About me

Me visiting a friend's layout

I’m Kathy Millatt and I love modelling – big and small!  I model railways, sci fi and anything else that grabs my fancy and my first love is scenery.  I also love sharing what I do through this website, my YouTube channel or Instagram.

I’m also a contributing editor for Model Railroader Video Plus with my Let’s Make a Scene series.  I have also been featured in Model Railroader and Railway Modeller.

More recently, I’ve been a judge on the Great Model Railway Challenge, a UK TV show featuring model railways.

I’ve been modelling railroads since 2000 when I went on holiday and saw a permanent model railway exhibit. It reminded me of playing with trains with Dad when I was younger. He had Hornby Dublo 3 rail which we got out every Christmas. It even found a permanent home for a while before homework took over the desk. My main memory is that my white lines on the road were about a third of the road width and my major scenic element was sand. Hopefully I’ve moved on from that!

I started back into modelling with a UK layout based on the railway outside my house before moving on to modelling the United States. I chose the New Haven as it has all my favourite elements: grotty industrial, beautiful scenery, fast trains and local branch lines. It’s a beautiful part of the world and I’m a sucker for those stainless steel fluted side coaches!

It’s been quite a journey with forays into On30 and scifi as well as obtaining my MMR from the NMRA in 2014.

Plaque presentation

During that time I’ve also been the Atlantic Director for the NMRA which has been great fun and I’ve met some excellent friends, visited loads of new places and generally had a ball!

Outside of modelling I enjoy gaming and movies plus travelling with some recent trips to South Africa, China and Vietnam.

Me at the Great Walll of China


  1. Good Morning Kathy. good to see you posting once again. Love your work on the SRMW buildings. Very nice work. I am just finishing up SRMW hookers and working on a scratchbuilt of a building not far from Hookers. Take a look at two of my threads: http://modelersforum.com/index.php?topic=102.0 or http://modelersforum.com/index.php?topic=1018.0

    Frank / Erieman

    • Frank

      Two great threads. I’m looking forward to seeing your East End Market develop. Your Hookers is excellent. I love the feel of it and that rusty roof!

      I can see loads of other great builds in the background!


  2. Hey Kathy! Looking forward to continuing to follow your progress – can’t believe I just now noticed the subscribe button(!) Cheers!

  3. Hello Kathy

    great stuff, always nice to meet creative people or artists
    greetings from Belgium

  4. HI Kathy

    BTW – I added a link to your (this) website from my new web/blog site.

    Hope you dont mind !


  5. Hi Kathy,
    You know, at 72 years of age I thought I had heard or seen just about everything there was to learn as far as modeling techniques. You amaze me, I learn something new every time I see one of your posts. Please keep up the great work.

  6. Hi Kathy, I’m working on a new series of Great American Railroad Journeys for BBC2 and am interested in picking your brains, could you email me to follow up if you are interested in talking to me? Many thanks!

  7. Hi Kathy! Really enjoyed watching your tutorials. Fantastic work! I belong to a model railway club in Sweden called Tågcentralen (translates roughly as Central Station ☺). Large parts of our project involves large ares of water supposed to represent the lakes found in this part of Scandinavia. I have tried different products such as Woodland Scenics, Magic Water, Envirotex and other epoxy resins. All in all they work well with slight differences during mixing, pouring and hardening. The final result is usally a nice even mirror like surface. In order to put some “life” into the water surface I have used Liquitex acrylic gloss working it with brushes, palette knife, etc. However I have not been able to achieve a satisfactory result. I end up with very “choppy” water. I want a surface showkng a lake with a very gentle breeze where there are very small ripples. All of my work ends up with waves. Which is all well and good on a seascape but not on a lake. How have you solved such a “problem”? I am working in HO scale.
    Graham Carter

    • It’s a good question. I would use a fine brush but with a large area, that could be a little daunting. Off the top of my head, I don’t have a great answer for a large body of water. How about a stamp or stencil to put the wave on followed by a coat of varnish to tie it all together?

