Originally Posted by m3nate
New user here. I did some quick searching in the s scale forum and didn't find exactly what I was looking for and was hoping that I wouldn't get roasted terribly for posting here.
My son has grown to love model trains (he will be 4 soon) and I have gotten into the hobby along with him. It all started with my mom's 1950's American flyer train set when he was 2 and now I have started a train table for him (well I guess im loving it too).
The table is a 54" by 72" rectangle. I've ordered grass mat and some landscaping/road painting supplies. I have a basic track layout in mind that i will draw up and post here for feedback (would love to hear what you all think).
I have 2 main questions that I'd like to get some help on:
1. Any tips/tricks for the beginner as I build the layout? Things I should think about that I am likely not?
2. What track/roadbed should I use for the layout? I have a decent amount of standard american flyer track, but no turnouts yet.
Thank you in advance,
Welcome to the forum!
First, you won't get roasted here on the model train forum. We don't operate that way. In fact we are in the process of expelling a jerk who does operate that way!
Second, this "Beginner's Q&A" section is specifically designed as a place for new people to ask questions, so you are quite correct to post here.
Now, you mentioned that you were building this layout for a young lad of not quite four to operate, or at least look at closely. For him to do that the layout will need to be low, and/or you will need to construct some sort of step/platform for him to stand on/run along. (I have a four year old grandson, so I know they don't stand still!
Low enough for him could mean "Oh my aching back!" for you, so I'm going to suggest making the layout/table at a height where you can sit in a rolling office chair, and he can stand, either on the floor, or on the step/platform, depending on his height.
You also mentioned "table", and "grass mat." Those words conjure up an image in my mind, of a very basic, not very realistic, "toy train setup" affair, And I want to say that's perfectly OK!
You will see photos on this forum of both that kind of layout, and of some others that look more realistic. Both are good. Neither is "bad." My early HO-scale layout had a flat table, and grass mats too.
My current one is intended to represent, as closely as practical in my limited space, a real railroad (The Milwaukee Road) in a real place (Seattle Wash.) at a real time (the 1920s) (see photos)
There's over fifty years experience between the two layouts. The one I'm going to build for my grandson will not be as elaborate, or anything like as fragile, as the one I'm building for myself, parts of which are shown in the photos. My grandson would destroy my model railroad like godzilla destroyed Tokyo!
Besides not being as tall as a grown up, a little kid doesn't have the same arm reach as a grown person either. So either the table should be accessible from all four sides, including a surrounding step/platform, Or the whole table idea might not be as viable as a narrow shelf running along a wall, or two, or four.
Light, but strong, benchwork, bolted to the wall(s); like the example in section 3&4 of my "How to build a better first layout" series, would be within easy reach and yet reasonably child resistant. I will also admit, that I'm a N-scale modeler (formerly HO, and way back Lionel and Marx) While I know a good deal about model railroading in general, I don't know diddly-squat about American flyer. The files I'm sending to you have been sent many times, to many new model railroaders, who asked for advice. The information in them can be adapted to any scale of model trains, but none of it is specific to S-scale American Flyer trains.
If you decide to read any of these then I would suggest starting with the top file, with the somewhat less than fantastically imaginative title of, "Where do I start".
It starts with a very general bunch of basic decisions for you to make, about what kind of layout you prefer to build. Gradually it will move you along to some more specific decisions, at least one of which, "Which scale do you want to use?" you have obviously already made. S-scale A/F.
From there on it gets a little more specific and you are free to accept, or reject, any and all parts based on your particular goal of building a kid's layout, that can, and will be enjoyed by at least one adult too.
American Flyer turnouts may be as different from N-scale HO-scale ones as Lionel three rail. O-gage one are, or not. So the "All about turnouts" file may "turn out" (
I love awful puns!)
to be, "all about" turnouts you will never use. I include it just in case there are close similarities. What do I know? I'm just an N-scaler!
Good luck. Have Fun. And feel free to ask questions.
WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf
1 How to build a better first layout.pdf
2 How to build a better first layout.pdf
3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf
5 How to build a better first layout.pdf
6 How to build a better first layout.pdf
All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf
MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf
Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf
Paintbrush Pine Trees.pdf
Black River town view.JPG
trees & train 3.JPG
tug closeup sharp focus.JPG
Wooden road bridge at Black River Junction.jpg
Garrison creek trestle good view.JPG
Allentown covered bridge.jpg