Intoduction and First layout

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Amrap1, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. countyofficer

    countyofficer New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Welcome to the site Amrap. I too am new, and can feel your frustrations!!! But for what I have been reading on this site alone, most if not all your questions can be solved here. Keep up the great work, your photos show the progress you have made thus far.
  2. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice layout! How is the Bachman system working for you? I had it, and upgraded to Digitrax recently. As for the busses for DCC, for that layout, 18 guage busses, and 20-24 guage feeders should be fine. 18 guage is way too big for feeders, they will be too obvious. You should have a bunch of feeders if you are not solding all joints, if you are soldering joints, you probably only need two pairs of feeders. As long as the quarter tests works (even with one pair of feeders), you are good.
  3. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, I get alot of good feedback from The Gauge!

    Ed
  4. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    I glued weights into 4 boxcars tonight. They are now between 4 oz and 4.2 oz. Tomorrow I'm going to take all the raised foam and try running the trains flat. If they run smooth I'll replace the last part of Flex track with sectional and put the risers back up.

    Ed
  5. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    :curse: ARGH.....when I looked at the cars the next morning, they were a mess! I missed 1 important sentence on the Elmer's Ultmate glue! GLUE WILL EXPAND AS IT CURES!!!!!!!
    Note to self: announce1 READ THE DAMN DIRECTIONS!:curse: :curse: :oops:

    I was able to salvage two of them. Good thing they were cheap cars and I was able to save the metal wheels and couplers. I just chaulked it up to a learning experience!

    Ed
  6. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Today I went to a train show that was one of the first shows I went to last year. I remember there being 1 or 2 train clubs with layouts there. I figured I'd pick their brains about my train problems. I took both my Bachmann Locos, the two Athearns Blue Box kit cars that I put the McHenry couplers and metal wheels on and two old Tyco cars that I used the Talgo Truck adapers with McHenry's and metal wheels on. There was only 1 club layout there and it was HO. NONE OF MY CARS WOULD RUN RIGHT FOR THEM EITHER!

    After alot of conversation we came to the conclusion that I needed to buy good ready to run cars and leave the conversions to more experienced people. Something I was too bull-headed to admit to myself!

    I looked around and found a Walthers Gold Line 30' 6-2 bay coal car set for $69 and an Athearns 40' Quad Hopper 6 car set for $59. Both sets have metal wheels, body mounted knuckle couplers and felt heavy enough to be 4 oz. I told him about my problems and he let me line the cars up with my locos and each other. They lined up perfectly. He assured me that they weighed right. SOLD!

    Took them home, weighed them....3.9 to 4.1 and they each lined up with the height guage. The 30' hoppers run like there's no tomorrow! I ran them FULL SPEED clockwise and counter clockwise. I couldn't make them derail! The Athearns cars won't stay on the track at all. Any imperfection, turn out or rerailer and they're off! Tried 1 car, 2 cars, red car, blue car..doesn't matter! They don't derail in the same spot and it's not the same car as far as I can see.

    My only thought is Walthers trucks are better? Put Walthers trucks on my Athearn cars?

    Ed
  7. Rath150

    Rath150 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,
    I am just getting started. Two questions:
    Are using some type of rail road bed. If not why or why not?
    What does cookie cutter mean or refer to?

    Thanks

    Paul
  8. Rath150

    Rath150 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Me again,

    One other thing. What are you using for your elevation. What type of wood?

    Paul
  9. sidetracked

    sidetracked Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amrap1,,,, I"m no expert and this is a shot in the dark, but I had the same problem your having with some of the cars derailing a lot,,,, it turned out the trucks were tightened up too much and would not allow for any flex,,, I just loosened the little screw a little bit to loosen them up and they worked great,, probably not your problem but might be worth a try,,,,,, ,,,, good luck and let us know what you find out,,,,,, ,,,,, ,,,,,, ,,,,,, st
  10. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Messages:
    1,118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cookie cutter is a way of constructing a layout with grades. Usually, you start with a flat plywood surface, which is fastened to a wood frame below it. Lay your track where it's going to go. Then, using a jig saw cut the plywood out between the tracks. This called cookie cutter - the cutting out of the plywood where there is no track or other reason for a plywood surface.

    Bend the plywood upwards in areas with grades and inclines and fasten it in the raised position using risers and clears. Risers are usually 1" x 2" pieces of wood, length to suit the elevation needed. These are fastened to the wood frame beneath the plywood. On the top edge of the riser, 1"x1" cleats are attached horizontally so that you can screw into the riser beneath the plywood, and into the plywood from below. Good construction practice is that all screws are driven from underneath so that when you want to make changes, you don't have to rip up the track to find the screws.

    The advantages of cookie cutter construction are:

    - Automatic smooth vertical transitions to grades and level again because bending the plywood into too abrubt a vertical curve is impossible.

    - you don't cut the plywood until you have decided where your track will go. Layout is easily built in stages, starting with a simple flat top and ending up with a multilevel complex layout.

    - You can reach hidden track and track inside tunnels from underneath the layout at all times.

    - easy to build scenery both below and above the track. The height of your risers is the limit as to how far you can go beneath the track with scenery.

    Foam construction has taken over from cookie cutter for many beginners. Instead of mounting the plywood on risers, sheets of foam are stacked to get the necessary height for the track. Then the foam is carved out for scenery below the track, and stacked higher for scenery above the track.

    Although, you don't here about it often on forums or in the magazines, many hobby veterans still prefer cookie cutter or open grid construction to foam.

    For more details on various benchwork methods with lots of photos and diagrams, see Linn Westcott's book on benchwork. It's available in most hobby shops, and from Kalmbach Publishing (publisher of Model Railroader).

    my thoughts, your choices
  11. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    They seem to move as well as the Walthers, but I'll give it a shot.

    Ed
  12. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    I went to a Train store and picked up a set of Walthers 933-1018 and Proto2000 #21253 trucks. Put them on the 2 of the Athearns Quad Ore cars and they both ran fine! The guy at the store said he has had to loosen one of the trucks on some cars. I tried that on the other 4 with no luck. I guess I'll get some more trucks!

    Ed
  13. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's some pictures of the houses almost ready for their new home.

    Attached Files:

  14. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ralph said:

    From what I've read, cork track bed makes the track look more realistic, since most train tracks are higher than the ground around them. I've seen alot of layouts at shows and most of them use the cork even on top of a foam base. I plan on using cork on my tracks except in tunnels.

    Ed
  15. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Got the Walthers trucks yesterday and put them on the Athearn cars and they ran great. Too bad I only have ORE cars!

    Ed
  16. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    I removed everything from the layout except track and foam. Thinking about how to mark the track for laying down the cork trackbed and painting the base foam. Wouldn't it be easier to paint the foam base leaving 1/4" around the track. I have some light brown latex paint.

    Ed
  17. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    On my way to the best stocked and most informative train shop here, I stopped at a small hobby store that was going out of business. They sold mostly models. As I was walking out, the guy asked what I was looking for.....long story short.....he brought a big box out of the back room. Dusty packages of HO accesories, plaster stuff and alot of junk. I did leave with 2 Athearn 40' boxcar kits for $3. I couldn't resist one more try at converting cheap Athearn Kit box cars.

    I carefully glued some pennies into the inside for weight, used the #47 Kadee coupler conversion and Whalthes trucks and the both run fine!

    Ed
  18. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Last night I made some changes to my layout. I now have 2 bridges. My risers and foam for the in-between elevations are pinned down to the foam bed. What adhesive works best for glueing foam or styrofoam to the foam base?

    Ed
  19. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    You can buy adhesive made specifically for use with foam: it comes in a cartridge, and is applied with a caulking gun. Make sure that the label states that it's safe for foam, as regular construction adhesive will dissolve styrofoam.

    Wayne
  20. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wahoo

    A very good weekend of progress! I wish I could upload pictures to my posts, but I haven't figured out how to resize them right. I did upload some to the Gallery and hopefully I can link them here.

    Since I have a better understanding of trucks, couplers, weight of cars I put the trains away and concentrated on the layout itself. I moved the raised track to the left long leg and added another bridge.

    [​IMG]

    Started the tunnel:

    [​IMG]

    To the left of the tunnel you can see that I built foam up.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Plaster Cloth. I used some of the cheaper Craft Store cloth before and it works ok. I bought some Woodland's and it much better!

    [​IMG]

    Train view of the whole side:
    [​IMG]

    Ed