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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having taken down my old track a few months ago, I am settling in on something a little more more extensive as a replacement. Having been inspired by so much great work posted on the board, I think I'm just about ready to get started. This will be built from all the Artin track I have accumulated, including most of the borders, which are not shown in the diagram. The track will have the seams filled and will be painted as well, with copper tape applied over the rails. The room space I have to work with is about 12' across and 10' deep.

This new track will be known as the Schweizering - set in the alps - and has three distinct parts. At the right, the track heads up a hill and through a barbican city gate (inspired to a degree by L. Cerante's beautiful example) into a Swiss town dating from the medieval era. Through the town, it heads back through a turn and down to run below the ancient city walls, then under the bridge at the barbican and around toward the new portion of the track, located at the rear of the layout. In contrast to the city, this portion will be very modern in appearance, anchored by a large pit/grandstand/tower structure. Working pits would be nice - but I'd have to route-and-rig something from scratch, and I'm just not ready for that right now.

The left side of the track will be more open space, with trees and where the alpine terrain is more in evidence - with a short tunnel and some substantial rock work. This portion will gradually rise up a foot or more toward the "esses" at the bottom of the diagram, then back down toward the center of the "U" - across the table and then back up into the city again. On the hilly (left) side, I am also tempted to model a cable-car and platforms - running up to the high end of the track. It will probably be a static example, though, since I haven't figured out the rigging yet - and unless I had it on a delay and timer, would probably be too distracting going back-and-forth very often.

Rather than try and place drivers at the inside of the "U" where they would just block each others' view, I decided just to "hang" the drivers station and the control PC from a steel support pole (already there) placed back far enough to give a good view of the track while still allowing drivers to move forward for marshalling. I'll run the cabling and wire-work either up and down across the ceiling or in a cable channel across the floor. The monitors for race control will be mounted just under the track surface, at the bottom of the "U" - and tilted slightly upwards - where I think they will fall into the drivers view a little better than if I was to hang them from the ceiling.

I'm sure during the course of this project I'll have a lot of questions - and any advice is welcome. Many of the tracks here certainly set a high standard, and it will be fun to see how this turns out. Of course, I could have fit a little more track in the space, but I wanted plenty of room for scenery. I know I'll need help with the lap timing and other technical aspects, such as wiring - I had run this 2-lane setup before with the big 4-lane Artin power pack and Parma 25-ohm controllers, but will probably upgrade to something more robust this time around.



Here is kinda what I'm thinking for the city's Barbican Gate....



Most of my cars are LeMans, GT and other endurance types. Of course, The Schweizering is all a fantasy track, since last I read, they still don't allow auto racing in Switzerland...
 

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Wow .. I'm a sucker for "medieval vibes" so this should be interesting to follow. As it happens btw. I play with Lego-bricks [real plastic ones AND with a digital program, LDD .. great to try out size or shapes on structures] but mostly building [medieval] castles .. I wonder why?

And L.Cerante's track is something in a class of it's own. A great inspiration. And a towngate is a bit odd, but interesting structure!

Just an idea .. the Cable-car could be somewhat in lesser scale. Thus as seen a bit "in-distance" [against the wall] it would give an illusion of a bigger space & depth. I know there's some systems in scale H0 [1:87] but you might find one in scale 0 [1:43] Brawa, Faller, Kibri or similar [all German makes, model railroader stuff] have some in their range, I think.

-- ron --
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Finally got some free time to start setting the track up; things may look a little dodgy at the outset - I am using hollow-core doors as a table surface - supported primarily by various cast-off furniture I have around, all shimmed up one way or another so they are at the same level. I usually infill as needed with bits of lumber and such to ensure that everything is well-supported.

I have not run on it yet, though I will do so before I go too much further in order to make sure it flows in a way I like. Mostly just playing with levels at this point; I'm pretty happy with how it seems to be working out - particularly with the winding, hill climb area on the left side, which I expect to be pretty challenging. Once I get the levels the way I want, I'll start framing up the track support structure...



