Steve’s progress and John’s print out scenery

Here’s another ‘how to’ video from the talented John.

I gave John the latest offering in the print out scenery range, so he could have a tinker with it.

But I have to say, I was amazed with what he came up with.

Believe it or not, it’s all made from just one print (printed out lots of times…)

It really does show how this embankment is only limited by your imagination.

You can make an embankment as long or as short as you like.

Here are the pics of his ‘creation’:


emabnkment 3


So how did he do it? Well, John was kind enough to record this ‘how to’ video:

I really can’t thank John enough.

(The embankment print is HO scale at 100% – as they all are. Print out at 54% for N scale).

You can see more of the print out scenery here in the store.

For all you arm chair modellers out there, if the stone wall doesn’t get you excited for a first project, there’s always the Beginner’s Guide.

And now for the latest from Steve’s layout:

“Hi Al

The modern engine shed area under development!

This is the latest area following the station projects and this shows it partly finished as above which will hopefully be useful to viewers.

Many ancillary buildings and other parts are yet to be placed, paths, fences walls etc are partly fixed.

First I thought was a perimeter wall to keep train spotters out!( always a challenge in the old days but I always got in!).

I had some fun with this as I have left a small gap in the wall to creep though!

Note the 3mm of cork packing under the shed to compensate for the foam ballast this will be covered completely once completed similar to the small shed by the station shown in the first photo.

Learning from my own errors here is what to watch out for

1) Curves will create fouling issues always double check as the track is laid relative to buildings and other solid objects!

2) check track spacing for alignment and centre to centre ( you can buy ready made spacers for this)

3) Check the track fits in the shed correctly this often requires altering the approach roads or centres to fit and remember long locomotives will requires more space.

3) I laid the walls first immediately in front of the( rear) main line to create a realistic barrier

4) in an effort to convert the train set to something realistic think about buildings and services typical of a depot , car park, freight entrance, offices, storage buildings, roadway approach, gates, paths and equipment, some compromise is usually necessary but well worth thinking and “playing” about shows with it until it is as near right as it can be!

Hope your viewers find it useful and this addresses some of the questions and thanks for the positive comments,


diesel engine

diesel shunting yard

engine house

engine houses

engine shed

That’s all this time folks.

Thanks to Steve and John.

Please do keep ’em coming.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

37 Responses to Steve’s progress and John’s print out scenery

  1. Ben H says:

    Buildings and Stone work are really good

  2. Glyn says:

    John that embankment wall is amazing – beautifully done and so creative. And Steve what superb job of landscaping the train yard. Super attention to detail and very realistic. Thank you both.

  3. Gilbert Hernandez says:

    Great video. Love the passion!

  4. Dan Marso says:

    That embankment is remarkable, the print outs are great, and you can use them over and over . Thanks for the great video, and I noticed John was using cereal
    Boxes, I had wondered where to get the backing, another material we all have almost an unlimited supply of in our homes.

    Dan Marso

  5. Marklin ed. says:


  6. tom says:

    What scale are your building print outs? I did not see a scale.

  7. Rick says:

    Amazing ! We will use your ideas on our layout .


    Where can I get printouts of the engine sheds as seen in the above photos.
    Many thanks and all the best, Mike.

  9. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    John is a natural!! Video shot done very well, informative, entertaining, holds your interest, easy to hear him speak and understand him, and passionate as another fellow mentioned. Now this makes one want to stop what they are doing and get right after this! Super and among the best workshops I have watched.
    Thank you for doing this John.

  10. Cliff says:

    Brlliant!! Who knew a paper print-out could become a stone embankment and viaduct! Graet imagination and modeling skill.
    Cliff, USA

  11. George Ross says:

    Outstanding layout and ideas.

  12. NJ Mark says:

    Your work is terrific. And, your zeal for the hobby is infectious. Looking forward to more how to’ s NJ Mark

  13. Thomas Murphy says:

    Most enjoyable video that I’ve witnessed in some time, John. Funny thing is, I’ve learned so much from it. Thank you for the information, I’m about to apply your techniques.
    Regards, Tom.

  14. Bill says:

    John is the “Steve Irwin” of model railroading!

  15. Austin Wilson says:

    So nice to see Steve that we share the same engine houses. I have 2 two bay engines and 2 one bay engine houses on my layout like yours. I have rhem at the end of my large rail yard, but I do like how you have them and make a change to have coming off track by themselves. My rail yard is twelve tracks wide so I figured having them at the end would be okay. Love your comments and ideas Steve. Love John’s print out scenery. Happy rail roading everyone.

