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Keikyu

Any negatives to modelling on a door?

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Keikyu

My dad would like to see me with a trainset, but one that doesn't need to be big or flashy so I can take it apart in future when I move or you know, anything comes up really.

 

So we happened to swap out our old doors, so we have some old doors lying around the house. I got the dimensions, used Anyrail to figure something out within them and I am satisfied with what I can fit in them, but does using an old door have any negatives apart from the obvious ones like not fitting in regular doorways easily and weight?

 

They are the cheaper doors, cardboard sandwiched between wood.

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E6系

Hello Mr Keikyu,

 

The type of door you refer to is known as a "hollow-core door".  They make excellent bases for model railroads because they aren't as heavy as solid timber doors.  I would recommend fixing an extra timber frame around the underside to provide stiffening and give space for turnout motors, wiring, etc.  I used 75x25mm pine on my old layout with success.

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Keikyu

I see, thanks for the information. it might need a little bit of work, the door is painted and sanding the paint off seems a necessity but the outer covers of wood are really thin and I am not sure what the cardboard would be like needing to hold track down if I accidentally sanded through the thin wood.

 

But as long as the door idea in general isn't going to be a colossal failure then it will work out. I must ask though, with unitrack, what's going to be the best way to tack it down to the door? Tiny screws? Nails? Preferably not glue as I'd rather not risk breaking the track in future. And I plan on using the Woodland Scenics elevation foam things, how would I get track to stick to those as well as get them stuck to the table?

 

So many questions, I apologise but I'd rather not run into trouble later.

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Mudkip Orange

I don't really think you need to sand it.

 

Ultimately you're going to put scenery down and the scenery will be glued to something, might as well glue to the paint. Or paint over it with some cheap hardware store paint before you start the scenery.

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katoftw

just paint over the current paint.  modellers use brown or green under their green folage.  or grey if making a city style layout.

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kvp

If you ever want to remove any tracks, then i suggest first paint the door or just clean it and only paint the sides, then use double sided tape, the one used to hold down carpets. It's strong enough to hold down the track and most scenery items but plastic parts can be peeled off without damaging them. (i already tried this with unitrack and a few buildings)

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Keikyu

I was figuring things wouldn't stick to the paint as well as the wood but if it's fine to glue it straight down to the paint on it then that's alright and saves me some trouble.

 

And good idea on the double sided tape, I never thought of that. I do plan to make it nice, with ballast and stuff over the tracks, but as long as I can pull the tracks up the ballast doesn't matter and I am happy to lose that if necessary. But I shall see.

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E6系

Hello again Mr Keikyu,

 

All of my base boards have a coat of gloss black paint.  For the purpose of modelling, water based glue will stick to it.  But if you ever want to make changes or reuse the base board for another layout everything is removable with relative ease.

 

I recommend you don't sand back the door.

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Keikyu

Alright, no problem then. it was only a suggestion because I thought it might stick easier to wood than the paint on the door, the paint on the door seems kind of shiny and slippery. But no worries there then.

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cteno4

Always good to just scratch up the paint on the door with rough grit sandpaper before doing an new coat, helps the new coat grab better!

 

My first layout as a kid like 40 years ago was on an old door and worked fine. Just sat on bookshelves. When your drill holes thru to pass wires thru you can use bits of soda straws thru the holes to help the wire thru both top and bottom surfaces w.o them wandering off inside the door.

 

Doors like this are super flat, rigid and tough. Super simple way to start!

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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Keikyu

So scratch up the paint on the door a bit so the paint I choose will stick to it better, yes?

 

And the only wires I have at the moment are to power the track. The way I am hoping to set it up, the old hole for the doorknob will allow those wires to pass through. I'd like to have leds and stuff though so maybe I will need to be able to pass some more wires through.

 

So I have a question on the foam incline Woodland Scenics makes. I have the 2° incline, but for what I want it seems it will need to be a bit steeper to reach the height I'd like. How well do trains do on slopes sharper than 2°? I think they sell a 4° one but I read somewhere that 2 is about the maximum you can do with them. If that's so I have a load of rethinking to do. Also how do I stick the foam to the paint on the door?

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kvp

 

How well do trains do on slopes sharper than 2°? 