  8. Thanks! This evenings experiment has been with a very fine brush. 😧 Yes very daunting!

  9. Hi Kathy,
    I am a new sub to your YouTube and web site. I have to say, I am loving the content! My every evening treat at the moment! I am modelling UK blue era on a reasonable scale in oo gauge.
    I did spend a lot of time state side so follow quite a few RR modellers.
    Keep up the great work!
    Kind regards
    PS, where do you get your blue foam board bases from please?

  10. I used to go on the old dmu’s from Solohull to Birmingham on Saturdays, my brother and me loved the old glass driver partitions unless you got a grumpy driver who pulled the blind!
    I think memories are what drives us all as modellers, I had my first train set when I was 10 years old (a long time ago!) and although work, family and money has done its very best to thwart my interest, I have always returned, I still have that GWR pannier tank complete with smoke unit!
    I have found some foam insulating board (not poly balls based) at Wicks, but, the price! About £30 a board.

    • Hi Kathy,
      I wonder if you would mind getting in touch via my subscribed details please? I am keen to talk to you about the NMRA training and certs which I know you have done to a master builder level.
      Many thanks

    • Hi Tim

      I’ve dropped you an email.


  11. Kathy, I have enjoyed your blog and watching your progress.

    In one of your early blogs you talked about Troels Kirk’s backdrop skies.

    When I visited John Allen, I asked him what he would do differently if he were starting over.

    John said he would not put such dramatic clouds in his skies.

    He explained that those distinctive clouds never changed.

    It bothered him to show new photos of his progress on his layout only to see those same clouds every time.

    I have always enjoyed painting clouds but I now save dramatic clouds for my landscape paintings.

    I also used to make videos of everything I built.

    Before YouTube came along, the sales of my DVDs financed my hobby.

    I made hundreds of friends through my videos and always had a vendor’s table at the Narrow Gauge Conventions and other train shows.

    I stopped making new videos about 7 years ago as my layout progress stopped completely.

    But I do miss that avenue of artistic expression.

    I hope you continue to enjoy making them for a long time.

    And I hope you enjoy your NMRA convention experience.

    Darryl Huffman

    • Thanks Darryl

      It’s an interesting thought on the skies and I understand the viewpoint. I’ve seen Troels’ skies first hand and they are a work of great beauty. My first layout was grey and dreary because no one ever does that! This layout’s are fairly generic clouds but if I had unlimited space and money, I’d have projected ones which made the sky appear like the light source it actually is. Maybe something to try for a diorama rather than a layout.

      I do enjoy making videos and it is certainly an avenue of artistic expression and a great medium for communicating techniques. I really enjoyed looking through your website. You do have some beautiful models and your backdrops are stunning.

      I’ve never made it to a Narrow Gauge Convention (wrong time of year) but I’d love to go one day.

      Thanks for getting in touch (and I’m going to pop up the layout to measure up the levels now).


  12. Hi! I just discovered your videos, and enjoyed them very much! I will be searching for more. Very well done.

  13. Hi there, Kathy

    I’ve just become aware of your work and must say I am in awe of what I see. I have recently started to model the North West USA in N scale but have found it a bit difficult to find info from folks here in the UK, most of the local model railway clubs have little interest in anything other than British outline. I found it so difficult that I even set up a FB page specially to cater for British railroad modellers. I’ve realised that you aren’t a million miles away from me as I live in Selly Park, Birmingham

    • Hi Paul
      Are you coming to the NMRA BR convention on Saturday? It’s in Meriden so relatively close. I have a number of friends from around the world that model the NW and it is a lovely area to visit too.
      Hopefully see you there.

  14. Sadly I will not, I am not an NMRA member and unfortunately I have to work every Saturday anyway, the interest in railroads from the areas of the Columbia River Gorge comes from around 25 years ago when I read an article in the old Trains Illustrated magazine. I started a layout then in HO but soon realised the available space I had wouldn’t do it justice, had a long sabbatical and decided to restart in N scale last year

    • Paul

      Ant Quinlan is modelling that area and does have an exhibition layout in N scale. It’s worth checking out.

      I went up the Gorge last year and it is lovely but it does need space to do it justice.

      You can always come to the convention if you are not a member but it is best on the Saturday.

      Good luck on your own layout.


  15. Hi Kathy.
    Just found your Blog through a news letter from “Railwayscenics”. I wish i had found it earlier it would have saved me a lot of time working out how to do things when i was building “Pine Road”.
    Over the last few years building the layout i have learnt a lot and will no doubt go on learning. This is a fabulous hobby and so many aspects and skills to it.
    It’s always good to see how other people do things, so i have been watching some of your tutorials and i have to say it’s very good and informative. Still learning.

  16. Kathy, I love seeing you and your fabulous scenery. I just found you on line somehow and have been enthusiastic and smitten ever since.

    I really love the HO figures you have. They have heft and solidity so much more so than the Preiser gang. Please let me know where you get them. Many thanks, and keep on keeping on.

    Bill Bird
    Philadelphia PA, USA

    • Bill

      Thanks a lot!

      I do have a lot of Preiser figures but also Noch. I just pick up whatever I see at shows. I can’t believe his much they cost though!


  17. Myles Marcovitch


    Been actively getting your blogs since July and besides enjoying them, I’m putting some of your techniques into action. I’m modeling a mountain stream off a large O’guage mountain and am using the “pulled silicone caulk” method you demonstrated recently. I’ve made the strands and am working on the stream bed. I did a test with real water to see if it tracked the channel properly. It didn’t. Some strategic application of more Sculptamold hopefully will correct the flow. We’ll see when it cures. If you wish, you can follow this adventure in O’gauge Railroading’s Forum at http://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/topic/continuing-saga-of-the-pandampprr

    • Hi Myles

      I’m glad I’ve been of help. I’m looking forward to seeing your water come together. I had a look at your blog and boy, are you prolific! I hope your pond sorts itself and I’ll keep an eye out on how your waterfall looks when finished.

      Thanks for sharing.


  18. Hi Kathy.
    I just saw the article in the NG&SLG by Sam Swanson. He built Reed Bros. Boatworks.
    He referred to your site here to get information about it. Saying you had a set of overall and detail photos that illustrate the boat works.
    Can you tell me where to find them on your web site here.

    Really like what your doing here.

    Jerry Grohe

  19. Thanks Kathy. great pictures for reference for sure.


  20. David Cumberland

    Hello Kathy

    I have just found this fantastic site of yours. I live out on the West coast of Canada in a small city, Chilliwack, in BC. I’ve been modelling trains in a number of scales for almost 60 years from when I was about 5 yrs old when we lived in Middlesex with Hornby 00 three rail too. At present, I’m in On30 and in several forums and learned a lot, but I have to say “Where have you been all my life?” Well not really all. Wow! Your work is definitely up with the best. I can see why you are a MMR. It looks like I’ll be learning a lot more. You have some brilliant techniques and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

    • Thanks David

      I grew up on Hornby Dublo 3 rail. It’s great fun and very nostalgic for me too. I still have my Dad’s collection.

      I also love On30 but realised awhile ago that I had overstretched so rationalised back to HO.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  21. Hi Kathy,
    I was recently watching some of your videos and saw the one about oil slicks. I am looking foe a way to do it with a reaction to traditional model supplies.
    In the meantime, I found this – http://sci-toys.com/scitoys/scitoys/light/permanent_rainbows/permanent_rainbows.html.
    Try it on acetate or something and make it the top layer of a spill?
    Hope it helps.

