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Discussion Starter #1
Here's my new 1950's Rural HO layout. I've just gotten back into model trains, after 30+ years being an adult. I built this simple layout with my kids over the past few weeks, and we're all having a blast!

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Railroad Tycoon
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A few weeks?

Thats all? Unless when you say "the kids" it means you got TEN of them helping you build it.:D

Can't wait to see what it looks like in a couple months!:laugh:

Tell me???
In the first picture on the edge of the table is that water pipe insulation attached to the edge of the table?
The gray stuff?

Yes by all means do an aerial shot of it.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi all,

Wow ... I'm humbled and very appreciative of all of your nice comments above. I'm "new" to this model train thing (well, a 30+ year gap, really), so I realize that you all on the forum will have many tricks / tips to teach me along the way.

Yes, it's a 4x8 layout ... 49"x97", really, which is stock 3/4" MDF sheet size.

My kids (boys) are 7 and 4 ... they helped quite a bit with the conceptual theme (the 4 year old likes horses, the 7 year old likes old cars). Hence, a 1950's "rural" layout.

We opted for a "figure eight within an oval layout" (all one connected track) so that we could go "old school" with one simple non-DCC transformer, yet still end up with a decent length of track run.

To help us all not bump too harshly into the table edge, I opted to run some 3/8" foam pipe insulation "tube" around the edge ... sort of a bumper cushion. It doesn't look very authentic, but it's a nice soft edge for leaning over the table. And a piece of cake to install ... friction fit, no glue.

A few of the buildings (freight station, blacksmith shop) are things that I built when I was a kid. And several of the other buildings are part of a "Lot" of misc old HO stuff that I bought on eBay. Someone had tinkered (nicely) 40+ years ago, and then packed away stuff in their basement, only to be "discovered" by some relative. The buildings were dinged and broken a bit, but I cleaned them up, added some paint highlights, and stuck 'em in the scene. I sincerely hope that someone "up above" is smiling down on me for rekindling a bit of life back into their old handiwork.

The mountain / tunnel was the most challenging for me. I built a curved ramp out of rigid pink foam first (22" radius for 1/4 turn, 18" radius for 1/4 turn), with that fastened to the table. Then I glued up sheet stock of more pink foam to make the rough form of the mountain, but I didn't glue the bottom layer to the table. The whole mountain lifts off for access. Then, I whacked away at the shape with saws, a grinding disc, etc. until the lumps and bumps sort of looked natural. Far from perfect, but enough to put a smile on the kids' face. Then, a dabbed the foam with 4 colors of earth-tone acrylic paints to give it sort of a "granite" look. Finally, a few dabs of glue and shakes of "grass" to add some highlights.

It's funny ... I built two "access windows" into the back side of the tunnel ... so that I could poke in a fix any derailments, etc. My kids have more fun watching the trains inside the tunnel via the "windows" than they do watching the rest of the layout. Maybe I should have simply stuck some track and trains inside a huge box, cut a few 4" x 8" windows, and let the kids have a field day peeking in?!? Next time, maybe!

The main board grass and road layout is pretty basic ... green paint; Elmer's glue; then either "grass" or "gravel" shaky-can stuff from Woodland Scenics. I had a few bare spots, but tried to cover those over with bushes,which come from a bag of multi-colored lichen that I bought at a hobby store.

I made a big paper template of the road layout first (to get the road curves about right), then cut and transferred that to the MDF sheet to mark the road/grass outlines.

The trees were a head-scratcher ... I thought that I'd glue some of that same lichen to some real branches and call it a day, but I had a hard time poking around my yard to find branches (from a tree or bush) that had a proper scaled look. Not too flimsy, not to straight, etc. I ended up chopping a bit off of our winterberry bush in the front yard -- when my wife WASN'T looking!

Still more to do ... detail "end cap" on the mountain face where the upper track pokes out; some wire (thread?) along the telephone poles; some more bushes along the mountain face; ...

Any other suggestions ???

It's all great fun, and I'm really delighted to have found this forum, and the helful / enthsiastic support of all of you. Thank you VERY much!

TJ
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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One suggestion comes to mind while looking at your first picture.
The wall would look great painted with a mountain scene behind the tunnel and maybe something else painted on the wall where the track comes out of the tunnel.:thumbsup:

Do you have any artist in the family?

We all (I think) still want a overhead shot of your layout too.
Get on a step ladder an get a picture please.

I would like to see it all in one picture.:D

And go cut up the bush it wil grow back.:laugh:

Thanks for posting.:thumbsup:
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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One suggestion comes to mind while looking at your first picture.
The wall would look great painted with a mountain scene behind the tunnel and maybe something else painted on the wall where the track comes out of the tunnel.:thumbsup:

Do you have any artist in the family?

We all (I think) still want a overhead shot of your layout too.
Get on a step ladder an get a picture please.

I would like to see it all in one picture.:D

And go cut up the bush it wil grow back.:laugh:

Thanks for posting.:thumbsup:

I like that idea with the foam insulation too. :thumbsup:
I think it would also offer some protection from a run away train going to the floor too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks big_ed,

Here's an overhead pic, attached.

Great idea on the backdrop artwork. I flipped through a Walthers catalog to see if they have any panorama backdrops. They have a few, but nothing that would exactly match my left/right hills. I wish me or my family was more artistic in that regards. I might try to Photoshop something together that will work.

My wife keeps asking, "Are you done with the train layout yet?"

Uhhh ... train layouts are never done, are they ?!?!?

TJ

 

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That is a really nice piece of work TJ! The lines look very clean and I love the way the mountain tunnel comes in and out at different elevations. Well done. :thumbsup:
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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That is a really nice piece of work TJ! The lines look very clean and I love the way the mountain tunnel comes in and out at different elevations. Well done. :thumbsup:
I say the same.
I have been waiting for this somehow I must have missed the post?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks, gents ...

I really appreciate the kudos coming from you well-seasoned train vets!

I've fiddled with models my whole life ... mostly sailing ships, pond yachts, etc. This train layout was a first for me, so I tried to keep it pretty "flat-land" simple. The trestles and mountain/tunnel ad just a bit of "depth". But, overall, not much more than a jazzed-up sheet of MDF.

The kids sure like it, though. And who could ask for a better grade than that?!?

Regards,
TJ
 

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That was the only grade that really mattered.

Incidentally, did you ever read the book "Flatland"?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Is it just a 2D circle, or is it a 3D pencil poking through the page?

Are we really $14 Trillion in debt, or is there some alternate world where we all live like billionaires?
 

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That money went someplace. Somewhere theres some people having one hell of a party!

Flatland is a book I read in college. Involves a two dimensional world where a character suddenly discovers 3-d. I recall it was really interesting.
 

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I like it Really clean, Your kids sound like they will be future civil engineers!
 
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