My name's Cory and I'm addicted to... slot cars.
Been playing with them for the past 10 or so years (1/24 commercial and 1/32 home- although there was a few years hiatus as I went through my late teens... granted, I'm only 26 now).
I finally have my very own 4 lane layout, that I designed and am creating myself:
I guess I was a little overzealous about the size of the track... the room itself isn't much bigger, although closest to "you" as you look at it, is about 6' of space where I intent on having a couple chairs face away from the track, towards a flat screen on the wall...
My quandry is this: soon it is time to make the scenery. And I'm having a difficult time deciding where to put what... I have a nice collection of cars growing, and don't necessarily want them all in the drawer, that sits under the table. I'd like to have them in some garage bays, that I'm thinking would go nicely along the back (left) stretch. Maybe a grandstand by the lower left corner of the table, along the short straight, and of course some more outer borders for some of the sweeper turns.
Most of this stuff I'll make by hand, thanks to the vast source of information I've gleaned in the last 2.5 hours of reading on this site, and cross-referencing links.
This track is mainly for my own enjoyment, but I can't always play with myself, and intend on having the wife's 7-11 year old cousins and nephews as well as their dads, come and race. My biggest issues I think will be lines of sight.
With the garage bays, and grandstands, etc. that you all have on your tracks, are there ever any real issues with lines of sight? Are the scenery item dimensions not that large to be concerned with it at all?
Additionally, what guage wire is scalextric sport wired with, and what solder is good to work with it? I need to reverse the direction of the two outside lanes, and soldering, while I am proficient at the skill of soldering, I wasn't for choosing the right kind. Always had a local racer advise me on my commercial stuff when I was much younger.
IMHO, the first thing to consider is filling in around your track so the infield is relatively even with the track edge. That gives you a lot more racing room and makes the whole thing look even more realistic. The easiest, and cheapest way I can suggest is to use foam board, cut to fit. Since it has a paper surface, you can paint it, or glue scenery to it. But if you secure your track and bring the edges flush you will have the best experience possible with plastic track. Think about painting the track too. You will get much better traction and it will look better too.
Last edited by JDR; 08-17-2012 at 06:00 AM.
Reason: added last two sentences
I used cheap Ace Hardware rattle can primer grey on my old Artin track some years back. I have heard others using textured paint in rattle cans such as Rustoleum Aged Iron or something similar. Whether you paint the track set up or in pieces is up to you. You will only see the surface once the track is landscaped so it doesn't matter if the paint is perfect around the edges. Just make sure your masking is well stuck down along the edges of the rails. When I painted my Artin track, I wanted the slots to be painted with different colors to designate lanes. That meant a two step process where I masked the rails and track on either side of the slot and sprayed each lane to color. I then stripped the tape and then re taped the rails and newly colored slots to paint the road surface. That added a lot of work. A lot of folks simply mask the rails and slot in one swoop, paint the road surface and just leave the slot black.
I've heard fairly often that Scalextric Sport track is one of the tougher tracks to paint, because folks have found it difficult to get good adhesion. Because of that, I'm going to recommend that you stick to scenery for now, just so you don't open up another big can of worms that could be very time-consuming and frustrating.
As far as scenery and line of sight goes, get some different sized boxes, and place them around your track. Race from each driver's station and see where those boxes obstruct your vision. This will give you a sense of how big you can and can't make your scenery before you start scratch-building stuff.
Here's some pics of my Scaley Sport track that might give you some ideas. My "scenery" was done with, quite obviously, no real plan, but just sort of as the whim struck me. No detailed realism, just sort of a "racy" look.
It's 64.5 feet long, only two lanes but lots of borders that allows sliding through the turns...I think you'll find that will be necessary.
One thing, IMO, painting Scaley doesn't "improve" traction, it only changes it. Traction on plain Scaley is excellent with silicone (on a very clean track), urethane, and certain rubber tires.
Paint also has certain tires that work well on it depending on the type of paint used and which tires happen to work well on certain paints. Lots of variables. There's no absolutes on what's the "best" traction surface.
One suggestion would be to include some sort of retaining wall around the outer edge of the track or you'll have a lot of cars launching off onto the floor with the ensuing possible damage.
Have fun...looks like you're off to a great start.
I agree that you should consider adding borders, either the ones made for the brand of track or make your own as suggested. I started out with borders on just a couple of corners and made my own barrier walls flush with the edgs of the track on the rest. The drivers figure out quickly that they can blast through the corners on the outside lane riding the wall. I now only have one corner with no borders. I just added them one corner at at time to stay on budget.
If you are planning to stand at the driver's stations and the table is low enough line of sight shouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately my table is at model railroad height and I am in a wheelchair so right now I only have a couple of pit garages in the infield which can be removed if there are any vision problems.
You sure have filled up the room and you probably ought to invest in a grabber to marshall deslotted cars at that far end. Good looking track so far.
B52: Perfect timing. I've been trying to explain to folks what I want to do with the sides of my slot car layout and there we go- you have the walls and the grass carpet I just picked up this week. I was originally going to replicate how I've made train layouts, with different ground flocking from Woodland Scenics. But I'm afraid of the cars picking it up within a short amount of time. And no matter how well I think I've sealed it, it still manages to be find its way on people's hands, arms, and shirt sleeves. Which is another reason I am leaning away from using it, the other racers and their controllers when they lay them down. And I want to add, great use of space.
