Skip to comments.Model Railroad Stuff
Posted on 12/18/2005 8:05:28 PM PST by blau993
I am trying to do a model RR layout for Christmas. I am working with Lionel O Gauge trains. I'd like some hints or references to sites on how to do elevations, mountains, etc. I am concerned about the grade a newer Lionel set can handle. I also wonder what kind of amterial I can use to shape things like slopes, hills, mountains, etc.
I play with N scale trains.
Closed cell styrofoam blocks? These could be glued together, carved and cut with ease. They are also reasonably rigid.
Usually, model trains can handle up to a 4% grade but 3% is considered about as much as you want. Anything more and it limits the traction.
Let us know how it turns out! Maybe you can make a model train ping list? :)
I've always wanted to do an N gauge setup in a glass topped coffee table. Some day....
Gee... I used to do HO, so alot of what I know doesn't readily translate into O. But I learned from a German named Horst, a WW-II veteran from the "other side". Trains were and are his passion.
He said the best thing to use is a magnifying glass. And a microscope. Get up real close, inch by inch.
Paint your scale-model people in finest detail, spend lots of time on each. Use your microscope. If they do not look right, nothing else can.
Put one of your scale-model people beside the track. Does that cat-litter that you're using as ballast look to-scale? If so, it should look like pebbles beside a scale-model woman's shoe. If it looks like ankle-size boulders, you have the scale wrong. So, grind down your ballast until it fits to scale.
Look at your colors, too. They will be too vivid, for sure. Plaster is a good starting point. Stain it with coffee, or with tea, and you will make a convincing-looking mud. Paint it brown, however, and you will be too vivid, and your colors will be unconvincing.
Best is to use the scale-model people as a comparison. An apple on an apple tree should be no larger than a scale-model fist on a scale-model man.
Use casting resin instead of blue paint for water. Stain it dark blue/brown as it gets depth, like in a lake or river. Hollow out your lakes and ponds, so that the resin can add an effect of depth to your efforts. Mix a thick solution most of the time, like for lakes and rivers. A very thick solution for a waterfall: make those crystal-clear and pour them a dribble at a time. Let each dribble harden before the next one is poured.
Your stock should not look clean: no trains do. Consider brushing them with paint solvent, into which you have dissolved a small amount of black paint: just enough to leave behind a dirty black smudge. Not too heavy --no, not heavy at all. Just enough to make your stock look dirty. Be creative with your dirt: let it congregate where it normally would. Do the same with brown paint.
On the subject of grade (your question), again, the question of scale applies. If you want it to look realistic, then you have to allow that your train can accept negligible grade -- just like real trains. Tilt 'em too much and sure, you can make your train model climb hills: but they will be hills that no real train could climb: it will look like a toy. On your average layout, your train just does not have the room to climb a decent grade realistically.
You can go for realism, or you can go for fun: if you choose to go for fun, then do whatever you want -- it's great fun getting the trains whizzing around, climbing hills, going thru tunnels, switching &tc.
If you want realism, however, you either need alot of room or a personality that can accept that things don't necessarily need to be exciting to be spectacular.
Horst's HO layout is spectacular. You could take photos and not quite be sure whether you are in the real world, or in a model. His N layout is even better.
Dunno if this helps...
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