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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I’m Thomas and I’m new to this forum and HO layouts.
I’m currently constructing an L shaped layout with two 4x8 tables pushed together. I plan to add a third 2x8 table specifically for a terminus station to house all of my trains.
My goal is to make a small alpine resort town in Austria. Pretty ambitious for a first time, but I’m willing to put in the effort. So far, the trickiest part of the whole thing for me is scenery. Constructing mountains is hard, especially if you are trying to make it look good.

Another issue is obviously turn radius. I don’t mind my trains looking a little funny so long they turn without issue. Also, euro trains tend to have shorter cars, so my 18 and 22 inch radii both seem to work ok.

Let me know if you guys have any helpful thoughts or tips (especially with mountains). I’m decently far along on construction. I’m almost ready for the second upper loop specifically for a trolley around the town.
92320380-DBC4-4ACB-AD48-C035CB0905D0.jpeg CA3E1D6A-F8AA-4D28-BDD4-521484B9FFDB.jpeg


25B6A191-53E6-4246-8328-1C753D27DF60.jpeg CBA6DE09-0EA2-42D9-9B40-CDAC6DCFC39A.jpeg
 

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Thomas, looks like your off to a good start. MichaelE has a Swiss theme here right now u can check out.
 

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Welcome.

A small Alpen ski area or resort, or village at the base would likely be serviced by narrow gauge in both Switzerland and Austria.

For a Modelleisenbahn set in Austria you would lay HOe gauge track. Roco, Bemo, and others make a lot of narrow gauge equipment used in these areas.

For ideas about terrain, there are hundreds of videos on Youtube featuring mountain railways in Austria, Switzerland, and Suddeutschland.

Railcars are generally shorter to negociate the tight mountainous radii, but the track will be narrow gauge.

I am working on a Swiss mountain line modelling the RhB Berninabahn running from St. Moritz to Tirano, Italy. That gauge is 12mm or HOm, for meter gauge. For Austria, HOe or 9mm is used. N scale track can be used for your railroad and TT scale could be used for mine.

I am laying a third rail between standard HO track, so my mountain line will be a dual gauge spur.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info!

Given I’ve already invested a fair amount into the current stuff I have, I’m hesitant to switch gauge. Perhaps the upper loop trolly can be narrow gauge. I do like roco. The stuff I have from them already is fantastic.

Do you have a showcase for your layout? I’d love to see it.
 

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No I don't. You can look up the many threads I've started for photos of my layout. I'm currently at work, but I can post a few later tonight.

You can always lay a third rail for dual gauge since it looks like the majority of your track is laid. It's a lot easier to do than I thought it would be.
 

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There's so many good vids on people making terrain.

I've got a bunch of big pink foam sheets on table tops, cut down a bit. I painted them and while wet sprinkled on green and tan ground cover. Then after drying I repeated another layer and spraying from a spray bottle heavily diluted Elmer's white glue. this thickened it up.

In a few cases I went for not the fine ground dust but the heavier "foliage" style.

This all looks ok but it's all flat.

So I tried carving foam into terrain shapes. Like mountain. This is a pain. Stack up some of the pink foam of the rough size of interest and glue it together. I found standard gorilla glue to do well with that.

Then cut it down. I tried hotwires. This works but hotwires eventually break. I tried some a battery powered one and the woodland scenics one. Junk. I think make your own ( I rigged some stuff together and used an old dc transformer to power ...) Anyway the stuff stinks when you cut it. A big minus.

The other option is to use a knife and other tools, carve it. But this makes a huge mess ...

Now I've seen the vids of people making stuff this way that appears to look good but I'm thinking there has to be a better way at least for large structures.

So now I'm putting some aluminum screen over a panel with some material under it to make my ground form of interest. And I've glued it all up.

Next I'm putting tissue paper over it and again spraying a diluted glue. I've no idea how well this will work.

I thought about joint compound to spread over the fine screen. Plaster of Paris would be another option but to a degree I'm using what I have in hand.

Finally everyone seems a bit crazy for this static grass stuff. So I think I will get an applicator pretty soon ... And try that.

You appear to have applied it and it looks great.

I'll mention two guys who have posted numerous terrain vids that I like. They are sort of at opposite ends of the spectrum. But here's the thing I've not really tried any of their exact ideas ... Still they make it seem like their ideas work.

Luke Towan -- super realistic
Marklinofsweden -- less work is better attitude
 

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Thanks for the info!

Given I’ve already invested a fair amount into the current stuff I have, I’m hesitant to switch gauge. Perhaps the upper loop trolly can be narrow gauge. I do like roco. The stuff I have from them already is fantastic.

Do you have a showcase for your layout? I’d love to see it.

Here are a few photos of my layout:

Laying in 12mm HOm narrow gauge on the mountain spur:



SBB Re/420 with Swiss consist and Deutsche Bahn Br.120 behind:



DB consist at OberrittersGrün, ÖBB 2143 standard gauge on the mountain spur above:



DB Br.111 with RegioExpress consist exiting a mountain tunnel on the station siding:





Looking over the top of Oberrittersgrün to the lower levels out to the Jägerhaus at the far upper left:

Note the unfinished section that runs along the mountain spur in bare cardboard.



Jägerhaus again showing terrain with ÖBB 2143 on the mountain spur. (Trees have been replaced with unflocked fir.):



Rock wall with mountain spur above and Oberrittersgrün halt below. Tracks lead into the unfinished mountain going to the right.



