I am New and need help

2 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,230 posts
I am New and need help
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 5:19 PM
Hello all,

I am new to model railroading. I am reading on the website and learn new stuff everyday. I just read about foam on top of plywood. Why would i want to use this? I am making most everything out of scratch. My train Table is together it is 48 by 81 pretty small from what i have read. I have already made a tunnel and 1 house i am using 1/4 plywood for the structures. I guess I am asking about the table more than anything. I have 3/4 inch plywood for my table with some artifical grass from the hobby store. I want my table to be just right before I really get into building all the structures. Can someone please help me.

Semper Fi
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 8:33 PM
Ah, Cole, you must either be a Marine, was a Marine, or want to be a Marine.

The extruded foam you're talking about is used primarily as the subroadbed, where you would put either the cork or polyurethane foam roadbed between it and the tracks. You can lay the tracks directly on the extruded foam if you want. The idea is that using the foam, you can:

1) deaden the sound a bit so your train doesn't rumble all through the layout.
2) the foam can be shaped to make your landscaping easier. Use a "Sur-Form" tool or a wood rasp to shape it. You can cut the foam with a serrated knife, or if you go to your local hobby shop (or LHS as you'll see it here), they have a hot wire foam cutter.
3) some modellers use what's called the "cookie cutter" method, where they cut out everything on the tabletop except where they want to run track. Then, they fill in the landscaping with foam, hydrocal or plaster of Paris, structures, etc.
4) I don't see a problem with getting your layout to run first - that's the primary reason for setting up a layout anyway - running trains. But don't let your layout get in the way of scenery. Even in Kansas, there are some hills, no perfectly flat terrain anywhere that I know of, so you'll want to do more than just have a flat tabletop with your trains running around that.

Visit your Local Hobby Shop, (LHS) and see if you can get some tips. If you're lucky, they may have a layout already set up and scenicked for you (it doesn't matter what scale they use, the tips are universal), or they can refer you to someone who's got a layout set up and you can get with them and learn some tricks of scenery, especially the grass.

There's nothing wrong with the 3/4" plywood, but it's damned heavy! I know, my first layout was 5/8" plywood and it was a bear to move around. But it was stable! [:)]

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: US
  • 1,522 posts
Posted by AltonFan on Thursday, January 22, 2004 9:32 AM
Welcome, Cole!

If you haven't been there already, you might find more information at the Model Railroader forums: http://www.trains.com/community/forum/default.asp?CAT_ID=8



Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!


Get the Classic Trains twice-monthly newsletter