  22. Morning Kathy, I enjoy reading your posts very much. I think I posted a bit about my interests in model RR in another post. I presently have the Erie on my mind and in my inventory of cars etc. The New Haven line is a favorite of mine as I traveled it quite a bit in my younger years while in the Navy. That was about the time our RRs were going under. But the northeast was covered with many factories at the time. And Connecticut was no exception. Lots of machining and metal fabrication. When I was in high school I studied architecture ( a trade school). In my third year I spent the whole year designing a transportation center for the railroad station. New Haven has a multi track thru station design, with the station above the tracks. As this was the 60’s my design not only included buses, trains, and taxis but also a monorail system and open parking lot above the tracks along with a 24 story office structure above with a few stores (and a heliport above that) (Idea came from the PanAm building above Grand Central Station in NY). All my Ct relatives wanted me to show the mayor of New Haven but I never did. But it was fun dreaming….. Ct had glorious ideas. The state totally rebuilt Hartford at one point and later New Haven. Every building was touched except for the Yale Univ area, so my idea was influenced from that. But like you getting inspiration from the US, I get inspiration from England and all the rail lines there (from the 40’s and 50’s of course!). I’ve thought about the ON3 layouts. I enjoy the hobby vicariously right now, but later with space limitations I’ll be limited in space, so shelf layouts or portable designs will prevail. A New Haven boxcar will be part of my inventory of course.

    Maybe I can model my station design on a TTrak layout! I love Sunday mornings … lol
    Leland NC

    • Hi Phil

      Just found this lurking in my inbox. I thought I’d answered everything so sorry.

      It’s fun to dream and I mentally design far more projects and layouts than I could ever build! It’s a shame you didn’t get your monorail and helipad, they sound innovative and I love different.

      TTrak is fun!


  23. Hi Kathy ,Ken Jones for Solihull model railway club .I will be showing Little Kidmore Wharf on the 22/23 April 2017 at Bishop walsh school Wylde Green B76 1qt. hope to see you there ken

  24. Kathy
    Just came across this guy if you have not seen his work before I thought you may be interested. http://www.iknowjoshuasmith.com/


    • Hi Neil

      Not sure how this snuck through but just found it in the comments section.

      I do love Joshua Smith and recently shared his work on FaceBook so your comment is spot on.

      Thanks for sharing


  25. Hi Kathy.
    After watching a fair few of your videos.
    Thought this may be of interest to you. An idea i came up with regarding Coal sacks. I have just posted on my blog. How to make coal sacks? perhaps you could do a video and perhaps a little mention.

  26. Rodney Stewart

    Some time ago, longer than I care to remember, I bought a small laser wood kit but haven’t started it yet. I’ve done tons of kitbashing and various model kits but never a wood one. I seem to recall seeing an MR article where Cody Grivno was gluing the sections together with CA. That doesn’t seem like a very good way to glue wood. Can it be done?
    Thanks Kathy and, as always, keep up the good work!

    • Hi Rod

      I’m not sure what’s happening with lurking comments but this one just popped up.

      You can use CA but people generally don’t. It’s quite brittle and wood needs something with a little bit more flex. I just use plain white glue from HobbyCraft but really, use what you know and like. CA can be zapped so it sets immediately which is a real plus so there may be times when it is the right glue for you.


  27. Howdy. I first became aware of you tutorials in the MRH (Model Rail Hobbyist) forums where some folk posted links. I live in Virginia west of Washington DC and just tore down my 10×18′ D&RGW late 1970’s desert layout for a move to “hopefully” a larger basement. When construction begins a-new, I’ll be back to checking your tutorials, especially static grass as there was lots of that in Utah along the mainline.

    I have to say you sure are a busy person what with all the stuff posted here! As it happens, I married a Brit from up north and she is here with me in Virginia now almost 7 years. Last time we were across the pond, we visited a fellow up in Sunderland UK – Jon Grant – who is an avid modeler of mostly US trains. We also visited a club in Sunderland and most of the guys there were US modelers too and some of them have made railfanning trips to the western US. One gave us a ride back to South Shield in his Cadillac Escalade left hand drive! Crazy.

    Keep up the good work and if I have any questions on the scenery, which I’m still a relative noobie on, I’ll holler.

    Cheers, Jim and Jean in Virgina

    • Thanks Jim and Jean

      Jon Grant does some beautiful modelling and I’ve seen a couple on his layouts – inspirational.

      Keep in touch and I hope to hear more about your layout as it progresses.


  28. Hi, Kathy,
    Just joined after having seen your YouTube videos. I have a question: do you spray Tamiya right from the bottle or do you dilute with something? Also, looking forward to working with the powdered grout…never seen it before.
    Mike Shockley

    • Hi Mike

      Thanks for joining. I use proper Tamiya thinners. It is too thick to air brush without diluting a little. I have used water and window cleaner in the past but now I stick to the correct thinners for each brand.