I've got borders for most of the turns that will need them...and I will probably re-paint most of them anyway, including the extra ones I didn't use on my first track. Clearly there's a lot of work ahead...in fact, there's a good chance I'll take a lot of this apart first to do more table work and put a background up.



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just hooked the power up and one of my Parma 25 controllers to see how this setup "felt" - I have to say it was quite good.

The Artin alloy track rails don't have quite as much magnetic grip of most other brands, and combined with the very mild magnets in the old Artin CLKs I had handy (if they went on the floor, I can deal with it) it made for some pretty enjoyable running. Of course, none of my better cars will see this until I get some protection up around to keep the Fly classics off the floor....

Some fun fishtailing through the downhill esses...challenging but certainly manageable. Some decent straights to "open it up" - overall, I liked the rhythm. I have a few minor adjustments in mind, but at least I think I'm on the right track. [Pun absolutely intended...]
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Having set the track levels and set most of the supporting track structure in place, I have painted most all the borders I intend to use and have started test-fitting some of the scenery elements I'm incorporating into the plan. For now, I'm starting on the part of the track that goes through an old medieval walled town...

At first, I was planning to scratch-build the town, gate, but then I came across this great old 1:32 scale castle that was sitting under a bed in the spare room...where its been for about 10 years. German-made (Jean Hoefler, I think) I had bought it for my son over 15 years ago, but he practically never played with it. After inspecting it for a few minutes, I took it apart and started playing with the parts and pieces until I found a combination that started to look right.

Of course, the assembly looks pretty toy-like right now, but once I get it painted up and settled onto the city wall (which is about ready to get the plaster skim-coat and scratched-stone treatment) I think it should make a good start. Most of the other city buildings will be fairly low-relief, and set up against the wall at right -- but before I can go too much further I really need to get my backdrop up, which will probably be a basic sky blue. I found some pretty huge panoramic photos of the Alps that I could have blown up to about 2' x 10' but that might be pretty pricey...

Finding the castle was really a time saver - I'll have enough other buildings and structures to make myself, including the pits and grandstands...



 

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Greg Gaub
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HA! That's awesome! Those will look fantastic once painted up and blended into the wall and surroundings. It's great that you found such a time saver, right in your own home!
 

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i love the track layout and the scenery ideas, this will look great when it's finished.

Im especially loving the esses as you go up hill towards the large 270 degree curve, that looks fun!
 

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Oh, it gets even more fun. You go through those esses heading downhill...


I adjusted the layout slightly from the first one I posted - I needed to take a length out of the back straight in order to leave enough room for my track borders on each side of the room.

Here is a diagram - The Curves are all R1s (17) and R2s (16) - I use them in different combinations to try and keep things interesting. On the diagram, the R1s have the dotted line - the R2s do not. (the diagram is from Ultimate Racer 3.0) I also use 22 full straights, 1 half straight and 3 double-length hump-back straights (normally used to build overpasses) for the rest. The diagram switches out a full for a half straight on the left side, just to keep the layout clearer.

The curvy side at left gradually rises to just over a foot or so before heading back down through those esses. The "hump" tracks are used in an "up and up" fashion, heading up the hill climb, rather than in the normal "up and down" way.

 

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downhill? Oh, so much better!

I assumed it was uphill because then the track would have been clockwise (from the start/finish straight) but actually, anticlockwise looks more fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Inspired by the work of joegraphix and so many others, I've been working on developing the "skim-and-scratch" technique for my stone city walls...the first small panel appears here, using some 1/2" foam core I had...



It's time consuming, but so far I like the results. I'm thinking that skimming "in place" [installed] might have some advantages, as the longer pieces of wall - which are about 2 feet long - show some mild warping, due to the moisture in the drywall mud and it being applied only to one side.

