New member with questions

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by FiveFlat, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    Hello, I just got my family a nice O guage Lionel "Disney" set for Christmas. I think I like it more than my 4 year old son does! Any rate, I've always wanted to get a train again since I was a young boy and had an O guage Lionel engine - can't remember the loco. I think it was a 2-6-4, it was blue and from the late 60s early 70s.

    My question is - I always thought it would be neat to run a track around the wall of our den - about 18" below the ceiling.
    Is that a waste of time? I see everyone does 6X9 layouts on plywood for some nice scenery etc, I guess you can't really dress up a rail along the ceiling can you?
    anyone have pictures if you can?
  2. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    IMHO it isn't a waste of time. You can do it without scenery or put a back drop up. Wooden shelving brackets and 10"-12" wide shelves finished off in a natural color could look very nice. I've seen some G gauge wall mounted layouts that look nice. Take a look in Classic Toy Trains or the O Gauge Railroader magazines; there are ads for high wall layouts. It certainly is doable.

  3. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Have a look at this guy's work. If he can do G and On30, I'd say that O scale Lionel Cannot be too hard...
  4. Chief Eagles

    Chief Eagles Active Member

    Do as you want. Lots of individuals do shelf "layouts" for space reasons. Takes a train longer to go around an outer wall than around a sheet of plywood.
  5. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    Well, really - a high wall layout is my only option. Considering it's a room with lots of activity - so I can't really take up too much space with a large tabletop layout.

    I'm looking at all these other layouts with neat little townships, etc, and I really like how those look, but I can't figure out how to incorporate the two.
  6. Chief Eagles

    Chief Eagles Active Member

    In the corners where the track makes its turns. You can do full buildings and building fronts. Along the way, make a jutting out place like a community. Real trains go through lots of woods and etc and then hit towns and communities.
  7. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    For outside corners (the room is L shaped) I guess the track just has to swing wide and them come back close to the wall again?

    Also, how wide should the 'shelf' for the track be? I was thinking 8" wide for O-guage. (that would convieniently allow for 6 strips out of a sheet of plywood making 48 linear feet)

    Also, I guess I should have posted this thread in the
    "Track planning for the future" forum, but I didn't notice it until afterwards.
  8. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    Okay, so I got a solution to my dilemma. Since I got my boy this O-gauge set (even though I enjoy it more than he does currently) I've been hanging out here and other sites about model trains and getting the 'bug'.
    I'm going to do my high wall shelf layout for the 'O' and then a small HO or maybe even N layout below for my craving for an 1800's era operation.

    First, I'll build high wall layout. Then the small one later.
    I'll start a new thread in the "Track Planning for the future" forum with my high wall layout.
    See you there!
  9. Batdive

    Batdive New Member

    Hey Five, seems like your going through what I just did... I wanted to put up an O Gauge along my kids wall to go around... and just got it done.. I added pictures of it in this thread.. enjoy

    Now as far as scenary, you can always add wall paper strips or borders behind the train to add the look of whatever scenary you can find.. I am planning on putting up some buildings on top of the plant shelf as time goes by.
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Five: that one outside corner is a major headache. One thing you can do is make the curves on the inside corners quite wide -- it doesn't cut that much more into the room.
    Another trick is to take building kits and spread all the walls out in a line along the wall. You get a building 3 to 4 times as long for the price.
    Your major problem with the shelf is that it will be far too high for the 4-year-old.
    Is it your house? It's also possible to suspend the layout from the ceiling and cut across the L instead of going into it.
  11. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    You make 2 really good points. The outside wall and the 4 year old.

    I'm really at a loss here for what to do. O is just too big for me to set up, even in my garage (if it's out there, it'll probably never get used). I can make really nice HO layout and even nicer N layout, but then it's too small for little careless 4-year-old hands.
    I'm pretty sure I'm going to go ahead with my plan for 2 layouts, the O and an HO (or N). Let the O go around the top and the yearly Christmas layout.
    What are the pluses and minuses of HO vs. N ?
  12. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    If space is a concern, go N. HO really doesn't take up any less space than a Lionel layout does. A circle of Lionel Fastrack is 36 inches across. A circle of HO track is... 36 inches across. So the only advantages an HO layout has over a Lionel layout is that the buildings are smaller so you can put more buildings in the space. You can actually go down to O27 with Lionel, and a Lionel O27 layout actually ends up either being smaller, or packing more track into the same space, as HO.

