Latest HO Model Train Update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted for Barbara’s HO layout, but Rob has been working on it little by little.

The picnic area by the church has been finished.  A structure has been built and all that’s needed are a group of ravenous church goers.

Picnic area

Picnic area

Under close supervision, a chain gang from the prison are working on the road, patching cracks and filling potholes.  Rob gives special thanks to his friend Der for the incredible scratch-built tar trailer.  Its amazing detail does not show in the photo.

Chain Gang

Chain Gang

An RV has been identified as a crime scene and the forensics team of the local police department has been brought in.  As with most poverty stricken communities, the police force is very well funded.

Crime scene

Crime scene

More to come soon…


Rob’s N Scale Model Train Update

Here are a few pics of Rob’s reworked N scale model train layout…

Rob's revised track plan #1

Revised plan #1

Revised N scale track plan #2

A second view of the N scale layout.

Third view of N scale train layout.

Third view of Rob's N scale layout.

Rob regrets having incorporated grades into his N scale benchwork.  Too many shims required.  To reduce the work, he is experimenting with spray insulation expanded between lower and upper foam sheets, temporarily held in place with 2×4 boards and bricks.  We’ll let you know how that goes.


General Pics of the Model Train Layout

Some of the photos Rob has provided show various buildings in Sherman’s Crossing. I have put some of these together to show how things are developing. Rob asks that you pardon the mess as it is a work in progress.

Kathryn’s Feed & Seed building is in place with signage. The little folks are beginning to purchase supplies there. It is named for one of our sisters.

Kathryn's Feed & Seed

Rob isn’t sure yet what Barbara will name the hospital. For the time being it has been dubbed “Hell’s Pass Hospital”. This photo shows the layout.

Hell's Pass Hospital

Rob attempted to repair some of the pavement done previously. He doesn’t like the results and may just remove it and “repave.

Attempt at road patching

The town’s gas station got paved under and Rob is ordering a light for the service bay which will simulate a welder being used.

Paving under gas station

Below are a few overview pics, to give a general idea of where some things are located in relation to each other.

Overview #1


Overview #2


Overview #3


More of Barbara’s HO Scale Trailer Park

Anyone involved with real estate knows residential areas next to industrial buildings tend to house the low end of society.  Notice the lumber mill adjacent to the trailer park.

On the “wrong side of the tracks”, the trailer park couldn’t be situated in a less desirable location.

Trailer Park between tracks and Mill

“Bubble’s shed” as this small building has been dubbed, is filled with cats, shopping carts, and what didn’t fit was placed nearby. Definitely a trashy scene in keeping with the theme.

Bubble's shed near tracks

Barbara talked Rob into painting the characters henceforth called “the trailer park boys.” He almost lost it when she insisted that Julian be holding a glass in one hand. At HO scale, these people are TINY!

Trailer Park Boys


Sons of Anarchy and the Trailer Park

To honor the TV show, the Sons of Anarchy have moved to town and are already taking over their new home.  Watch for trouble as these bikers mean business.

New home for The Sons

New additions have been made to the trailer Park in Sherman’s Crossing. The driveways have been paved and it has been wired for the lighting of the trailers.

Work being done on the trailer park.

Julian and Ricky are being arrested on trumped up charges by the local cops. On close inspection, bubbles can be found in his shed with his kitties.

Arrests at the trailer park


HO Scale Plowed Field and a Pond Added

Rob has added a field to be plowed by a draft horse, parts of Sherman’s Crossing being in a more primitive rural area. Rocks were added around portions of the field for interest.

A road from the field has been added to go past the plot for the future chicken coop. After that it will either go to the farm house or the main drive, as yet to be determined.

Note: Materials were still drying when these photos were taken.

Plowed field progress.

Location of plowed field

Rob has also added a pond. The water was created using Woodland Scenics realistic water. The bottom of the pond was painted black in the middle with lighter green and ocher tones along the sides.

Not seen in this photo is the “foliage” which looks like underwater growth, added under the surface. Reeds around the edge were made from pieces snipped from a cinnamon broom.

The contrast between the bank and the water is not as pronounced when viewed in person. The flash gave it this appearance in the photo.

Rob notes that the train room “smells really nice now.”

View of the pond

Trees For The HO Scale Train Layout

This is the first batch of scratch trees Rob made for Barbara’s HO layout.

HO scale trees

HO scale trees

They are made from twigs and weeds he found around the farm. He still needs to paint the trunks with some acrylic paints, otherwise they’re done.  The best part is these are really cheap to make.

Due to the various shapes and sizes of the twigs and the different leaf colors, it appears that there are several species of tree, such as you would find in a real community or in a forest.

HO scale trees for the layout

More HO scale trees for the layout.

While Rob and I think they are cool, Barbara really likes them, and that’s what counts.


More HO Scale Rocks And An Orchard

Rob continues to apply tile mortar to cover the green foam used to form the hills and to create the appearance of rock. He had to remove the model railroad bridge temporarily to make it easier to sculpt the mortar. It’s tough to see, but the edge of the county fair can be observed on the right.

More rocky hillside

More rocky hillside

The same material was used on the rock walls lining the river and to cover the mountain in the vicinity of the old cabin.

More rocks with bridge removed

More rock around the river- bridge removed

Rock behind the old cabin

Rock behind the old cabin

Boys like to steal apples, even if the orchard is behind the church. To facilitate their actions, Rob added a trail from the church… and added an orchard while he was at it. I suppose the ladies at the church will find enough left to bake some apple pies for the county fair. Rob wonders if there is an Adam and Eve among the parishoners.

Train behind church with orchard

Trail and apple orchard

Apple orchard behind the church

Apple orchard


Rock Cliffs For The Model Train Layout

Once again Rob has utilized surplus materials from the house addition to add to the HO train layout. In this case, he has formed a barren rock outcropping from leftover tile setting compound.

Rocks Behind Town

Rocks behind the town

Still drying in these photos, the crags and crevices were made with a small putty knife while the compound was wet. After they dry, Rob and Barbara will touch them up with a bit of acrylic paint here and there. I like the way the tunnel portal was encased in the rock.

Rock cliff with tunnel portal

Rock cliff with tunnel portal.

Also seen is a first attempt at using grasses to create the impression of horse trails around this part of the farm, which overlooks the town below. If the barn looks a bit skewed, that’s because it is. Later, rob will level it with a bit of sheetrock compound.

Rock cliff, grasses, and horse trains

Rock cliffs, grasses, and Horse trails.

Lastly, and yet to be done, shrubbery and trees will be added as needed. This will produce a realistic farm scene for Barbara’s HO train layout. For their inspiration, Barbara and Rob live on a real farm.


An HO Scale Hospital For Sherman’s Crossing

With Barbara being a nurse, there had to be a hospital in her HO model train layout.  An old Southern town would have to have an older stone building for its medical center.  Thus was the Sherman’s Crossing Hospital brought to life.

Sherman's Crossing Hospital

The ER entryway was assembled from scrap materials Rob had lying around, in keeping with the low budget layout.

Any self respecting medical center today has to have a helicopter pad for lifeflight accessibility.  This provided a challenge for Rob, as the helipad had to be located on the roof of the old building.

Helipad on the roof.

Starting with a block of wood with holes drilled for 3mm LEDs, he covered it with a graphic he created in Photoshop.  The LEDs were glued in place from the back with a hot glue gun.  Organizing the wires and hiding them in the small internal area of the structure was a challenge, but the results speak for themselves.

Assembly of the helipad.

Still lacking is the elevator access to the roof.

Barbara is very pleased with the progress so far.  The citizens of this rough Southern railroad town now have access to the finest medical care the government can provide.