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Good morning!

My first post, and my story seems very similar to a lot of people's on here .... I used to worship at the throne of Scalextric as a kid, owned all sorts of track, buildings and cars that my Grandmother used to buy for me every birthday and Christmas. My well worn Scalex catalogues were my most read books, I think. In my late teens, I needed cash for something or other and sold the whole lot for 30 pounds - for which I am kicking myself still.

A few years ago, me and my mate Chris were facing a Christmas season stuck in a house in Detroit, so went out and bought a Scalex set and a bunch of alcohol, and my slot car dreams were temporarily reborn. This set sat in storage for a few years when I moved out to Seattle, until a few months ago. Sadly my Grandmother passed away, and I felt the need to get the track out for old times sake ... and the fire was lit once more, not only for me, but also for my 13 year old step son, Austin.

I have always wanted to build a full landscaped layout, but always found it a bit intimidating to be honest. Well one day I was messing around in the garage and decided to attack a piece of MDF with the table saw.



I measured nothing, just used the Camaro as a guide and hacked away.

Made some terrifically out of scale stairs, and threw some paint at it. My first every scratch built building!



Christmas came and Santa brought me some shiney new cars.



Took the dog for a walk, and came back with an armful of tree roots and moss. The roots need some work, but may turn into useful trees.



Another quick experiment with the table saw and the dremel ...



So now I am at the point where I am very tempted to just have a go at the whole landscaped track thing. My track is on the floor in the store room, which is beginning to annoy - my aging back just ain't up to it, and the dog keeps wandering in and stealing stuff. I have space available to make a 8' x 8' L-shaped table, for a rally style track. Most likely a plastic track for now, though the amazing tracks I have seen on here make me want to do a routed hillclimb at some point.

Any comments or encouragement much appreciated!

Cheers,
Whit.
 

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Greg Gaub
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Welcome to SlotForum!
You've got a knack for scratchbuilding. I foresee great things from you.

Are you still in the Seattle area? If so, you're in the right place for slot racing in the USA. Been to Red Devil Raceway yet?
 

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Thanks for sharing with us.


Keep going...a circuit built to these standards will be great.


Keep us posted!!

Philip
 

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*** Leo A Capaldi ***
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Nice start Whit. Better get a move on though, only 11 months to Christmas !!
Remember though that your first permanent track is for learning so make sure any buildings and such are portable.

Kind regards, Leo
 

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Thanks for the comments, much appreciated!

Sig - It is strange ... I've started looking at everything with a giant's eyes, trying to figure out what stuff would look like if it were 32 times larger. The dog was very confused that I was picking up sticks and not throwing them, and he usually understands me better than everyone else!

Greg - I didn't know of Red Devil, I will have to take a trip down there. Maybe I should leave my wallet at home, though ...

Leo - Very good point about the first track being temporary. That makes it a lot easier to just try stuff out, make mistakes and learn. And I have a LOT of learning to do!

Last night I knocked up some tool boxes, not perfect, but as they will be inside the garage, I figure they're good enough. Naturally, they were made on the table saw ... Framed some windows and had my first attempt at weathering the roof - went for a brown wash, then green in an attempt to mimic the moss that grows on everything up here. Looks kind of carp, I think white was the wrong base colour.

Like I say, make mistakes and learn!

 

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The tool boxed look great what did you use as the basis for them?

Maybe not close up, but the weathering looks fine in the photo.

Simon
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, Simon. I just did them by eye ... cut five strips of MDF on the table saw, three with an angle of about 60 degrees, two with no angle. Stacked and glued them - zero angle, then 60, then zero, then 60, then 60.

When dried, I trimmed the backs of the box off flush on the saw, which left me with about 12" of the profile I wanted. Cut off individual tool boxes from this length, two pieces of thin dowel on the base for wheels, and paint 'em.
 

