Jack’s 4×8 HO layout update

Jack’s been in touch again (his last post is here).

“Al,

Progress continues.

I wanted to make a fence from balsa strips I had, but wondered how to keep everything in alignment. I have a cutting board with lines on it. I taped cling wrap to the face hoping the wrap would keep the posts in alignment so I could attach the rails. That didn’t work, so I sprayed the wrap with spray glue. I could then line up the posts and glue the rails to them. When dry I could peel the fence from the wrap.

I didn’t like the cheap Bachmann switch controllers that came with the switches, so I bought a Piko switch controller. Much better quality.

I had been using an eye dropper to apply the diluted white glue solution to smaller areas of landscaping, but it didn’t hold much glue mixture. While at the pharmacy I noticed a child’s medicine dropper that holds up to 5ml. It was packaged with a medicine spoon which I found useful in spreading turf in concentrated areas.

And on the layout, a developer got a deal on some land by the tracks and is putting up two small houses.

That’s all for now.

Jack”

“Al

I don’t know if you will show this and following emails as they will be radically different then the norm. It is a 96 feet long overhead (six feet off the floor) single track system around half of my basement. Overhead because the multiple hobby (leather, chain maille, archery, etc) workbenches are around the wall. This is only one of my many hobbies. I am not after reconstructing a specific city. What I want it to display the things that are interesting to me. Because it is six feet above the floor I will not be adding a lot of the scenery that is normally seen as it will not be seen from the floor.

The train used is a O gauge Realtrax Christmas kit, expanded with one rolling stock and about 80 feet of new track. Hanging the track base from the basement rafters was a real trick. The track had to be wide enough for the train, some houses and all the wiring (on the top, out of sight, instead of underneath). So layout all of the wood and track needed on the floor first. To ensure all the hanging hardware, the base, and enough of and the right track was available.

Then the process of mounting the hanging rails and piece by piece of the track base around the room. Painted the upper base green, no grass as it will normally not been seen anyway. Still process of painting the rest a gray for a visual eye disappearance. Put down the track with an electrical connection at each corner. Put the wiring down on the back edge upper side and connected all points. Tested the track with train and then screwed the track in place. Not being too critical on the mounting of the hanging pieces I have some high spots and low spots – great with small ups and downs.

Phase 2 (next email) is the background appearance to the train. Simple, cheap, and very different.

Lawrence”

My word, a 96 foot layout. Can’t wait to see how it pans out – a huge project.

A big thanks to Jack and Lawrence. And if they’ve inspired you, the Beginner’s Guide is here.

That’s all this time folks.

Keep ’em coming.

Best

Al

PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here

15 Responses to Jack’s 4×8 HO layout update

  1. Great idea Jack using the spray glue and the plastic wrap. i use a Wax Paper base myself for similar projects. I have used the process to frame model houses and trestles. Wax paper was an item used in the days before the invention of plastic wrap, and tends to be a little less clingy. In case you ever want to repeat the experience, you also may be interested to know that spray glue comes in a less sticky version usually called “Reposition-able” spray glue. Great for us, as it allows easier removal of the fence posts or whatever. It was originally used by graphic designers before the invention of computer programs allowed them the convenience to position their artwork on a screen.
    Thank you for your post(s). –Tom

  2. Great ideas…
    John
    CA-USA

  3. What an idea for a layout -out of the way- good luck to you, its teriffick.

  4. Ninety Six feet is what you call a descent size layout!

  5. Lawrence a 90 odd foot layout in a basement!!!! Mate that`s bigger than the living space in most of our UK homes all rolled together! Lol! Wish we had basements!!
    Wow some massive project you have there my friend.
    All the very best mate and please keep us all updated with videos and pics.
    JohnE UK

  6. Jack. Good methods you use. Thanks, I will use the dropper when purchased later.

    Lawrence. You demoed part of my future project of a “hung” layout. Saw these in some restaurants years ago. Had no room for one on old home and no basement. Just moved into new home with both. As you, I have O gauge and the overhead route will be first installation. You rekindled this for me. Where do you live?
    Bruce in SC USA

  7. Lawrence: With the track 6 feet in the air, is there a viewing platform that visitors can stand on to bring it up to eye-level viewing?

  8. Lawrence, thanks for bringing this to my attention. We are about to move to a much smaller house with only two bedrooms with no room for my trains. No basement either but it does have a one car garage where I can do exactly what you are doing. Thank you! Problem solved!
    Frank, near Mickey Mouse Orlando

  9. The 96′ overhead layout looks to be way over constructed for the roadbed. I have a G scale overhead in my 12′ x 14′ room and the roadbed is made of 3/8″ plywood and has held up just magnificently for the 1999.

  10. Jack and Lawrence, get jobs indeed. Wish I had the room, my wife and I are moving into a smaller place. From a four bedroom house to a three bedroom house. I still have my man cave, the room is a 10′ x 10′ room so with that said, back to the drawing board. I have HO & O gage that I would like to put in that room. Good luck right!! Well I have a plan but we have to move there first. So with that said if every thing goes well, I say by the end of the year i should be starting on my train layout. I keep on reading what everyone has been posting and getting some good ideas. So keep me on the back burner and keep on sending info and you should see me at the end of the year and the beginning of next year.
    Stephen in Tampa USA

  11. great idea for the fences. what a way to go a railway above my workshop thanks for the idea. back drop could be mirrors or security cameras down to the workshop computer. just joking how much fun is this hobby.

  12. Hay Jack also try those ear wax removal kits, they have a blue squeeze bulb. I have been using the same one for years. Use white glue mix 50-50 just flush it out with warm water when done. Thanks for the fence making tip. Tom Payson AZ

  13. Great inspiration Jack, I’m trying your fence technique this evening.
    Lawrence: Don’t you think that dust might be a problem? I had to move and consolidate my layout from my basement to a spare bedroom because of the constant dust problem.
    Regards, Tom (USA)

  14. Love your tunnel! Very clever esp the use of foam to reduce weight, When my Grandson and I built our tabletop layout we were obsessed with building a two level tunnel through a mountain in the corner. This of course tuned into a falls as well. Any one reading this should go to sgintime.com to see pics of ours. As parents and Grandparents we sometimes do not realize how important the memories we create are to our children and Grandchildren. Snapshots in Time: The S&G Railroad is a book I wrote about our journey together on Amazon.

  15. JACK
    I hope you don’t ever have any derailments.
    At that height it would go back to kit -form. I like the idea of the 6 foot height.
    Donj USA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *