Questions from a novice

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Raistlin, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Raistlin

    Raistlin Member

    Okay here is the situation...

    I had my layout all designed and got my train going, but found a couple repated issues, as I ran it. Frequently the cars would uncouple all in the same part of the track. I checked the track and they were all connected tightly. After standing back however, I found that the table was sagging in the middle.

    So this morning I took the layout down. This evening I will be reinforcing the table and making plans for future work.

    After this is done I will be putting my layout back and here is where my questions come in.

    Is roadbed 'necessary'. I plan on doing it, but I don't know what kind is best. Do I understand correctly that the track is nailed to the roadbed, then the roadbed nailed/glued to the table? Is ballast necessary? I know for realism it is, but for someone like me who has NO artistic ability whatsoever, I am not sure if that is beyond my skill level.

    Also, my table has a white finish on it. I plan on adding scenery, but keeping the layout flat (not adding mountains, or rivers etc). Do I glue everything directly to the table, or do I put something on the table first, and put the scenery on that?

    My future plans are to have some 'residential' areas and some industrial areas.

    Thanks for reading, and if you can provide any answers, thanks in advance,

  2. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Roadbed is not "necessary", but it does help reduce noise levels. I would recommend painting the surface a "ground" color, rather than leaving it white. You could lay down short sections of track, on a separate board, and try your hand at ballasting, it's how many of learned.
    Normally, roadbed is layed down first, either glued, or nailed, and the track is spiked ( tracknailed) after. If you use tracknails, down the center of the track, be careful not to drive the nails too hard. The nail should just contact the tiestrip, and not force the center down.
    Check out the photos, and scenery discussions here on the gauge, we have lots of good information here.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    There are so many answers to the questions of benchwork and roadbed that I suggest you do some reading through information here at The Gauge before you get going... The search feature can be your friend... :D ;)

    I am strongly in favour of "engineered" benchwork rather than "brute strength" benchwork. By this I mean a structural approach along the lines of L-girder, or module frames, or even cookie cutter instead of huge and heavy 2x4s, etc.

    As for roadbed, you have many many choices, and they in part depend on what you have chosen for your benchwork. I like to "glue" cork roadbed to the bench with caulking, and also use caulking to secure the track to the cork. No nails at all...

    Some people like the foam roadbed, or use cheaper alternatives like "topper tape". There is also AMI instant roadbed, and the traditional homosote. Some people hand-lay tracks, which requires something that will grip the nails, while "gluers" like me don't worry.

    As for ballasting, it is really not that difficult. But wait a while until you are sure that your trackwork is working well!

    What is the white finish on your table? If it is melamine, you will have a hard time getting any scenery materials to stick to it, especially if you are using water-soluable techniques. If it is just paint, then I would paint over it with a suitably dirt-coloured paint. You can often get mis-tints at the paint store or Home Depot that are close enough.

    Almost any area, even the "flat" prairies, has some topography. Making scenery is not that difficult. Again, I would go to the search function and see what you can find. There is also some good stuff in The Academy - see my signature block.

    Good luck!


    EDIT - As this is the Track Planning forum, you may get a better response in the Photography & Scenery forum, or the Technical Questions forum. If you would like me (or any other moderator) to move this question, just let us know.
  4. Raistlin

    Raistlin Member

    Yes, could you move it please? Thanks in advance. I thought it was track planning where my 'theme' was, but thanks for the correction

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