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Jon Grainger
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3,825 Posts
Over the last few years, I have attended various clubs, around the country, and raced. Despite having raced on these superb tracks, what I felt was lacking, was a home track, a place which I could have some fun on, and let my friends have a race on when they came round.

So, nearly seven years ago, construction started on the 'MIRC' a rather large 70ft 2 lane Scalextric track, in my garage, which went up into the roof when the garage needed to be used. This track had taken shape, and the scenery work was beginning, and it was very promising. However, general day-to-day life has meant that, firstly the garage is now in constant use, and secondly, it was very difficult to bring down, and involved a good hour of your time. So, the board is still there, waiting for the right opportunity when work will recommence.

Now, fast forward to 2011 - a year in which a whole new aspect of this hobby would be opened to me. Slot Rallying! The popularity of the annual Slot Rally GB championship hooked me, and I have entered two rounds of the championship, by proxy, taking a 2nd place in 'Pro-Stock' at the Wolves round this year.

With this in mind, and some space now available in our spare bedroom, it was time to attempt a new track. The room is superb, and for about 18 months or so, has been the 'slot car preparation suite' - to use a fellow club members saying
. The room has plenty of storage for cars and equipment, a large workspace for car prep, the build area for my 'retro race' cars, and display cabinets for my 'shelf queens'.

With my new found interest in rallying, it was obvious to go down this route. The space available was 4ft x 5ft 7 inches (122cm x 170cm), admittedly not the largest space ever seen, but it would allow me to have a permanent track, with proper, permanent scenery, and better still, not fill the room completely. The name I settled on for the town was 'Kirkstown', just something I like the sound of!

The base board was laid, and the track plan designed. I went through a few different layouts, until I decided on one I liked. I have always had an interest in a 'round the houses' stage, similar to the Ramsey or Castletown stages used on the Isle of Man rally.







With this in mind, I finalised the design, before buying the MDF, and sketching out the layout.

The layout is not based on any particular stage, or place, but a collection, of roads I know locally and ones I have drove on when I have been on holiday. One place I love is Yorkshire/Lancashire, the stone walls, the twisty country roads, with huge elevation change is superb, and would be ideal for rallying. The planned track follows this trend, with elevations, sudden crests, blind bends and cambered corners. This is the track plan:



The opening part of the lap is very tight and twisty, 'around the houses', ducking and diving between central reservations, and avoiding buildings by a few fractions. The track then turns right onto the river front, before taking a sharp left over the bridge, and then out of the town. The track then goes up the hill and onto the main road, which will have various elevations, before going over a blind crest, and into a hairpin corner, around a mini-roundabout.

However, I don't own a router, or a jigsaw, the necessary tools needed for this job. But, after speaking with Melvyn, a retired carpenter who races at my local club, Norwich Slot Racing, he agreed to help with the project! Result!

So, yesterday, me and Melvyn met up, and spent the day routing the slot, and cutting the underside of the board for elevations. Mel's work is of a superb standard, and his skill is evident, especially as he routed the layout completely free-hand!

The weather has been brilliant of late, 27 degrees at least, so we managed to work outside, which made the job much easier!

The board, was then separated into three sections, firstly because each one needed different slots cut in the bottom, to make the MDF bend, and secondly because it would make cutting out the various sections with a jigsaw, much easier. You can get an idea for each section:







Next, each section was cut underneath, to create the various elevations. The undercuts allow a huge amount of flexibility, no matter how thick the MDF (I'm using 12mm thick MDF). A good illustration of this can be seen on Luf's Old Slot Racer's website (HERE).





One section of the track needed to be elevated, but also be given the ability to be cambered into the corners, so we undercut both way's. This does make the wood very fragile to carry, but when it is in-situ, it all works fine.



We then setup the track on the car-park, so we could get an idea for the size of the track, and make any alterations.






Because of it's compact nature, it would fit in the car perfectly, ready for it's journey home.


Once back at home, the base board was assembled, and the track put in location:


Recently, we repainted some of the rooms in our house, so we have plenty of half-full paint tins. These placed under the track, make it the perfect height for the front elevation, and using other paint tins, it would weight down certain parts of the track, and create the required elevations. As you can see, the twisty part of the track will be relatively flat, but there will be some inclines as they approach the climb up to the front elevation.





The town part of the track will have some buildings surrounding the streets, as well as all the various paraphernalia seen in English towns and cities.

So, that's were I am up to at the minute, and I hope that over this coming week I can make some more progress on the front elevation, and the slight inclines in the 'village' section. Any comments, questions or advice would be much appreciated.

