order some professionally cut, measured and prepared benchwork.
So I braved the cold weather in the garage and started to go through the box. The box was smaller than I would have expected for all the materials and space this layout would ultimately take up, but it was quite heavy nonetheless - and it took a beating in transit as well, with one of the two outside corner curve sections having gotten cracked (I've contacted the supplier about this today to see if it can be replaced).
ModelRailroadBenchwork's website, are much better than anything that I could (or want!) to put together on my own! These are solid 3/4" wide sections of plywood with all the screw holes, access holes, and bolt holes already pre-drilled.
So far, I would have to say that if you can afford it (my total cost for all of the above, including shipping, was $460, plus $96 to have it shipped from Florida to Washington State) and want a sturdy benchwork and cannot do it yourself at any decent level of skill, this seems like a decent option!
The reboot is almost here. After several attempts to plan the layout with RRTrack, and essentially designing a layout that looks an awfully lot like old Quinntopia Version 2, I've decided to throw caution to the wind and start putting together a layout based on a few simple principles. I can only move things around on the computer before too long, so I'm just going to be practical about it (I sort of have an idea of what I want anyway, the software is good for getting estimates on how much stuff I need to buy, and approximate ideas of space and so on). Here's the main ideas:
- I have to limit the scope. I liked the urban aspects of the old layout (and I think was one of the things that was most popular with viewers as well) so the idea of having any sort of natural landscape will be minimal.
- Since its going to be a very urban layout, Its going to be a city surrounded by several 'main lines'. The question is...three, or an overwhelming four? I'm still not sure. Four track main line means an 8 track total, which limits the city space, and can look a lot like a racetrack and not a city/train layout!
- These lines split into several tracks for a large urban station and to provide some minimal storage (mostly for those annoying to assemble and disassemble TGV, ICE's and the like). Again, I have to be realistic and probably reduce the main lines to three.
- The rest? It will be City, City, and more city.
Here's my (formerly yellow!) supports for the layout benchwork - now in a fresh color of neutral grey!
I've decided to invest decent money and have some professionally, pre-built benchwork made by an outfit called ModelRailroadBenchwork.com. It will be modular as well, so I can re-use these if a future move happens! I ordered my modules a week ago, so I'm already anxious to get them and set up the future layout! No more hollow-core doors for me!
Of course, the real fun will be pulling out the structures from storage! Whoopee!