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B-Train Small Layout #2


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Hi Nick, can you let us know when you'll be hitting the Train Show Circuit so I can see the layout in person. I am attached to the layout because you documented the building process so well that I felt like I was building it with you vicariously.

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Thank you, Sir Madog!


Jeff, you are correct, the bottom edge is the most susceptible to damage, hence the wood base. However, this trim has enough of a lip to it that it will also act as a securing strip for a transportation box that I will build. The layout will slot in and that will stop the layout moving within the box once closed. This will allow me to put other (light!!!) items on top of the layout to make traveling to shows easier.


Serotta, this weekend is the answer to your question! Great Train Show in Wichita, KS. The next show after that is.... next weekend! Wichita Train show and swap meet. Don't ask me why a city with 2 train shows a year can't organize things to have them spread better rather than consecutive weekends. After that, I may consider other shows, perhaps in Colorado or elsewhere in Kansas. Going further afield might be possible but no plans right now.


More progress updates later tonight.

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BTW, nobody asked about the screws on the bottom trim wood, how do you screw into foam?


I drilled holes into the foam and then squeezed foam tack glue into the holes to fill them with glue.  I then gently screw in coarse thread drywall screws.  Once the glue dries the screws should have a pretty good anchoring in the foam.  I wouldn't rely on that alone to hold the wood trim to the foam fascia, but I figured it can't hurt for additional strength either!

Edited by nickhp
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Krackel Hopper

The next show after that is.... next weekend! Wichita Train show and swap meet.

I'm looking forward to seeing the layout at this show!


Also very interested to hear the final verdict on the extension module.

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Attached are a couple more photos of the wood base trim construction from my other phone.


I remembered that one of the buildings at the rear of the lower level was missing its roof, so I found some metal siding styrene I had, cut a piece to size and painted it a bright blue before gluing it in place.


This evening I addressed another area that was bothering me on the main board, the corners. Rather than use wood trim on these (which would have interfered with my transportation slot idea), I used some aluminium corner angle. I cut pieces using a dremel cutoff wheel, then used a buffing attachment to polish out the pieces. The final step was to spray all pieces with clearcoat to keep them from tarnishing. These corner pieces are glued with epoxy to each corner using tape along the edges when applying the glue, placing the metal piece in place, then removing the tape to prevent glue from getting on the fascia.


I like the contrast between the black fascia, brown wood and silver corner pieces personally, not sure what others think!







Edited by nickhp
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First show complete.


I had to wait until the last minute to install my electrical panel and that mistake cost me as I ended up having to work until 6:15 in the morning on Saturday to get things into working order.  The issue was so stupid too, I have a metal panel and mounted panel connectors to it.  The mistake is the connectors are metal and all grounded to body, which screwed up all my electrics!  I have now ordered plastic connectors which should be here on Wednesday, so I will have a couple of days to rectify things properly prior to the next show.


That said, there were no issues running the layout and I got an amazing amount of positive comments throughout the show, I will have to check online and see if anyone else posts photos of my layout anywhere I can find.


Photos in a little while.

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I know, the stock is not consistent location-wise, and I will try to photograph a bit more variety of stock, but these were taken at show closing time so didn't have much time.


Next week another show, so a few things to do to prepare.

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Excellent job nick! This is going to be a hit at the show! I'm sure lots of folks will have questions about brains and the mini layout design. Don't see that done or displayed a lot at General shows here in the us, seems more about how many miles of track there are...


Take along some shorty kits to display as well, sure folks will be facinated about build it yourself trains, I've gotten the stranges looks from folks at shows when I describe btrains to them and keep meaning to take along tomytec buildings and btrain kits to show how the parts come (I have disassembled a few tomytec buildings to show folks at times!)


Have fun, sure you will have a great time showing this off!


Kudos again!



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Thanks for the feedback everyone!


I don't think many people really cared much about the details of the layout or how it was built, they just liked how small it is and the fact that there were 6 trains operating on such a small layout.


If there were shows that catered specifically for Japanese trains in the USA I might consider hauling this layout to them, would be fun to present this to a crowd more knowledgeable on the genre.

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Sorry to hear they were not as interested in the details, but many times at shows Japanese trains are such a rarity that you are just opening the door!


Good on ya for doing the show!


Did you meet krackel hopper and rapit bunny?


Would be great to do an all Japanese show, but folks are sooo scattered it would be hard to get layouts to one place in the country.


It's been great to have several JNS members be able to attend some evens the jrm layout has been at but that was mainly because of the concentration in the northeast here, good group in the Bay Area as well.



Edited by cteno4
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Part 1 of 2


Awesome stuff! Oh man, if I was at your show - I would be that annoying guy that would linger for a long long time and ask a lot of questions.  


Come to the Bay Area, we are about 5 people strong over here.  :)

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Martijn Meerts

Normally I'm not at all a Shorty fan but your layout simply looks "Wow!" even for me.


Pretty much my reaction as well ;)

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This layout I pretty Kawaii xD.

  Not normally a huge fan of Shortys to, but building the layout a small condensed design like you have really works well and provides plenty of interest in a short space.

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I really appreciate everyone's comments and feedback! Very flattering : )

There were several reasons for building this and using b train shorties.
1. B trains are "fun" and unrealistic, but I wanted to show that doesn't mean they have to be rejected.  Rather, I wanted to exploit their advantage, which is being able to make an interesting layout in a very small footprint (in this case 34x21" for the main layout).  For this reason I deliberately used Kato 117mm radius curves which I had previously avoided.
2. Show that you don't have to settle for n trak or t trak if you don't have much space at home.  This layout is smaller than a single n track module and smaller than the simplest t trak loop you can make with a single straight module between corner modules.
3. Show that taking care of scenery can be more important than the trains you run on a layout.  So many modules exhibited around here are flat boards painted green with sawdust grass or crudely carved foam scenery.  It does make a difference when you take care with your scenery and doesn't take much time when you keep it small.
4. Show that small layouts are fun, interesting, can be finished super quickly (this one took only about 10 weeks to get to this stage), use alternative materials and be fun to both operate and exhibit.  I can lift this layout with my little finger it is so light.  My set up time at the show was 10 minutes, which included setting up controllers, cleaning track and putting all the trains on the track.  Packing up after the show was just over 5 minutes!

I have nothing against scale trains, but love the level of focus building such a small layout as this allows one to put into it while making such quick progress.  Less chance of losing interest.  I will say I did lose interest even on this layout a couple of times, where I didn't do anything for a week or two at a time, but even then I was able to finish it in a reasonable amount of time.

Given my desire to move on from this area, building something like this makes sense since it is easy to take with me even if I make an international relocation.  I can't bring myself to build something bigger when I would have to leave it behind when I move, or the layout would drive my house selection!  With this layout I can set it up on a desk and store away in a closet.

Anyway, thanks again for the comments everyone, I will continue to post updates as I continue with the details on this layout.


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Really nicely presented and a lot of action in a small space that doesn't seem small. Great example of how sometimes less is more. 

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Been a little side tracked since the last show.  Nothing new with that.


Anyway, finally received my controllers so am starting to build my extension piece, nothing special, just a 14x12 inch extension to make the upper loop complete and house controllers on the rear panel.


At the same time, I am building a transportation/storage box for the layout.  This will allow easier carrying to shows, protect the layout while transporting as well as allowing me to put things on top of the layout, which is an issue when you have limited space in a vehicle.  When at home, the box will protect the layout from dust etc. when not in use.


I will post photos on here as I make progress over the coming days and weeks.



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