Regards
Jon
 

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Giacomo
Joined
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667 Posts
Great to see another track coming up.
Routing looks impressive since it is made without guiding. It is definitively not easy to get a smooth slot.
One suggestion for the support table. Try to have free space under the table with straight legs. It is quite useful to have good access underneath for cabling and the like. Last but not least, it is a great place for all slot related stuff.

Cheers,
JamieG
 

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Registered
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3,057 Posts
A stunning piece of work.
Congratulations on undertaking a routed layout without a router!
This will be an interesting thread to follow as you do your scenery.

Cheers!
 

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Premium Member
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8,227 Posts
Great job Jon, but you haven`t half aged a lot since the Slot Festival back in May!!

Cheers,
Kev
 

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Registered
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3,748 Posts
Jon,

If you ever want to organise a Slot Rally at NSR I can bring along my special stage Sport and Classic track with SCX Rally Chrono timing, it'll have to be on a Saturday or Sunday though.

Julian
 

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Jon Grainger
Joined
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3,825 Posts
Evening chaps,

I doubt the wait for updates on this track has been loosing you sleep, but I thought I should post some more on what has happened at Kirsktown.

Since the last batch of photos, I've been working some more on the elevations and adjusting the existing ones. I've been using new screws which seem to pull everything together better, so the original elevations have been re-screwed.



The run down from the hairpin into the town level have been smoothed out. There was a significant drop around the chicane area (which you maybe able to see in the original photos), going from 30' to 0 in about 2inches. This has been adjusted, and that section looks a lot more realistic.

Also, the section in the middle has been given some attention. From the start, and mainly through the first corner, the track drops about 1.5inches, and then cambers into the second corner (the 90' right). I thought I'd try some 'arty' shots to show this and the other sections:



It then winds it's way around, and as it goes up the side street, this too has been given some elevation. It need's neatening up, and I will have to cut the wood to take away some of the tension.





It is then back up the hill and onto the main road. To allow some sliding room as they come onto the main road, I've penciled in a bus stop, and experimented with some scenery. I may use this, or maybe a suitably placed junction, as this may look better in the space? I'll have to see what looks right when I've got power to it.

Hope that this is of interest, again your comments or critique's would be more than welcome.

Thought I'd leave you with a snap with the new MSC Subaru sliding through the bus stop...



Regards
Jon
 

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Premium Member
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2,704 Posts
Looks great! Can't wait to see more.
 

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Jon Grainger
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3,825 Posts
Not a great deal to report on at Kirkstown really, just playing around getting the elevations right when I have a minute! Next month, as well as any time off work for Christmas, I will also have every Friday and maybe the odd Wednesday too, and with no cars to build for events, I'll be able to focus on cracking on with the layout.

Just thought I'd leave you with the Escort Mk2 going around the Castletown stage on last years IOM rally.

 

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Jon Grainger
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3,825 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Work has been progressing nicely at Kirkstown-except for the odd problem which took longer to solve than anticipated!

The elevation where the cars goes up the sideroad is nearly finished, needing a little filler to get it level, however it looks much smoother. I also purchased the track paint-and have decided to use a dark grey (Dulux Night Jewels 2), and I feel it is much closer to the real roads that this layout is modelled on.

To give the copper tape a nice clean surface to bond too, I painted the top section of the layout, which gives me time to fill in any visible imperfections, that suddenly seen to jump out at you when you get a uniform colour! I'm in two minds of whether to mask and re-paint after applying the copper tape, to bring it up to the same level as the tape? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Hopefully I will be able to get it running in the next week, and then start on the scenery.





I've found that when the track is one uniform colour, you really appreciate the clean routing, on which Melvyn has done a superb job! But he was a City & Guilds for 40 years!

I'll leave you with a few pictures of the new MSC Subaru on the newly layed tarmac




And now going through the chicane before the start. The bollard will either be hay bales, or those 'polystyrene' blocks you see?


So, not a huge update, so not much to comment on-but any comments and asvice would be great,
Regards
Jon
 

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Greg Gaub
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14,981 Posts
probably good advice.
Some people are able to resist the urge to drive too much, and continue with landscaping... but not many. ;-) I think it looks pretty good.
As for paint, unless your tape is really thick, I don't see much point to taping/masking/painting. I just lay the tape when the road surface is done. If your car is going to get upset by the thickness of the tape, it'll have a hard time even thinking about making it around your track. ;-)
 
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