Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by aburke, Nov 9, 2004.

1. ### aburkeNew Member

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I am at the point of doing roads on my layout and I was curious about how big they should be scale wise. Is there a place that would tell me or would someone be able to tell me. I want to get the size right so they look realistic. Also what are some the different material people use to build their roads. I would like them to look good. Thanks
2. ### SAL CometMember

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aburke, Welcome to the Gauge, In HO scale 1' = 87' in real life. So take the actual width of the road you want to model,multiply the number of feet by 12, then divid that numbr by 87. for instance- 20' road x12=240". 240 divided by 87=2.76" or take the easy route and get yourself a HO scale ruler.hth
3. ### farmer ronMember

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Welcome to the Guage, what kind of roads are you modeling ? Modern ones concrete or asphault. gravel or dirt, are you doing main city roads, rural roads, logging or farm ??
Modern roads have a lane width of 12 feet from center to shoulder, I have found that this looks too wide when done to scale, so what I usualy do is take two scale vehicles that you are using, as you did not mention which scale you are in, keep them apart about 3 to 4 scale feet then decide on the width that looks good to you.
As far as making roads: concrete-foam core painted concrete color, scribe break marks in with exaco knife, rub dirt into scribed lines, and rub dirt onto where vehicle tire lines are, weather with different chaulks or dry brush with paints. Asphault- foam core or cardboard with sand paper on top, paint a asphault color depending on if you want new-dark or old-gray look, again weather with chaulks or dry brushing of paints. Dirt/gravel roads- cardboard with sand paper glued on top with light amount of dirt or gravel glued, sparingly, to the sandpaper (this gives it a rough appearance) again weather to what you are trying to achieve. What I would recomend is to build a few practice ones on some scrap material first, that way you will be able to practice and get what you want, then do it on the layout. Ron..
4. ### kchronisterMember

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There's a shorter way that SAL's method...

Take distance in feet, multiply by .1375, you get HO equivalent in inches - e.g. to use his example, 20' x .1375 = 2.75"
5. ### Chris BeardMember

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I went out with my tape measure and checked the street in front of my house. I then used my HO scale rule to measure in scale. I had access to some thin bulk plastic sheeting from an advertisement sign at Sears that I cut to scale width. I then spray painted to strips with a dark primer gray then dry brushed with black for staining. For road stripes I went to my local body shop and got pin striping in the right colors and width. Until your eyes start seeing in scale size carry your rule with you.
6. ### spitfireActive Member

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This is one of those questions with no definitive answer. Country roads are different from city streets, main streets are wider, laneways narrow and the further back in time you go, the narrower the roads are. In Europe there are roads still in existence that pre-date the automobile altogether and they're still in use.

As Farmer Ron suggested, the best way to get the "right" size, ie right for your layout, is to decide how many lanes you want, put down some scale cars, and use that for your guide.

I'm a big fan of "eyeballing" when it comes to roads, and I like to cut 4-6" strips of grey construction paper to see how my roads are going to look before I actually make them.

When it comes to making them there are lots of ways to do it. My favourite method is to lay down a thin coat of spackle. I smooth it out with a spreader that's a little wider than my road, but I'm not super careful. I discovered quite by accident that little irregularities add character, and little missing spots look better than any pothole I could make deliberately.

Alsphalt roads are light grey. You can paint them with Woodland Scenics asphalt - which looks like brand new pavement when you first put it on. A bit of fine grit sanding makes it much lighter - more like older pavement. Older roads have cracked pavement. Some people scribe the cracks into the surface but that doesn't work well with spackle. I just use a fine tip marker.

For gravel roads, you can use fine ballast. Most gravel roads get to the point where the gravel is only at the side and in the middle, because the car wheels push it away.

For mud roads again I use spackle, but a thicker coat. Before it's fully dry, run some cars over it to get ruts. The longer you let it dry, the smoother the ruts will be. A cool thing is to run the wheels over in certain places while the spackle is still fairly damp to get actual tire tracks. I paint it with my ground colour. Lower spots I sometimes paint with a slightly darker colour - makes them look like there was a puddle there.

Anyway, good luck and have fun with it.

And welcome to the Gauge.

Val
7. ### Chris BeardMember

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To make the road curve to its side I add a narrow strip down the middle of where the road will be. Then when the actual road is laid down the curve is there.

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