This layout was one of the simplest we have ever done in track plan and one of the most challenging to complete technically. It is an O scale model of a typical slice of Brooklyn, NY circa about 1950. It includes an elevated railroad operating the MTH subway set, a street car railroad operating a Williams Street Car, a typical high-rise apartment, three brownstones, two business blocks, an elevated train station, plus streets, sidewalks, and alleys.

What is so difficult about that? Nobody makes kits of any of those in O scale: the high rise and brownstones were all completely scratch built and the business blocks were heavily kit bashed from parts of a ten kits and added parts. Not challenging enough? All the streetlights work and all the buildings have extensive interior lighting.

As if that were not enough, both the brownstones and the high rise were models of specific buildings of significance to the client. Fortunately the client took pictures and so did Google Earth.

The high rise was constructed of styrene brick sheets and carved soft plastic over an acrylic core with Tichy window and a custom made door. All the first floor details were built up out of plastic stock as were the roof trim details. The elevator ‘tower’ is by Model Tech Studios. The lighting is a series of compact florescent lights made by Miniatronics.


The brownstones were entirely scratch built out of styrene. We created line drawings in scale and built all the detail. We intend to offer these as a kit someday.

The sidewalks are from styrene done in two styles representing two kinds of sidewalks found in Brooklyn. The road is made from Vallejo paste (AKI makes a similar product) lined and weathered with AKI’s wonderful weathering pencils.

The business blocks were cobbled together out of Ameri-Towne kit parts with some details added. The rear block is lit using florescent lamps but the foreground building has separate room lights and separate rooms. Each has decorated walls and floors and many will one day contain scenes built by the client. For now the windows have removable tinting.

The station was entirely scratch built from styrene and has overhead lighting.

All the lights and wires had to run in the street and under the sidewalk and up into the elevated railroad structure because the layout was built on a door and could not have wires underneath. There are conduits for the wires in places and in places, they are simply tucked into gutters and sidewalk cracks. This was quite a feat of engineering and took considerable time: the layout has nearly 50 lights in three different lighting systems (and voltages) plus two separate track powers running the length of the layout in ‘plain view’ but disguised. ConEd would be proud.

If you notice that there are no automobiles or people, those are going to be added later by the client along with mailboxes, trash cans, and other street detritus. We will have more pictures as this part of the job unfolds.


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