The author appreciates your opinion. Please double click on the pencil icon below each post and leave your comments.
Or you can also e-mail me your comments, ideas, requests, etc. to
Thanks to all of you,
J. Palacio

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"T" Scale 12" x 17" layout

As I say on my yesterday's post, I decided to make a complete layout to fit a single loop of the smaller radius of the "T" scale track. The size of the board is 12" x 17" but it looks a lot bigger when you see the photos and video. I made the model in a period of about a week on my Christmas vacations last year (2014). Basically I made it using the same technique as the 8 x 8 trial except that instead of a 1/4" plywood base, I used 5/8" thick plywood. Nothing else to explain; here are the photos and a link of a video in Youtube. Enjoy and please let me know how do you like it.
Youtube link:


Monday, December 28, 2015

Test model in "T" scale

This is my first post in 4 years. I left the trains hobby for a while, but I started it again this year.
My new idea was to built a mini layout in "T" scale with a single loop, but at the same time with several different scenes throughout the model. But before doing it,  I decided to make a smaller 8" x 8" model as a test to see how it will look. The initial idea was to make an island with a beach, rocks and some boats. I made a sketch on paper and placed some of my houses (see March 9, 2011 post) and some pieces of wood as rocks. I had 3 different "island maps" to choose from.

When I choose the design I liked, I cut out the island from a board of 1/2" blue Styrofoam, shaped a little bit for the beaches slopes and glue it down into a 1/8" plywood base previously painted in gloss blue. Then I added the rocks with Das "Air drying modeling clay" (leaving aside the model for 3 days to dry) and painted the island with acrylic paint.

I modified the little houses and added separated roof from scored orange cardstock and porches with wooden columns (I used Northeastern scale lumber 1/32" HOSCAL2211).


Then I glued down the buildings and applied some grass and foliage. I bought a Landscaping Kit LK954 from "Woodland Scenics" that has 7 colors and textures for ground cover (the small bushes are trees in "T" scale)

I also build some boats for the maritime scene (the name of the boats are my cats' names).

And finally I set the model inside a plastic box (upside down ) of Ferrero chocolates for display.

I was very happy with this model so I decided to make the bigger model for the railroad, I will post it soon

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Buildings in 'T' Scale

On my December 8 post, I published a photo of some of my buildings in “T” scale, and I promised to come back with new photos.

I am sorry I took so much time, but I had a lot of “real work” to do and I do this hobby in my spare time.

Today I am bringing photos of some new buildings I designed. They are simpler than the ones I had shown on my hand; these new ones have no posts or canopies, so they are easier to build and you can use in any train layout as an station, housing, hotel, etc.

The original style is what some people call “Mediterranean” (Southern Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, etc.) but this style is also seen in the Caribbean Islands, Latin America, California, and many other places.

I draw several small buildings calling them “modular blocks” because I designed them in a way that we can glue together several units in order to make a bigger building. If you observe the location of some doors and windows of each of the 2 story high blocks, you will note that you can stick a one story high building to 2 or more sides of the taller buildings without cutting a portion of a door or a window


Here are the links for downloading the files in Pdf format, ready to print. There are also available files for the same buildings i "N" scale, "Z" scale and the "T" scale ruler:

Link for “T” scale Buildings

Link for “Z” scale Buildings

Link for “N” scale Buildings

Link for the “T” (1/450) and 1/300 scale ruler:

The paper I used is Wausau Bright White Premium Card Stock, 65 Lb., it is acid-free and comes in 250 sheet of 8 ½” x 11” package. You can buy it at Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, and other office supply stores. I printed them in an old HP PSC 1507 All in One.

When printing any of these PDF file check:
Paper: 8 1/2 x 11

Page Scaling: none

Under Printer Properties, select:

Print quality: normal, 600 dpi

Paper type: Automatic.

For building construction you will need white glue, an X-acto knife, an straight edge (preferable a metal one; if you use a plastic triangle like me, you have to be very careful to avoid damaging the edge), some tweezers for holding the glued flaps in position until the glue hardens, some toothpicks to apply the glue, and a piece of card in order to drop a blob of glue to be picked with the toothpicks.

Some of the modular blocks on my hand.

Two buildings ensambled with 3 and 4 modular blocks.

If any of my readers decides to construct some of these buildings and placed them in a train layout, please send me some photos and I gladly post them on this blog.
Have fun!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Scale Ruler for T Gauge (1:450)

Lately I have been working on some "Super-mini-micro" models in a new scale they call "T Scale" or 1:450.
They even have working trains and track (see information and videos on .
A house in this scale is so small that could fit in my thumb nail. In a future post I will show more photos and information about these houses, but today I rather talk about the Scale Ruler.

I made this Scale Ruler 1:450 in order to design and built my own structures in T gauge. I put it together with a 1:300 scale (used in some Checz models You can print and laminate it for durability.
There is no way to upload this file to this blog (Blogger does not aloud it) , so if you want it I will gladly e-mail it to you. Just send me an e-mail to miniaturetrains and I will send you the PDF file as soon as I check my mailbox.
Important: The scale is in feet.
When printing this PDF file check:
Paper=8 1/2 x 11
Page Scaling = none
After printing, verify the 1:450 scale lenght is 6.68" (169 mm) that's mean 37.5 feet per inch
Good luck

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Train in a box #2

The following set is the one I made in July 2009. This time I wanted make it small as possible in “Z” scale, but no so small that could look like a Merry-go-round. It should fit in a wooden stationary box 8½” x 11” x 1½” high, interior dimensions that mean a regular size letter paper.
I wanted to show a lot of rock formations so the eye will be catch by the scenery and not by the tiny track, and I think I got what I expected. I made a bird eye sketch with the idea I had, but later I had to remove the high rocks above the track level because they won’t fit in the box.

