My layout begins

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by FiveFlat, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

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    Okay, so here goes with my mini N layout.

    I first started with a 26"x48" surface of 3/4" birch plywood. I then carved a 26"x48" square out of a sheet of 5/8" drywall to provide the roadbed.

    I haven't seen anyone use drywall and I don't know how well it will work, but since I have leftover sheets of it in my garage, I figured I'd give it a shot. I'll let you all know how it works out.

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  2. johnny b

    johnny b Member

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    So what is that running around the outside ? I guess thats the platform in the middle then. Drywall I would think would work well .
  3. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

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    Around the outside is my son's O gauge Lionel Mickey's Christmas express. I am just starting my initial N setup right there.
  4. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

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    okay, so I think Atlas' name "snap-track" is a little misleading, or I'm missing something. Does the track actually snap together?
    Or do I simply connect them with the rail joiners and hope I have a perfect radius, straight line, etc.?
  5. jetrock

    jetrock Member

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    Atlas "snap-track" refers to the rail joiners...when the phrase was coined, most track on model railroads was still laid by spiking rail to wooden ties on Homasote, or fiber-tie track. Connect them with the rail joiners and nail them in place--the best way to ensure that your track is straight is with the classic Mark I eyeball.

    Never heard of using drywall for layout surface--the stuff is pretty inflexible, and not exactly lightweight, but I suppose if you're modeling the Sacramento Valley you don't have to worry much about terrain...

    Hmmm...am I just seeing double, or does your track have three rails on it?
  6. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

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    Yes, the 3-rail track is the Lionel O-gauge oval. I haven't posted pictures of my N-gauge track yet.
    Thanks for the tip on the snap-track. Is it pretty easy to kink the curves of that? The good 'ol eyeball will prove sufficient?
    again, thanks!
  7. jetrock

    jetrock Member

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    Snap-Track comes in set curved and straight lengths--there really isn't any kinking to be done, so much as ensuring that there aren't any kinks. With flextrack, a little more skill is needed as you can bend the track to the radius you want or leave it straight. Eyeballing is the best way to ensure you have laid track in a straight line--although I suppose a ruler helps. Once you have nailed things down, run a train over it--any kinks or snags will become immediately apparent.
  8. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

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    some thoughts requested

    Should I start by just nailing this track down to the drywall, and then changing it a bit later because I want some elevation (bridges, mountains, etc)?

    What about under the track? It looks like alot of your layouts have an elevated track (couple scale feet above grade) Is that for looks, or is there a purpose behind that?
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    It's easy to get kinks in snap track (called snap because it was a snap to assemble) at the joints. If a rail slides in the tie strip, you get it off square. Check the straight tracks with a ruler. Watch the curves very carefully. Also make sure the rail joiners go on the rails and not beneath it.
    Drywall will have to be watched. Check the edges -- they will leak plaster dust and chunks. Nails and screws will make holes that don't heal and that enlarge with time so that the nails don't hold.
  10. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

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    So should I just nix the drywall and nail the track right to the plywood, or is the cork roadbed pretty mandatory?
  11. jetrock

    jetrock Member

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    Cork or foam roadbed makes things quieter and makes it easier to do ballast--having a little rise above the scenery is often useful.

    60103 raises a good point: If you put a nail into the drywall, it will only get weaker with time and if you nail the wrong spot and have to move it over a little bit, you probably won't be able to set the nail because the drywall will crumble beneath it. If you're dead-set on using drywall for your layout base, I'd recommend using clear "Liquid Nails for Projects" to hold your roadbed and track down--it is a nice strong glue that won't require poking holes in your drywall.

    Personally I think your best bet is to nail your track into the drywall, then take it out and install it on some wood or Styrofoam when you get disgusted with the drywall.
  12. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

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    Looks like you are off to a great start.:thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  13. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

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    Okay, I removed the drywall last night. (The nice birch is much prettier also). I just got back from the LHS with a box of cork roadbed and I'll lay the track tonight and post some pictures.
    I really want some elevation on my layout and was thinking of best placement. (perhaps jetrock would have a little insight to this)
    Want to place a large river (Sacramento River) on one side and a mountain range (Sierras) on the other. How would you all go about that with this layout?

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  14. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

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    OK...you kinda had me goin' there, Fiver...I was going to ask if someone had introduced 3-rail N scale while I was asleep...:sleeping: :rolleyes: :D

    It's great to see so many new people coming into the hobby!
    It's inspiring to this "old dog" seeing all these folks workin' so hard on their layouts!
    Keep up the good work, & keep us posted with those progress pics!
    :thumb: :cool: :cool: :thumb:
  15. Papa Bear

    Papa Bear Member

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    Here's something to get you started. It's hard to model a river crossing on a small layout. Once the river crosses the tracks, you have to either provide a second bridge on the other side of the loop or try to hide the "end" of the river behind scenery. Here, the river is on the edge of the layout. You could have a short trestle in the upper left (maybe that's a log pond for a sawmill).

    The mountains cut diagonally across the layout from the upper right. One track passes through a tunnel and the other track passes through a deep cut to give some variety. You could make them both tunnels if you wanted. You should still have some room to add industries or a small town.

    This is just one idea. There are of course many other possibilities.:wave:

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  16. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

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    John,
    Dawg gone, that's great. I was trying to think about how I wanted my Sac. Station at that siding on the bottom left, but that top right siding is more fitting. Then East to the Sierra's!
  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Plywood has a different problem to the drywall -- it's too hard. I think the glue does something to it. Any nails you use for the track will bend or worse when youtry to drive them into plywood. Best bet is probably to glue the roadbed down and then either glue the track to it or use nails that don't go through the roadbed. Use the track pieces to mark where the roadbed goes.
  18. zedob

    zedob Member

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  19. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

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    zedob,
    Thank you very much! Now I have proof :D
  20. FiveFlat

    FiveFlat Member

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    After 100,000 pokes in each fingertip from the rail joiners, and once slipping and darn near slicing my right index finger off, I got the track laid down on cork.
    The only problem is I think the cork is too narrow now. Hopefully I can make it look right with the finishing touches.:(:oops:

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