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Basic tools:

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.

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Good luck beginners!!!
 

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Your right it is good to see that people are here to help guys like us.
Im also new to any forums and have a questions about setting up the contours of the base. Instead of having a flat base i wanted a base to follow a particular ground slope and contour levels. What type of base do you use for this. I have tried plaster but its just too heavy and cracks with every slight movement.

Look forward to your reply :confused:
 

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Your right it is good to see that people are here to help guys like us.
Im also new to any forums and have a questions about setting up the contours of the base. Instead of having a flat base i wanted a base to follow a particular ground slope and contour levels. What type of base do you use for this. I have tried plaster but its just too heavy and cracks with every slight movement.

Look forward to your reply :confused:
Welcome! I would try using that styrofoam insulation which comes in sheets... You should be able to easily cut it and contour it to your liking...

 

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Why are most layouts are mounted on a pink foam board? Is that necessary? I also noticed that the tracks are mounted on cork. Why? You would still nail the tracks to the board. Would you use both, pink foam and cork?
 

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Why are most layouts are mounted on a pink foam board? Is that necessary? I also noticed that the tracks are mounted on cork. Why? You would still nail the tracks to the board. Would you use both, pink foam and cork?
Stuart,

The cork serves two purposes: one is to deaden noise, the other is for a neat appearance. The cork roadbed is sort of standard for layouts: people got used to seeing it and it became sort of a perceived necessity: it's not. If you are using the foam insulation panels under your track, try temporarily laying out your track and evaluate the noise level. If it doesn't sound overly-loud to you, forget the cork.
 

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Some people use cork locally in way of the track, and then cover up the cork with a sprinkle of ballast stone. The cork height gives the illusion that the ballast bed buildup is thicker (taller) than it actually is.
 

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TJ, I agree with your explanation, but it's a practice I'm dubious about. I appreciate that, when done even moderately well, it gives the track very neat, clean lines. That tip-of-the-hat given, it just doesn't like any real train track I've ever seen. Maybe it looks that way in marshy country or in the flatlands out west, and is necessary to avoid snowdrifts. I suspect it's mostly a case of a progression as modeling developed: nail-to-plywood was too noisy, so sheet cork was added. Molded-rubber and shaped cork worked better than sheet cork and gradually became de rigueur for any layout, needed or not. My personal opinion is that, once you have pink foam beneath the track, cork is superfluous. It does contribute a nice look, but gives the appearance the train is running down the top of an endless dike. Just MHO, of course.

Finally....the only rule in model railroading is Rule #1: if it's your layout, your opinion is the only one that matters.
 

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Thank you, and welcome to the site! I appreciate having anyone who agrees with me join the forum!:D
 

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sorry I havent really looked in the forums too much I dont mean to ask twice, but what is the gravel effect made with under some tracks?


thanks for helpin out the new guys! I may wear out my welcome I have sooo many questions...time to get on the search button.

cheers
 

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Tap,

Lots of options, with personal preference driving the show ...

1. Create the "ballast" mound (as it's called) with actual scaled tiny stones, available in various grit sizes and colors from many hobby shops and/or online.

2. Create the quasi ballast mound from pre-cut flexible cork bed that's glued down to your layout board. A few mfrs make stuff that's beveled on the edges and split lengthwise down centerline such that you lay left and right halves individually, butted up against each other. That allows for easier contouring around tight turns.

3. Combine options above ... create a "core" mound with the cork, then glue-cover with ballast stone for a true ballast look.

Pros and cons to each, as mentioned in the thread above.

Cheers,

TJ
 

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ahhh ic, thank you very much. The terms are starting to pop out at me so to speak, lol.
now it makes alot more sense.

cheers
 

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1st is package and parts for a remote control switch, or "turnout" in rr terms.

2nd looks to me (a guess) like an motorized train whistle. I see a small round opening to an impeller (fan) blade, perhaps, and two rectangular holes that could be the whistle itself.

You said Lionel ... I thought O gage ... you have Lionel HO ... neat ... somewhat uncommon here on the forum, but fun to see around.

Cheers,

TJ
 

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is lionelHO different from lionel? or just the gauge that is rare from lionel

I just found out my most abused and parts missing loco is my only lionel..and I remember it being the fastest and funnest to use.

sorry I just realized I wasnt in my thread...
 

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Like a lot of longtime companies, Lionel's history is a bit of a roller coaster ride. They were the "big boys" in mostly Standard and O gages from around 1900 to 1960 or so. But in the 60's, more modern "tech" toys (non train ... think space-race and rockets) started to come on the market, and toy trains took a tough hit. To compete, Lionel dabbled into HO gage which did have some growing success in other companies. Lionel's HO locos were plagued with problems, though, and they never really grabbed a solid market niche. Lionel died a slow death into the '70's, then was bought out a few times, reorganized, and is now again a thriving company. O and Standard gage are their highlights, with some American Flyer S (via Lionel) too, I think.

So, in general, when people talk "Lionel" they mostly mean O, sometime Standard, and ... in that "forgotten" manner, HO.

Cheers,

TJ
 
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