Now that most of the scenery and all the major construction is complete, I thought I would create one post that sort of summarized, in an appropriate chronological order, the steps I took to build and create my N Scale layout.
1. The Plan. As everyone who has ever contemplated building a layout has confronted, there are many questions and decisions to be made about your layout plan, all of which are constrained by the physical space you have to build a layout and whether or not the layout will need to be somewhat portable, temporary, or permanent. The below posts share some of my experiences with my first layout, which was essentially two ovals with a couple of sidings. The third post talks about the new plan, of which most posts on this blog are focused on.
•My current track plan and the software I used.
•My original, single 'hollow core' door N Scale layout
•Thoughts and perspective on my first layout, and what I wanted to improve. Maybe some similar things your are thinking about, and how my thinking evolved.
•The expansion from a single hollow core door to a 'double door' layout.
2. Where to put the layout. This is really about the physical constraints or the location where your layout will be located. My layout is located in an extra stall in my garage, but the plan and solution for the table -which needed to be both semi-portable and adjustable to adapt to the sloping elevation of a garage floor- are as suitable for an indoor room or basement layout. Mostly, this is about the benchwork I created to support and keep level a hollow core door layout using two doors.
3. Putting the layout foundation together. Once you have a plan (and the track to create that plan), and a suitably level 'table area' to start your layout, its time to start adding all that track and scenery.
•My approach, based on some less than desirable past experiences, keeps the track away from all the messy glue and landscaping material and takes advantage of the Unitrack track system by Kato to ensure flawless track operations.
•I also provide some general thoughts on my Kato Unitrack experience here, which might be helpful in your planning process.
•Some thoughts on the connectors used in the Kato Unitrack track system here if you are thinking of finding similar connectors to make the other electrical connections on your layout similarly 'plug and play' as the Kato connectors.
4. Scenery. I found the scenery process for this layout one of the most enjoyable parts of it, which surprised me. The reason for this was I removed all the track (mostly) from the layout for this process (see this post if you missed my strategy on this) which allowed me to go to town using all sorts of techniques without worrying about gumming up pricey switches!
• Adding rocks. If your plan considers some sort of mountainsides, the time to add rocks is before any grass or foliage is applied. My approach was the standard 'Woodland Scenics' process.
• Adding grass. I 'discovered' a method of applying the standard grass flocking material that was much more satisfying than other methods. The quick explanation is combining white glue and acrylic paints, then sprinkle on your flocking material. You get a good base color and solidly adhered flocking material without having to spray a ton of dilated glue mixture everywhere.
• Adding foliage. "Foliage" is a type of meshed ground cover that is more commonly used in layout scenery in Europe, but using the above technique I found great results with this type of product.
• Miscellaneous. Do you have need for a bridge that does not have any sort of commercially available solution? Build your own!
5. Put the track down and run trains! Again, since I did all the scenery without the track on the layout, this was the fun part!