have it and it runs great .

    Currently my wife allowed me about 15’x 20’ model train room. Now it will take months to completely finish my z, n, ho, o and g gauge layouts.

    My z gauge layout table is done and painted and this morning I will add my Bachmann E-Z tracks down for a huge oval 1 and electric remote switches to connect to oval track 2 with more switches to side tracks with freight cars connected together. Once the tracks are in I will connect the z gauge transformer then place an engine on oval 1 and test run it.

    Next I will test my electric remote switches for correct operation.

    Then add a mountain with two oval tracks tunnel and a waterfall down its side into a river that flows into a stocked fishing 🎣 lake. To finish the layout I will add a town with typical buildings on a country town street with people figures on it and vehicles.

    Other areas include an industrial area, train yard, farm etc..

    After that I will take awhile off and relax/rest before starting and finishing the rest of the gauges months later.

    Model trains are great for all ages and as youngsters we build simple layouts then progress to more detailed layouts.

    Young train boys enthuiests love to spend hours building lauouts then running their model trains

    God gave us all talents like myself teaching children and the same with my wife too plus as an RN see cares for the sick elderly.

    There are many large layouts in our land with model trains as entertainment and rideable real steam engine excursions likes Tweetsie Railroad fun park, The Rio Grande, the excursion between Bryson City, NC.and an hour East of there..,
    We have numerous others.

    Please keep the model train emails coming.

    Yesterday in church outreach scripture in Exodus was the first of Ten Commandments/ commitment s as our pastor calls them.
    “ thou shalt not have any more Gods before me ( money, car s, house, clothes, toys, Christmas items and yes model trains.

    Money can be used wisely or unwisely andvunwise use of money leads to ko money.

    So I will keep on with real trains and model trains and still worship God.

    Ed Martin
    Philippians 4:13

  11. David Trigger says:

    Just wanted to congratulate Ron on his superb work. He has reinforced the message that lack of space really need not be such an obstacle when ingenuity and passion are the greater driving forces.


  12. John Birch says:

    Lovely layout, Ron. Well done.

  13. Ruben Simon says:

    Ron – beautiful!

  14. Dangerous Dave’s layout is always one to be considered to be the best..
    I love his landscaping ability, his imagination toward realism and his video capabilities….I can only imagine the net worth, because some of those passenger & freight cars are a tidy bit….
    Its the little things I notice, like a stone wall, or the old cars, the European feeling…

  15. Gerald Edgar says:

    Optimum use of 36 sq ft!

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