Thankfully, this wall is made of large stone blocks and not smaller bricks! When painted in the same tones as the castle buildings I have, I'm hoping it will look pretty good. For now, it's back to sanding and scratching the rest of the wall...
 

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Sorry for the lack of news...Finally an update - finished carving, painting and installing most of the city walls - and have repainted the castle buildings to match. The main street that runs through "town" has had the track joint sections filled and painted, which is a treatment the whole circuit will eventually get. Of course, I will add more buildings and detail as I go, but the castle sections are really the centerpiece of this old town - everything else kinda follows...



The tower will get a shiny finial on top of it's verdigris-copper dome, and it also needs a good wash to simulate some corrosion. The rest of the town buildings will be a little lighter and brighter, with some hanging flower baskets and window boxes (this IS Switzerland, after all. I'm also working out how to light the buildings here as well, and am getting ready to start the stone ramp/bridge that heads up into the town.



I also took a picture of one of the sections of grandstand/pits that I'm working on; this one has two Artin grandstands, the second has one grandstand and a glassed-in VIP section, and the other will have a VIP section and a control tower. I find working with foam core and a hot glue gun to be fairly enjoyable - once I get the basic structures together, I can focus more on painting and detailing them.



I've also started over on the central portion of the track - my underground parking area is almost complete; I just have to finish the lighting and paint the inside...I'll add some photos of this later. I finally feel like I'm making some progress - but it will still be a while before I can drive my cars on this thing again...

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the comments and support, everyone.

Here is a "parking garage" I included - it would be entered from underground, and the facade features large "plate glass" windows, which are really spare CD covers, hot-glued together and joined as a group in a foam-core frame. To change out the cars, each 4-window side simply slides up for easy removal...

This serves as a convenient home for some of my cars that don't have a display case of their own, but I will probably change them out - depending on the occasion.

Oh yeah - cars on the track travel left-to right on the straight here - so there's no chance of someone missing that turn and crashing through the "plate glass" windows!

(BTW: The mini on the main straight above the garage is going the wrong way...)



 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just a quick update - have spent a lot of time working on my pit/grandstand building (see here) - I've also been working on some other landscaping elements, like the entrance to the underground parking garage and also the main ramp/bridge that heads up into the old walled city.

The bridge will get the same drywall mud & scratched stone texturing that I used on the city walls - I'm just hoping I can avoid too much warping on the foam core board, which is not as thick as what I used for the city wall...however, I think if I apply the mud to both sides, that problem can be avoided this time. We'll see...



 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sorry it's been so long between updates...Summer is just not the time I stay in the basement. But, over the last few weeks, I have been back at work on the track, switching mostly to the elevated, curvy sections opposite the "old city." Been laying a lot of plaster cloth and shaping some banks, hills and mountainous areas in the small space available; looks like a snow storm hit right now, but the painting and scenic work will come soon enough.







This being the Alps, I did want to add a "tunnel." I was going to originally have the track drive through a different tunnel, up along the wall, but the only suitable spot for that was where the shaped "riser" track sections are set end-to-end, to make an "up-and-up" straight going towards the top of the hill climb. Visually, this is a point of interest, and I didn't want to hide it under cardboard and plaster.



Inspired by the work of jmswms, I instead have opted for a "scenic" tunnel, similar in concept to what he did at the upper corners of one of his older layouts (I forget which one). This is on a lower section of track, appearing to run off the main road and under the upper back straight. I'll probably drop a safety car there at the tunnel entrance, along with some sort of barrier and a policeman or two; I'm pretty happy with it so far.





Overall, I must say I like the way the plaster forms "firm up" the track as a whole and make the structure more solid and substantial. Yet it seems there is so much more to do...once I finish the plaster work and get the some basic painting done, I can finish filling/painting the track surface and get some copper tape down over the rails. I test ran cars for a while before I finally settled on this layout, but I want to get some cars back on the track and running again!

Also, thanks to all the great members here - there's so much inspiration that can be taken from what others have done, and the fine work everyone shares so generously...
 
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