Model railroad layouts plans
Starting today’s missive with this gem from Barry:
“Don’t let fear keep you from trying something you haven’t done before. The expert has made more mistakes than the beginner ever will.”
Wise words, when you consider how a lot of us feel.
And to prove a point, here’s a question from Russell that I’m sure we can all relate to:
MY NAME IS Russell, I’ve been in Model Trains since I was 6 Yrs old. and have had some good size layout and some small layouts, But this is the smallest one yet for my HO Scale layout 2Ft x 3Ft and even though I live in a 29 Ft Camp Trailer the hardest part for me is Downsizing my entire layout.
My layout did consist of 4 Lumber Mills, 3 Communities, 1 Coaling/Gravel Mining Operation, 1 Dairy, 2 large Farms, 3 R.R.Yards. and a lot of forest area.
Now it is down to 1 Mill, A small Dairy with a small Stock Yard and 1 Small Community.still with some 77 Rolling Stock and 5 Locomotives (1. Shay, 1. 0-6-0, 2. 0-4-0 and 1. Porter Hustler)
I just don’t feel like I belong to any R.R. Organization being that my layout is so small and who would want someone layout connected to their large layouts.
I also feel intimidated when I go to Train Show and see all those Large Layouts and see all those things that I would like to put on my layout but with no room it’s kind of hard for me. Where do I belong in the Model R.R. ?
I would love to hear your repies to Russell – please post a comment below if you can.
Hemi’s been in touch with some great tips:
I’ve a model railroaded all of my life pretty much, (since age 2!)
A few of my ‘load’ ideas:
Coal? Michael’s Craft store “black decorative sand” with the use of .030 thick styrene, glued and sealed around the inside edges of the coal hopper, so that glue can not seep through, let to fully cure.
Then add the black sand in “heaps” to look like the piles left from the coal bunker/loader, glue down with white glue as ballast would be applied to the tracks that said car will ride upon. I’ve found that 3 applications of the blasting glue seals the ‘load’ to the top of that fitted plastic liner…. NO paint required…… and looks as realistic as the real thing!
Being a modeled for so long I have 2 Unimat machine centers….one lathe, & one milling machine. I make A LOT of aluminum “chips”….. recycled the chips in gondola cars glued yet again like ballast would be, makes for a realistic scrap metal load…. rust up with paint or actual rust dust when gluing in, looks great.
I’ll send pics of all this when I am able….
Need lighting for either DC cab control (analog)? Easy. Get that old radio, CD player, VCR, even an old 8 track player (for the older crew), find out what a Diode looks like, and remove it from the pc board, and your off to make your own directional lighting.
Wanna make a old Athearn blue box dummy have directional lighting. Again, easy….. The older Athearn dummies had metal truck side frames…..GOOD! Those said side frames make for great electrical pick ups to power lighting without them being powered or geared to run, and pull, and still look good. Run the wires as you would for a powered loco, and solder them to the diodes, placed correctly, and you’ll have a “lighted” dummy….I call this trick, “Dummy with a brain” LOL
Also, this trick WILL run both analog as well as DCC, DCC users be sure to try to add some light resistance to the bulb, with say a 480 OHM, 1/4 watt resistor…. Remember, the higher OHM resistor, the dimmer the bulbs brightness will be! The resistors ALSO can be extracted from those old electronic things….. Radio, CD player, DVD player, VCR, and again, even an old 8 track player….
With all the old electronic stuff being stripped of its electrical components, they once had “binding posts” that wire was once tightly wrapped around said posts for electrical connections….. those posts? Make GREAT flat car stakes….. fitted to open stAke pockets like those on Athearn 40 & 50 foot flat cars that never had them in the kit…..
Also, those old electronic things being stripped of their parts also contain pc board power supplies. DO NOT, use them for train controls unless your so electrically inclined, to figure out the output voltage, and AMP’s they put out to not destroy electrical things you’d rather not loose…. BUT, use those little things for flat car loads. I’ve got a couple planned myself…..