 

If you don't want to run shinkansens or close coupled trains, then it's usually ok, especially if the train has more than one motor car. Close couplings don't really like sharp vertical transitions and some shinkansens have trouble even with the standard suburban inclines kato is selling and they are not that steep. For mainline traffic, i would stay below 2 degrees, for suburban trains 4 degrees can work, just test it first. For some tomix sets, like the hakone tozan emu, even a 10 degree incline is possible.

 

 

Also how do I stick the foam to the paint on the door?

 

Use a water based synthetic carpenter (wood) glue. They are designed to glue stuff like insulation foam, plastics to wood and painted sufaces. Actually they can be used to glue down anything made of plastic or wood that you don't want to remove later.

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Keikyu

Fair enough, I mostly have EMUs and passenger/freight cars but a few of them use the close couplings so I'll have to test it out on a sharper incline. I only own one shinkansen and I would like to use that but that really is doubtful until I can get a bigger layout than what I'd have regardless of any inclines.

 

And alright, I'll have a look for the glue when I am ready for it. Thanks.

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E6系

Hello again Mr Keikyu,

 

It is not necessary to make the paint finish rough.  But it is necessary to remove any grease.  Simply wash the door with dish washing liquid and sponge.  Do not leave the door wet.  Use a cloth to dry it.  Then test with a bit of wood glue.  You will get an adequate bond for modelling purposes.  But you will be able to remove it with firm pressure and a paint scraper. 

 

All of my base boards are painted with black high gloss enamel before modelling.  I prefer to spray, rather than brush.

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Keikyu

Alright, I think I will be able to start soon then. I just have a handful more track to buy then I should be set to get started. Thanks alot everyone.

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Mudkip Orange

I second the doublesided tape. You want to be able to easily transfer your scenery items (e.g. houses, the ubiquitous Shinto temple) to future layouts.

 

Be sure to post progress pics!

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cteno4

Another option to attaching structures to the layout in a way to come up easily is use small rare earth magnets. You can get the 1x2 or 1x3mm disc magnets for a cent or two each on ebay. Then just stick 4 of the on the bottom of a structure with acc glue (use the thick stuff) and once dry stick another magnet on each. Then a small drop of acc on the bottom of the second magnets and plop the structure in place. Voila you can just pick it off when you want! Even glue a second set of magnets n a ttrak module etc to share a structure.

 

Most tomytec structures have a nice 2mm lip on the undersides of their bases so perfect for the magnets.

 

Jeff

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Keikyu

That's also a good idea, I think maybe I could work with double sided tape for the track and magnets for the buildings. If I played my cards right I could use the magnets under the buildings and occasionally swap them around for a nice change of scenery without having to reglue things in place. i quite like that idea.

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Lawrence

Other options for you would be to cover the top of the door with some 6mm plywood screwed on round the edges and glued in the middle, this would give you a more solid base to work on if you are concerned about the thickness of the original skin, or you can cover the board with sheets of 25 or 50mm insulation foam glued to the original skin.  This will give you the option of carving to give you different ground height for lakes or streams.

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Keikyu

I would like to have some streams or little lakes or anything like that. Maybe I will look into foam as well.

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cteno4

Insulation board is nice as you can dig where ever you want! Just put a strip of nice ply or veneer around the edge of the door/foam board to pretty it up.

 

One down side of going onto insulation board is that you then need to use pva wood glue or caulking to stick your track down if you want it fixed. Pva works well to remove just flood with water around the track and the glue softens and you pop it up, but don't glue around or under turnouts! Some folks use bathtub caulk. Holds pretty well to the underside of the track and the foam. Then you use a putty knife to pop it off later if necessary.

 

If you are going to do scenery and ballast along the edge of the tracks you can also drill out the fixture holes in the track pieces and then stick pins thru into the foam to hold the track in place. Then do the scenery and ballast along the edge of the track ballast and once that is hard it will hold your track in place.

 

Jeff

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Keikyu

It's all so complicated now. I'll need to work out what I am going to need but for now I'm not starting until I've gotten at least most of what i need,

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Martijn Meerts

The only negative is the rather steep inclines when you decide to put the door back in it's frame :D

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cteno4

One word, magnets!

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E6系

Hello Mr Keikyu,

 

Wash the door tonight.  Lay the track tomorrow.  I believe you're over thinking a very simple problem.  You should be playing trains by Sunday.

 

;)

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