I have started a n-scale layout and I have a few questions:
1. I want to put some roads on my board and I want to know what are some
recommended ways to construct the roads? I really do not like the sticker
2. I have a few rail joints that I can't seem to get tight with the clips.
Can I solder the nickel track and if so what solder should I use?
3. I have included a link to my board. Take it easy because I am a
[This followup was posted to rec.models.railroad and a copy was sent to
the cited author.]
Solder is Ok as long as you leave some un-sodered so that the track/wood
can expand and contract, although your layout is small enough that you
should only have a little of that. Normal electrical tin/lead 44 solder
is fine. Rosin flux is easier to deal with in any case. It is a good
idea to wire each section of soldered track. Do not depend on the rail
joiners to carry current. They will start to fail after a year or so.
I use black craft foam. It comes in a sheets up to 11x17", about 1/16"
thick. (you can also get gray and a multitude of other colors - check the
craft stores) It cuts easily with scissors, glues well, and is _cheap_.
I do road and parking lot lines with the opaque ink "gel pens", in white,
yellow, and blue (for handicapped parking), and a black one to "erase"
mistakes. You may have to try a few brands of them before you find one
that does it really well. Use a light touch! The results are _great_,
tho... looks MUCH better than painted lines or charting tape.
Almost _all_ rail joints should be soldered. Don't rely on joiners to
carry current OR hold alignment if they're just slipped on... ESPECIALLY
on curves. ALL curves should be soldered before the last bit of rail is
bent into position (while the part where the joint is to be is straight)
and then curved. This will avoid kinks in the turn - something that can
really cause problems in smaller scales
In addition, solder drop wires to the _outside_ of the rails every few
feet... it makes for MUCH better performance. Never try to solder in the
inside of rails in N... you'll cause running problems that are difficult
to clear up.
I've used artist cardboard which has been painted and striped. You can get
large sheets of it very inexpensively and you can cut it into different shapes
and lengths easily. Additionally, you can easily put it down with a contact
There is a commercial product available that is similar to a spackling
compound that many like. Several have said that it is good for modeling
concrete roads because you can model cracks in it and stain them in a dark
I hope this helps
Thanks for the advice. Looks like I will be spending some time soldering.
Unfortunately I mounted the track already, but I will figure something out.
The trains seemed a bit jumpy when I pulled them out for the first time this
year. I worked on the clips a little and things got better. Soldering
sounds like the answer.
For (blacktop) roads I used standard cork roadbed, and lightly topped it
with Woodland Scenics Smooth-It to fill in the creases and sanded it down to
a smooth surface, then painted it grimy black. I used cut balsa wood for
When I asked this same question at a hobby shop they suggested using sand
2. I have a few rail joints that I can't seem to get tight with the
clips. Can I solder the nickel track and if so what solder should I use?
When I built my current layout, I used mostly sectional track. When I
connected the sections, if the rail joiner wasn't tight, I replaced it
with a new one that was tight. I had no problem at all with electrical
conductivity as a result. I have only one electrical feeder to the
layout and there is no noticable power loss.
Bill's Railroad Empire
N Scale Model Railroad: