Ocalicreek builds (another) layout...finally!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by ocalicreek, Dec 30, 2006.

  1. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    I've hinted at this in a few posts and finally I'm getting around to building another layout.

    This is for all youse guys out there who have collected old track, bits of wood, etc. and have never done anything with it. That's right, I'll be building a layout using mostly what I've got on hand.

    What you will see:

    How to paint and weather EZ track to look more realistic...

    Combining EZ track and Tru-scale turnouts. (How's that for anachronism?)...

    Foam board construction...

    Super Trees and other goodies from Scenic Express...


    Stay tuned to The Gauge for the next installment.

  2. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Great idea!!!!:thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
    I especially want to see the trees!and "other goodies" from Scenic Express:D
    If you make too many..............................................
  3. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    I can't wait to see you turn into The Gauge's Joe Fugate! It is going to be nice to see forum clinics posted here by you.
  4. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    This promises to be good. I'm another one of these 'use what you have on hand guys' and I want to see what others are working with.
  5. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    oh yes, this will be a thread of amazingness.
  6. Illus

    Illus Member

    So the creative juices have been flowing freely!! Very good, can't wait to see something!
  7. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Alrighty then, more details. Here's what I've got so far...

    A loop of 18" radius EZ Track that came with the Harry Potter set my wife bought a few years back. Black roadbed base, black ties, and steel rail. Also two 9' straight sections, one of which is a rerailer.

    A pile of Truscale Tru Track...several turnouts (even double crossovers) and many long straight sections. Mostly brass but some nickel silver thrown in. The bases on some of the turnouts are warped along the length of the track so they're really not usable in that form, but could be salvaged as turnout 'kits' by reusing the rail over new ties. However, for this exercise I'll be using three turnouts and a couple sections of straight track for sidings.

    I also have what's left of a home-built shelving unit in my garage...some of you may recall this monstrosity from my other thread "Future home of..." over in the track planning forum. Well, it was dismantled and the sections of ping-pong table stored along with the 2x6 studs used to build it. I'll be building the legs from this material. The idea here is to create something that can be used down the road for other purposes, not just this layout.

    The base of the layout itself will be made from 2" slabs of extruded foam. I've always wanted to try this stuff all on its own, to gain some hard data on the whole foam board construction vs. L-girder or whatever wooden method may be employed. I've built a layout using table top and box framing, a box frame and risers with 1/4" ply subroadbed/base and now I want to try this method. Part of the theory here is that the track itself, with its built in roadbed, will provide some rigidity and strength. We'll see how this turns out. I'm going out later today to buy the foam, assuming Lowes is open.

    There is a rough plan which includes a small enginehouse diorama (mostly completed), a cluster of wooden 'slums' on a hillside, a sand loading ramp for gons, and a storage track next to the engine house. Also, I want to include either a deep cut or tunnel through a ridge and a bridge over a cascading mountain stream. The locale will be Appalachia in the spring/summer, the era will be flexible; early 20th century through the transition era, depending on the motive power and rolling stock.

  8. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member


    Here's a picture that just gets me all fired up to model! Maybe you'll find it inspiring too? I hope to capture some of the essence of this scene on the layout.

    Slums smaller.JPG

  9. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    It looks like an old mining or logging town. Where was the photo taken?
  10. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    No idea where it was taken...I may have known back when I found it...check the VT image base perhaps.

    I just got back from Lowes with a sheet of 1/4" lauan ply and two sheets of eps foam, 2" thick, all 4'x8'. Yes, you read that right...EPS...EXPANDED Poly Styrene (vs extruded). Nope, not pink or blue but WHITE!!!!

    I know, I know, maybe I should retitle this thread 'how to build a layout the way everybody tells you NOT to" or something like that. Well, I'm giving it a try. Most of what I used on my previous layout as risers is the white stuff salvaged from dumpster diving trips or generous donations from friends who just bought appliances...granted, a bit more firm, but to my untrained eye the foa, sheet seems to be more rigid overall than plywood. Not stronger, just more resistant to warping! And think about it...what sort of foam does WS use? Hmmm

    SO, I got a sheet of lauan and a tube of foam adhesive (conveniently placed next to the foam in the store...hmm) and sometime in the next week I'll make my own single-sided stressed-skin panel. I can get three solid layers of foam out of the two 4x8 sheets for a max 6" elevation above the ply. What is then cut from the foam to create depresions can be used as elevations, but I'm not limiting myself to that. I'll be using other bits of white foam gathered in the aforementioned way.

    Alright...enough blabbing for now...pictures to come when more gets done...

