Saturday, September 12, 2015

N Scale Thompson River Canyon 3: Getting Started

The Thompson River Canyon Sub.  after a
month of work.

My goal with the N scale Thompson River Canyon was to build a small display layout—a simple loop of track running through some spectacular scenery.

I started with a trip to the local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, where I picked up a used 2 x 7 hollow core door for $20.

The next stop was Rona, where I bought three 2 x 8 sheets of one-inch Styrofoam.

Once home, I laid one sheet on the floor and traced out my track plan on one of the sheets. I then cut strips of cork sheet to N scale track width for the roadbed, and glued them down.

Next was affixing the sheet with the track to the door. I needed to raise it up to two inches, to simulate the steep cliff alongside the river. 

Instead of gluing two one-inch sheets down (a waste since the bottom sheet wouldn’t be seen), I cut two six-inch wide sections and glued them to the door.

Before gluing on the top sheet, I cut out the cliff on the steep side of the layout. I then laid the top sheet on the lower pieces and traced out the shape of the river. After that, I cut out the river.

I then glued the top sheet on top (after adding two sections at the top and bottom of the door to fill in those gaps). A few weights (old pieces of rail, in this case), held things down while the glue dried.

After that, I added the track. Since the door is only two feet wide, the radius is tight. I found that a combination of flex track and sectional curves was the best way to make the curve.

I ran trains on the track to work out any kinks. As I remembered from many years ago when I had my first N scale layout, N scale is more finicky and less forgiving than HO scale!

When I was satisfied that the trains ran well, I added the scenic divider. I used a piece of one foot-high Styrofoam. I glued it down in the middle, using 1 1/2 inch nails toe-nailed into the bottom piece of Styrofoam to hold it fast to the layout.

A couple of cut-outs at each end allowed the track to pass through the divider.

My goal is to show two sides of the canyon on this small layout. One side will show the western steep-sided canyon with snow and rocksheds; the other side will show the eastern side where the sides are less steep. 

One nice thing about building a portable layout like this is that you can work on it anywhere: A garage, the dining room table (my wife was away!) and the gazebo. Right now, it's in the basement, in my daughter's former bedroom (she's off at college). 

Previous post: The Prototype.

To view all the posts in this series, click on this Thompson River Canyon label/link. 

No comments:

Post a Comment