Sci fi model train

Sam’s been in touch with his Sci fi model train:

“Hi Al,

I’ve been a bit quiet recently but have got back into creating stuff for my layout.

Having seen a well known company release 2 Steampunk loco’s, I thought I’d have a go scratch building 2 of my own.

Both based on a Hornby 0-4-0 and have 3D printed parts added. Sprayed in silver and weathered. Great fun to create as there are no limits!!

Hope you enjoy the pics.


Sci fi model train

Sci fi model train

Sci fi model train

Sam’s pics really did put a smile on my face. It also reminded me of ‘W’s layout which looks just as fun.

Next, Pap’s been touch with a novel solution for his back drop:

“I recently started my first layout. I tried to paint a mountain backdrop but I am definitely no artist.

I asked on a local website if there was a high school or college student who would be interested in making a few bucks and help me out. I received several responses.

Here is the finished product.


Now on to Bob. Like many of us, he doesn’t have much space to play with:

“Dear Alastair,

Greetings from Venice Florida,

I enjoy seeing all the huge layouts that you bring to us.

I have built several layouts that were impossible to move.

My present layout was designed to fit into a closet so we could have a guest bedroom.

This is the wireless bottom view for the folded-up layout. All wires are on top and hidden under bushes.

I cut a foot and a half from one end of a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood. to be the removable siding.

The siding has no wires just the rail joiners from the main layout.

By removing seven screws the siding can be removed.

The layout has its own room now. I am 86 years old (Young).

Thus, the layout will not be a nightmare for someone to remove when I am gone, and my wife really appreciates that.


Next, on to Steve.

He has a question that pops up quite often – is DCC conversion worth it?

So I thought I’d put it to you clever lot:

“Hi Al

I have 2 Con-cor Locos (New in box) … probably 25 years old. I want to DCC them. Do you have a recommendation?

Right now, I have them on Ebay for $45 starting price. There was pricetags on them is $75. Looking on Ebay, I see very similar ones for all of $75 and more.

Should I just sell them and buy DCC or should I buy the conversion kit… (which one.. there are so many)

Thanks Al

I love your emails.



Lastly, Hall of Fame member Dave has been sent in his latest:

“Hi Al,

just uploaded my first run on the layout since Christmas, been a bit too cold for venturing in to the loft, but had to give them a run get the wheels turning.



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A huge thanks to Sam for sharing his Sci fi model train, and to Steve, Dave and Pap.

Please do leave a comment below if you can help Steve with whether he should convert his locos or not.

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.

22 Responses to Sci fi model train

  1. Fred Svoboda says:

    I loved the seampunk engines, probably because I enjoy whimsical layouts such as the ones where these would fit.

  2. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Dave A very happy new year to you and the missis. Good to see you posting again. It has been a while since you have given us a good run around your layout. I am a bit surprised that a man of your skills has not run a central heating radiator or two into the attic space. I think you should ask the boss for heating for your next birthday. Thanks for the video first class as usual.

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Bob If you don’t have the room then have patience and wait till you do. Don’t go off half hazard and make it difficult to move around especially when having guests over. the layout will never look good when just throwing stuff together. Like crossing over from dresser to table. Geesche!
    The Critic

  4. Frank says:

    Nice video…. with those long trains running over those long stretches it’s visually impressive and with multiple trains running and passing each other they seem so massive and even majestic.

    The sound immediately grabs your attention to. And the lights are just really neat.

  5. Al…
    One of your BEST!!!
    The “steampunk” stuff is some of the best I have seen.
    It is whimsical and yet if one looks to an earlier era, it is plausible as well.
    Too much of the “steampunk” stuff seems to have useless adornments on it from my perspective… Both of the locomotives shown today look like they could have actually existed someplace.
    The retirement layout is a good start. We all face limitations, that is a good solution to the ones you have outlined. Given your age, waiting for space is not an option.
    To Steve…
    I am an old analogue modeler (DC not DCC) — That said, I would add the decoders if your old engines run well or are unique prototypes. If they are unique but do not run well… More work (change motors and maybe even gears.)

  6. Arthur Jones says:

    Dave’s video was out of focus, fussy. This isn’t like him to produce such a video.

  7. Jack says:

    Bob, I applaud your efforts! Not all of us have or ever will have the space needed for our dream layout. You didn’t let perfect get in the way of better, congratulations!

  8. Greg Schaefer says:

    I am interested in Steve’s situation. For my Howard Street railroad, (part two is in the can, btw) I collected brass models from eBay. Most of them are Suydam with the old open frame motors. I would expect to convert them to can motors or maybe even underframe motors. Since I am already doing a conversion, would adding dcc be worth it? Does dcc make the engine run better or just offer better control? If I model overhead wire, the wiring is already pretty simple.

