My layout begins

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by FiveFlat, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    oh and 60103 - I missed your post earlier, but I didn't have a problem with the nails. I used a small finish hammer and a finish nail driver and all was fine.
    I am somewhat used to working with this kind of stuff, I help my father-in-law build cabinets once in a while (only when they are being built for my house:p )
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The cork does look narrow. Did you split it and turn it around so that it has the slopes on the outside?
    Did we tell you not to nail the track down tight? Driving the nails right in causes a depression in the middle of the tie and nakes the gauge narrow, and possiblt breaks the tie in the middle.
  3. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    Yeah, I actually read that somewhere before hand. The nail heads stick up about 1.0mm and there is plenty of clearance.
    I found out today I was supposed to break the cork down hte middle and flip it over. I didn't do that. I really don't want to pull all the track up again so I will try to make due and cover that mistake with extra ballast. I was lifting the board to get underneath to pull wires and I had forgotton about some cars sitting on the track. The cars spun down the track and whipped through a switch and around the bend on the right without ever derailing or tipping over. So I guess I can say that top portion of the track is layed down well. ;)

    Now I see why it was recommended that a beginner start out with a small layout.
    My locomotive finally showed up today, so I am excited to get my power pack and try it out.
  4. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Fiver!

    John does makw a great suggestion...namely, breaking the layout up into visually isolated sections, or "scenes"...

    A lot of veteran modelers will knock an oval track plan as a "borig" circle, or a "tail-chaser"...
    While I don't have anything against other styles of track plan, I believe that the oval plan, if given the right treatment, can be as interesting, both visually, & operationaly, as any other style of layout.
    The trick is to use view-blocking elements to visually isolate scenes on the layout, so that a train appears to enter, pass through, & exit a scene, just like when we are railfanning in the real world...
    View-blocks can be a variety of things...a backdrop, a mountain, or ridge, cuts, trees, bridges, tunnels, buildings, etc...something the train has to go through, under, around, etc, & thereby passes out of view...this creates the illusion of distance for someone viewing the layout... the impression that the train is actually going somewhere...

    My suggestion to you would be to start thinking along the line of these seperate scenes...You mentioned a station...that would be an interesting scene...another could be the bridge/river crossing...another could be some type of industry with a siding for drop-offs/pick-ups, etc...
    By using scenic elements to break the layout up into these various scenes, your little layout could be a real showpiece!

    Keep us posted on your progress! :)
  5. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    Yeah, I know the point about my basic oval but I have to start somewhere. I can definately see this little layout becoming just the beginning to a bigger one with more variation. I see the two bumpers as opportunity to expand westward when I'm ready to.
  6. tonphil1960

    tonphil1960 Member

    Keep us posted Fiver< I am doing a similiar size and add a yard to the left side. I am looking foward to seeing your progress

  7. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    I'm certain my track is down snug and it isn't moving. The train runs along it just fine, no problems with the switches, turns etc. (By the way - what's up with Bachmann's Diesel engines - they sound like a coffee grinder. My Bachmann 2-6-2 Praire steam is loud too but doesn't come close to how loud my diesel is. Remember I'm new to N scale)

    So here's my questions:
    How do I start with my scenery? I think I obviously want to start with the tunnel. I decided to skip the river since I can't really get the height I need to make it look natural. I'll probably do the river when I attach a second 26"x48" section later on. What's the best way to build a mountain? What about the flat ground - you just glue ground cover right onto the plywood? Any other ideas, tips, suggestions?

  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Sheldon: Look through the scenery section. There are a half dozen methods for basic scenery and another thousand for surfacing.
    Most of us put something un-smooth down on the main surface and then cover it with something else. (Of course, you may be modelling a 1960s suburb and want everything absolutely flat. It goes with the 50 identical plastic buildings from the after-Christmas sale. :D :D )
    Current fad is foam insulation carved up and covered with ground foam.
  9. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    One thing to consider, and a common trick to break up the look of a "loop" layout, is a backdrop down the middle.

    How to simulate a run from Sacramento to the Sierras? First, Put a view-blocking backdrop down the middle. Suddenly, you can't see the train just running around in circles, and it becomes a succession of trains going someplace. This backdrop can be something as simple as a sheet of 1/8" foamcore painted blue.

    Second--on one side of the backdrop, put a large brick union station, seen from the back (the end where the trains arrive) with platforms. That's the Sacramento station (It wasn't really a union station, but it is a big passenger depot, and the Walthers "union station" is a good fit.) Use an industrial/city backdrop to suggest the downtown buildings behind the station. The side of the layout with the siding that runs parallel to the track would work well for this.

    Third--on the "Sierras" side, build your mountains up against the backdrop, and place a small passenger station to represent a smaller mountain town like Colfax or Truckee, with a few old-fashioned buildings. The spur that angles away from the main on the other side would be an ideal place to park cars, or for atmosphere some Maintenance of Way equipment like a rotary snowplow.

    The passing track on the right-hand curve would be a good place to put some sort of small industry--this could be just about anything appropriate to Sacramento Valley industry, agriculture or quarrying or wood products or what have you.

    Trying to represent long distances on a tiny table is a difficult task, and while it's easy to envision it is hard to build. A key element in a convincing model railroad is that sensation of moving from scene to scene--there are different ways to do this, but on a small "oval" track plan, the easiest way is to make it impossible to see the whole railroad at once.
  10. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    Since my MRC power pack didn't arrive Saturday, and I had extra lumber laying around the garage, I decided to re-arrange the garage a little bit and do this:

    I flipped my layout around to enable the expansion from the 2 sidings. What do you all think?

    Attached Files:

  11. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    It's not even built yet, and you're already making room for expansion. I love it!

  12. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    here's what I've come up with so far with that new addition.
    You all are welcome to help me out with where to go from here...

    Attached Files:

  13. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member


    Here she is so far. I abandoned the 2 main line idea for the time being. I think it will be a very easy add on at a later date.

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