Tunnel entrances for both mainlines and station siding into the finished portion of the mountain.



This scenery was all made with cardboard strips, plaster cloth, and Sculptimold. Water based acrylics from Walmart were used for dolomite coloring most commonly found in Alpen areas.
 
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I've seen the cardboard strip idea which appears to do the job.

But I'm just sticking to this one over arching requirement of whatever I build -- I need to able to take it down pretty easily and potentially store it for a few weeks..

Otherwise I'd start with plywood and proceed to more solid constructions for landforms.

Given that, so far I like the aluminum screen over items to give a kind of surface form to a in my case flat piece of pink foam. Glue that all down. This part seems good...

But covering that with tissue paper and wetting it all down with diluted glue... At least looking at the current drying result makes me wonder if it's going to work ... (produce a paintable surface that will stay adhered to the screen)

I thought about toilet tissue which I've seen before advocated for this kind of thing ...

But it's value went up recently...
 

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Tried and true, and fairly inexpensive is paper towels dipped in a thinned plaster solution and laid over cardboard, screen, rolled newspapers, etc.
 

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The screen wire idea is a good one. Had I more extensive open areas I would have likely used this. I find it a little unwieldly to form close, more detailed areas. There is a very good chance I may be using the screen to bridge gaps between tracks on the far side of the layout as the terrain falls towards the lower tracks. It will be much easier to form terrain with the screen rather than using cardboard as the base material.

I had at first tried hardware cloth and this is much too stiff to work with in small spaces. This would work well though for covering large areas of a much larger layout than mine.

I have a big challenge coming up in filling this hole where the mountain line loops around the mountain end of the run. I plan on a shelf inside of the curve and then following the straight sections on both ends at about 8"-12" wide. I have to have access to the inside of this curve to be able to reach the lower mainlines and part of the back-side of the layout in case I have a derailment (none yet) or have to service a turnout motor or other trackwork.

I saved the piece of wood that came out of the center of this cut, so the edges will mate perfectly after I have cut an access area into the center with that 8"-12" shelf on the inside of the track. This will support terrain, scenery, and various building along the Berninabahn. I'm hoping the terrain will be just high enough that you will not be able to see the access hole without a stepladder. It's already at 56" so even a few more inches will be high enough for all but the tallest people to see over it at the distance from which they must stand for viewing.

 

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Or it could covered with something easily removable -- a hatch.

So in terms of what to put over screen. Well I'm trying at the moment to use what I have on hand. I glue and various forms of paper and a little paint. I have some woodland scenics ground cover material. I'm not sure I've found the right thing...

Another factor is I didn't want the result at least right away to be completely rigid as I may want to make adjustments when putting track on it.

Of course the other option is to completely plan it all out ahead of time but I didn't want to do that...

In that case something like joint compound, plaster or other materials might be great. I'm aware of at least one product that's similar to joint compound but not so brittle that's marketed to the theater industry ( I think ). That sounds interesting to me.

Really it just came down to having a single piece of aluminum screen about the size of the foam board I had...

And I just wanted to see what may work.

I started with some staple in an edge with a little gorilla glue in them but ended up just dripping the glue on the screen in various places and putting on some heavy enough items to hold it in place. I did this in various locations and then around the edges. Under the screen I put a few items to bump it up. (I glued these down ahead of time)

One edge of the screen is folded onto itself about a half inch. In the ideal it would be like this all the way around.

As it stands now the remaining three edges are a bit prickly but I smoothed them a bit.

Finally the weight so to speak of the screen I have is pretty light. I've handled somewhat heavier weight screen and this could be a consideration also...

(For my purposes what I have seems fine)

But I still think in the end the rigid based structures are going to look the best -- as illustrated above!
 

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I took a pic. It dried overnight and is ok. You can push down on it and it will move with some crackling. The paper is adhered to the screen ok.

A bit of paint, sprinkle on the ground cover and may look ok...

IMG_20200419_074613886.jpg
 

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I am totally new to this chat room stuff. I am about ready to start construction on a new HO layout. I have many trains, track and buildings. However, I am 75 now, so I need to get this work started asap. Do any of you have any idea on someone that I could get to draw up a track and layout plan? I hope to hire someone who will be good, but not break the bank. I realize that you get what you pay for. I sincerely need someone badly, but I live in Wyoming and there is not any train help our here. Thank you, Buffalo Bob
 

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Hi Papahog!
I think you won't have to pay anyone here to get a layout plan going for you!
Also, Atlas has many plans on their website. You will need to tell us some idea of the space you want to use, and whether you like a shelf layout, table layout, around-the-walls, etc.
Several other factors also, but shout out some preferences!!
Cid:D
 

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What kind of track do you have?
If it's sectional track, the manufacturers usually have pre-configured track plans, or you can find them online.
 

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Buffalo Bob

Welcome to the Forum. We understand about all this hi tech 'chat room' stuff...
we are just trying to learn how to navigate a renovated forum. It can be
confoozing.

Bob, you most likely would get more useful responses to
your post and a desire to find someone to help you design a layout if you
posted in the Beginner's Q & A forum here. When you 'get to' it, Look up in the right corner and you'll see 'START DISCUSSION'. That let's you open your own thread.

Don
 
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