And back to StillPlays...glad to see you didn't give it up. I know I did for years and am just getting back into it again now. And you will find that today there are alot more things available than there ever used to be. But that also can be mind-numbing as you try to make sense of all the different options. And from reading your thread and thinking that I hear there is not a dozen guys and gals waiting for you to hurry up and finish your layout so they can race, I recommend you pause for a moment and really ask yourself the question that 356 Speedster posed, are you sure you really want or will be able to use a 4 lane track? Now I am no expert by any means, but I know that was the first decision I had to make and am happy that I changed my original mind, assuming more lanes were better, and decided to double my track length and track opportunities by converting it over to a 2 lane track. Granted, you don't have 4 racers going, but again, remember that for every racer, I'm guessing you will need at least that many "Track Marshals" waiting along the perimeter to put the cars back on the track for you. So while your 4 lane is gorgeous, will you have 8 folks available when you race?
And my as to what you want to do with your layout (which was one of your original questions). If you think you will be able to find 8+ folks to race, I say leave your track plan alone and only add minimal scenary. You really don't have much green space available other than towards the back wall, which is where I would place my grandstands so they don't block your view, and in the loop right in front of it, racing toward the wall under the window.
Now if you decide to use the track you have available and create a 2 lane like B52, you can see the options you will have. But with that, like with what I am currently building, you will need to think in 3D and use elevations. And with that in mind, unless you have experience building with wooden risers or using thick foam board insulation first, before you cover that layer with alot of broken arm cast or plaster-like material, get it to look how you want it, then paint it completely with brown latex paint, then sprinkle ground cover like from Woodland Scenics (found in Train Stores or Hobby stores and used by wargamers too), I would recommend the quicker, less time-consuming (as in 6-8 months of building up each layer from the table up) and the less expensive route right now.
And whether you decide to leave it 4 lane or convert it over to a longer running 2 lane (which will require fewer people, maybe 2 racing & 2 Marshalling/putting you back in the slots :-) I would seriously recommend you go to a Lowes, Menard, Builders Square, or whatever mega-lumber/hardware store you have locally, and price In-door/Out-door carpet (like B52 has) and 2-3" blue board (4'x8' sheets of foam insulation board) I'm not a carpenter, but I can cut insulation board with a straight edge and a sharp adjustable blade. And for that matter, with alittle practice, you can make an elevated curve by laying a section of your track on the blue board, drawing the outline of it on the board, and "score, bend, and snap" the excess section off, until you have the shape and size you want. They can be glued together with the inexpensive/generic paneling adhesive in a tube and caulking gun, and build whatever height or elevation you need. It will not look pretty, but it won't matter because once you get the track elevation that works for your track, you can lay the grass mat carpet over it and it will conform to your hills. And that, my friend, will cost you a heck of a lot less money and get you racing a whole lot quicker than duplicating the model railroad techniques. Then while you are racing, you will have lots of time to look over model railroad magazines and "How to Build Scenery" books, for your "next layout".
Sorry to be so wordy, but there is alot to consider and you have already done a great job building more than many of us will ever be able to. So take a few more nights to decide :-)
Something else to consider. Are you using the wall wart power packs that came with the track or do you have or plan to have a good 10amp(at least) variable power supply? Being able to hook up commercial style controllers is a big plus. Also being able to lower the voltage supply for certain brand cars and younger racers saves a lot of wear and tear. The stock Scaley power bases don't handle the higher rpm motors that well as they are only very low amperage units.
It is also adviseable to make several power drops at various points even out whatever power supply you use and it is easier to do before you have fastened anything to the table.
Power taps eventually, but for now I just need to switch the direction of two lanes as it goes right to left and I prefer left to right.
I'm just using the stock scalextric power bases, one per lane, for now. If I ever get enough consistent interest in my area to justify a decent power supply, for hotter motors, I'll get one then.
Thanks for all the input everyone! I've always wanted a 4 lane layout, which is the main reason I built it. It won't ever be completely permanent and I may change things in the distant future. I have another whole track I'm going to setup, that is a combination classic scaley and ninco that will stay two lanes. That one will be simpler, as its just a scaley and ninco figure 8 set put together. (That one is going to take sometime because I have to find a good way to get the luster back into the rails.)
Once I'm off work this week, I'll have lots more time to work on this, and show some progress to you all. Working weekends is never fun!
There are two ways you can make sure all the cars are going in the same direction. Disconnect the power leads from the power base for the inside lanes Use that power base either next to or at a differenf location from the one for the outside lanes but connect the power leads to the appropriate rails on the adjacent section of track for the inside lanes. The other way would be to just reverse the wires to the rails under the power base, but then you would have interference with the controller cables crossing the track unless you drill a hole and run the controller cable under the track to the power base.
For a track as long as yours looks you will probably need to add power drops at about the midpoint.
One more thing. Do yourself a favor and get a bottle of INOX MX3. You can buy it online or find it at many fishing bait and tackle shops. It is sold as a lubricant for reels. You can read about it elsewhere on SCI but believe me it works wonders keeping the conductivity of the rails like the first day you drove on the track. Just put a couple of drops on the braids of your slot cars occasionally. It is also a great lubricant for axle bushings.
I mention this as I noticed you live along the coast in Virginia and the proximity of the ocean and the climate there can wreck havoc on the steel used on scaley track.