Got a junk electrical drill? The armature in it with it taken all apart and the shafts being nothing but straight, with nothing on them make for a great HeAvy duty 4 truck flat car load. -I’ve got one of the Walthers 4 truck depress center cars with one on it to look like a power plant part….. Mine currently is made to look like one that’s been removed, the next car I do, will be a cleaned up new & shiny one to look like the new part coming to the power plant.
Again, I’ll provide picks when I’m able of this….
Best regards, Al,
And now on to Larry:
“Alaster, here is my little twist on your train shed. Really turned out great.
Larry from MD. U.S.A.”
I asked Larry how he did the doors, here’s his reply:
“Made a pattern of paper and transferred it to cardboard. the crossbracing in also cardboard. Used a fine line marker for the lines and balsa wood for the door catch. Chain is 40 links to the inch. Buy the way, this is HO scale. Glad you liked it and will send more pics if you would like.
Love what Larry’s done there!
Here’s a pic of one John made:
As with all the scenery on the site – it’s made from these printouts that you just stick together:
Or if you want the bundle, you can grab that here.
But you might just want to pick and mix – there are 3 different engine sheds in the store – in which case you can do that here.
Here’s John showing you how to put them together:
That’s all today folks – please do keep ’em coming.
Don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you feel like everyone else is having the fun.
20 responses to “Larry’s train shed”
My 12ft by 11ft summer house is home to my Lionel O scale layout but as it doubles as a summer house/man cave/ den. I made it so well that my wife said there was no way I was going to have my trains in there, but we compromised and I now have a high level simple two track there and back layout, I have about 12 Legacy Locomotives steam and diesel, which I rotate every so often, I to envy all of those massive layouts but I get equal enjoyment out of mine, so lay back chill and do not stress. (its a hobby and not life threatening.) If I knew how to post pictures on here I would love to share how its possible in a small space with 3 rail O gauge. I am 71 and live in the UK.
Hemp, you already have a shape model for your replacement power-plant, and so can use the technique showed here (spreading tissue paper sprayed with PVA) to create the tarpaulin covered replacement. Of course, the tarpaulin will be empty, but who’s to know that? Shape it around the load and the wagon, let it dry, and then peel the dried tarpaulin off the load before putting it back onto the wagon. Paint can be done during “doping” or after it’s all dry. Don’t forget the tie-down straps/chains Regards, Tom
The touchstone measure surely is enjoyment. Reading a blog on a different forum a modeller started off full of enthusiasm for the complicated prototype junction he set out to model. After 6 months he stopped posting his progress. After nearly a year he returned and explained that the project had slowly killed his enjoyment. It was costing him a lot of money, time and stress. He was going to tidy up a few loose ends and then run it as it was. Forget the prototype!
I’m on my second layout. Much smaller than my first. I’m taking my time and enjoying it. Small can be beautiful!
Experience and competence in any field are built on mistakes. You cannot have the former without the latter. Having retired early due to disability has some advantages. I can now start my railroad modeling hobby which was inspired by my grandfather 50 years ago. Now that I am getting older, I am beginning to “think in HO scale.” I see odds and ends and realize that they might fit on the train set. I have a train box that collects things for possible use later on the layout. I really enjoy reading all the posts and the videos are vey inspiring. Will send in some of my own in the future.
I don’t think anyone is happy with the size of their layout. You always want to add one more feature. A small layout is better than none. Mine is a 027on a 12′ x 10′ L. With 027 it takes up a lot of board space. I am happy with it but I am almost finished with it. I like running the trains but enjoy the building more. I think there are a lot of us out there. Now I am looking at changing areas as I learn new tricks.
I guess I will never be finished. You should think about N gauge. You can get va lot in a small area. Good luck and please let us know what you do.
Steve from Toms River
Russell it’s all about enjoyment….enjoy your own layout so it’s small so what it’s probably better than some of tired old large layouts in shows ….I’ve seen lots of small layouts full of quality just tell yourself mine is great !
If you ever display your layout remember to make sure it’s dusted and everything is in good repair……beauty is in the eye of the beholder mainly yourself .
