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105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well today, the last major items were completed and after almost 10 months, my first attempt at routing a track is up and running. It took working weekends and late nights, after the kids had gone to bed, but things have finally paid off.

Thanks to the kindness and willingness of others to share their experiences in this forum, tit works (I'm still shocked it does!)

Some big thanks to:

- Luf for his inspirational Targa Florio track, routing kit, DVD and website (
- Steve S of Area51 fame for his top notch driver stations, his willingness to listen & answer (stupid) questions and above all else ~ his service! (
- Martin of San Phoeno fame for his informative tree-making tutorial (
- 'Bastumannen' for his Targa Lestrell guard rails
- The British Slot Car Racing Association for their how-to's re: track design, marshalling, and sightlines etc. (

Track Details:

Track Name: Tanglewood Targa
Track Type: Routed 3/8" MDF
Elevation change: lowest point to highest point is about 20"
Track Length: 63 ft (red and green lanes); 57 ft (yellow lane) ~ all lanes drive approx. within 1/10th of a second of each other
Average Lap Time: 10.6 sec
Best Lap Time to date: 9.931 on middle lane (stock Fly Ferrari 512S - not tuned)
Controllers by Professor Motor
Driver Stations by Steve Sawtelle
Power Supply by Pyramid PS26
Track Lighting by Model Power 6081/6082 (approx. 30 lights in total)
Track Lighting Power by Powertech 2amp power supply
Track Timing by Trackmate (Slot Car Timer for Windows v5.5)

The track was 'broken in' on Sept.15th when 7 of us raced on it (without timing software, the power relay, or infrared lighting). We're all newbies to racing, but fun (and few drinks) were had by all. Since no lap timing enabled at that point, so it was more of test drive more than anything else….

From preparing the area in the basement to the track construction and scenicing (still some to come), I would like to thank my brothers-in laws Jeff for hooking up the extra electrical outlets & lights & all the IT support, my father in-law and bro-in law Paul for the drywalling (and soon to be farm houses, right Paul?!), my 2 kids for their interest - especially my 3 year old daughter who has a blast "driving to grandma's house" on it. And most of all - my wife, for her extreme reserves of patience.

'Birthing' the track was just that - months of hard labor but I don't regret the time it took to build it, as having a hobby sure makes you forget about stress of work!

Hope you like it !

577 Posts
God - that's an awesome track - beautiful work on the landscaping, most realistic!
Those were 10 very fruitful months you spent. Don't think I'll be able to come up with anything like it even if I took 10 years.

Just as a matter of interest - has anyone been 'saved' yet by those safety catch nets?

Thanks for sharing some very inspiring photos, much appreciated

318 Posts

just wondering about the access to marshalling the "dipper" - can you reach?
(rise & fall of track in pic 7)

Thats a superb job well done

mines taken me 4months so far


Brad Korando / Brad Korando
1,089 Posts
That's a very nice track Giddyup. I'm impressed by the ten month build time. You really know how to get things done! It looks like it is a lot of fun to drive. Thanks for sharing the pictures and all of the specifications. Keep us posted as you continue to add details to the scenery.


Allan Wakefield
5,857 Posts
Fantastic looking track, I love that the lanes do not follow the same paths completely and the lighting is top notch.

A great feeling to drive on such a track when it is all finished isnt it?


105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wow thanks for the kind words, I really didn't expect it.

I just thought I'd share what someone with absolutely no electrical, carpentry or artistic skills (yes, an accountant by trade --- [insert joke here]) can do.

A few interesting tidbits about the track design that I failed to mention, is that the track is modular...yes, it breaks down into 5 tables:

1) The 'table' against the back wall is 2.5' deep by 8' wide
2) The main table is the centre piece, it's 8' wide by 5' deep
The side tables are (3) 5' deep by 18" and (4) 6' deep by 18" wide

and table (5) against the far back wall with the carousel type curve / corner which goes up the mountain is 5.5' deep by 4' wide (and this is hinged to the wall to fold up a la a Murphy bed.