      Hope you enjoy using the grout.


  29. Hello Kathy,
    In some ways, I’m opposite to you. I live in the states but am modelling a North Wales branch line.
    My introduction to you was through your Model Railroader Video Plus an excellent addition to an already excellent and informative site.
    Now I have found you non-MRVP videos, I shall have to study them for some more excellent modelling ideas.
    Neville Parry.

    • Hi Neville
      Thanks for getting in touch. It’s funny but I’m planning a North Wales based layout too. It will be based around my new acquisition, a 16mm Quarry Hunslet.
      What do you model and have you ever visited the area?


  30. Hi, I’m one of your latest subscribers. I model in On30 but do Victorian Railways (Australia) 1930 era. Love your work and, having read your latest comments, I’m surprised you managed to knock out so many videos so quickly. One a month would be quite alright as far as I’m concerned as it will give me time to study your techniques and put some of them into practice.
    I wonder if your video on the plaster scenicing of the footpath and waterfall still exists. I found one for the painting of it but nothing earlier.
    Keep up the good work!!!!

  31. You may just know me as a result of Templeford,, the vintage O gauge layout owned and operated by myself and my siblings. So you will not be surprised to learn that I found out about you as a result of Railway Modeller and the great railway modelling challenge. I am always interested in meeting other women who model railways. Templefprd is just one aspect of my Railway interests, as I am part owner of five Bulleid Pacifics as part of southern locomotives Ltd, and an active volunteer on the West Somerset Railway. On top of that, I model in 4 mm scale sections of the withered arm.,

    • Claire

      It’s great to hear from you. It’s always good to meet fellow female modellers. Owning a real locomotive is really impressive!

      I’ve not seen Templeford in person but I see it’s at Warley this year and I’ll be there all weekend on the NMRA stand. If I get a chance I’ll come over and look for you.

      Hopefully see you soon


  32. Hi Kathy

    I’m new to model railways and keen to learn as much as possible before rushing in and making big mistakes. I was wondering if you have done any tutorial on baseboard building. In my plan I need to have a small removeable section so I can get into and out of my loft access so was wondering about the best way of managing this.

    I have also been watching the Great Model Railway Challenge and am realy enjoying it!


  33. Hi Kathy. I’ve been messing about with the idea of boxfile layouts, but in my case 4 or 5 of them linked together. Intriguing but great fun. It’s also a great way to try out industrial modelling, with clutter, rubbish and stuff as well as the idea of general dereliction. My favourite time was the 80s when we used to visit my Nan and embark on these epic journeys (well, to a 5 year old me they were anyway) with so much to see. Hopefully I’ll be able to read the blogs at leisure and maybe take some ideas away with me.

  34. I recently watched your video on creating a shot road and pavement.
    Can you tell me the name of the black sheet material you used ?

    • I’ve done 6 or 7 videos on tarmac so I’m not sure quite which one you mean. All the materials are linked in the YouTube description or on the blog post.

      If I had to guess, I’d say it was craft foam which is a 2mm thick sheet sold for kids to make stuff out of.


  35. I tried that forced perspective the other day ,and found if I scanned a met car or a super quick card model on printer/scanner. then I could re print off at 98% ho 3.5 mm scal from oo 4mm scale and if print at 75% scale . I can print background house and then spay mount the reduced copy on card and assemble like the full size card model . That way I keep the style and can produce any size for the background .
    Just wanted to share I idea with you . I would say that it may be a copy right issue . But for my own use is fine

  36. I tried that forced perspective the other day ,and found if I scanned a met car or a super quick card model on printer/scanner. then I could re print off at 98% ho 3.5 mm scale from oo 4mm scale and if print at 75% scale . I can print background house and then spay mount the reduced copy on card and assemble like the full size card model . That way I keep the style and can produce any size for the background .
    Just wanted to share I idea with you . I would say that it may be a copy right issue . But for my own use is fine

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