I need help for a friend...

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by StanAramus, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. StanAramus

    StanAramus New Member

    I have a friend who lives in a small apartment and for christmas his girlfriend bought him some N scale stuff. Needless to say, N scale was a good choice because of his limited space in the second bedroom of his apartment. He has asked me for some help because for the past few years I've been throwing around the idea of doing my own layout and I've done more research on it than him. He has purchased a few Atlas layout books, the ones that have lists of all the track pieces you need and etc. The only problem is that his situation is going to require a more custom layout. The room he is using is only about 10'x8' and one of the 10' walls has a double sliding closet door setup and the entrance door on the same wall. The rest of the walls are pretty much open except he has to leave room for a desk, bookshelf, stereo and some other odds and ends. My suggestion to him was to create an L shaped layout in one of the corners and I figure that would optimize access to the layout and keep floor space open. We put the trainset he got for christmas together on his desk and it's a simple oval layout. We discovered that with N scale we can do a complete turn around in about 20-22" of space and I'm assuming they make tighter curve track for even closer turns. That being said, an L shaped layout could come out from the wall 3' and could probably go 4' down each arm and that could make for several turns and switches and keep it unboring. I'm turning to you fine folks here because the building of the benchwork, scenery creation and other imaginitive ideas I can handle, but design of the layout gives me the blurry eyes and headaches. That's why with my own layout, I'm just going to cheat (at least for my first layout) and use one from the Atlas book because I have the room. I would appreciate and comments or suggestions from you guys. I'm not expecting for you to design something for me, unless you want to, just point me in the right direction. Finding layouts online can sometimes be difficult. Thanks for your time, Mike
  2. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I'm sorry, but I can't figure what size that is. There are several possibilities. Could you draw a diagram of the intended layout size?
  3. coachC

    coachC Member

  4. StanAramus

    StanAramus New Member

    That roundbend one is pretty dead on. It has a lot of the things he wanted, bridges, water and tunnels/underground track. I did throw together a quick picture in MSpaint and I'll include it, but remember it was done fast and not to scale. Also, I seperated the bench in three sections for mobility and also just so we can get the darn thing into his apartment from where we built it. Thanks again for looking at my little post. Mike

  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I would keep it to 2 feet or maybe 30" deep. That way a 4 foot long section can be handled by one person, and a pair can be boxed up and carried by two. It also keep the reach in to the corner manageable.

    I would do two of these 2x4 sections, so that there is 4 feet along one wall, and 6 feet along the other. If you leave a bit of track in the right place, you can expand to future sections as they are built, and as room allows.

    If you mount brackets on the wall (Home Depot has some 20" "monster" brackets that can be extended with some 1x3) at about 48" or higher, you should be able to get the bookshelves, desk, stereo, etc, underneath.

    As for a track plan - what is his interest? What is the set he got? Steam or diesel? Geographic location? Industry focus? Anything else that he wants to include (or not include)?

  6. StanAramus

    StanAramus New Member

    The set he got was a Steam locomotive. I know his time period he's looking at is early to mid 1900's. I'm not sure if he's concerned about an exact geographic location as it pertains to realistic rail lines, but he wants kind of a small town setting area, with another section that has simple industry. If I were to guess, I'd say like Midwestern to almost Southern US. He'd like the track to run on several elevations, but nothing crazy like mountains, just more like hills. As for water, a simple winding little river to break up the landscape a bit and also so he can build bridges. He wants to have a wooden type bridge over water and maybe a stone bridge over other track. I'm sorry for being so vague, getting details out of him is like pulling teeth. One other thing is he'd like a spot or two where there is side by side track and if possible having two trains running opposite directions of each other as they meet at that locations. Thank you all again for your help and time. I appreciate it a lot. I'm not sure what I exactly got myself into helping him, but helping him will just give me experience when I finally break down and do my own layout.

  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you set the time period to "between the wars" (or thereabouts), there are lots of interesting things that can be done.

    Rural towns might have a siding to two serving several small industries, like produce, ice house, grain elevator, team track (an all purpose track for small businesses without their own siding), cattle pen, lumber dealer, coal dealer, farm machinery, junk yard, etc, etc. There would also be a station, perhaps a coaling tower and a water tower.

    A larger industry and or "urban" setting might include a freight house, glass works, small factories of some sort (boxes, furniture, dry goods), brewery or distillery, larger station, etc, etc.

    Take a look at the work of doctorwayne and Madcow - doctorwayne's layout is set prior to WW2, and while madcow's is post-WW2, the rural setting may give you some ideas.

    The bridge and river are simple enough to do, but in such a small space I would advise against trying to change the elevation too much. It would be easier to vary the terrain surrounding the railroad.

    Let me know what you think...

  8. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Never mind pulling teeth - leave that to dentists! What you need to do is sit him down and give him two sheets of paper, one headed "GIVENS" (must haves) and the other headed "DRUTHERS" (what he'd like included) and then make sure he sticks to it! There is NOTHING worse than spending lotsa time doing something, and then having the "customer" suddenly change his mind, or say that isn't what I wanted/thought it would look like.
  9. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    I'm building an N scale table from Atlas's N4 layout plan. It's looking good on my end. It's not taking up much room, 2x4 feet. I also live in a small apartment. Just email me and I can send you pictures that I have posted here on the Gauge. kf4jqd@netzero.net


    Please mention the Gauge in the subject box.
  10. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I love those lists in principle, but there are a couple limitations:
    -Very new modellers may not know everything necessary to fill them in.
    -They're usually operation-oriented. Many beginning modellers (like your friend) start by describing scenery and the appearance of locations.

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