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Greg Gaub
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Yes, leave your credit cards at home. Though, maybe bring a little joy money. It would be a shame to go home empty handed. ;-) The guys at Red Devil should also be able to help you hook up with other local racers. There are home racers all over the area, as well as a variety of "club" level tracks to check out.

The tool boxes look great! You should bring a couple to show off to the guys at Red Devil. I bet they'll like them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Progress!

Woke up to six inches of snow yesterday morning, and more falling, so my motorcycling plans went out the window .... what to do instead?



I think it is clear that I am no cabinet maker, but they are more than strong enough for my purposes. One is 8x4, the other is 6x4, giving me a total of 80 sq ft to play with. It would've been nice to go wider, but it would've been too much of a reach.

I learned two things after putting it up :-

1. 80 sq ft is actually not a lot of space when it comes down to laying out a track. This should not be surprising, as by my calculations that is only the equivalent of 1.3 acres, and no track I have ever been to has been that compact. Trying to optimise the layout to get a decent amount of track (I'm using Slotman software) is proving quite difficult so far. I will post up some of my efforts later.

2. 80 sq ft actually looks like a lot of space when I start to think about making all the scenery for it ...!

I have a lot of work to do ...!

 

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Greg Gaub
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My track is on two similar tables, though the second is 4x8 as well. Here's my current-ish layout. Hopefully it can give you some ideas. Not having to worry about pit lanes and lane changers will simplify things a bit for you. I do recommend putting the 4x6 in the corner with the 4x8 against it, to make a 12' straight, if possible in that room. Even if the rest of the track is technical, it's nice to have one long straight each lap, and usually you want it to be as long as possible.

 

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Greg Gaub
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Snowed in a bit here, too, so I took a crack at tweaking and flipping my layout for your tables. It runs great in either direction, so location of your power and lap counting is up to you. As you can see, it's almost identical to my track except without the digital bits, so one long straight, and a bunch of fun technical racing in between. For your space, having the fast straight at the back is the way to go, since the technical section is where most offs will occur, and they're right in front for quick marshaling.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Awesome, Greg, thanks for that! I'm not sure I have enough space to flip the tables around that way, but I will take a look when I get back.

I really like the compound curves you have in there, going to have to buy some more pieces of track, as almost everything I have right now is an R2 ... makes for a very dull looking circuit.
 

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Joel LeNoir
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Everything looking good. Yet another Washingtonian here on the forum. Got snow today too and still falling.
Watching with great interest for the next building.

Joel
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Finished off screwing the table tops down last night, and couldn't resist putting a quick track down and having a race. This is the first time I have had a track on anything other than the floor, and I have to say, what an improvement!

Austin came in from playing in the snow long enough to run some laps.



Oh course I couldn't resist putting the pits in place, with a couple of gnarly, wind swept 'trees'.



Next up, I need to get serious about figuring out my track plan. I'm not going to be able to switch the tables around, but was toying with the idea of splitting them apart by a foot or so and building bridges between two distinct styles, maybe an urban themed table and a rural area? I guess I just need to pick a direction and go in it, and any feedback is, of course, much appreciated ...!

Going to be a fun project ...
 

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Greg Gaub
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I see the opening in the wall at the end of the 8 foot table. I had a play with TrackPower to get a layout similar to mine in the space you have and will post that soon.

I like the idea of bridges between two different scenic styles. I say go for it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I spent a fruitless couple of hours the other night designing tracks, only to find out that even though SlotMan was telling me it was saving my hard work, it really wasn't ...


All very frustrating, because I can't start experimenting with scenery until I know where the road goes!

Any recommendations for track design software ...? What do you use, Greg?
 

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I'm not Greg, nor do I play him in real life (although I'll be pm-ing him with my own layout questions soon!). I started off using Scalextric Track Designer and found it rather cumbersome. My latest and more successful efforts have been done with TrackPower:
http://www.trackpower.net/
You can download a demo that will let you get a (very small!) feel for the software, and the full version download costs about $25, but the lower frustration level was worth it! Look forward to seeing your build!
Ray
 
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