San diego model railroad museum

Shotgun Tom has been back in touch with a video for the San diego model railroad museum.

(If you missed Shotgun Tom’s post on his own layout, it’s here.)


We have a new Video about our San Diego Model Railroad Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park near the World Famous San Diego Zoo.

Take a look, I did the narration.

San diego model railroad museum track station

San diego model railroad museum

San diego model railroad museum factory

diesel engines

San diego model railroad museum

San diego model railroad museum factory

model railroad trestle bridge

San diego model railroad museum layout

Again, Thank you for all of your help.

Shotgun Tom”

A big thanks to Tom – I really enjoyed the video.

Some of you may remember Tom’s post, on his layout which is here.

Enjoyed Tom’s narration on the San diego model railroad museum vid.

Now on to John:

“Hi Al.

Just wanted to share a little project that I scratch built today.

This is a 1/4 inch scale (O scale kingpost bridge).

I made this little bridge today 100% from card that I salvaged from soda can boxes.

The card was glued together with Elmers Glue All (a brand of PVA glue).

All the card was stained with Minwax stains to make it look like wood.

There are some small details left to work on.

Here is the thing — I could never have built this little bridge without the skills that I learned while building and kitbashing your wonderful Print-Out kits.

Your Print Out buildings and the videos you sometimes share taught me first about how to make card models look realistic. Then they helped me build skills so that I can build “beyond the box”.

Thank you for your wonderful site AND thank you especially for teaching me about modeling with paper beginning with your amazing Print Out buildings.


Chatsworth CA, USA”

John’s always sending me stuff of his builds – he’s using the print out scenery exactly what it’s best at: scratch building.

Here’s another of his projects:

“Hi Al…

This is a little O scale building that I constructed over the past two or three days.

The inspiration was a challenge by a Facebook friend to build something that would fit on a business card. I love it when I am challenged to build something —

I used my favorite soda can boxes for most of this…They farm the base for the buildings, the base for the walls, and much of the “stripwood” that I also used fr many of the details.

The “glass” in the window came from a food tray — Takeout container.

The clapboard siding was cut from yellow printing card –

To make the siding, 1/8 inch wide strips were cut and shingled to give the appearance of 3 inch clapboards.

The “wood” was stained with felt tip pens that I had lying around.

The roofing came from one of your kits — The blue office building if I remember.

A standard business card is roughly two inches by three and one half inches.

That determined the size of the roof “dripline”.

My shed is roughly 1.5 inches wide (6 scale feet), and three inches long (12 scale feet)

These photos capture the first part of the build.

The fun that I am having now began about five or six years ago with the first “Print Out kit” that I purchased on this site. That was an enginehouse… And since then I just keep working to make every model better than the one before.

Even if you believe that you do not have room for a layout, I would suggest having a go at a few of Alastair’s kits… They are fun to build, you develop your modeling skills, and sooner or later you will build a diorama or a layout to put them on! It is a START!



California USA”

A huge thanks to John.

Of course, he’s right, the big thing in this hobby is to make a start – even if it’s making a model building to get your feet wet.

Over the years, you lot have sent in some fantastic model built from the printable buildings.

Scratch built freight shed

More scratch builds

Even more of your scratch builds

Things you’ve made with the silly sale

More scratch builds

John’s shelf layout

Perhaps the most popular model is the barn – lots of you have enjoyed making it:

Just so you know the barn is bundled free at the moment with the Beginner’s Guide.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

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



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

10 Responses to San diego model railroad museum

  1. KenG says:

    Great look at the model railroad from San Diego. I have to get back down there to see it, I didn’t know that SoCal legendary radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly was part of that!

  2. Peter Bayley-Bligh says:

    The museum layout is very very impressive.

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Shotgun, great looking trestle you got there.
    The Critic

  4. Erick says:


  5. Totally awesome museum!!

  6. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Shotgun Tom……Wow…..wish I would have known about this a few years back when I visited San Diego on vacation. Love the detail and drive in movie.

    John in California…… great work…..great work….. nice blog with instructions….I have used some of Alastair’s road and sidewalk kits in my layout…great stuff…..I also am going to use his factory kits to create a backdrop for my layout. Going to follow your method and John’s video. Great work.

  7. I have been to the San Diego museum. The San Diego Arizona and Eastern is just one layout there and “Shotgun” Tom Kelly’s video is a great showcase for it. They also have a layout depicting the Southern Pacific railroad from Bakersfield to Mojave. It is the layout done by the La Mesa portion of the club and it dwarfs the SD&AE layout. Looking at the pictures, there is one picture of the Tehachapi Loop from that second railroad. They also have a nice N-Scale railroad as well. All in All, it is a jaw dropping exhibit and one could spend a full day there without taking it all in.
    John “The Scratch Builder”
    California USA

  8. Anton Bruce says:

    Just a word of suggestion: If you EVER get to San Diego, you MUST visit the museum in Balboa Park. The Railroad museum is but one of several fine museums there – and it’s right next to the San Diego Zoo.

    I second what John Reynolds has said here. Each model railroad in the museum is awe-inspiring, and WILL drop your jaw on more than one occasion. And seeing it all on one day is not even possible, let alone advisable.

  9. Ross Johnston says:

    Thanks Tom for sharing the Museum layout. I hope to get back to the US when Covid is over and I’ll definitely head down to the museum from Anaheim. Cheers Rossco, Adelaide, Austyralia.

  10. Shotgun Tom says:

    Thank you for you very nice comments about our Layout at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park near the World Famous San Diego Zoo.
    just wanted to get the word out that the Museum is Open to the public Now.

    With 5 Big Railroad Clubs . “N’ scale “O” scale 2 “HO” clubs and 3 Railers Club
    there is something for everyone.

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