I've been holding off on building too much in the way of a layout for the past couple years, due to my living situation, preferring to work on smaller projects and save money for a better, future living situation. Back in November I started the search for a house of my own, beginning with a couple of open houses in a local city I had no intention of ever living in. Last month I closed on the 2nd of the 3 open houses I went through...end result is- I have a basement of my own to build a layout in. Plus a bathroom, kitchen and a couple bedrooms upstairs, but the important thing is, I have my own basement now.
What's the first thing you do with a free basement? That's right, design a layout. (It's just me, no wife/girlfriend or kids to worry about in this adventure.) Since getting involved with a couple of local N scale groups a few years ago, I've been slowly building a (relatively) small collection of Ntrak modules. I'd built/wired two of my own, purchased a 3rd and built frames for 3 others. At the train show at MSU last year (December?), the LanTrak group was selling 3 foot corner modules. Not knowing what the future held, nor the reason they were really selling the corners, I bought two, giving me a total of 4 corner modules, and theoretically a complete circle.
Here's the basement pre-layout, with a couple pesky walls the seller put up to make it more attractive or something. So far, they're really just in the way...
After deciding on the best course of action, and how to best utilize the space (I have cleanout pipes and the incoming water line to contend with in the layout space), I started assembling modules.
With all of the modules assembled and clamped together, I started putting down cork roadbed. Traditional Ntrak modules have 2 mainlines and a branch line that run across all of the modules. The local group I'm part of has added a 4th line to their modules, although some have added it on the inside of the 3 required tracks and some have added it on the outside. Because I really don't intend to operate the 5 (yes, 5) modules I'm adding to the 3 operational modules I already had, I added the 4th line to the outside of the modules. In this shot you can see the 4 rows of cork added to two of the 5 new modules.
Here's another shot of the layout, from the other end, showing initial progress, and what progress the LanTrak group had made on their modules before they were sold.
The next step was to install the cork around the three corner modules, then paint the cork. One of the guys in the group turned me on to a textured spray paint that looks a lot like ballast when applied to cork. After masking all 4 rows of cork, I realized the paint can be used indoors. A really good thing, considering the outside temperature had finally plunged below freezing. This shot was taken after the cork was painted and masking was removed, and looks down the already completed modules.
Here's another post-painting shot of the layout, showing the new modules.
Finally, here's a shot of the entire layout, from a similar angle to one of the shots above.
Apologies for the image quality, most of these shots are from my cellphone, and were initially uploaded to Facebook. I've been more focused on working on the layout (and the rest of the house) than on taking pictures over the past several weeks.
Additionally, I laid a complete circle of track on the layout over the weekend, and can run trains via track power now, something I've been looking forward to doing for a long time. Unfortunately, my cell phone camera couldn't keep up with conditions and I don't have any photos, but I am hoping to get a second line installed in the near future so I can run two trains at once. The 3rd and 4th lines will have to wait for some time, until a flex track purchase can be worked into the budget.
Hope this wasn't too long to sit through. I also hope to get some better pictures as the layout develops.