darticus;Building but wondering if Styrofoam is an OK material to build on. This is the type of Styrofoam that you use for insulation in the walls. Ron
Thanks for all your suggestions. I will see how things go but with the layout being 19 inches by 45 I this this might work. I used it for a N scale layout 36 inches by 6 foot and it seems to work for me of course painting the surface with water base. Rondarticus;
The foam in your photo looks white. The only white colored foam I've seen is common "bead board," true, Styrofoam. The word "Styrofoam" is a trademark, and refers only to this type of foam. It is commonly used as packing material, in many shapes, including loose "peanuts" dumped into a box to protect whatever is being shipped. The same type of foam is also cast into specific shapes to fit around an item like a TV set. Yes, it is also used as home insulation sheets, usually with foil cladding on the outside. In terms of model railroad use though, that last use is a little confusing.
A very different type of foam, called "Extruded Foam Board" is the type preferred by model railroaders. The confusion comes from the fact that extruded foam is also commonly used as home insulation.
So what's the difference? Hardness, and strength. White bead board is soft, and easily broken. When it breaks, or is cut, or shaped, it produces clouds of little bead-shaped pieces; which get all over the place. These two characteristics make bead board very unpopular for model railroad use. If you can live with the mess, and have a sheet of plywood, or. in your case, a strong table, under the bead board for support, bead board can be used; but I don't particularly recommend it.
Extruded foam comes in pink, blue, and green, sheets. It is available in home improvement stores, but only in areas that have cold winters. (It is nearly impossible to find in California, Arizona, etc.) Extruded foam does not produce as much mess when cut with a saw, or shaped with a sure-foam plane, as the white bead board does. When cut with a knife, or especially with a hot wire cutter, it produces almost no dust. Extruded foam is so strong that it can be used as a layout base without plywood under it. For these reasons, it is the foam of choice among model railroaders. Extruded foam is more expensive than bead board. A 4'x8' sheet can cost $40 or more.
So if you wish, you can continue with the white bead board, and its limitations; or you can switch to the extruded foam. If you stick with the bead board that you have, I have two suggestions. First, paint the entire surface of the Styrofoam with earth-color brown latex house paint. Second, use wood roadbed, instead of the popular cork, or foam, roadbed types. The wood will provide a strong, flat, surface to support your track. It can also accept track nails if you use them. ( I don't know if Z-scale track nails even exist.) Most model track gets glued down, often with dabs of latex caulk. I use 1/4" thick Luan plywood
for my roadbed. I cut it to shape with a saber saw, using a fine-toothed blade. This produces lots of splinters, so I wear work gloves. After cutting I sand the roadbed smooth, and taper the sides to look like the raised embankment a real railroad lays its track on. The last step is to paint the roadbed, on all sides, with the same earth brown latex paint. This seals the wood against moisture and warping.
I would like to get ideas on how to build the foam up to get rid of the piers. Any links? Thanks Rondarticus;
Yes, you can keep using the foam you have. From your photo, it looks like the table will provide plenty of support. It also looks like you are using sectional track, and a plastic pier set to raise one track. Do you plan to add scenery to the layout? If so you can add additional layers of Styrofoam to replace the piers with a continuous embankment. The layer technique will also work for hills. If you want to create a stream, below the present Styrofoam level, the foam can be cut down with a knife, and sanded to shape. This type of foam is messy, so keep a shop vacuum handy. I once made a tiny diorama to use in a Styrofoam scenery lecture. I was able to use the bead
good luck with your layout;
Sounds good I will follow up on it. I will check out this site. Don't like the look without buildup.Looks like you're using Marklin track? If so, what size curves are you using? Do you have a track plan diagram you could post showing the sizes with Marklin's id number for all the track pieces and switches you're using?
Regarding creating landform buildups, while you'll find a variety of methods suggested, for me, the simplest, easiest, quickest, and least messy is using a product called Woodland Scenics Mountain Foil. While somewhat pricey, it is a joy and delight to use.
It's mentioned and shown in this OGR forum post: (simply copy and past it in your URL bar)
Of course for z gauge, you won't add the rock molds shown but just the foil itself. Since it's sold in in rolls and you certainly won't need that much for a z scale layout, perhaps you can buy a roll jointly with another model railroader.
So sorry, Ron. The product I'm referring to is SHAPER SHEET.[/QUOTE]Can't seem to find it by the name Woodland Scenics Mountain Foil. Is there another name? Thanks Ron
OK thanks, Now I see. No one, hobby or crafts carries it around here. I'll have to order on the internet. Thanks Ron[/QUOTE]So sorry, Ron. The product I'm referring to is SHAPER SHEET.
If you haven't ordered it yet, I've found that the cheapest internet dealer sale price for a nine-inch wide roll is currently at Model Train Stuff (M.B. Klein).[/QUOTE]OK thanks, Now I see. No one, hobby or crafts carries it around here. I'll have to order on the internet. Thanks RonPHP:
Thanks I will check it out. Ron[/QUOTE]If you haven't ordered it yet, I've found that the cheapest internet dealer sale price for a nine-inch wide roll is currently at Model Train Stuff (M.B. Klein).
I will consider all Thanks Ron[/QUOTE]Btw, Ron, you'll also need to purchase the Woodland Scenics plaster that's specially formulated to use with those shaper sheets.
It'll make your shaper sheet creations nearly "rock hard".
Actually, I have covered the shaper sheets with a thin layer of Sculptamold. It works just fine, bonding to the fuzz on the back (or front,, depending on your point of view.).[/QUOTE]I will consider all Thanks Ron
Ron;We got a good start. Small setup using 3 trains and 3 transformers. Have track layout with directions shown but need ideas for mountains or bridges. Using a figure 8 that should be covered with some mountains so it doesn't look like a figure 8. Any suggestions for mountains or whatever would be great. Thanks Ron
Thanks for your suggestions.Ron;
Your layout is typical of many first,or second attempts at designing a model railroad. It has lots of track somewhat crammed into a small area. That's pretty common, since few of us have the space we might like. There is nothing "wrong" with this type of layout if your goal is to get the maximum amount of train action in the space you have. However, such track arraignments bear little resemblance to a real railroad's track layout. That may, or may not be something you care about; and either way is quite OK. After all, it's your railroad, to build as you wish.
All that said, you asked about ways to "disguise a figure eight; so it doesn't look like a figure eight." That's a tall order. The two ideas I can recommend would be, first, to have the bridge, where the upper track crosses over the lower one, represent one railroad companie's track crossing over the track of another railroad. (Quite common in real life.)
Second, the two tracks could both belong to the same railroad, it just had to cross over itself to gain elevation. ( A lot less common, but some examples do exist.)
The plastic pier set you have raising the track is not realistic at all. A real railroad would not build such a structure, as it would collapse under the first train to try crossing it. You might want to replace it with a hill that is higher than the track on one side, and lower than the track on the other. This would be a right-of-way cut into the side of the hill, and that has plenty of real life examples. Putting part of the figure eight in a tunnel, or behind a ridge, would also help disguise the loops of the figure eight a bit. If you do build a tunnel, make sure it can be lifted off, or has an access door on one side. You will need to be able to reach the track in the tunnel for cleaning and other maintenance.
This response is getting a bit long, so I'll refer you to the attached document, It covers the subject thoroughly, and gives the various options.
Good luck with your layout;
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