  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Neat pic, Galen. It is hard to say where it was taken. It could be Virginia City Nv., but it also looks like some of the old gold mining towns in the California gold rush country along the Sierra Railroad, or it could be part of Jerome, Az. the old copper mnining town that keeps trying to slide off the mountain. I think if I were guessing, I would guess Jerome, Az. I almost forgot because I've never been to either place, but Bisbe, Az. is also built on a side hill, and I think there were some places kind of like that in the Couer D'lenes Mountains in the Idaho panhandle.
  12. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    It could be, but I don't think it is Jerome. I'm an Arizona native and have spent quite a bit of time in Jerome however, the geographical logistics of the photo just don't look right for Jerome. For one, the railroad never really came into the town and where it did actually come near was much further up the slope around on the right near the pit. Second, there weren't many structures down low with that kind of congestion but rather quite a ways up the slope as well.
  13. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Jerome on Cleopatra hill.

    Attached Files:

  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I was in Jerome a couple of times when we vacationed in Sedona a few years ago, but I don't remember it well enough identify it from Galen's photo. Part of the problem with the photo without identification is that there were a lot of mining areas throughout the West that would look similar.
  15. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    My Supertree Starter Kit arrived today!! Very exciting stuff. Now I just need a layout to put them on...

    The inlaws had a good visit and are now on their way back home. While I didn't get much accomplished on the layout at all (except maybe some rearranging of shelves in the garage...kinda related, in a long-run sort of way) we did accomplish a few house-settling projects with my father-in-law painting our bathroom and my son's room. So now that they're gone I hope to get back to work out there!

    (I did manage to sketch up a rough plan for insinu8...another in the works and some ideas for BigJim also...)

  16. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Here are a couple links to some supertree clinics online. I'll be doing one of my own here at The Gauge just for fun, and since I may put my own spin on the construction technique. But I like to cook and one thing I do is make a dish exactly by the recipe the first time through before I modify it, if it needs it. If I change it the first time around I may never know if it benefitted from the changes I made or not, no matter how 'obvious' or 'necessary' the changes may been. Of course, I throw out the instructions with most structures destined to become kitbashing fodder, but that's a whole 'nother matter entirely.


    That's Joe Fugate's site and the supertree bit is a ways down the page...the rest is pretty interesting reading as well.


    And that's Bill Carl's work with the FCSME group. Personally I think he uses way too much ground foam and is not taking full advantage of the lacy, see-through nature of the material.

    Still, I like the look better than most puff-ball spray-'n-dip trees. I'm sorry, but I'm a Virginian by birth and I can testify that Appalachian forests don't look like a giant green cat's hairballs coughed onto the hillside with a few twigs here and there. Sure it's fast and cheap but you get what you pay for, IMO (and it's just that, my opinion).

  17. BigJim

    BigJim Member


    Don't worry about using the white foam. Last time I looked the commercial kits for making grades are expanded - not extruded - foam.

    I saved the box and packing from our TV and plan on using some of the packing foam for hills and side grades. I may even use the cardboard and attach it between the "cookie-cutter" levels so the underside doesn't have exposed foam. Since I also plan on using some of the expanding foam this should stop it from dripping on the floor before it sets up.

    Looking forward to your pics.
  18. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    How firm a foundation

    Here are some pictures of the framework and 'train room' prep.


    Here's the framework for the layout (or any other layout I'd want to put on there) made from the former 'ping-pong' shelving...and even some bracing that used to be legs on a layout table from my childhood N-scale layout.


    Two sheets of 2" foam on a 1/4" sheet of lauan. I'll be cutting them down from 4x8 to 4x6.


    Behold the throne of greatness, from which awe-inspiring modeling is soon to flow! Okay, well, maybe not exactly a throne, more like an old library desk swivel chair. But it's getting there. The drawers are filled with kits both completed and unbegun and in-between along with train videos - prototype and model.


    Finally...notice how the ply is sagging and warping! Oh no! But see how the foam is absolutely rigid...hmmm.

    You may be thinking the 2"x6" studs are overkill for a 4'x6' layout made of lauan ply and foamboard. Heck, even after I add all the track, scenery, fascia, structures, etc. I bet the layout itself will weigh less than the framing! Well, you'd be right in thinking so. But I built the lower shelf high enough to clear the big 'ole shop vac and other large items and gained the storage space of the shelf itself for layout building supplies...probably where the scenery stuff will live.

    What's more, I built it all with lumber I already had. I used a hand-saw to shorten the studs to make the legs and a power drill to drill pilot holes and drive the screws. Only had to buy the foam and lauan ply (and some foam panel tube adhesive), and it's probably the last purchase I'll need to make before I get trains up and running.

    Next step...cutting the baseboards to size (with a carpet knife) and laminating the layers together.

  19. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Galen:wave:, i cant wait to see your progress!:thumb: looking forward to seeing what you come up with;):D. :D -Deano
  20. 91rioja

    91rioja Member


    What's the temp like in your "office"? I insulated my garage last summer, and even in the winter, it get darned cold. I couldn't think about working out there.

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