Ok guys I'm ready for some 4 x 6 layout ideas..

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by DENNISJR60, Aug 7, 2006.


    DENNISJR60 New Member

    I know we're limited because of the size, but hopefully we can do something simple & decent. It's probably a bit over 4 x 6, but only by inches or so. Can anyone do some of the drawing or whatever it is showing the layout suggestion? I just want something that is a little more then just a oval. Maybe something like a bridge or something that crosses the table?

    I currently have a bunch of Bauchmann EZ track that I'm using will this be ok?

    Thanks for the help everyone!
  2. caliban

    caliban Member

    Hi DennisJR,
    What period and what region are you interested in? What do you like, mountains, city, seaside? 4x6, hmmm, switching layout? May be dividing the layout lengthwise with a scenic divider and modelling to different areas on the two sides.

  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Did you take a look at some of the plans that were suggested in the earlier thread? Was there something you liked or didn't like about any of them? As Tobias suggests, we need a starting point.

    Bachmann EZ track can be used, but it will limit what you can do in a small space considerably due to the fixed size and geometry. Is it practical for you to cut the track? Are you willing to buy additional pieces for a particular track plan? If your existing Bachmann track is a real constraint, you need to detail what pieces and how many of each you have. Most likely, if limited to Bachmann EZ track, you will be limited to an oval and a couple of spurs, perhaps a passing track, but that will be it.

    Next questions - what do you have for locomotives? What are your longest cars? What cars and locomotives do you anticipate buying?

    looking forward to more information from you

    DENNISJR60 New Member

    Right now I just want to get down the track & put stuff up aroung that. It doesn't have to be any specific period or anything as my son will be happy with whatever at this point.

    DENNISJR60 New Member

    What do you mean by "cut the track"? I am willing to buy pieces for a particular track plan especially since @ my HobbyTown they aren't very expensive. I just bought a 4 pack of 15" turns for like $9 or something. I could go with other track if it is inexpensive.

    Right now I'm running the HO Warbonnet Express set & that is the size engine I have a few of. I have the Union Pacific one but when I try to run it it just makes a sound like the motor is moving but the train just sits there.
  6. caliban

    caliban Member


    DENNISJR60 New Member

    I'm trying to do something with like a figure 8 but also an oval. Just a simple oval with something cutting thru the middle of the layout. Maybe the middle part having a hill or low bridge or something. Can you use the EZ tracks when making a hill or bridge or do you need to use a different kind of track?
  8. caliban

    caliban Member

    I've some ez track from an Acela train set. I don't like them, if you want to go with this style of track, think about Kato's Unitrack. Much better. It shouldn't be a big problem to bet the track up and down, but remind clearance and grade! You could combine EZ Track with standard track for the bridge area, EZ Track has standard rail joiners and you can blend the transition into the scenery.

  9. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

  10. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    A figure-8 with an oval will result in reverse loops--this will require more complex wiring, as you'll have to reverse the polarity on part of the layout whenever you use the figure-8 part.

    EZ-track has some limitations--if you want to do something that requires an odd length of track, or a curve that is wider or narrower than the track allows for, you're pretty much out of luck.

    For now your best bet is just to stick down some EZ-track in a loop and let Junior have fun while you do some reading--there is a lot more you can do, even in a 4x6, than just watch the train go round and round.

    About bridges: You can theoretically "raise" EZ-track, but it doesn't flex so changes in grade will be rough (no transitions) and may not work very well. Typically on a small layout you can't really get much elevation anyhow--you might be better off dropping the "floor" of the layout if you want a bridge, rather than raising the track.
  11. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Not necessarily. Have you ever seen a 2-lap layout where one lap is an oval and the other a figure-8?
  12. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    A figure 8 with 18" radius curves will not fit in a 6ft length. You need at least 6 -1/2 ft for the 2 turns plus the distance from the centerline to the outside of the track plus at least 2" cushion at each end for the trains to come off the track and not fall immediately to the floor.

    The practical continuous running arrangements in 4x6 with 18" radius are an oval with a couple of spurs and a passing track, or up-and-over folded figure 8 (also called a twice-around). If you want longer trains, a double track oval is feasible.

    I googled your "Warbonnet Express" and came up with an Athearn train set featuring an F-7A, three cars, and Bachmann EZ-track. As others have pointed out, the EZ-track while great for running on the floor or carpet, does not have the flexibility most modelers want in designing and building their layouts.

    If I were your architect, and you were commissioning me to design your house, I would insist on a lot more information about what you are trying to achieve, the intended purposes of the various rooms, and your preferences in architectural styles. You would have grounds to sue me if I didn't ask those questions.

