The patio layout
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Our move into new digs meant that the N-O&SW had to go to storage for lack of room. Since most of the place is settled somewhat, I started going through hobby withdrawals.

The dining room patio was the only place to have a layout, so I set out to search for the best track plan for an area 3' X 5'. The N-tutorial in Yahoo groups had just what I was looking for....

I'm not convinced that I'll keep the timesaver in.  I'd like to put a yard in the upper right area.

I also like this one as well, but I want a passing lane on the left end. I think this one's the winner.


In any event, I'm only working with a space 6 X 6. It's a far cry from the 5 X 7 plus all the walk around room. But there are advantages to a smaller layout. 




Where do you start to convert this:

Patio view

To a place to run trains?  I had to come up with a new, lightweight folding system and I think I've come up with a solution. I welded 1" angle iron  to 1" square stock to come up with the two sides. I used wood for the back of the table to save weight  and make it easier to mount backdrops.


Here it is in place behind the bench. All one has to do is move the bench forward and swing the layout up. I haven't decided yet on either legs with adjustable feet or locking hinges, such as the ones from a briefcase.



The piece of piano hinge across the top brace will hold and hinge the layout. Now that my biggest worry is out of the way,  I can get back to the train layout itself.


It rained last night. That's something I need to plan for. We don't get much rain here and you don't think about it. A tarp should solve the problem. It's just the west end corner of the patio raining in about a foot. There's great drainage on the floor, so that won't be a problem.



I've neglected this page for a month, so I need to bring you up to speed. It's quicker if I show you the pics:



The board is had to be pieced back together from the trip home, but it turned out ok in the end. It hinges down and the legs and feet worked out just fine. The elevation profiles and risers were next on the list. I cut strips of what was left of the foam sheet into "domino blocks" varying by 1/4" in height, and started laying the track out. After everything dried, the moment of truth had arrived. I tried folding the layout down (it's time for the Mrs. to get her Halloween decorations up again). I was surprised by the strength of Liquid Nails.

While the layout was enjoying a week of vertical bliss drying, I went to work on the backdrop. Emmy decided to write her "checklist" on the vertically standing backdrop, which was painted and ready to be mounted.....sigh..... After repainting, I was picking up and thought about bas-relief mountains for the backdrop instead of painting them. So I did 5 pieces and liked how they turned out.

When I finish the sides, I'm going to extend the mountains to all 3 sides. Next, I started on the land contours. A trip to the closest free local classified newsstand and swapping Ann something for her box of dressmaking pins and I was off again. I had never did contouring land this way before, but I would recommend doing it this way...if you don't like something, it's far easier to change it; you just rip it out with no damage at all.



I didn't know what to do about the right hand loop. Should I continue the same lines or build a small mountain there. Sheriff Jim from 2 Guyz did a Photoshop picture of the layout that I really liked, so it's going to look much like this in the end....Thanks for the idea Jim!

Today is the windiest day yet for the layout. There are 20 - 30 MPH winds whipping through the patio and everything is holding up alright.


Another month has gone by and I've made good progress out on the patio. The plastering is about done and I've got most of the groundcover painting done as well. I think that the brown is too dark and I've added some tan in. 

The cliff detailing is going better than I expected. Here's a sample

I'm finally getting to run some trains in between building

My next big thing to work on is what to do about the overpasses. I would like to put a girder deck bridge in the background overpass, but I haven't decided what to do about the foreground.

I decided on a warren truss bridge in the back and a deck girder in the front. Preparations are underway as the openings are painted and most of the rocks are made and panted.

These shots were just for's pretty cool how I've gone from nothing to running trains again in the space of 90 days.


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