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48 Plymouth Coupe

New Member
Guess I should give a brief intro since we like to have them on the car forum I visit.

I've been interested in old cars and trains since I was a kid in the 50's & early 60's. My 48 Plymouth Coupe is about done now. Don't have room to build another old car so decided to finally get started and fill up part of my basement with an HO train layout. I've been interested in Model & toy trains since a kid in the 50's. Had an old Lionel then, but after my younger brother had it, then several nephews it's long since vanished. I like the HO Scale better anyway since you can get more into a smaller space. So, that's the way I'm headed now.

As with the coupe I do not plan to make an exact replica of any particular city or rail line. Just want to build a nice looking layout in the 50's/60's era that could have existed. This will be a long project because I plan on building most of the buildings and scenery myself. That's where my problems may come up. Methods of how to do it. I did find a post by someone that shows realistic looking trees and shrubs. That's going to come in handy and was really one of the things I was looking for the most. I'm sure I'll have questions from time to time because I'm a novice at this hobby. So, please excuse any dumb questions I may ask. We tell people on the car forum the only dumb question is the one they didn't ask. Hope it's the same way here.

Right now, I'm still in the planning stage. Have two train swap meets lined up for February and March. My initial layout will be about 58" x 48". Have not really decided on my first train set yet. I did talk to Walther's yesterday on the phone. Once I get the table built I will visit their store. The Walther's warehouse is only about 2 or 3 miles from me. Since it's my first layout I'm starting with an inexpensive train set, they later I can hopefully expand or replace it.

Any suggestions or comments on the above will be greatly appreciated.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
First of all, don't buy or build anything until you've thought your plan through--that is of course unless you don't mind buying stuff you end up not using and spending time on projects that take you down avenues you shouldn't have gone.

You've got a good start on your wants and desires--that is those that you have now, but you are going to grow in the hobby as you build. The trick is to get as close to where you will have grown when you're ready for your next step.

In my signature is a link to a beginner's guide. Check that out.

Now about the set. Chances are what ever you buy will be a throw-away. I wouldn't bother with that. For the same money get yourself a keeper. Determine your interests and find a good-quality locomotive in the road name you decide on.

Let us help you design a layout once you get ready. The size you mentioned not very functional. You talk about expanding to a basement layout, and it is good you are starting small, but you should be able to incorporate what you are doing into the overall design. The layout you are probably describing is a loop that is too wide to reach across if you put it against the wall.

But the first step is figuring out what you really like about the hobby. Read the guide.
 

48 Plymouth Coupe

New Member
Chip,

Thanks. I hear what you are saying about buying things in haste. I've been there in the old car hobby. Like you mentioned, planning is the key. That's really where I'm at right now.

The size of the initial layout is expandable. From my basic size I can easily expand the area to over double that. I have a regulation sized pool table that is very stable in the basement now. We haven't used it for years but cannot remove it since walls were built around it. That's where the train layout is going, on top of that table. The plan is to not harm the table and at the same time put the layout on it. I plan on using CDX board with a 2 x 4 border around the bottom edge to hold the layout tight against the table. That way the table top won't be destroyed either. I know there will be wires that need to be strung for various things. To solve the problem of no access to the bottom of the layout for wires, I plan on stringing them on homemade telephone poles and hiding them under scenery on the top of the table. You are right, you can't reach across that table against the wall, so it will be moved away from the corner it is sitting in now with only one end against the wall. That way I should be able to reach everything. Much later I hope to build extensions from that table along the walls. Hopefully by then I'll know the size I'll need to extend from those walls. As for the train. When talking to the guy at Walther's he said about the same thing you did. As for going to the swap meets I mentioned. They will be more or less just to look and get a feel for what's out there and not to actually buy anything. The board/table and comes first, then the train set.

I don't mind changing scenery or track layout later to add something. Actually that's the part I will enjoy the most, just building it. I like the challenge doing that. It's like when rebuilding the old Plymouth. After buying it, I'd spend hours just laying under the car or looking at some other part and planning what to do next and how. Then go get what was needed.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Again, read the guide.

Now instead of using CDX think in terms of using a 1x3 frame with a sheet of foam insulation board. It's light and easy to build on-stick trees into-etc. You can also move it easily.

Now think of that old Plymouth. When you put a couple years into it, how would you feel about taking it to the junk yard and watching the electromagnatized crane suck it up and drop it in the trash compactor? Plan on doing good work and using it. A typical layout will run $50-$100 sq ft and take 50 hours /sq ft. I actually spend less but put in more time.

Now there's a lot you can do with something narrower, say 30", that can go just about anywhere in your future layout. You can also go a little larger with what you are planning and design two scene's that can feed off each other that can later be split. But the first thing is getting a feel for your vision.

If you let us, we'll help you do what you want and still keep on track.
 

OldGettysk

Running the MC & Buffalo
Plymouth Coupe welcome to the forum!! Take several views into consideration before you jump into the waters !!! Most important have fun !
 
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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Hi 'Coupe, welcome to our forum! :)

I see Chip is pointing you in the right direction, about planning before you buy. Learned that lesson the 'hard' way myself!

One thing I would recommend buying early-on is a set of Kalmbach how-to books. Especially these:

1) Track Planning for Realistic Operation by John Armstrong
2) Realistic Model Railroad Operation by Tony Koester
3) Realistic Model Railroad Building Blocks, also by Tony Koester

I read these after my layout was built and really kicked myself for not reading them earlier, there are a gazzillion things I would do differently now...

BTW I think your type of car ('48 Plymouth) was what my parents had when I was born. My dad called it the "Old Gray Mare" (like the folk song) because he got it second-hand and the interior upholstery was worn-out; ran like a top, though!
 

Steve B

Firefighter
Welcome to the forum, Chip's given you some great advise,

like the saying goes,,,

"measure twice, cut once"
 

48 Plymouth Coupe

New Member
Hi 'Coupe, welcome to our forum! :)

I see Chip is pointing you in the right direction, about planning before you buy. Learned that lesson the 'hard' way myself!

One thing I would recommend buying early-on is a set of Kalmbach how-to books. Especially these:

1) Track Planning for Realistic Operation by John Armstrong
2) Realistic Model Railroad Operation by Tony Koester
3) Realistic Model Railroad Building Blocks, also by Tony Koester

I read these after my layout was built and really kicked myself for not reading them earlier, there are a gazzillion things I would do differently now...

BTW I think your type of car ('48 Plymouth) was what my parents had when I was born. My dad called it the "Old Gray Mare" (like the folk song) because he got it second-hand and the interior upholstery was worn-out; ran like a top, though!
Thanks Ken for pointing out those books. As with the old car hobby, the best thing I bought for the car was the original service and parts manuals. I'll see if I can purchase them locally at Walther's or a book store.

Chip, I did scan through your web pages. Will go back later to read it more in depth. Nice pictures of your layout too. Also thanks for the heads up on covering the table top with foam. I never thought about doing that. That will not only make it easier to hold trees etc. in place, but also hide wiring when needed.

Also thanks to those who have given hints so far. That's what I'm looking for. I can tell you where to buy old car parts etc., but when it comes to setting up the train my knowledge is well............shall we say lacking, but I do catch on quick.:)

By the way. In searching the internet I came across many web sites in the last few days. One was the Midwest Region of the NMRA. On that site was a link to the NMRA website http://www.nmra.org. However, I have never been able to load it for some reason. If there are any members on this board, is that site even working now? I've tried several times in the last two to three days to load it.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
...By the way. In searching the internet I came across many web sites in the last few days. One was the Midwest Region of the NMRA. On that site was a link to the NMRA website http://www.nmra.org. However, I have never been able to load it for some reason. If there are any members on this board, is that site even working now? I've tried several times in the last two to three days to load it.
I just tried it, worked for me... maybe it's a browser issue? (I'm using IE6 on a laptop with WinXP)
 

48 Plymouth Coupe

New Member
Thanks CCX. I just tried it again and with the same results. I use the latest Firefox browser. I also tried it with the old Netscape program I have, plus MS Explorer. Doesn't come up on any of them. I think it may be an issue with the connections between my server and theirs. Had a similar thing happen with my own site a couple of months ago. My own home page would not load. That turned out to be a problem with the people who host my site. I can get onto the Midwest region nmra site. Just can't load the main site.
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hi 48 Plymouth Coupe, welcome aboard. I'm also using the latest Fire Fox and had no problem loading it. Nice looking coup you have, sort of brings back memories of my first car a 47 Dodge sedan, my buddy had a 48 Plymouth, ah! well that was a long time ago.

Cheers Willis
 

Lady_Railfan

House Mother, Cheerleader
Hi '48 :)
Your username and intro post hooked me! Welcome to the forums! As you've already seen, this is a friendly and helpful gang of talented modelers.

My first car was a '41 Plymouth coupe. I bought it in '53 while I was in high school, and she served me well until she finally threw a rod after a hundred thousand miles or so. :D

I'm a garden railroader, and I think my RR will always be "in the planning stage." Even the era is somewhat in question. As for "dumb questions," just remember that there aren't any! Don't get too hung up on the planning --- just DO IT.

Welcome!!
 

rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
I just tried it, worked for me... maybe it's a browser issue? (I'm using IE6 on a laptop with WinXP)
Also works for me loads in less than a second. I'm using Firefox2 on a PowerMac G5 dually. I would contact the ISP and ask if they are blocking the domain for some reason. It is a great site.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Hi Coupe and welcome! Always glad to see someone starting the hobby. Man, you have some great starting advice given here. Planning is a must regardless of the size layout. There are so many different ways you can choose to go and goals to accomplish; it is endless.

The NMRA site (when you get connected) has a another section that lists various layouts you can go to and get an idea of how others have designed/built there layouts. Try to go to this page http://cwrr.com/nmra/ and look in the left hand column under "Layout Tours" and pick the scale you are interested in. In fact, you can look at all the scales to pick up ideas on how you want your layout to look.

When you can get the main page of NMRA, they have a lot of good info and a beginners section. Best of luck to you and again...glad to have you aboard.
 




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