Author Topic: Newbie Needs layout advice  (Read 5457 times)

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choochoocharlie

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Newbie Needs layout advice
« on: April 16, 2009, 12:16:22 PM »
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Hi, I'm new to this world, and have joined a few forums to learn from those who know this best, and to post some pleas for advice about making the layout base.  I have no carpentry skills at all...I couldn't build a doghouse if my dog's or my life depended on it. ;D My skills are more in tune to the terrain and building structures. So...while doing some initial research, I have found something called mod-u-rail made by a company called Woodland Scenics.  Do any of you reading this have any experience with or knowledge about this product? Thanks for your time.

Charlie

ednadolski

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2009, 03:23:30 PM »
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Never used mod-u-rail myself, but IMHO one of the easiest things for N scale is simply one of those flat hollow-core interior doors.  You can usually get them up to 80" x 36".  Doesn't get much easier than that :)

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2009, 09:57:05 PM »
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Someone say hollow core door? I'm all over it.

I'm a fan (cause I'm lazy).

I'd skip the WS stuff, it seems really overpriced.

wcfn100

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2009, 10:12:07 PM »
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Someone say hollow core door? I'm all over it.

I'm a fan (cause I'm lazy).

I'd skip the WS stuff, it seems really overpriced.

Don't forget that you can also get the hollow core as a bi-fold if you want a 15 or 18" shelf too.

Jason

wm3798

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2009, 12:25:34 AM »
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As a newcomer to the hobby, Woodland Scenics is a naturally attractive place to start.  They do offer a range of items that you can pick up at the hobby store at the same time you're buying your track and structure kits.  They also do a pretty good job of providing tutorials of how to use their products.

But as you gain experience, you'll quickly discover that much of what they offer can easily be duplicated with much less expensive materials.

F'rinstance, their foam components can easily be fabricated from relatively cheap foam insulation panels that are available at any home center.  If you want to follow their lead building grades, that's a little trickier, but building up stacks of foam for a scenic base?  Go to Home Depot or Lowe's, and save the extra money to buy more freight cars!

Their "Scenic Cement" is nothing more than acrylic matte medium that's watered down and repackaged in a smaller bottle that's sold for twice the price that you can get the base material from an art supply store for.  Same with their plaster impregnated gauze... go to the medical supply dealer and buy it in bulk for a fraction of the WS price.

And I'll add my vote to the hollow core door as layout base concept.  Slap together a couple of quick sawhorses and your done.  Or, get a couple of $30 book case kits at Walmart, and use them to hold it up, and you have a decent looking base that doubles as storage for all your train goodies.

Lee
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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

ednadolski

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2009, 11:46:54 AM »
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On a flat door, what a lot of people do to get scenery below track level is lay down a sheet of the pink or blue extruded foam insulation from Home Depot or Lowes (not the white beadboard foam).  These usually come 1" to 2" thick.  You then build your roadbed & track right atop that.

Simply cut out the areas where you want the rivers, lakes, etc. to go.  You can also stack multiple layers upwards to make hills and such.  Just be sure to use a foam-friendly adhesive.

Here is a link to some small-layout trackplans.  Some are for door sized layouts, the smaller ones like the 2x4's can easily be expanded too.

http://www.cke1st.com/m_train2.htm

I'd also recommend looking thru some of the Kalmbach books on building a small layout, these have lots of helpful info.

Ed

Dave V

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2009, 12:02:52 PM »
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The door layout is great in that it's completely self-contained and portable.  Here's mone after moving from North Carolina to Nebraska:



Feel free to poke around my website:

http://www.thevollmerfamily.com/Pennsy/index.html

I have numerous construction photos showing how easy it is to build.
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davefoxx

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2009, 02:18:54 PM »
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I am also an advocate of door layouts for those who are limited on space or require a layout that is easily transported, so I agree with those who have already posted about the usefulness of the hollow-core door.  I currently have a layout built on a 36" x 80" door with a 12" x 80" door used for a staging yard.  Here's a rough idea of what I have created (note, in the background you can see the door and 2" foam sandwich where I haven't yet installed the fascia on that portion of the layout):


By the way, you could learn a lot from Ed K. and Dave Vollmer's respective websites on door layout construction and all sorts of other issues and tips on model railroading.  Another source that I can offer is the "Carolina Central" thread on the Atlas forum.  Go to:

http://forum.atlasrr.com/discussion/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=43495

In that that thread, you will see different layouts that were built, inspired by the Model Railroader project door layout, the Carolina Central.  I have posted a lot of information on the construction of my layout, which I call the Virginia Central, in that thread.  Others have added a lot, too, which shows, to me, the almost unlimited possibilities of what you can do with a simple hollow-core door.

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choochoocharlie

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2009, 12:21:57 PM »
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Thanks so much for all the advice. I had the same 'hollow core door' advice over at The Whistle Post and I thought that sounded really good.  I did take a look at Dave's and Ed's websites....Ed's track plans options are a great resource and Dave's construction photos were very helpful to see the work in progress...I'm sure I will be visiting those again soon....and I will check out the Atlas forum.  And thank for the confidence building...I've been a bit hesitant because of my lacking carpentry skills, but it was nice to see the word 'easy' several times!  ;D

Thanks again.

Charlie

MichaelT

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2010, 04:37:29 PM »
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The door layout is great in that it's completely self-contained and portable.  Here's mone after moving from North Carolina to Nebraska:



Feel free to poke around my website:

http://www.thevollmerfamily.com/Pennsy/index.html

I have numerous construction photos showing how easy it is to build.

Dave,

How are the legs on your door layout as far as stability? Do they hold the layout up well enough? I'm wondering how they would hold up during a train show with people looming around if it were accidently bumped?
Jesus is my engineer! :)

Dave V

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2010, 08:14:55 PM »
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The layout has been bumped many times at shows.  A hard enough shot will derail things, but the legs are plenty stable enough for me under normal usage.
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MichaelT

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Re: Newbie Needs layout advice
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2010, 09:33:19 PM »
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The layout has been bumped many times at shows.  A hard enough shot will derail things, but the legs are plenty stable enough for me under normal usage.

Thanks Dave, the layout I picked up from a friend has no legs, but he did screw a 1x3 frame underneath around the edges. I can either attach legs to the frame or inset them inside to the door itself I imagine.

michael
Jesus is my engineer! :)