For the track I used a single section of “Peco” flexible track, 26” long, welding both ends together to form an small oval 6 ½” x 9” and a 3 1/8” radii. In order to weld the track in the right way I had to trim the inner rail and connect both ends together with track joiners and to secure the track over a plywood piece with push pins until weld was done and cooled. Also the wire feeders had to be welded at that time. I think this is the most important part of the job, if the tracks are not joined well or if it has a kink, the trains won’t run.

The layout drawing was made on a regular letter paper and I transferred the design to a 5/8” thick board of blue Styrofoam, which is the type used as thermal insulation on walls. This material is different than the white Styrofoam; the cells are smaller, the material is more compact and you can carve it easily with an exacto knife, a small surform file and sandpaper. The bad news is that all the debris and dust will stick everywhere, to the walls, floor, and furniture, up to your face and even to the interior of your nose. So I did this job in the back yard and the wind spreaded all the dust on my grass, and on my neighbors' grass.

After I was happy with the shape and rugged terrain, I applied a couple of coats of a spray matte primer. I wasn’t too happy with the results because it would not cover enough, besides, it leaves a shinny surface. I painted over with beige acrylic, and it looked nicer. After that I stuck it to a ¼” plywood base with hot glue. That was wrong again, the glue is too thick and leaves a gap between the Styrofoam and the plywood which I had to fill with plaster. I also applied plaster to some areas of the ravine, in order to carve thinner erosion lines and in some missing areas of the roadbed and concrete bridges. When dry I carved all the details, sanded the plastered areas and painted with different color tones all the surfaces. I crushed some loose pieces of dry plaster, small enough to looks as erosion rocks, painted with diluted acrylic paint and glue down in the ravine and at base of the cliff sides. I also added some beach sand for the smaller rocks and the sand banks.

Then I glued down the track with white glue. I had to secure the track with head pins because it tends to form a circle and not and oval. Next I applied the ballast stone over the track so it will adhere to the glue, and hold the track firmly to the Styrofoam until the glue dries. It was time for the grass, so I painted the upper areas of the terrain with white glue and spread the crushed foam ground cover to simulate the grass, after that I glued down the bushes (Landscaping Learning Kit LK954 from “Woodland Scenic”), and placed the trees.

For the buildings I made in the computer the designs in Photoshop Elements, and printed them in card paper. I Cut them out and glued it together, making cuts for the windows and doors to open a little, and painted the interior of the buildings with a dark acrylic paint.
Why do I paint the interiors? Because I wanted to install some lighting in the buildings, otherwise the light would go thru the paper. This way I make the paper to look opaque and the light goes out only thru the open windows and doors.

The terrain and track looks terrific, but the cardboard buildings are not so great. The walls with open doors and windows look fine, but the tile roof looks plain, maybe would look better if the roof was made of “corrugated metal” styrene sheet (Evergreen Scale Models”) painted in orange. The trains runs good but the pulled cars got loose several times on the thigh curves.

Trying to re-rail the locomotive.

Aerial view

Close up of the Marklin Railbus #8112

Another aerial view

The layout in the box.

Close ip of the Station Buildings.

Closeup of the Marklin Class 381 Switcher with a passenger car I made.


In future postings I will explain how I made the red and yellow passenger car sides and the buildings.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Train in a Box #1

About 3 years ago I bought 3 sets of “Tomy” ( Tomix) "N" scale “Super Mini Rail Set Oval Layout Set” (item #91080), I ordered thru an internet store which import items directly from Japan. Each set was an oval of 9” x 14 ¼” (4 1/8” radii curved sections) and cost me about $24 per set.
(Double click on images to enlarge)

On January 2007 my cousin Andres was going back to Canada, and I wanted to give him a present to take it back home. I thought it was a good idea to make a train layout together so we could spent some time doing teamwork.
It had to be a layout he could carry with him on the plane, so I decided we can use one of the “mini” track sets to fit it in a small wood box. The box I found was an old hinged box used to carry ceramic tile samples, it was 10 ¾”x 15 ½” x 1 ¾” high, interior dimensions, big enough for Tomy track.

For the base, I cut a ¼” plywood piece and draw the oval track shape, the location of the building, the rocks and the road with a thin pencil line. Then I glued down some plaster rock castings that I made with a rubber mold, and filled the gaps with more plaster. I carved some crevices with an exacto knife so the rocks will look more natural, and then paint them with a diluted dark brown acrylic paint. Those acrylic paints are the ones that come in small plastic bottles of 2 oz (Americana, Delta Ceramcoat, Plaid, etc ) and cost about $1 or $2 each

At one corner of the board I placed a piece of plywood with a drill hole, over some wood blockings, for the future placement of a female plug on that hole.

After that I brushed some acrylic paint on the board (light brown) and when dry, I applied white glue (Elmer’s white glue) in order to attach ground cover to simulate grass and bushes. I bought a Landscaping Learning Kit (LK954) from “Woodland Scenics” that has seven little bags of colored grinded material.

I also added some trees that came in another kit from the same manufacturer mentioned above, and a plaster casting of a Cuban Farmer’s Hut (Bohio) that I carved about 20 years ago and made a rubber mold in order to have some castings. It was painted also with diluted acrylic colors.
Then I installed the Tomy track also with white glue and placed the completed model in the wood box.

The trains are USA railroad lines, so this are looking somehow out of place, if we think we are supposed to make a layout representing a Cuban countryside.
Conclusion: Looks nice and compact but just a few locomotives and cars could run on this small radius track.

This is a close up of the trees and tobacco fields:

The farm with the Bohio:

The corner with the plug feeder: