O scale nubby

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Goddahooch, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. Goddahooch

    Goddahooch New Member

    Hello to all and thanks for letting me in.

    I'm a freelancer and have recently landed a job to make train layouts for a client.
    Dont know beans about o scale. Have not done model traind since childhood. I'm an excellent capenter and model builder, and technically able to do wiring and sculpting so it should be allright. I lack basic knowledge of model railroading. IE. what type of track is best, whats the turning radius of a curved track? Controllers? max slope? Can anyone recommend a good reference book or magazine. Need to learn fast, no time to read a bible on the subject. Is there a cliff notes or railroading for Dummies?

    Many thanks.

    I mean no disrespect towards the model railroading community! I'm trying to make a living and have a family to feed.

  2. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Are we talking 2-rail O scale or 3-rail? The best suggestion I have for 3-rail is "Wiring Your Toy Train Layout" by Peter Riddle. Pretty much everything it covers is stuff that you're going to run up against right away anyway. I think it's about 100 pages, so it's not too long. You may be able to find it, or its predecessor, Wiring Your Lionel Layout, in your local library.

    Of course the track is a matter of religious debate. If you're building a layout for someone, I'd suggest finding a starter set that they like and sticking with the track that comes with it. That'll get you a jump start, and it's an economical way to get a lot of the stuff you're going to need in one shot. Curve radii depend on the track you're buying.

    Hopefully this puts you in the right direction. Feel free to ask more questions as they come up.
  3. jefelectric

    jefelectric Member

    Hooch, If you are talking 2 rail, I suggest you go with Atlas track & switches. If 3 rail most of the custom builders use Gargraves track and Ross switches. A lot depends on the layout budget, high end or economy? If you are not familiar with the market in O, send me an email and I can suggest some sources with great prices.
  4. Rector

    Rector New Member

    I'm going to listen carefully to this forum. I model in HO but my brother in law has just told me that sometime this year he wants to unpack his O scale railroad kit that has been in storage for 35 years. Can I help him build a layout? Of course, I said - not letting on that I have no experience with O.

    Not having seen the stuff I am assuming that it is all 3-rail, but perhaps I'm wrong there!

  5. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    It's probably a safe bet that it's 3-rail. 2 rail O gauge is not very common.
    (Which is probably a large part of the reason Geno is having such a tough time getting his stud rails made)
  6. Goddahooch

    Goddahooch New Member

    O Scael nuby is back in business!!!

    Hello to all and thanks for your replies! So i've got great news. This project which died on the vine has now resurfaced, and with vigor. I lowered my price a tad cause i need the work and i like the client personally so it will be a good experience. My current line of work is dwindling and if i can find a way to make a living making model railroads for nice people than i would be the luckiest guy around!

    So i met with the client today at a great hobby shop in Aberdeen and we figured out the layout. Many thanks to the owner who i happened to run into ( i asked him if he worked here, yeak like 30 years you little punk! kidding!) he was so nice and helpful! Made me sound like a pro when the client arrived.

    We settled on Realtrax and i just layed the whole thing out. Missing a few tracks but i think i'm close. The whole layout is only 4'x4' but it has two loops and two switches and a crossover. Pretty much packed for such a small area. The client bought a MTH Santa Fe super special or something like that? Very nice but i think it will be way too long to use all the cars ( like seven plus the three pulling ) The poor thing looks like it should be sailing down straight track in the Arizona desert. Instead it will circle itself endlessly. I bet the engineer will see his own caboose! Oh well, i'm happy and busy!

    Hope that you all still care and from now till xmas you'll be hearing from me as i hope to keep you all posted as i go along. Must be able to post pics here somewhere? :wave:

    Oh and i'm making two of these! I am blessed!

  7. cnw1995

    cnw1995 Member

    See if the owner is open to you sharing photos with us. I'd love to see it. Sounds like a 'nostalgic' journey for the client. I am helping a fellow do so in a small dining room (I'm small enough to clamber atop his train table with a drill in each hand whilst he sits on a bar stool and directs - LOL.
  8. Geno

    Geno Member

    I hope all is well with your project. I recently built a 5 x 10 layout for my nieces in Oregon while on vacation, so I can relate to your situation. I too excel at carpentry (remodeling corntactror), but probably have a slight edge over you in terms of knowledge of O gauge, since I've been into it for over 30 years.

    You're right about the modest size of your layout- 4 x 4 doesn't even start to give you the space you need to let those trains stretch out. This is why most starter layouts begin at 4 x 8, 5 x 9, or slightly larger. I understand if your client is limiting you on space (I had to build a rolling platform bed just so I could build the layout as designed)- but it's worth it if you can convince them the extra space is worth it.

