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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to give building a slotcar track a go as a bit of a lockdown project with my kids (6&10). Work has been progressing since March but I thought I would take stock and compile some of the notes/photos in case they are interesting to anyone here. My lad has his birthday at the end of May and I'm hoping that it will be playable rather than finished by then.

First step was to get the kids involved designing a track, or more precisely plagiarising sections of tracks they thought were cool on Youtube. We started trying to use Carrera Track Planner design software but I ended up paying for Autorennbahnplaner which turned out easier to use than to say. This work had the added advantage of counting as an ICT, Maths and a Design and Technology lesson winning me triple brownie points for homeschooling from the Head of Operations.

After getting a bit carried away with how much we could fit into the room we came up with this, it's about 38m:

Rectangle Font Art Magenta Pattern

At this stage the layout reminded me a bit of the Italian mountain roads I remembered as a child and I started to come up with a plan to try and incorporate some of these memories. On a practical note I realised I needed a bit more track than the 7 metres I had acquired when I bought a second hand 1:24 scale Carrera Digital set secondhand on Ebay.

A few gin-fuelled Carrera track buying sessions and we soon had a hangover and more than enough track to get experimenting.

Automotive tire Wood Flooring Floor Art

I was fortunate to have ordered quite a bit of sheet and 3x2 just before lockdown as all local timber yards were shut now. Building the table was difficult with the kids but I managed to introduce my 10 year old daughter to mitre saws with no fingers lost but a rather frosty look from Head of Ops.

Wood Rectangle Composite material Flooring Hardwood

After the frame was built, 2x2 timber battens were inset to create a lattice and the table losely covered in some thin sheet board (later a second is laminated). The table is built in two sections as the layout will be stackable if there are occasions when we need more floorspace in the room.

Ideally I would have like to install some kind of low profile lift so I can lower the track closer to the ground when not in use. I had a cursory look at motorcycle lifts but nothing jumped out at me. If anyone has done this could you point me in the right direction.

We cobbled the different levels using books, cds, lego etc. At this stage we realised just how much our level changes impacted on track fit. (In the end I resorted to cutting up track to make lots custom sections in order to stay as close to the planned design as possible)

Train Track Electrical wiring Wood Gas

I decided to use aluminium mesh and paper mache to make the scenery because there was an excellent video on how to do it (Marklin of Sweden on Youtube) and the kids were black-belts with PVA and kitchen roll. [ Five 15m rolls of mesh, 18 rolls of kitchen paper and about 15 litres of PVA were used in this]

Wood Art Linens Flooring Hardwood

Things got pretty untidy with the 3 of us all beavering away at the same time

Table Wood Couch Floor Tool

Soon we got the basics of stapling the mesh to the wood frame and slathering it in paper mache. The tricky bit was disguising the join between the two table sections.

Rock molds and Hydrocal were used to create the stone effect and then this then painted with acrylics (just as described on Marklin of Sweden's Youtube site).

Realising how difficult it was to work on the table I inserted removable plywood pieces into the layout where we planned to put buildings etc so we could work on these comfortably at the kitchen table and then insert them into the layout when completed. I also realised that I needed easier access to the middle of the table so made the railway tunnel area removable to allow access.

Wood Tree Art Sculpture Hardwood

Next came the static grass. I was dreading the mess this would create and it was worse than I expected. On the plus side the children enjoyed electrocuting each other with the static dispenser. We mainly used 2mm then 4mm grasses. The battery static applicator I bought struggled with 6mm.

This is what it looked like after about an hour with the first layer of 2mm static grass

Urban design Transport hub Grass Landscape Asphalt

Repurposing a G scale Piko railway station as a house and adding some different shades of grass came next

Window Building Urban design Land lot Grass

The track then was disassembled and cleaned by me (the kids found a lot of Zoom meetings to attend during this stage)

Bottle Tire Liquid Automotive tire Bottle cap

I decided to paint the track like the Italian roads I remember in the 70's and found some photos from the period that helped. I used Hycote Adhesion promoter and plastic primer and finally got the right shate of grey by mixing a very light grey emulsion paint with some black tempura powder and applied with a roller.

Urban design Landscape Grass Pattern Automotive lighting

Getting the grey right was tricky as the tone on colour postcards/prints of the era is not very accurate and my memory was of little help. I finally found some family photographs which helped.

Overall, I'm pleased with the way it looks for now but fretting I only have a week to go.
 

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Bob Chapman
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Looks Great John.
Wonderful projecy for you all and a great learning experience with the children

I shall follow your updates with interest.
Bob
 

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Nice Looking build, you found a good tutor in Markiln he has some very good scenery tutorials. You just need to remember to up scale things a bit.

One small tip with the static grass if not mentioned in the tutorial is to brush the grass after application to slopes as the grass will sit at 90 degs to the ground as apposed to being vertical, a light brushing in the correct direction corrects this.
 

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I have watched a lot of Marklin, Luke Towan and Lukes APS videos, along with Rallyhubs track build pictures they are all good and from someone who had never done any scenery these guys and the track builds on here have given me the confidence to have a go., I've defiantly improved in a very short time
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but I'm always lurking on the Track and Scenery section for ideas and your track build is going to be a great inspirational one to see taking shape.
 

