The Harbor and the Smit Rotterdam

One of the features I wanted to add with my 3rd revision to the layout, was a small harbor area.   I think its part of a common temptation all layout builders have to want to add some water feature to their layouts!
The actual bench work on this took place well over a year ago.  In the above photo you can see the extension of the layout which was to create the 'cut' in addition to more buildings.  The area in the foreground is where the harbor would now be located.  Below you can see basically the same area from the opposite direction.
There were a lot steps to create the water area and how it interacts with the land and city.   Building the shore with sculpt-a-mold, adding gravel, Woodland Scenics talus and sandy-looking ballast took some time.  Then painting the sea color. I purposefully chose a muddy-green/brown look for the water which seems more correct for a sort of 'still water' near a wharf.
The water application was really easy using Woodland Scenic's Realistic Water. Just pour a few thin layers at a time and you have water!  I spent a lot of time trying to ensure the 'bottom' was level and leak-free before painting it or pouring the Realistic Water material.

I had looked at buying various commercially available quay's and wharf pieces, but ultimately went ahead and scratch-built my own using styrene and sintra.
The ship that I ultimately decided would be cool to be anchored in the harbor was this rather large model from Heller of the Smit Rotterdam.  It was fun to build a maritime model (I've never built a ship model before!), and of course I tried to add enough lights to make it look right!

There's still lot's of details I need to add, in addition to weathering.  I also want to do a bit more cosmetic work on the edge of the layout where the 'water' meets my fascia so its not so obvious, but this is something for the future.
So this was my first real 'water feature' attempt and I'm pretty happy generally with how it turned out.  Ignoring the fact that it probably makes no sense at all for a ship like this to be docked in a situation like this, I still like how it looks and adds a bit more interest to the layout I think.


  1. Hi Jerry,

    I have to admit when I saw your latest post, it made me laugh! That ship is monstrous! As the British would say, "Brilliant". You just need an airport and then you can say, Come to Quinntopia by land, by sea or by air.


  2. Magnifique! C'est vraiment une belle pièce qui s'intègre parfaitement dans environnement du réseau.


    Beautiful! It's really a beautiful piece that fits into the network environment.

  3. @ Alvin - LOL - Maybe an airport can be added in "Version 5"!

    @ jObiwan - Thank you/Merci!

  4. Hi Jerry,
    Once again it is very well done, I love the weight of the boat (a little too clean can be :-))).. )


  5. Hello Jerry,

    Impressive work. Congratulations for the magnificent ship that in my opinion go very well in the layout.


  6. Thank you Pascal and Mario!

  7. Fantastic work - as always! :)

    I live above Baker Beach in San Francisco and see tankers going in and out of the Bay all the time. It's fun to see a ship like this at scale with lights and the like. Such a fan of your lighting. Very cool.

    And, as usual, I am envious of the space you have to work with. I wish you had a little more space for the water on your layout. A little tug would have been a cool little addition. (Again, a part of our daily life by the water - tugs ushering ships in and out)

    Fab work!

  8. @ Hi Malco! Thank you for your comments! I used to love seeing the ships at dock when I lived there! I think that might be part of the reason I needed some water on my layout!