  16. wow wotta great wall and printout
    keep em runnin fellas
    stjohn in long beach calif

  17. Hi guys, thanks and there are more photos of the progress from bare board to complete with Al. As photos are memory intensive this is edited for presentation purposes. Should anyone want to see build up from almost scratch I am sure Al will supply. Final details to go on, oil, dirt, people etc! This was an exercise on getting over 20 locomotives in a small area of the layout the compromise is curves not all straight roads but all is tested now and works fine. The depot is adjacent to the terminus stain featured earlier and allows fairly realistic and interesting off main line movements. Good modelling everyone

  18. Chris Daws says:

    Thankyou, your video is an inspiration. Watching you work with card an listening to your explanations reminds me of my late father who loved making things for his railway. I recently started a layout with my grandson using all the locos, rolling stock, track and some buildings that my Dad left me. My grandson and I have made some buildings, but we have some areas of elevated track and you have made me realise some if it should have a stone arched wall….thanks again, I can watch you all day.

    Chris and grandson William

  19. Rod Mackay says:

    Steve, I appreciate you’re trying to make the most of the space, but I think you could consider taking out the second servicing shed. I can’t think of a location that had the fuelling point(s) right in front of the servicing roads like that, I’d suggest a separate fuelling road with a tanker unloading road alongside. As well as looking more spacious and realistic, it gives you more shunting to do, each loco going for its exam, then to fuel, then to stable, not to mention swapping out the tanker now and then.

  20. Tony Wedding says:

    Great how-to video and cash saving ideas.

  21. Hi Rod Yes agreed it is a little cozy! space is the issue but you are right to be more realistic two sheds would be les cramped however, it is a compromise unless I get a bigger loft haha. I seem to remember Saltley shed in Birmingham had a fueling point in front of the shed but perhaps my memory is not up to scratch I have photos so I will check. I do have oil takers nearby with a pumping station etc to offer some realism which are just off to the side of the stabling lines at the left hand side of the first shed. Regards Steve

  22. idris dixon says:

    That was a fantastic video and full of passion, really, really enjoyed watching it
    Iddy of Bridgend

  23. JD Scott says:

    John, thank you for the great entertainment as well as fantastic tutorial. Some of the best ideas I have seen anywhere. Still working on laying track but will be sure to use this technique when I get to the scenery. For your next video, I will be sure to make some popcorn! Best, JD

  24. Tom Finner says:


    A real artist and talented presenter. Thanks for making something both informative and entertaining.


  25. Robert Cooney says:

    Fantastic ideas. Thank You 🙂

  26. Marklin ed says:

    John self portrait is also very good. He is an artist after my oun heart.
    Thanks again ……

  27. NJ Mark says:

    Another great, passionate video from John. I love to watch and above all, learn. Thanks and Cheers! NJ Mark

  28. Thomas Gregelevich says:

    U guys are incredible, beautiful work guys.

  29. Gerry says:

    I really enjoy John’s exhuberance and excitement in his videos. He does some pretty amazing things with paper and cardboard/hard stock.

  30. Ian Mc Donald says:

    The video was extremely well done. The rail sheds and surrounding very nicely done and fit in so well..

  31. Mr Chris Warr says:

    Really good, love the ideas

  32. Bob Walker says:

    Hey John… another fantastic tutorial… while I see you usually use cereal boxes for a card-stock backing on the print-out scenery (a great way to recycle), do you ever use “foam-core”? Not sure what you call it in the UK, but that’s what we call it in the states & architects use it for creating scale mock-ups of their designs…it also comes in different thicknesses… keep up the great work! -Bob W, NH, USA.

  33. Bob Walker says:

    Hi there, Steve… Superb detail in your layout… thanx for sharing… 😉 -Bob W, NH USA.

  34. Dana Vincent says:

    What scale are the streets, highways bundle? Buildings?
    I didn’t see how many scale feet, meters or miles it contains. Can you advise?
    Love it all, though.
    Dana Vincent

  35. Rocco Maley says:

    Hi Al, I am so grateful that you have contacted me again. For years you have been sending me these great ways of how to do things and some of the great tips the readers have given us. I have even subscribed to the beginners guide, but for the past year or two I have not received anything from you. We have lost touch. When I tried to get back in contact with you I never did receive a reply. I am so happy that you have contacted me again. Please continue to do so. Your tips have helped me in the hobby so much. Thank you again. Rocco Maley.

  36. Dan says:


  37. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool.!!!! I hope mine turns out that good.

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