My layout is just total mishmash of eras and styles but it’s my creation..
I think every are right ,It does’ not need to be 1,ooo foot X ten miles long and wide to be your best ever miniature village as long as you did the design and all the hard work it took to build it ! I am building a 4′ X 6′ two level RR for my grandson
that’s maybe bigger than my own by a factor of 4.6 times , because I needed a test track to test my ideas for the one I want to give him and my son if I get it done for the holidays ?
So just enjoy your hobby and have fun !
Be well and stay safe one and all ,you to Al.
I had an old Whiteground O scale kit that is a semikit that has only uncut wood parts and sheets without Windows. I had to cut all window openings and the doors had to be made scratch. Paper plans were off although I put the plan directly on it, cutting plans onto the sheet wood. The plastic Windows were too big to fit openings so I had to carefully scrape openings to fit. I got my Atlas hopper and it was too big! I then read the instruction and they stated it was scaled down because prototype would’ve been too large. So, my locos were too long and wide for the two stall car shop so I recut opening into a one stall. Worst kit and not recommended. I now got standard sheets and it matches the kit wood exactly. I lengthened the building 6 inches and made a base to strengthen it by using thick tablet cardboard artists use. It looks nothing like the kit. O scale is not easy as I expected. There’s no good wood kits. I have had several….
Hi, Russell. This is Russ from Maine, USA. I started with HO when I was 13 years old. Had several layouts through the years. Gave it all up when I was about 35. Got the bug again in late 1990’s and went out a bought a bunch of N scale and a 3′ x 5′ piece of plywood. I messed with it for a couple of years and then gave it all to a relative. Now, at 82 years of age, I am getting ready for another 3′ x 5′ n scale layout. I have accumulated a bunch of track, with switches, from eBay. Also built a few buildings and sometime after Christmas I will get serious.
The size does not mean much so long as you enjoy it and there is little you can do about what someone else might think about what you are doing. Just enjoy it!
I like the shed. But, I’d really like to see Larry’s layout. There is no such thing as too many suggestions/ideas for small layouts. I have limited space, too.
I think the hardest things to which to adjust are an empty nest and the inevitable downsizing of one’s home. Along with that is trying to maintain some semblance or normality with our lifestyles and choices for entertainment. Often times, in the US, it seems that the prevailing attitudes of “the bigger the better” and “keeping up with the Jones-es” dictate our choices. Sometimes we just cannot afford those luxuries. I love my 90 inch LED Sharp TV. I also envy my friend in Maine who converted his two car stand-alone garage into his train house with one massive layout that filled the room, on which he hung old train lanterns and lights on the outside of the walls, set up highway railroad crossing signals along the pathway that led from his back door to his, as he called it, “train barn.” But alas, that was not what was in store for me.
If my home was a 29 foot camp trailer, I wouldn’t be able to have a 90 inch TV. At the same time, I don’t have a 2 car stand-alone garage in which to build my model railroad nor the space to build that type of building in my yard. Rather, the lawn mower, gardening tools, Christmas decorations, work bench and tool boxes for normal household repairs (not model railroad building), and junk that I just cannot come to part with all share the same 14 X 24 foot Amish built storage shed in my back yard (garden for those in England).
Russell, the R.R. Organization that you belong to is far bigger than any local club. It is, rather, a brotherhood, or should I say a ‘human hood’ since there are a number of women who build as well, that thousands belong to, many of which who have never joined a local club. Model Railroading is primarily a hobby for most that do it. It is something that we do because we love the excitement of building a city, a landscape, a community, or a replica of a line we have seen or experienced, the way we want it to be. We take pride in the fact that we brought our layout to life with our bare hands, by having a vision. We have fought the challenges of making the scale look right. We have spent time painting and mixing paints together to get the hardscapes to appear as realistic as we can. We have recycled, re-purposed, tried, screwed up, torn it apart, put it back together, over and over again to get it just right. And whether we started with a 2X3 foot layout or ended up with a 2X3 foot layout, it wasn’t about size. It was about having our vision come to life and inviting others to enjoy it with us.
