Newbie Makes Decision!!

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by luigi, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. luigi

    luigi New Member

    Okay,I finally decided after viewing many pics of HO and N scale that I'm going with N scale. I love the idea of having lots to look at,such as mountains,rivers,small towns and industry, and I believe N scale is what I'm looking for.

    I am going to start building my 4' x 8' table,which I will also put on wheels for moving around since my basement is not completely finished. I will also allow room for expansion on this 4' x 8'.

    I am having a tough time though getting my ideas on paper.I did download the Atlas track planning program and messed around alittle bit with it.but found it annoying. Maybe I didn't give it a fair shot, I'll sit down and try it again sometime.

    I'll try to post pics on progress and really respect and value all your opinions and suggestions. Thanx.:wave:
  2. berraf

    berraf Member

    Hi luigi and welcome to the wonderful world of N-scale :wave:
    I do believe you made a good decision to give N-scale a try and I don't think you will regret this step.
    Please keep us up to date with your work :)
  3. ESE999

    ESE999 Member

    Just a little tip. In order to make your track layout look realistic, make it look like the track is negotiating the land, not the land is negotiating the track.
  4. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Michael, what a great way of putting that! I have seen many pictures of layouts that are well done but somehow just don't look right and I think that you hit on the problem.

  5. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member


    The Atlas Right Track Software is somewhat difficult to work with, but you can't beat the price.

    I still find that laying out trackage in full size is the only way I can visualize what I want to do, though.
  6. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Once you do some designs be sure to post them so that we can help you out.
  7. CraigN

    CraigN New Member

    Take your time when planning your empire.

    One mistake alot of people make when building their 1st layout is that they try to cram in as much track as they can. Then they try to make their industries and other scenery fit the spaces that are left.
    Been there, done that, tore it up.

    If it's possible, draw your plan where it will be in your basement, and what it will look like when you do your expansion.

    The last layout that I built before the one I am building now, I thought that I would be able to expand it into a large basement empire. But my planning was poor and I ended up tearing it all apart and started over.

    Good luck to you,
  8. luigi

    luigi New Member

    Wow. That's one of the reasons I love this site, great support.
    George, you are so right, I went out and bought some flex track and laid it down,bent it,twisted it and so on,and I find it easier to visualize my plan that way. With intention to transfer it onto paper before I get serious.

    Michael, how very true, that's an excellent point. I guess that states how important planning everything out and having a big picture look at it,can make or break it.

    Craig, I'm starting with a 4' x 8' (haven't really started yet) but i'm already planning to go bigger. I was visualizing in my head and thought " what if I go this way and..... oh I could get another 4 x8" I can see this layout growing rapidly. I just have to remember " Baby Steps " .

    Thanks for all the replies,tips and support.
  9. berraf

    berraf Member

    Luigi, flextrack are a gift to us model railroaders :)
    It makes a true difference and give us the possibility to make our dreams come true ;)
  10. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    welcome luigi, welcome to the wonderful ( and sometime frustrating ) world of N scale.
    4' x 8' is a huge space for an N scale layout.
    I went the N scale way because my wife looks very upset when she saw me measuring a 8' x 4' space in our living room :)
    You are a brave soul to make your 1st layout with flextrack, I expect to use Flextrack too, but right nowI'm building my 1st layout using only Atlas modular tracks ( I'm a coward )
  11. KATY

    KATY Member

    Ah, shucks, laying flex trax is easy. It's the joining them together that's the fun part.

    Maybe that's why there's only 1 section of flex on my little layout, but certainly want to try more if and when there's another layout in my future.

  12. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Maybe your solution is the best: include a small percentage of flextrack in a modular layout.
    My 25" by 36" tiny layout " ( I often call it a live diorama ) has 1 spur with a curved portion.
    I might use flextrack for it , and use 2 small curved piece of flextrack to get some practice for when I'll tackle a bigger layout on a fhollow core door.
  13. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    luigi - before you take the plunge and buy a huge amount of track, take a look at the Atlas code 55 track - it's a tad more expensive, but (IMHO) looks 100x better than the standard code 80 stuff.

    Congrats on taking the plunge, btw! 4x8 is a great size for an N-scale layout - but don't get too caught up in grand designs. It's easy to leap into a layout that's too much for your first time. Whether it's too big, or too complicated, or just a bad plan, it's easy to tear off and build something because you're caught up in the moment. Go slow, take your time, and bounce ideas off people before driving spikes. ;)
  14. CraigN

    CraigN New Member

    Flex track is definetly the way to go. When using around curves, keep the sliding rail to the inside of the curve.Just make sure you buy some rail nippers- they are best for cutting track! Measure twice, cut once. I make a mark with a fine point sharpie marker so I know where to cut.

    I use the Atlas code 55- and I love it! The switches become the most expensive part, you have to buy or build ground throws for them or else switch machines. This adds to their cost.

    I haven't seen Peco brand code 55 so I can't comment on it other than their switches can be thrown with a finger and they stay put thanks to a built in spring. They also have a much larger selection to choose from.

    When laying roadbed and track, I have used latex caulk adhesive. Others are now using just cheap latex caulk and having great results. Just lay a bead down and spread with a putty knife. Keep it thin so you don't have caulk squishing up between the ties. Put some weight or use push pins on the track to keep it down untill the caulk sets.

    Good luck,
  15. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    my first N scale layout is 4' x 16', im still working on it .

    the wife is SOOOOO happy...................................................................
  16. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    As was said earlier don't go for a spagetti bowl, and flex track is WAY cheaper than sectional track, you can also make more generous curves or make a custom fit so to speak.

    I'm building a 1m x 0,60m coffee table layout, using only flex track and a few points.

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