Well every big layout has to start somewhere... and i guess this is it... creating the space!
Boarding out the loft was a great idea really I seem to have earned loads of DIY "Kudos" from the missus as she can get a few more bits stored out of the way!!!! The fact I get a Scalextric room in the process seems to have been missed entirely.... Now thats what you call a result!
My house is a new build... so there were no major issues with the loft itself... apart from a big vent in the middle of the loft which will have to be re routed... the main problem with building a layout up there though was the loft hatch.... This was a simple push up hatch which was only 18inches" square. This meant that it was going to be tough to get the boards through to build the layout. So widening the loft hatch would be stage one and I really fancied having one of the big folding wooden loft ladders which form their own hatch... for those who don't know what I mean its one of these.
The only problem with these is the weight about 30kg... they cost about £120 and are pretty good the whole mechanism fits within the frame and come pre assembled. In my current poor state of health I decided that getting the other half to hold 30kg's above her head while I sat in the loft was not gonna work...
The loft hatch was therefore replaced with a larger drop down door and a power assisted metal ladder... The hatch is a simple fit but did require the loft hatch being widened fortunately the frame around the hatch was only a 2x2 held in with a couple of screws so it was pretty simple to take out and the plasterboard then cut along the sides with a normal saw and the cross cut made with a plasterboard cutter in my dremmel... This pic shows the piece of framing that was removed
I actually saved the 2x2 and re attached it six inches or so further back for the new loft hatch The new lightweight plastic hatch was then a simple job to screw in place and the moulded outside frame covers any messy saw marks... Simples. These are available from about £30 upwards depending on the amount of insulation or fire retardance you want. Fortunately the loft already had a light and power socket fitted by the builders so
With that done I could get in and out of the loft a lot easier and there seemed to be plenty of space, the W frames are a bit in the way but leave a space about 12ft 6in wide from the outside beam of the middle sections of the W. So a quick before pic showing the gallons of insulation that had to be squashed down or removed as appropriate. The loft is 15ft 8in long. The layout will have to be built around the rafters but I'm hoping that will not be too difficult, but may require the use of many of the little quarter/short straights to achieve the design in the available spaces.
The boarding was then done using 2ft wide PG5 tongue and groove boards which are so much quicker than the little loft boards that the DIY shops sell. All my rafters are on 2ft centres and the little loft boards are 1220 in length so whatever I do I end up having to cut them to get them to join over a rafter so the bigger ones worked much better for me... at £7.20 each I only needed 8 so was not too prohibitive. I plumped for a Metal ladder with a Sprung Pull Arm to pull the ladder back into the loft and allow it to drop gently into place, so little strength is needed a 5 year old could do it... The ladder was fixed to a new crossbeam fitted in place above the 2x2 framing that holds the hatch, it also gave a good platform on which to build the "landing" at the top of the ladder, The integrated handle also makes getting on and off the ladder a lot easier as there is just over 5ft above the loft hatch so a bit of care is needed not to bump your head!!! I've already bumped mine loads. I will get some of that cheap pipe insulation to nail onto the beams to soften the blow!
The ladder was £75 so with the new hatch £30 was not much cheaper than the bigger and more elegant folding wooden ladders but so much lighter to fit which is kind of important for me at the moment with big pains from kidney stones which are made worse by too much bending... Umm yeah I know fitting the flooring required bending...
So today I started getting a few bits of board into place and get the first few key measurements to start planning the build... Started by building a bench out of some bits of hardboard and some folding crates... the little stools from Ikea have finally come in handy. So all up its cost about £175 to do the job to date including all the little ancillaries... Paid for by flogging off a couple of cars, A C7030PB, A Multigym and a few other assorted bits of unwanted tat... Infact there was enough cash left over from the pool to pay for the last RH pit lane I needed
All the bits for the basic track plan have been bought along with the borders which have been boxed up ready to go to the loft ready to go up... The entire NASCAR oval and all its digital bits are amongst the pile plus a big bundle of track bought from Ebay for £35 and a pile of straights from "Patrick" scalexxkid for £15, a bundle of borders bought from a local model shop selling off all its Scalextric stock cheap for £60 means I'm already £10 over my £100 budget... Kind of looks rather like a lot of work when you see it piled up in one place!!!!
And I still have my GT1 layout to dismantle for bits!!! Fear not though as I have a whole pile of bits to sell off on ebay next week to pay for the wood for the baseboards... there is also loads of wood in my two wall mounted layouts yet to be dismantled... so I'm pretty sure no divorce will be pending... If there is at least I have somewhere to go and hide!
Really now need to start getting some track built up to check that the track plan is workable around all the beams and rafters that exist... Once I'm happy that the design can be bent to fit without destroying the feel of the original concept will I dismantle the GT1 layout.... That may not happen before I go off on holiday on the 17th Feb. Loads of fiddling to do over the next few days before any real work on the baseboards can start in earnest, actually I kind of get the feeling I may have to build a temporary framework to know it will for sure... ho hum!
Thanks for watching.... Thats the story so far... There may well be a lull but we are well underway!