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My Track - new scale layout each year

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  • My Track - new scale layout each year

    I got back into slot cars about 10 years ago, when my sons were younger, and I am still into it! I like to change up my track every year, and I do a new layout every winter, just ahead of the Christmas holidays. I pack it all up by around April or May, as the spring weather rolls around. So its a real holiday tradition for me.

    I have a 4-step routine in my track construction that I have been following for many years, and this makes it fairly easy to build a nicely decorated, high performance track. I wanted to share it on this forum to show you its possible to build a re-usable, "semi-permanent", scale slot car track.

    A few points to consider: I am a "rug racer", and my layouts are on the floor. We sit on ottomans (or the floor) when we are racing. This is not a nice as a big table, buts its easy and works OK. I have upgraded to a variable voltage power supply and the Scalextric compatible Professor Motor controllers. I feel both of these upgrades are well worth it, especially the variable power supply to optimize the track voltage for the various types/brands of cars out there. We run box stock cars with magnets. I recently added the Scalextric ARC timing system that links to your mobile phone as the system display - this a great add on and makes it easy to time your laps and run races....all on your phone! The entire layout gets carefully dismantled and boxed up in the spring, including all of my diorama pieces and scale accessories. I have been re-using this track and diorama pieces for close to 10 years now.....and moved all this stuff to 2 different homes! So with care, slot car sets will give you years of reliable use......even if they are dismantled and reassembled every year!

    Here is my routine for my annual track layout:

    Step 1 - Base layer (Photo 1): To add some scale realism, and reduce carpet fibers, I lay down a large green fabric sheet. I went to a fabric store and purchased some green fabric and then brought it to a curtain seamstress and got them to sew up and edge this "sheet" to my custom dimension. I also place 6" high foam strips around the basement walls to protect stray cars that may be flying off the track. NB - If I did it all again, I would pick a fabric colour that is closer to the Woodland Scenics grass mats (see Diorama Pieces notes below).

    Step 2 - Laying and powering the track (Photo 2): I use Ultimate Racer to plan my layouts and I lay out my track pieces according to my track design, but I usually have to make a few small adjustments to get the track to fit the space, or join up nicely. With the track laid, I run 4 power taps (I have pre-made straight pieces that are wired together with various lengths of wiring that I use as power taps) and try to space them evenly around the track. I also lay down borders at this time, to make sure everything fits, with the borders in place.

    Step 3 - Optimizing the track (Photo 3): Once all the track is placed and powered, I tape my powering wires to the fabric using green painters tape to keep the wires out of the way. I also build up any over passes with a cardboard sheet base that supports the full length of the "hill" and foam blocks to support the base. I will carefully adjust the block heights at this time for a smooth overpass. At this point, the track is fully functional and I will run cars for a few days in this state to get a feel for the track. Quite often I will make small adjustments to optimize the "flow" of the track. In this case, you will notice I swapped some of the R2 curves for R3 curves on the inner "switchback" on the right side in Photo 2 and Photo 3.

    Step 4 - Decorating the track (Photo 4, 5 and 6): After a few days of running and tweaking the layout, the fun part begins - adding scale details to the layout to create a realistic scale track! I have a variety of pit buildings, grandstands, bridges, marshal's stands, spectators and pit crews that I collected over the years. Most of my accessories are Scalextric pieces. I place these around the track in a way that adds realism but does not detract from the track sight lines. Once all the structures are laid out, I place my homemade "Diorama Pieces" around the track. The diorama pieces contain Woodland Scenics trees and scratch-built signs and rock details that are glued onto foam board bases that are covered in the Woodland Scenics grass mat. I usually end up moving the diorama pieces a few times to get satisfactory sight lines, and good visual aesthetics.

    The entire finished layout is shown in Photo 4. This track is about 64 feet long, and the track footprint covers an area that is 17' X 6' - excluding the mechanical closet in the corner of the room. It takes me about 15 hours to complete all this work (or is it play?), and I usually spread it out over 3 evenings. At the end of my racing season, I reverse the process and dismantle the track and accessories and box them up and store them for the "off season" during the summer months. I like the variety of a new layout every year, and packing away the track for the summer keeps the hobby fresh for me every winter.

    I hope this note gives you some ideas that you can apply to your layouts! Cheers RvE



    Last edited by RvE; December 26, 2019, 09:27 PM.

  • #2
    The process I described above can be deployed anywhere. Here is an example from a few years ago when I was living in a home that had an unfinished basement. I bought a cheap "end of roll" carpet remnant, and good under pad, and thew that down on the concrete floor and then laid out my track and accessories. Again, we used ottomans as our seating for racing. This photo also shows all the cardboard cartons I use to store my diorama pieces and track and accessories. When you have as much hobby stuff as I do, lots of shelving is a must....haha

    Cheers RvE

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    • drvanski
      drvanski commented
      Editing a comment
      Nice job getting all those black borders. Cool setup!

  • #3
    That's some next level rug racing you've got going on there. I like your modular scenery approach. I'm a big fan too of Ultimate Racer for designing layouts. Plastic track is ideal for this and I like that you get a 'new' track every year. Thanks for sharing.
    Last edited by drvanski; January 7, 2020, 02:10 AM.

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    • #4
      That's a great system and it obviously works for your needs. Adding the modular scenery gives it that finished look and feel.
      I like the wall art too
      Randy

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      • #5
        Thanks for the compliments......I collected the racing posters over many years, and then broke open the piggy bank to get them framed. I am very happy with how they came out.....but oversize print framing is expensive. Strangely....... I have slot car versions of most of the cars shown in the posters! Cheers RvE

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        • #6
          I too like to change up sections of Dundee Speedway each year, which has always made me a fan of plastic track!

          thanks for sharing

          Dundee Denny

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