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John

I also remember the roads of Italy only too well. A memorial and flowers at the roadside every 200 metres, Fiat 500s buzzing at 60mph - everywhere - and aspiring Vaccarellas making more tyre-squealing noises than an average Danish pig farm. Utterly terrifying.

From the age of 5, Italians all wanted to be Nuvolari or Agostini, and thrashed mopeds all over the place to prove it.
 

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*** Leo A Capaldi ***
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Hello John,
This looks like being a great layout. Is the scenery going to be 1:24th scale? 1:32 scale cars might look a bit odd.

I grew up with annual family trips to the old-country and became fascinated by the "cane con sei zampe" so please incorporate at least one AGIP service station or hotel/motel.

Leo
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hello John,
This looks like being a great layout. Is the scenery going to be 1:24th scale? 1:32 scale cars might look a bit odd.

I grew up with annual family trips to the old-country and became fascinated by the "cane con sei zampe" so please incorporate at least one AGIP service station or hotel/motel.

Leo
Yes the scenery/buildings are all going to be 1:24, hence the G scale railway tunnel and eventually a Lehmann Rigi ski lift if I can find a mains powered one.

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
John

I also remember the roads of Italy only too well. A memorial and flowers at the roadside every 200 metres, Fiat 500s buzzing at 60mph - everywhere - and aspiring Vaccarellas making more tyre-squealing noises than an average Danish pig farm. Utterly terrifying.

From the age of 5, Italians all wanted to be Nuvolari or Agostini, and thrashed mopeds all over the place to prove it.
Yes! my mother's first car was a 500 and when I would visit in the summer holidays, so long as you were over 10 (or looked it), it was perfectly acceptable to have a tatty 50cc Vespa to get about.

Thanks for bringing back some memories
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I had a reasonably productive long weekend as the kids were largely busy with other things. I listened to Beardy56's advice regarding the grass on my track and decided to revisit it. I went back to looking at more pictures of Serrada, the place in the Dolomites I used to visit. I decided to try and improve things and mixed up a few blends of the grasses I had bought. I started with the removable railway section as it was easiest to work on and got to this:

Green Military camouflage Camouflage Terrestrial plant Urban design

Happier with how things looked I got on and applied my 2mm and 4mm to various sections of the track and was pretty pleased with the results and I got the kids to clean up after as well which was a bonus.

Flooring Floor Leisure Art Comfort

I took the next picture to show how I have tried to disguise the joins between the 2 table sections. Apologies but I can't seem to get the picture to show in the correct orientation

Green Automotive tire Plant Road surface Asphalt

I got started building the main straight section of the layout which is linked to the main track using a flyover. I started building a support for the 2 track sections which also made it easy to adjust the banking angle

Architecture Building Urban design Wood Leisure

With the top banked curve I get an 8m section I can go flat out which is great fun.

Next power extension cables were cobbled together; soldering 1.5mm power cable to Carrera connectors from ebay and then shrinkwrapping. I installed 6 power extensions but noticed negligible difference after 2 were installed. I was careful to clean all the connectors with isopropyl, cotton buds and 1500 grit sponge pads and then apply dialectric grease so maybe that helped?

The straight section is in partly enclosed in a bookcase so I will have to keep the doors open until I get round to putting some perspex viewing sections into the bottoms of the doors.

Plant Urban design Building Art Groundcover

I raised the hairpin section to allow easier access to the drawers underneath and will try and think of a scene I can put here, it might be a Swiss border police station. I installed the position board but might move it to somewhere off track.

Engineering Bumper Toy Flooring Machine

Overall I'm pleased with progress but some sections are still held up by CD cases and books so plenty to do!
 

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John

Your fab track has brought back memories for me, too. It reminds me of long holidays years ago. Your track is similar to the mountain road from Farafanaro to Chiavari on the coast. We used to drive it year after year, and survived, somehow.

The windy road was used by locals as some kind of Targa Florio/Mill Miglia test course, and the cops!!! They weren't chasing speed offenders to book 'em: they were racing against them...

I regret not having seen the Targa, but the Italian public provided the next best thing. I often imagine Vic Elford in the works' 907 or 908 being overtaken by an 8-year-old on a moped...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
John

Your fab track has brought back memories for me, too. It reminds me of long holidays years ago. Your track is similar to the mountain road from Farafanaro to Chiavari on the coast. We used to drive it year after year, and survived, somehow.

The windy road was used by locals as some kind of Targa Florio/Mill Miglia test course, and the cops!!! They weren't chasing speed offenders to book 'em: they were racing against them...

I regret not having seen the Targa, but the Italian public provided the next best thing. I often imagine Vic Elford in the works' 907 or 908 being overtaken by an 8-year-old on a moped...
Trisha - I have just 'driven' parts of that Farafanaro to Chiavari road on Google Maps, we are definitely on the same page :). My mother would have loved that road, she usually got round corners like those on two wheels while my father (who could not drive) and I hung onto the grab handles for dear life!
 

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Martyn
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There cat be many people who have designed and built a 1/24 only track, most have done a 1/32 scale with occasionally racing 1/24 cars, so well done for that alone. The design looks great, the track looks wonderful. Cant wait to see a video maybe, when complete if that ever happens. Really well done, wonderful job.
 
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