  9. george zaky says:

    Awesome- hope they run as well as they look.
    I have learned, at great expense, for HO scale DCC to buy engines factory DCC with sound, NEVER DCC ready, never DCC only, and forget about adding DCC to old stuff. I have old DC running for nostalgia sake and I am not happy with the conversions. Make sure in your selection of system that your layout is DCC ready- turnouts and power- and provide adequate amps for now & future growth.
    Dave- as they say in da USA- you da man!
    George from LI, NY

  10. Rob MacIver says:

    Conversion to DCC, especially on older vintage locos, seems to be an error-prone hassle to me. I’d vote for purchasing purpose-built DCC equipment if that’s the way you want to go.

  11. Ken says:

    Running DCC is worth it, you can control multiple locos at the same time without having to throw switches every time one passes from one section of track to another. Also you can run multiple locos together in a multiple unit lashup.
    First question and maybe the most important – Are these locos ones you really want? Can they be purchased with DCC installed?
    Second is – If you convert, who will do the work? You or will you pay someone to do it?
    Third – If you are thinking of doing the work yourself, do you really have the skill to do it? The knowledge is out there, but if someone is “all thumbs” it’s probably best to not attempt it. Think resale value – a botched DCC install will send it to the trash
    Lastly, will you run other locos on your layout? If so, will they have DCC? They don’t mix well, if at all

  12. Donovan says:

    Loco Sam, Loco. Rust is a must.

  13. THOMAS says:


    I love to watch your trains run !

  14. Gloria Bullman says:

    What a treat today’s stories and pictures are. Loved Sam’s steam punk, beautiful design and execution. Pap’s solution was great and came out beautifully, also gave a budding artist a chance.
    Bob, we also have a take-down set up as our train is in our Christmas city. It’s a nice compromise. It’s actually fun to put it back up.
    Dave, you are indeed the master. You have inspired us* to add the Brooklyn Bridge to our city. Did you build yours from scratch? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thx
    Dave and Gloria
    * When I say “us” I mean “me,” Gloria. I do all the creative stuff and Dave makes it all work. He will be thrilled at the “opportunity” to light the Brooklyn Bridge.😎

  15. richard scott says:

    Absolutely! DCC is so simple to install and operate. One DCC power supply can operate as many as eight locomotives. Track wiring is simple. No blocks or switches that must be used to keep trains running. If there is a reversing loop a DCC part is available to change track polarity automatically. I have a simple Bachmann unit ($100 dollars US) that supports 8 locomotives. With an inexpensive add on it gives full control of 2 locomotives and will allow 6 more to run unattended. My DCC adapters were about $20 US dollars eaach and were firly easy to install.

  16. KenG says:

    I saw that Hornby Steampunk engine on a YouTube video, coincidentally called “Sam’s Trains” about 3 months ago (you aren’t that same Sam are you??). Anyway, yours look a lot better than the Hornby one.

  17. bob lashley says:

    Love to read each an every email have gotten many ideas that have helped me to understand better some of the things i want to put into my layout to which i have taken that long awaited first step an have slowly submerged into beginning to build my layout starting with the wood an framework that will hold the track, locos, rolling stock an scenery,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  18. Jim MacLean says:

    Question for Dangerous Dave. I’ve noticed on your wonderful train layout a truck with the name HANSON on it. Three years ago, my best friend of 52 years passed away. Although he was not a model train enthusiast, he was a HANSON & always enjoyed me running my trains for him whenever he visited. I would like to know the store where you purchased it & the e-mail contact address so I could order one. I think it would make a nice addition to my layout & also serve as a nice tribute to my late friend. Thanks for your time. Jim from CB.

  19. Helmut Eppich says:

    Always nice to see a video of your layout. Very relaxing just watching your trains on their run. Makes one feel like a kid again. Hope you had great holidays. Looking forward to seeing your next video.

  20. For the Crazy Dangerous Dave videos

    I always look forward to his videos as well as all the magic he uses to keep them interesting. Great entertainment for me because I once had a nice layout and was going to do another one when one of my kids decided (at the age of 47) he wanted the complete set and I let him have it. He then send me an email and said he disposed of all the broken pieces (was going to be used as layout pieces) and that’s when I realized he had no intention other then trying to give me more pain for letting him have it. He had no clue about how to utilize all the pieces broken or not.

    Thus, Dave’s layouts as well as many others do show how they actually use everything in many ways.

  21. david Howarth says:

    DCC ias the best way , but i would advice buying DCC fitted rather than trying to convert from DC , som are not too bad but a lot do give problems , so to me buying DCC ready is the easiest way , to answer Jim re Hanson trucks , This was a haulage company founded in my old home Town Hudderfield by James Hanson, i bought these about 10 years ago they were made by Oxford diecast , have looked on line but can not find any , just a case of keep checking to see if anyone has any for sale better probably on e bay ..thank you all re comments on my video …..Dangerous Dave

  22. Ron Nelson says:

    To add SCC to a Loco it has to be DCC ready or you will have a problem isolating to motor from the frame. Ron Fla.

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