    Now that I've thoroughly bashed HO, the big advantage of it is availability. It doesn't really matter what you want, you can get it in HO. Any time period, any region is more likely to be made in HO than any other scale. And if a store sells trains, chances are it's HO they sell, because it's the most popular scale.

    N scale is second most popular. The selection for N isn't as good as HO, but it blows away what Lionel fans like me have to choose from.

    Suggestion: You and your son still have an awful lot of years together. N is way too small for a 4-year-old, and HO is too small too. You've already got the Lionel. It's entirely possible to build a nice layout in a 4x5 area. You can put it on rollers and roll it under the bed when you need the space for something else. Here's an example plan:

    This plan uses MTH track, but you could build it with Fastrack or anything else. I built a slightly smaller version with O27 track on my basement floor and used it as a test track for a while. It's small enough to roll away, and better yet, small enough to learn on without it taking the next three years to build. You could have the basic board done this weekend if you wanted. And you won't sink major dollars into it, so later, when you want N scale and your son is old enough to be able to play too (and presumably likes trains because he grew up with them), then the two of you can do a nice N scale layout. This small portable layout could then become the Christmas tree layout or something. To fit more action in the small space, use the Lionel loophole: O scale is supposed to be 1:48, but most low-end Lionel sets are actually 1:64. Use traditional Plasticville buildings and 1:64 die-cast vehicles on the layout, and you get 25% more scenery in that 4x5 space.
  13. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    Dave! You've saved me from my frustration! I like it.
    I just got through reading another article (I've been non-stop on the computer doing research on this new hobby) about how a beginner shouldn't try to setup a huge layout right off the bat. Start small, and finish that layout and enjoy it for a while. So that is exactly what I'm going to do.
    Allthough I am still enjoying looking at these N scale guys - maybe a small 1x2 layout for my office at work. hehe

    Speaking of scales of Lionel. My son has ALOT of hot-wheels, are those the right scale for Lionel?
  14. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

    Just looking at that plan more. I'll go one step further and not do that 45X and make that a bridge instead?
    Boy, thanks again Dave - I knew there was a reason I registered here at the-gauge...
  15. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    I'm glad that helped you. It sounded like a logical solution to your dilemma that would work for a while. What you learn doing this can always transfer to N scale later. And you can apply the scenic techniques the scale modeling guys use on your Lionel layout now, so you can start learning.

    Back to your questions....

    The scale of Hot Wheels-type cars varies an awful lot. But when my Dad and I set up his old Lionel O27 on the floor of the basement in the mid-1980s, I noticed that my Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars fit perfectly in the garages of his Plasticville houses. I had a lot of them so we used them. Most were probably a little small (they tend to be closer to 1:72 scale than anything else) but they looked OK. Kids care less about scale than adults do. But this link should help you determine some vehicles that would be a good fit:

    The nice thing is this'll add more interest so your son will be less likely to get bored with it.

    As far as the bridge, it's an idea I considered too because it would add a lot of visual interest, and free some space on the ground for more scenery. The inner loop is just big enough to give you the 12 track sections you need to get back down from the overpass. The grade will be steep but it should work. It raises some questions you'll need to answer. Your 4-year-old WILL send the train flying off that bridge. It's really easy to do, because the grades will be steep, and Lionels tend to run really fast. The train will go airborne on occasion on a flat layout anyway, but the trestle introduces a lot more opportunity for that to happen. And if you do the bridge, you'll have to eliminate the switches on the inner loop (that may or may not matter to you).

    Regardless, you're onto something. Taking a layout you found and making it your own is what this is all about. It sounds like you're having fun, which is the most imporant thing.
  16. docknee

    docknee New Member

    I just started with trains and my first layout was around the room
    I made every mistake you can but it works and it looks great and it is fun! There are no clubs here so getting advice is difficult. Like can or how do you cut Fastrack - do it, you will be happy with it I am sure.

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