    MTH Realtrax will work for the most part if it's screwed down, but has poorly designed connections that will loosen up in time- anyone who tried to use it for a temporary carpet set up knows this. This is why Lionel Fastrack has grown in popularity (aside from its appearance)- it maintains its continuity, which keeps the trains running.

    geno_rojas' slideshow on Flickr

  9. Goddahooch

    Goddahooch New Member

    Hey all and thanks for for the support. So the platfrom has been built. 51" x 51"x2". Thin and sturdy. The exposed platform edge will be clad in oak and stained out to match the floor color and keep the decorator happy. The track layout has been finalized. Track chosen which i have come to learn was a mistake but oh well and lesson learned. The realtrax really is not good. I layed a foam roadbed which may be overkill but i thought that it wouldnt hurt. Have covered all surfaces with an initial layer of plaster and cloth. Constructed the framework for the tunnel. One tandem entrance and two staggered exits. Determined the approximate location of structures and types. Not much choice in the matter but neverthe less. Planning a little culvert and drainage pond. What do i color the bottom of the pond with before i pour on the melted water stuff? Also want the pond to appear frozen??? Any ideas. Blue bottom sounds to fake? And what about snow? Can i just lightly sift it on after all is done as a lasty step sort of thing. Or is glued down as well? Or is it just a messy bad idea. I'm going for a winter in Connecticut look? Sort of Currier and Ives.
    I really want to post some pics and dont see any obvious palce on the site here? Am i missing something?
  10. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...You can attach pics directly to your post when you use the "Go Advanced" option at the bottom of the "REPLY" window. It'll take you to a reply window on hormones (a la Barry Bonds...). Scroll down past the reply window and hit the button "Manage Attachments". From the new window you can upload pictures from your computer which will appear on your post. Just note the size limitation for the pics.
    Good luck..!!
  11. jefelectric

    jefelectric Member

    A suggestion on the Realtrax, when connecting the sections together, put a little of the LGB anti-corrosion paste on the connectors as you go. I have done this and after 7 years have had no problem. This stuff is not cheap, the tube I have is marked $22.95. A tube will last a lifetime when used on realtrax. It is designed to be used outdoors on G gauge track connections.

    I even used this stuff on my Atlas rail joiners.
  12. Goddahooch

    Goddahooch New Member

    Hello all who are interested. It all came together with exceptional success! Client is very pleased. Check out the videos on you tube! And please start placing your orders soon as i expect to be very busy! I can only hope! Thank you all for the words of wisdom!
    YouTube - O Scale model Train Christmas tree layout
  13. spankybird

    spankybird OTTS Founder

    Very Nice Hooch! so how much does one like that cost? How big is it? Does it have command control? Can you post a track plan of it?
  14. Geno

    Geno Member

    Awesome! You've captured what toy trains are all about- fun and imagination. Very nice modeling and detailing.

  15. jefelectric

    jefelectric Member


    Very nice layout. :thumb: Is the other route active? Didn't see the train run on the inner loop. Now that it is built, how do you feel about the realtrax?

    Again, very nice work, you could build for me anythime. :mrgreen:
  16. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hooch...Though I haven't seen the video (dial-up...), you're getting praise from some of the best O gaugers around...So you must have done something right...!!!:thumb:
  17. Goddahooch

    Goddahooch New Member

    So the grand total was about 4K. 3k was my labor alone. I spent a total of 65 hours on the project. The client provided the track and controller which is not included here. The size is 52" x 52". There is a second you tube video that shows the inner track running as well. It also has a MTH engine running which i realized was like driving a mercedes after always driving hondas. I was blown away at how smooth and quiet it ran. The lionel i was using as a test train clicked and jumped all the time. Also the track was not designed to run those big passenger cars but they fit! Just barely! Client is so happy with it! Oh and the trax, They were difficult! I did however have a chance to try them on carpet the other day and they worked pretty good. The layout was so tight that it made connecting difficult but as far as a roomier layout they might be ok. I've nevver used anything elso so it's hard to say. Thank s to all! If anyone want the track plan i can email directly.
  18. Chief Eagles

    Chief Eagles Active Member

    I like Realtrax. Can be hard to snap together [the newer ones]. I soldered my sections together [the copper tabs]. Any changes, I have unsoldered and then soldered back together. Their switches have given me fits. Ones bought earlier were tops. Last one were not so good. I bought some new track for a kid's layout. Noticed the center railk was real narrow and thin compared to my earlier track. Cutting cost I guess. It was almost like Lionel's old Super O [was that the one with the narrow center rail, age is catching up on me :rolleyes:]. Looks real good on the layout.
  19. Goddahooch

    Goddahooch New Member

    I ran into the same thing. I think we're onto something. The rails that i mentioned that i ran on carpet were a year old or more. the rails i used on the layout were brand new and really troublesome. Switches were also a nightmare and brand new from the box. One required a total teardown and adjustment and i never figured out what was wrong. One day it just started working right and continues to this day. And the wiring diagrams provided were printed in black and white. While all text said attach red wire here and black wire here and green wire here and run a green jumper from here to here, see diagram for lacaation. Hello its not in color! Help a guy out for cryin out loud. I wasted hours on that part of the project. Trouble shooting and no customer support to speak of and all the hobby shop guys just shook there head and said you are really in a pickle there. Why did you buy realtrax in the first place?
  20. Chief Eagles

    Chief Eagles Active Member

    I've got 23 switches. Lots of $$$ invested. They are poor quality metal. Some of the switch points are not even finished completely [had to file them down]. This is bad but I have bought two extra 072 switches [one right and one left and 75 % of them are 072]. These are to insert in place of a bad one. Then fix the bad one and have it ready. Like you said, they work fine one minute and go bad the next. This is mainly true of the newer ones. Think one day I may replace them with Ross. Knock on wood. All working great right now.

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