In this blog, I have seen layouts in suitcases, brief cases, on top of toilet seats and coffee tables, as well as those that fill the attic/loft, or snake through multiple rooms in one’s house. I have even seen those that are under the house in the crawl space. I would say that for the most part, each person in this group builds for his own enjoyment first. Then they invite others to enjoy their accomplishments.
The very fact that you have been able to make so much come together on a 2X3 foot layout in HO Scale amazes me, and I, for one, would like to see it. Have you sent in pictures? If not, would you?
As far as being intimidated at a large layout train show, don’t be. Go there to look for ideas; to find new and innovative ways to do things. Go there to admire the work of others. Stand proud that your layout is 2X3 and that you have maintained scale and have incorporated all the things you have. And remember, you belong to the same Model RR group that all of us belong to, Alastair’s Moderated Group…THIS ONE.
Keep building, keep planning, and keep your dream alive.
love watching and laughing with Larry’s little bits. Have a question. Larry have you ever done any of these buildings that would allow for a very tiny led inside
to light the building up at night? I thought LED’s burn cool and might work.
I have been watching your website for over a year. Most interesting. I am new at modeling and about all I have learned from your site is all the mistakes I have made. I am greateful for that plus the enjoyment of seeing such wonderful layouts of folks who know what they are doing. I would like to know how the cheat sheet prosram works from purchase to a completed building. Thanking you ln advance,
Hi Russell, congratulations on having an operating layout. I am a member of a model railway association in Brisbane, Australia, and some members don’t even have a layout. Two things you need to remember. 1. Don’t compare yourself to others s. In this world there will always be other people with the bigger layout, nicer house, flashier car etc. Run your own race. 2. Work out what you really enjoy in the hobby and focus on that. I am an Australian but model British railways. One of our chaps has built a small portable layout called Inglenook. This is small switching / shunting layout. I operated this for 2 hours at a show and
loved it. It is only 2 1/2 feet long by 1 foot wide. Google inglenook and see if that appeals. If you just love long trains maybe there is local railway club you join. As a complete left of field idea, next time you are at show, ask one of the big layouts if you can help them out and maybe run a train or two. They might be glad of the break. Best of luck mate. Regards, Peter in Brisbane
I will go with Fred, ENJOY the fact that you have a layout. There will always be bigger and maybe better ones out there, however you have one and I think many people out there wish they had one and do not.
Hey a camp trailer could have a lay out built along the wall I have a 30 ft 5th wheel thought about a lay out just for fun along 1 side wall with a loop at each end will look like 2 tracks side by side . OR putting it elevated on the ceiling like I did in my under ground house .
I would love to model in HO, but since downsizing to a smaller home, I have little space. So I went with N scale on a 3X5 foot board. It is far from finished, I only work on it a few times a week. But it’s just the enjoyment of having a layout verses not. I still add things or change the track arrangement if I so desire. I don’t belong to any clubs, but enjoy going to any local shows to enjoy what others do. My small layout has no particular theme, I just roll with what I feel for and able to afford. So whatever you decide on, I’m sure will give you much satisfaction.
Russell, fitting something you like and that works into a small space is usually more of an achievement than filling a room so I don’t think you would find most club members dismissive. If you want something bigger, ask your library to find you The late Peter Denny’s book on the Buckingham branch, Wild Swan Publications 1993, isbn 1 874103 14 3. He had a layout of various folding and removable sections that all fit in a footprint of 4′ X 1’6″ in a bed sitting room but folded out to a 10′ terminus-to-fiddle yard U shaped layout, a real inspiration.
I belong to a railroad club that welcomes ANYONE who has an interest in trains. Having a layout, whatever size, is NOT a requirement for membership. We have two members who have no layout at home for various reasons but have some engines and rolling stock they run on club trackage. We make an effort to keep the fun in the hobby while trying to have a sense of realism with the layout. An important part of enjoying the hobby is the sharing of ideas and tips as this website club that Al created does nearly every other day!
Norm Lawrence in York, PA
How do I get my layout pics on this I would like to share my layout with you all thanks Brian