Transition between boards

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Jezell, Dec 6, 2001.

  1. Jezell

    Jezell New Member

    Hi Guys,

    I am getting started in railroad modeling. I blame the habit on my 6 year old son. He asked for a train on Christmas. So, off I went in search of the perfect train. I thought >$100 was a lot for a 6 year train set. My father-in-law had the perfect solution.

    My son's mom had got a HO scale train 36 years ago on Christmas and her father still had the set. We bought some track and a new controller and got the train moving. My father-in-law broke down and just gave the set to his grandson. It was pretty cool seeing my father-in-law so excited to give his grandson a gift. Maybe trains are more than just a hobby. The engine quit after a couple of hard run days by my 6 year old. So, I bought a new engine, a model structure, trees, people, animals, etc.

    We needed a board to put the oval layout on. My father-in-law, myself, and son built a 6' x 5' train board. After attempting to find a place for it, I sawed it in half. So, I have two 3' x 5' train boards that are easily hung on the basement wall when not in use. I have place 3/4" foam board on top of the plywood. When we use them, I bolt the two boards together to make the original 6' x 5' train board.

    Now, on to my question :
    How would I make joint look realistic ? Would I make bridges, a tunnel, etc. ?

    Oh, by the way, I have spent a lot more dollars than what a new set would have cost but the fun my father-in-law, myself, and son have had cannot be bought.
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Hey Buster, welcome to the Gauge!

    As to your question concerning board transitions, I'd first concern myself with making the transitions work right before worrying too much about how they look. In other words, make sure the transitions don't cause derailments.

    There are various schemes to handle this. One is to use something to make it easy to align the joints accurately, like a hinge, with one side fastened to each board. Remove the hinge pin to take them apart, insert the pin when rejoining them (and don't lose the pin in the mean time!)

    Another way is to have a short piece of sections straight track as a "bridge" piece. This would not be fastened down in any way, and would run across the transition joint. Remove this piece when taking the boards apart, reinsert it when putting them together.

    Another problem is making sure that power gets to both (or all) boards. Don't rely on the tracks to carry power from one board to another. Instead, use wires, connected with some sort of plug/receptacle (see what Radio Shack has),

    Afer you get every thing working to your satisfaction, then is the time to worry about disguising the joint. The problem with using a tunnel is that you might have to then make IT removable, so then you have even more joints to disguise. If it's not to late, I would suggest maybe making the seam between the boards something other than just a straight line. Straight lines just don't look natural. Failing that, how about making the seam one side of a highway? Or having a building that you just set down over the seam? There's a lot of ways, but it depends on what else you have going on.

    By the way, it sounds like you're certainly getting your money's worth of enjoyment so far - congratulations!
    Bill K
  3. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Buster and welcome to the gauge.

    Bill K has said it for me, but in my opinion it is to have a short piece of section track as a "bridge" piece. This will stop the need for more wires to the board.
    Looks like a lot of fun is going to be had.
  4. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Hi, Buster!

    You could make a river or creek over the seam. Meander it around the seam, but always cover it. When you join the boards together, you can place something in the creekbed that represents the water and covers up the seam.

    This would probably work best if you put form board insulation on top of the train board (and glue or nail the track into the foam). That way you can carve out a "ditch" were the river/creek is.

  5. Railery

    Railery Member

    Hi Buster. After everything is lined up. Masking the seam is easy. U can put buildings over top. Have a forested area. Use a stream, creek or river. Even a road will work with the side of the seam being a ditch. Your ground cover will mask the seam too.
  6. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Another idea... I think I read about this somewhere. Take a piece of wide packing tape and sprinkle ground foam (grass) over the sticky side. When you join the two boards together simply lay the tape grass-side-up across the seam, then install the tracks between the boards.


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