    Similarly, a model railroad is usually a very rewarding, but not insignificant investment in time and money. I have heard figures of $50 to $100 per square foot, and a year to bring a 4x6 to a reasonable level of completion with scenery and structures. And what you want to have is a very personal thing in your mind's eye. An example is your desire for a bridge, and a track that crosses through the center of the layout.

    I was very surprised that you mention a son in one of the later posts in the thread. How old is he? Are there other children? Is it his layout and trainset, or yours? All this makes a huge difference in what my recommendations would be.

    Priorities would be the bridge and track crossing through the center. If I could deliver both in a design that took 4x8 instead of 4x6, would you have the extra space? Are you willing to learn to use sectional and flex track, and lay your own roadbed to get more of what you want in a given space? Is the bridge more important than switching opportunities? Are these relative priorities likely to change (that is will you get tired of watching a train run continuously on a twice-around up-and over)?

    The smaller the layout, the more focused your priorities must be because you have room for so few of them. I urge you to click on a few of the links you have been provided, and give your reactions to some of the suggestions and questions.

    yours in planning
  13. DENNISJR60

    DENNISJR60 New Member

    I hoestly don't know what I'm trying to do I just don't want a simple circle & that's it. My son is 5 & he wouldn't mind either way so I guess it doesn't really matter. I don't think I could do a 4 x 8 at this time & I already have the 4 X 6 board set up. As far as scenery like I said it doesn't really matter it won't be anything specific just whatever set up around my layout. I won't try to do anything special until I get a new house with more room or some space opens up some how. The whole thing with the bridge was just so there could be something he thinks is cool. I know he likes bridges & stuff on his toy trains & all so...

    The train set is mostly for him, but obviously I have to set it up for him for the most part. He's out of town until Thursday so I was hoping to have something for him when he gets home. $ wise my Wife & I just seperated so it will be a little tough until I figure things out.
  14. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Could I suggest starting with a piece of 2 inch insulation foam (pink or blue) over your tabletop. This would give you some elevation that you could cut into for a stream for your bridge. There are several short atlas bridges that are available for not too much money. You can leave the foam flat or contour it to your liking at a later date. I doubt that you will be able to get completely set up in the time span that you mention but you and your son can work on the layout together.
  15. DENNISJR60

    DENNISJR60 New Member

    When you say "pink or blue" what exactly is that type of foam & were do I get it? I've gone to my local Home Depot & Lowes & have only seen the "white" 4 x 8 sheets & such.
  16. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    AAAAHHHHH, you must live in CA like me. It is extremly difficult to find here because of Californias nice mild wheather year round. I was forced to use the white foam. It is ok I guess. It makes more of a mess than the pink or blue foam does though.

    There have been many discutions on the differant types of foam to use on this forum.

    Right after I bought the foam, someone told me on this forum to go to home depot or lowes and special order it. I wish I would have waited 2 more days to get the stuff but right when I got home, I cut it to length and used it. Try going to home depot or lowes to special order it.
  17. DENNISJR60

    DENNISJR60 New Member

    I actually live in Las Vegas so I'm not sure if is available or not here...
  18. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Depends on what you mean by "California"...last month we in Sacramento had nearly two weeks of 100+ degree heat, including one 115 degree day...unpleasant. And since insulation works both ways (keeps cold in as well as out, or, well, technically, keeps hot out as well as in) one assumes we'd have good insulation in the parts of California that get mighty hot, but no. It's probably a regulatory thing.

    They do have it in Nevada, though--some modelers I have met make trips to Reno to buy the blue stuff, so I wouldn't be surprised if they had it in Las Vegas.

    It might make for some easy scenery-making, though: get three 2x4 boards of blue foam, and carve a nice deep (well, 2" deep) canyon down the middle of one of the boards. You can then paint the foam in desert colors using some cheap latex housepaint, paint some water on the bottom of the canyon, and have a great place to put two bridges over the canyon, one on either side of the layout. If you have some extra foam you can try your hand at building some hills above grade level. If the primary purpose of the layout is to run round & round to entertain your son, adding some scenery to make the layout more visually interesting and appear larger might be a better solution than adding more track.
  19. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    The foam that I'm speaking of comes in sheets to be used as insulation. From what I read here on "The Gauge" its not available in CA and maybe NV has similar regulations.
    The pink and blue colors are trademarks. It is commonly used by us model railroaders as a scenery material because its light weight, easy to cut and shape with hand tools and can be glued together with carpenters glue to form mountains. You can also paint it with latex paint to get a basic earth color. Generally, the white foam such as is used for packaging doesn't work well since it tends to crumble when being shaped. I'm surprised that someone at Lowes or Home Depot isn't at least familiar with the pink and blue foam.
  20. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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