I had a learning experience

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#1
So I got back into the hobby after 30+ years away. Boy, was I highly motivated.:p 6 months into building the "behemoth" I realized I was way over my head.o_O The wife even asked if I knew what I had gotten myself into. I decided the best thing to do was to tear it all down and figure out what I had learned, liked, etc. Thankfully it hadn't become that expensive of a learning experience.;)

  1. I hate laying track, but like to see trains move. Go figure. I know you need to complete the first before you do the second.
  2. Keep it simple. Wye's, Switch Backs, grades, etc. take space, time, and skill to do it right.
  3. Ultracal soaked paper towels over a cardboard lattice or crumpled newspaper is cheap, but messy and heavy.
  4. That pink foam board is awesome! Why I didn't use this before is beyond me.
  5. Sculptamold is so much easier to use than Ultracal! I found Sculptamold and foam board to be highly superior to the Ultracal method. Ultracal 30 is great for casting rocks though.
  6. Buy all scenery material in bulk.
  7. The scenery products from Scenic Express are freakin amazing!
  8. I found I liked building scenery and structures more than running trains. This was one of those epiphany moments.
  9. The advancements in sound and mechanical quality, of locomotives, has improved 1000x from the 1970's/1980's.
  10. There is no standard coupler height between manufacturers. They all mate a little different. This drove me nuts. The good ole days when you just put Kadees on and they all mated fine are gone.
  11. DCC makes wiring a piece of cake.
  12. You shouldn't have to strain to reach something. Measure your reach at 4' off the ground. This was one of those big screw up learning experiences.
So for the time being I am starting to build 18"x24" dioramas that can mate together.

I'm keeping it simple and fun.


***
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#3
Glad to see you back into the hobby. Things have changed a lot over the past 30 years, about when I started my layout. Sound like you attended the school of hard knocks, but learned a lot. You'll have to post some photos.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#4
So I got back into the hobby after 30+ years away. 6 months into building the "behemoth" I realized I was way over my head. I decided the best thing to do was to tear it all down and figure out what I had learned, liked, etc. Thankfully it hadn't become that expensive of a learning experience.
  1. That pink foam board is awesome! Why I didn't use this before is beyond me
Yes, I haven't used plaster or hydro-cal for scenery since 1995? or so.

In my opinion the problem is that all the old "how to make scenery" books from the 1960-1970s are still out there in circulation.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
#5
YouTube is your friend. Lots of how I done its.

Planning and preparation save every resource. Scale diagrammes and cardboard models can help to visualize well enough to show possible problems.

If you've screwed up, but refuse to change, prepare for a whack of misery. You can undo most everything that doesn't need water or chemicals added to it.

If your track arrangements get boring or are poorly executed, you'll hate everything about it. So, sometimes a little complexity is desirable. Again, dismantling even a small area to improve track lie can bring a lot of pleasure...and relief.

I'm happy to see your list. It's hard won, and you have the scars to prove it. Go forth, and sin no more. :)
 
#6
So I got back into the hobby after 30+ years away. Boy, was I highly motivated.:p 6 months into building the "behemoth" I realized I was way over my head.o_O The wife even asked if I knew what I had gotten myself into. I decided the best thing to do was to tear it all down and figure out what I had learned, liked, etc. Thankfully it hadn't become that expensive of a learning experience.;)

  1. I hate laying track, but like to see trains move. Go figure. I know you need to complete the first before you do the second.
  2. Keep it simple. Wye's, Switch Backs, grades, etc. take space, time, and skill to do it right.
  3. Ultracal soaked paper towels over a cardboard lattice or crumpled newspaper is cheap, but messy and heavy.
  4. That pink foam board is awesome! Why I didn't use this before is beyond me.
  5. Sculptamold is so much easier to use than Ultracal! I found Sculptamold and foam board to be highly superior to the Ultracal method. Ultracal 30 is great for casting rocks though.
  6. Buy all scenery material in bulk.
  7. The scenery products from Scenic Express are freakin amazing!
  8. I found I liked building scenery and structures more than running trains. This was one of those epiphany moments.
  9. The advancements in sound and mechanical quality, of locomotives, has improved 1000x from the 1970's/1980's.
  10. There is no standard coupler height between manufacturers. They all mate a little different. This drove me nuts. The good ole days when you just put Kadees on and they all mated fine are gone.
  11. DCC makes wiring a piece of cake.
  12. You shouldn't have to strain to reach something. Measure your reach at 4' off the ground. This was one of those big screw up learning experiences.
So for the time being I am starting to build 18"x24" dioramas that can mate together.

I'm keeping it simple and fun.


***
Everything you mentioned is true.. I too found out making and planning the scenery and layout is just as enjoyable as running the trains. Keep up the good work.
 

Rico

BN Modeller
#12
All very good points, glad you found out early on!
You’re right things certainly have improved over that time span yet I find myself running straight dc these days in spite of having newer sound equipped locos!
 





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