And yes, this was a pain in the to do, but in the end it was worth it, just in case I do need to take it down.

The barrels and tire barrier are NOS strombecker, which I primed and painted, the pond is EZ water (Woodland Scenics) and yes, it was so easy in fact, that a guy with no artistic skills could manage.

A few more major scenicing pieces still to come aside from people & signs, a farm house and a quasi-replica of the old Maison Blanche house (you may recall it as the 'Martini' house in the Le Mans movie) which my bro-in-law is working on right now (*fingers crossed*).

The biggest help to me along the way was definitely Steve Sawtelle from and his driver stations (no way in he-double hockey sticks I was going to attempt those myself) and his practical wiring advice.

Something else I didn't mention that the driver stations have a track call button each which are wired to a central switch (then to a power relay) to be either set to on or off (where a race director/marshal can have their own track call button to prevent abuse of the system). Also, with my kids & nephews running on it, I wanted to disable the track calls just so the kids could run on it.

The track is also wired through the driver station to run in both directions - a must in my opinion, given that this is a 'permanent' track and although all three lanes drive differently, have 'six' different lanes makes it that much more enjoyable and hopefully enduring.

Here's a close up of one of Steve's professionally done stations (highly recommend, based on what he charged and especially the end result):

Some have commented on the 10 months...well actually 2 months of that was 'planning & design', plus my Dad passed away this summer which was a huge loss for us, not to mention it put a damper on any activity for over a month. All in all, I'd say I put in around 500 hours on it over 6-7 months of actual activity. So if you have no kids, especially small ones, I'm sure people could knock one out much quicker than I ever did. I found being a newbie to the hobby and track construction I went very slow to make sure I didn't do any major screw ups along the way.

**Astro - the hills are basically fly screen mesh (available at your local home improvement store - about $10 for 2.5' x 8' roll) which I 'scrunched up to get the contours then stapled down to either the track or cut out hardboard and then overlayed plaster cloth on top (total for the track was about 10 rolls of the Woodland Scenics stuff -- and if I had to do it again, I would've have found me a nice medial supplies stored and stocked up there instead!). The rocks are styrofoam, chipped up with a sharp putty knife, then painted, then coated with a 'speckle' grey stone color (spray can).It was quite easy to do, but if I never see styrofoam or plaster cloth again it will be too soon!

**Lavenlaar - the dip down from the mountain closest to you, yes that is my only hard to marshal point, You can reach the outer two lanes, but the inner (red) lane is difficult to reach without a stick or grabber. I knew the red lane would be an issue during design, but it was one of the design 'flaws' I stuck with to help even out lane distance and more importantly lap time. As one of my friends who raced on it the first night said, people will just have to learn how to drive it. By the way, I can't wait to see yours too!

**MikePerkins - yes I would, although the single tunnel has some cachet, it was an extreme pain. Because the main centre table depth had to be shorted by a foot to allow for adequate driver station room/walk around, that meant I pushed the track partly under the transfer from the' mountain dip'. So there was a lot of measuring, scraping the stryo, painting, waiting for paint to dry (oh so much fun), then gluing in the back wall, then the roof to the tunnel, then the outward facing wall (which I hand scribed each rock, then painted with diluted black paint), then cutting and measuring the tunnel entrances to make sure I had enough clearance, no to mention making sue I had enough drift on the entry/exists to prevent de-slotting, and making sure the lane spacing between the red lane (going thru the tunnel) was that much more spaced from the middle (green) lane to account for the wall being placed in between....this one tunnel, took about two weeks - mostly because it was demoralizing and just painfully slow to back to your question, I probably would have changed the design around a bit to avoid the single lane tunnel. But in the end it came out ok I guess.

**'s a few more pics for you

Now back to some racing!

742 Posts
Oh dear oh dear what a shame all that hard work and its not as good, oh not the track i am seeing, i am talking about my track, sometimes just sometimes I hate forum, still on a more positive note i now have even more ideas to pinch, admire and try to achieve thanks for showing me all the track that you have done very impressive, very real looking.

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