Basics of Building a Layout
Some carpenter tools, electric drill, battery operated also, drill bits, multimeter, soldering gun, soldering pencil, electronic hand tools, diagonal cutters, needle-nose pliers, wire strippers, tweezers, jewelers files, etc. Buy rosin core solder and a can of flux for rosin free solder. Yes, you will sometmes have to use the flux in tight places as there may be not enough rosin in the roll solder. Had experience as an equipment repair technician and used all tools related to wiring, among other fields.
Selecting layout size:
You do have to get around the table in order to work. No track should be more than 24" from the edge of a table. On a rectangle, 4' X 8', 4' X 10', etc., there should be two feet of floor space on the long sides. Given the room size, one end should be open to get to the other long side.
For "against the wall" layouts, a dogbone or horseshoe layout has to be used, each end would have the turn-a-rounds with the tracks turning into the center section and then parallel to the back track. This center section cut out of the rectangle should be about two feet wide. This would give you two track runs and room for several pairs of switches in the straight center.
You do need some switches to do some logical train runs, engine to train switching, etc. An oval or circle train run gets boring after a while.
Minimum radius for molded snap or E-Z track is 18". Minimum width of board is 38". I recommend flex track at 20" radius on a minimum width board at 42". Reason is, the larger engines with three axles can turn around smoothly. Parallel tracks on the curves need more room between them for the "corner swingout" of the cars and engine. An expert in our club found this out too late, only one train can do the curves at a time.
Construction Step 1:
Make the train table and paint the top dark brown or dark green. Layout all track on the table and run for several days to decide if this is the set up you want.
Construction Step 2:
Layout the streets and roads, allow for building lots on each side of the road. Paint the road black in the country and grey in the city. NOW build mountains and tunnels on layout allowing for all that was done already.
Construction Step 3:
Set all buildings in place, drill a hole through for lights if used. Tack glue two corners of the building in place. Spot glue trees and shrubs, usually around bare areas. Scenery can move with train vibrations, thus the glue tacking. Repaint areas around houses with the green paint, mixed with sand if desired. Repaint around industrial areas with brown, beige paint if desired. Allow for parking areas, grey for cement or sand color for worn areas on grass. Wait in time between steps so changes can be made, especially after the tunnels and mountains. This I learned from train club members who had a difficult time making changes after the major building was done.
Good luck beginners!!!
Last edited by Boston&Maine; 01-19-2010 at 07:01 PM..
Reason: Removed his request to PM as he has not visited here in a long time...