fromeast2west Reader
11/17/20 11:00 p.m.

I've jumped on the scale model train.  I've managed to justify the cost so far by building my railroad around a Christmas display.

The train is a Bachmann EZ track set up I found on clearance.


I picked up two sheets of 1/2" ply for the base.  I'm planning a figure eight on an L shaped base, so I'll have a 4' x 4' chunck of ply leftover.

Layout sort of complete, but I'll need a few bits of track to get it to line up.


I mocked up a few HO scale buildings in cardboard.  

Adjusting the height of the overpass.


More work on the slope of the track bed and starting to figure out the 'mountain' that will be the North Pole / Santa's Village area when done.

And that's the progress so far.  I picked up a cheap hot wire tool to help with the coming foam work.  I've been watching lots of YouTube tutorials on shaping terrain.  Lots of it will be covered with flocking, so I don't need it to be hyper realistic.   I need to finalize the basic shape of things, and then figure out how I'm going to cut the base.  I'd like it to break down into three roughly 4' x 4' sections for storage.  I've also got a couple feelers out for free dining tables that I can hack up and use as a base.

RossD MegaDork
11/18/20 6:12 a.m.


noddaz UltraDork
11/18/20 7:44 a.m.

Nice work.

But I was really hoping for slot cars.  Sorry. frown

fromeast2west Reader
12/4/20 8:45 a.m.

I've been trying to make some progress every day, but that hasn't always worked out.  Some days all I've done is cut out rock and brick shapes that I'll use later.

Here's what has happened.  

The 2" foam was glued in place, mostly with old caulk that was leftover from home repair projects.  A couple of cans of spray foam filled the voids.

fromeast2west Reader
12/4/20 8:47 a.m.

Once the lower sections were in place I repeated the process with the upper 'take away' portion.  This area will be removable for storage and access to the track if needed.

The garbage bags between the two sections allow the spray foam to fill gaps between the sections without sticking them together.

fromeast2west Reader
12/4/20 8:52 a.m.

I've started to clean up the expanded spray foam and carve some of the contours with a hot wire tool.  I'll test fit the track one more time before calling the foam part of the build done, then I'll work on getting a base coat of paint on it and adding some trees and other details.  

trucke SuperDork
12/4/20 9:00 a.m.

Very cool!  My dad passed along a Marklin set years ago.  Never had time to set it up.  Lot's of wiring involved.  He could run 5 trains on a 4x8 foot table at the same time.  Stuff is still in the boxes.

Strizzo PowerDork
12/4/20 9:33 a.m.

Jeez, no love for O-27 in here


this was right side up before I uploaded it...

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/4/20 10:42 a.m.

In reply to Strizzo :

I started putting mine up yesterday, it's O gauge or no gauge. 

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
12/4/20 10:57 a.m.
noddaz said:

Nice work.

But I was really hoping for slot cars.  Sorry. frown

Why not both? Set the controls to a low speed and build tunnels/bridges accordingly.

Strizzo PowerDork
12/4/20 11:26 a.m.
Wally (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Strizzo :

I started putting mine up yesterday, it's O gauge or no gauge. 

This was a Christmas tradition when I was a kid, last year I brought it all home from my parents attic and this was the first time in a long time the "Christmas train" has been under the tree. 

slowbird SuperDork
12/4/20 12:03 p.m.

Looking like a good start on the foam work. What grade do you think the track is sloped? I'm concerned my planned layout will be too steep.

fromeast2west Reader
12/6/20 11:37 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :

I read that a slope of about 1/4" per section was OK as long as I didn't plan on adding too many cars or making it accurate to real railroad slopes, so that's what I aimed for.  I haven't actually run the train yet, so it could be a big 'Doh!' the first time I plug things in and hit the switch.

fromeast2west Reader
12/6/20 11:44 p.m.

Today I did a quick wash coat of white paint on most of the surfaces.  I did this to help seal the wood and foam so the next coats of finish would go down easier.   It also helps highlight flaws in the design.   I already knew about some sections where the spray foam expanded and shifted parts as it cured, and this quick wash uncovered a few more areas to address.

The paint dried pretty quickly, so I had some free time to mock things up with track, the 'building', and some 'trees' from the yard.


There are 20 or so conifers coming this week, so I have to get my head down and make more progress.   I don't know if it will be ready for Christmas day, but it will be close.    

Long term, the plan is to add a building to the village every year or so; which means this year it will look pretty empty.  I'm going to see if I can find any HO scale paper craft building I can print as an improvement on the cardboard boxes.

mikeatrpi HalfDork
12/7/20 7:57 a.m.

Love your track plan.  Its a good mix of visual areas and hidden areas, to keep it interesting.  Maybe you could put that turnout and siding on the inside of the large oval?  Sort of right through where the station is now.

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
12/7/20 12:12 p.m.
Wally (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Strizzo :

I started putting mine up yesterday, it's O gauge or no gauge. 

Still stuck on that, huh?

fromeast2west Reader
12/25/20 5:26 p.m.

I didn't get it as polished as I wanted, but it made it inside in time for Christmas.  I topped all the 'snow' areas with low loft batting.  The exposed areas got a base color of paint, then a wash, followed by some dry brushed highlights.   My project list for next year is to add; power distribution for lighting, the first real buildings of the town, and some roads and people.  It also needs a better base than the plastic folding tables it's on, and I need to find a better spot in the house to set it up.

Brian(formerly neon4891)
Brian(formerly neon4891) MegaDork
12/25/20 5:38 p.m.


Dad's O layout on a 4'x6.5' sheet.  There is also an HO ring around the tree. 

I'm starting to look at building my own HO set with an F3/F4 engine, ideally a Santa Fe. 

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