The tips and pics keep on coming

Well, I’m hopelessly behind again.

I’ve still not got all the buildings in the new store. Just so you know, the old store is here, and the new store is here. Soon to be all in one place!

I hope to get up to date by the end of the week. Until then, here are some pearls of wisdom from Mike:

“Scale-
• You can purchase an app to help with scaling conversions. I used Woodland Scenic Scaler. Very helpful as I added road beds, scratch buildings, and scenery.

Laying the Track-
• I use an all in one track for my layouts because most off the shelf beginner sets come with this style of track. Its easy to work with, come in many different lengths, straight , curved sections, and you can add turnouts, crossings and crossovers. It does have some limitations but it is perfect for most beginners.
• The plastic road bed does not look realistic however with a little weathering and some ballast it looks just great.
• In my garage, I measure and tape out on the floor the shape of my layout. Once completed I then layout the track. The all in one track makes this very easy as it just snaps together and apart.
Note: I made a few early mistakes (costly) when purchasing locomotives and rolling stock. Follow the manufacturers recommendation on ” runs best with 22″ or 18″ radius track” if its best run on 22″ and you have 18″ you will have issues with operations on the curves.

Power Up-
• I switched from DC to DCC on my second layout. Most new sets come with a very basic DCC system. The basic sets are easy to program and add a bit of realism that really adds to the fun.
• I used the Bachmann Dynamis system but there are many others out there that are more and less expensive. The beauty of these systems is that you can control the entire operations of your layout from the tip of your fingers. ( lights, speed, sound, crossings, turnouts etc.)
• The newer controllers are even more advanced. You can run your system from your phone or tablet.
Scenery-
• Most of my tips are already posted but I do like to add real items like rock, moss, dirt. I will use ground coffee to simulate dirt and small twigs and branches for my trees and shrubs.
• I like to make my own signs and billboards when possible. Its much cheaper and I think they look very realistic. I just search on line for the signs I want to build, ( billboard , street signs, railroad signs etc,) print them to scale and use painted balsa wood to build the posts and frames
• I also add graffiti and decals using a similar technique.You can purchase decal/transfer paper at a local supply store. find the graphic you like on line, scale, print and apply. Cheap and easy
• I build mountains and tunnels with foam, plaster sheets and sometime a combination of both. I did learn from an early mistake to add an access panel on the back side of the piece for the unfortunate derailment or cleaning.

I think that’s all I have for now.

Best,

Mike”

And lastly, you may remember some excellent tips from Alan in this post. Well, he speaks with good authority, have a look at his last layout (the poor soul had to break it up when he moved).

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You can tell Alan has a keen eye for photography as well as train layouts. Cracking pics.

That’s all this time folks. Don’t forget if your getting bored of the armchair, the Beginner’s Guide is here, lovingly edited by the Hall of Fame members.

Keep ’em coming.

Best

Al

PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

41 Responses to The tips and pics keep on coming

  1. Bob says:

    Outstanding job!

  2. Gene Foster says:

    WOW! Absolutely stunning!

  3. Eric says:

    Alan. Condolences for having to break it up. Stunning scenery, love the snowy scenes and the autumn shades and you definitely have an eye for detail. pics 2 and 4 could be real life. The station looks good too but it didn’t specify what scale you used.

    Mike. Congrats on becoming a Hall of Fame member.

    Eric (Leeds) UK.

  4. Tom Nichols says:

    What a great looking layout…….the colors are outstanding

  5. John R says:

    Beautiful layout, nicely done.

  6. Ian Schoeman says:

    Wow. Stunning

  7. Lawrence says:

    This is os real and I wonder how many decades did it take to make. Sooper nice. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. JW says:

    Some of the best alpine snow scenes I have seen!

  9. Pete says:

    I really like the fall colors. The colors make it vèry bright and seem to add another dimension.

  10. Marklin ed says:

    That one great layout? THANK

  11. Robert E Kelsey Jr says:

    Fantastic job, maybe one day soon I can build mine, no room in my apt.

  12. Ray says:

    Absolutely beautiful Maerklin HO layout.

    Great Job.

    Ray

  13. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Truly an outstanding layout,would like to see more,please.

  14. Bill Orzechowski says:

    Beauticul work. Very impressive. I just started my layout. I hope it turns out half as good. This is my first attempt. Getting a late start at 68 years old. Keep up the great work. You are an inspiration.

  15. Dan Marso says:

    Beautiful layout !

    Danny Marso, Rhode Island

  16. Richard Baierlein says:

    Absolutely beautiful!

    Any chance of seeing the track plan of the layout; would love to see it.

    Richard

  17. Bret Chapman says:

    Very good work and splendid detail. Just amazing. Love the wonderful fall colors.
    That is a definite enhancement to a layout that I’ve not seen before. Wonderful !

  18. Rudy Avadikian says:

    Stunning is an understatement. Very artistic. How do you manage to keep the snow white after a period of time?

  19. Jim Dooley says:

    Awesome job. Love to get started on mine soon I hope.
    Great inspirations of all the members with their layouts.

  20. Paul Vogel says:

    Hey Alan, I’m jealous of your talent !!!!! Paul Ohio USA

  21. John Reynolds says:

    Absolutely stunning work!
    John

  22. Steve.O says:

    Sensational !!!!

  23. Gene Fricks says:

    I use the contents of used tea bags instead of coffee grounds to simulate soil. Right color, lightweight, easy to handle.

  24. James Chesky says:

    EXCEPTIONAL

  25. Vic Heffren says:

    BEAUTIFUL

  26. James Maitlasnd says:

    WOW. I would hate to break that layout up. Fantastic!!

  27. Jim Sulkosky says:

    Great layout very nice.

  28. Sundaram P says:

    Breadth taking creation. Absolutely, fantastic detailing.

  29. Tom says:

    Beautiful stupendous looks great my goodness what a wonderful job or jobs that is looks so real that was so wonderful like that before either wow wow wow

  30. ken says:

    Realistic and full of detail, wonderful work, look forward to seeing more.

  31. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great layout photos the tips will come in handy .

  32. Gary O'Leary says:

    wonderful job

  33. Rod Mackay says:

    That really is lovely work, it’s great it was so well recorded photographically. I treasure some old slides of my earlier layouts, very few of them sadly, as I made the mistake of thinking “I’ll take pictures when it’s finished” but like most layouts, some never got that far.
    Rod

  34. Michael Heffernan says:

    WOW That’s awesome

  35. Steve says:

    How did you make the fog/steam on the water fog? Amazing!

  36. Nigel Costa says:

    I’m speechless!
    Absolutely brilliant, award winning!

  37. david howarth says:

    Fantastic layout Alan …Dave

  38. KEITH CAREY says:

    Alan and Mike,

    I will “second” what Eric said about the realism in pics 2 and 4.

    But, let me spotlight pics 1 and 3 also. Just adding that bridge and the way you blend in the baxkground is colossal.

    I was reading where someone said we get paralysis in the design phase and never really make the attempt. If i let you all know how i am developing my layout foundationl, you might all laugh. Point is, we can avoid technical calculations when building elevations.

    I am surprised how the modular track has turned out. This calls for a second look for using in remote-reachable areas of the layout. How you made the rails stand out from the covering and weathering is incredible.

    God bless you,

    Keith Carey
    Columbus, Ohio USA

  39. Jeff says:

    What a great job!

  40. James says:

    love the bridge in the first pic

  41. Rols says:

    The realism is first class: I mistook the first picture to be a 1:1 SBB+CFF express.

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