Scott’s HO model railroad

“Dear Alastair,

My wife and I have been working for about 8 months on a new HO model railroad layout. We love your emails.

The layout is approximately 100 square feet with two layouts connecting from inner to outer. The inner layout is from an old Atlas book with 18 radius turns and the outer was freelanced.

We have about 50 buildings some of which are 50 or 60 years old including an old German butcher shop with a lift off roof showing the meat on the counters and an old Putin’s Chow factory.

A number of the buildings including the castle cane from antique shops or flea markets.

The trees are made from twigs but most of them have not been installed yet.

We also use real rocks for small mountains and loose rock.

For the side of the farm road we used fish tank stones and also used them on large mountain.

The large mountain was partially old school wire screen and light weight plaster and part plaster wrap. The snow on the mountain is plater sanded into dust.

Much still to do including improving the running. We used old atlas track and that may have been a mistake I need to fix. Your site is a great help and much appreciated.


model railroad shop

model railroad butcher shop

HO model railroad mountain

HO model railroad corner view

ho model railroad outertrack

HO model railroad farm building

HO trackwork

HO scenery

HO track

HO purina chow

HO model railroad mountain

HO model raiload mountain scene

HO model railroad mountains

HO model railroad bridge

HO model railroad girder bridge

A huge thank you to Scott and his wife for sharing this – what a layout! Lots going on, and it looks great too.

And I have to say, if my little web site has helped Scott and his wife along the way, then I’m very pleased – it really does make it all worth while.

Speaking of which, it seems my last missive caused some confusion with some of you.

To share your pics, just hit reply to any of my mails, or send them directly to

You can send in as many pics as you like – but please don’t attach more than three pics per mail.

Send as many mails as you need to, to get them all across.

Hope that has cleared it up if there was any confusion.

In fact, it’s getting a bit thin on the ground this end, so if you’ve got something to share, now’s a great time to do so.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming, and don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to grab the bull by the horns, just like Scott and his wife have.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.


30 Responses to Scott’s HO model railroad

  1. Ernie Stammers says:

    Hi Al
    The use of fish tank stones is I have found, one of the cheapest “real” materials to be found, I use it as coal ballast in my hopper trucks and as fallen rocks down hill slopes, and are ideal for O gauge and HO/OO gauge alike. Very cheap material for me as my daughter keeps tropical fish so reconstitute the stones every so often, so I get free bags. once washed and cleaned they are easily painted with acrylic paints. Keep up the good work.

  2. Webster Morton says:

    Very neat layout.

  3. dangerous daveErmnie has done a nice jhob says:

    Thats a great layout Scott and his wife have put to gather there , so much detail , with plenty to see …Dangerous Dave

  4. Jim Kolich says:

    Really a neat layout. Has that “retro” look to it. I see a lot of “old school” Revell kits on the layout. Gives me inspiration to get crackin’ on my layout. Still in the planning stages.

  5. Robert Brady says:

    I like the wide open spaces of the layout. Not overly busy.Would have liked to see some trains though.

  6. Would love to see a track plan! Great work!

  7. Don Jennings says:

    Scott How about a track diagram. The track to me seems lost in the amount of good buildings.

  8. Warren Ferguson says:

    Great layout! I like the use of the old buildings. You say using the old Atlas track may have been a mistake. What problems are you having with it? I ask because I plan on using Atlas on a layout, and I don’t want to have to rip it up.

  9. Thomas Murphy says:

    As a viewer, I can see that a lot of hard work and a whole bunch of real love went into Scott’s amazing layout. Thanks for sharing those Wonderful Pictures, Scott and wife.

  10. Kenneth Hundt says:

    Would like to see the track plane from a top view

  11. christine says:

    Lot of work put into it.

  12. Robert Rolfe says:

    Great job!!! You state running problems and Atlas track. I have old Atlas brass track in 15R, !8R and 22R and Atlas switches #4 and #6 on my layout. The only problem I have had was operator error when I put down the road bed the first time. After I did it correctly all works well.
    NV Bob

  13. Hemi says:

    NICE Work! Your Wife is a keeper just for helping!!!! Done Nicely, and looks to have well thought out track-work too!

    Keep up the GREAT work!

  14. Craig Wetherbee says:

    Well, that is certainly a fantastic layout! Scott and Wife have done a terrific job. I would definitely enjoy a video from the trains perspective.

  15. NJ Mark says:

    I love the castle or monastery in the mountains. Wonderful layout and scenery. Cheers! NJ Mark

  16. That is one busy place! I like the air ride above all the rest of the action !
    How do you keep all that track clean with out breaking things ?
    Be well and stay safe !

  17. Ian McDonald says:

    very good layout lots to do and see. thanks for sharing.

  18. Scott Mandelup says:

    Thank you all for your comments. I have photo and video of layout before scenery which I can post. Not sure how to attach it here so I will send to a last’s Yan’s will send current video. Just added a mountain tunnel my friend found in a flea market and we colored and added rocks to blend in. Great stuff at flea markets. Problem I have is trains run differently each time and steam locos do not like my old atlas track even after cleaning. I have not put ballast down yet. Will that make difference?

  19. Pete (Houston) says:

    Great layout. On suggestion, plant some trees on the layout and this would enhance the realism factor. You don’t need a large forest just some trees to break up the “see-trough” effect. Clumps of 3, 5, 7 trees look better to our eyes rather than even numbers of trees clumped together. Even some dead trees will add realism.

  20. Bill Vassar says:

    try cleaning the wheels on your engines you will be suprised how much better they run. use a paper towel and alcohol any strenth will do put some alcohol on the towel and put it on the track with one set of drivers on towel and power up switch ends and look at the gunk that comes off.

  21. Allan G Beasley. says:

    beautiful work Scott.

  22. Robert Brady says:

    I agree add some trees look on ebay cheat sheet they’re cheap i got well over two hundred in my layout.makes the scenery look lived in.Great job and if your like me keep adding.

  23. Robert Brady says:

    great water scenes,suggestion; run an apron along the 2×4 side,makes it look finished.

  24. Bob Holden says:

    Interesting layout…some weathering would enhance the track and structures…brown rust paint on the sides of the rails and some weeds, oil, bits of coal etc. on the sidings would bring more life to your scenes.

  25. John Shull says:

    Great looking layout. Anyone who runs a Trainmaster is all right by me.

  26. robert moore says:

    best one iu’e seen yet very nice good job

  27. absolutely fabulous, lots of love labor goes into building such a layout

  28. Joe R says:

    Very nice layout ….

    Like the realism and the detail

  29. Nice layout. Liked the buildings used, and giving the space needed to look like a real town area. I look at every layout shown , and learn from it towards my own. I hope to show mine one day on here. GOOD work.

  30. I might also throw this in. I would have liked to see MORE train`s running. Maybe having cars being changed out at the different locations, as well as traffic and towns folk working and going about their lives. I was wondering tho. Is everything run via computer as far as switching, or is most switching done by hand ?
    Other than that, NOT a bad layout. I only hope mine looks as good.

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