Scratch built roundhouse

Lawrence has been in touch, he’s been busy adding a scratch built roundhouse to his layout.

(You can see the scratch built roundhouse

The front of the printout was printed three times to get the entrance spacing for the round house. Put down some track from the turntable and extend the track for the engine inside the building.

To back the paper for the front I use “Ram Board” from Lowes. It is stuff used beneath carpets and comes in 36” by 50’ and I think it was about $30 for the roll. I have been using that roll for two years for the print out pictures.

The next three pictures I used one eight-inch hard board for the left and right-side pictures from the round house download. Using the side pieces to determine the length of the round house.

scratch built roundhouse

roundhouse scratch build

roundhouse HO scale

I also used the hardboard for the dividing walls, same length as the sides. Drilled pilot holes as needed and then a jig saw to cut the openings. Used balsa wood strips to fill the cross-area ventilation.

Next picture – printed out the back wall three times and mounted the paper on the Ram Board. It was amazing, the three back walls connected together actually came out to the length across the back at this time with only three-eights of an inch overlap. The Ram Board is very easy to cut and takes to corners nicely. Easy to cut our windows and doors. The windows are clear styrene with balsa wood strips.

roundhouse scratch built

Next picture – then printed out the front walls three more times. Needed to have twelve sets of doors so that the door pictures are on both sides (of Ram Board) of each door. In the final pictures I used all Ho scale Diesel Engines. That is where they will stay for display purpose.

roundhouse scratch build

The interior layout to include platforms, tools, and parts will be completed later before the actual roof is completed. Thinking of clear styrene roof material. To be displayed in a future set of pictures.

Lots of track to still be put down. Plus, two Helix’s and nine more bridges. Eleven scratch-built bridges completed at this time. A future email to display the overall layout and the bridges completed.


A big thanks to Lawrence for his scratch built roundhouse – he really did make my day for two reasons.

First, I love what he’s done with the roundhouse from the printable buildings range (most of them are in the store here).

And secondly, whenever somebody says the first thing they do each day is sit down with a coffee and read the blog, it never fails to put a smile on my face.

I’m only human and I have good days and bad days like everybody else.

So a big thank you to each and everyone of you, because without you, they’d be no blog at all.

Lawrence’s post also jogged my memory – the infamous bonkers John did a video on the roundhouse:

Now on to another John:

“Hi Al,

I’ve been working on scenery on my HO Scale layout lately and experimenting with some homemade mats for a woodsline. I like the way they turned out and thought I would share with you.

I’ve been creating a wooded hill to use as a scenic divider as well as to hide the entrance to staging on my layout. Between the open areas on either side of the trees on the hilltop, I wanted to create a brambled, overgrown area on the hillside. I used a Coconut Coir basket liner and part of an old air filter to create the effect.

First, I separated a section of the basket liner into two halves. I did the same with the air filter material. The side that was on the outside of either material is pressed flat with some sort of adhesive. But working with the inside, one can tease the material up and create vertical depth.

brambles for model railroad

brambles for model railway

Next, simply paint the materials thoroughly with some flat brown and darker green tones. Once dry, I applied spray adhesive and several varieties of leaf and flock material, followed by hairspray. An optional mist of some florist green tone spray paint was perfect for some highlights.

green shades for brambles HO scale

coloring for brambles HO scale

I ended up using some thinner pieces along a nearby embankment, and combined with some Super Trees, the larger chunks made for what I think is a convincing woodsedge,

brambles by track HO scale

bramble ground cover HO scale

bramble scenery HO loco

bramble and tree scenery HO scale

I documented the process in the video above, and ran some trains through the completed scene at the end.


That’s all for today.

Thanks to John and Lawrence.

And I hope it’s inspired you to make that start – even if it’s only making a model house.

Course, I’m biased, but the the Beginner’s Guide will point you in the right direction.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

10 Responses to Scratch built roundhouse

  1. Colin edinburgh says:

    John. Thanks for the video. The realism is outstanding. The depth of trees and the shear number really does the trick with the realism.

  2. Brian Rockey says:

    Fantastic work guys.
    Brian, Wokingham, UK

  3. Brian Olson says:

    Beautiful work on the round house. Craftsmanship!

  4. Bill in Virginia says:

    Great looking roundhouse!

    Love the scenery there John

  5. Erick says:

    Looks pretty kool.

  6. I’ve been watching videos and gathering info My Father and I had a . N scale layout approx 6×11.Haven’t located photos yet but this was in the 80’s.wasn’t built for operation. It was built with fun in mind. these last two posts have triggered something. I’ve decided to build diorama’s instead as I don’t have the room
    more for a full sized layout.. Pictures to fallow once I get started.

  7. Jamie Pauley says:

    Great work gents. I am always amazed at the creativity I find on this site. I don’t read it in the morning though. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your ideas

  8. Jeff Daley says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed today’s post and videos. I’m going to definitely add a little wine drinking this afternoon while working on my layout! I’m thinking it will bring out more creativity in my modeling capabilities,,,,, haha I love the light heartened approach along with the attention to detail. Thanks guys!

  9. JoeS- in ME says:

    Great work from both gentlemen: inspirational.
    I am generally one of the last to post as I view Al’s blog late at night.
    Thanks for all you do, Alastair!

  10. Beautiful work gentlemen. Fantastic video on how to.

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