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2'x3' Cork Board Challenge

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  • 2'x3' Cork Board Challenge

    I made a comment that if you do not have a railroad running or were looking for a change of pace you could easily get a 2’ x 3’ cork posting board on sale for around $10.00 and put some spare track down and be running in a few hours.

    Why did I suggest 2’ x 3’ cork tack boards? Well this is my story and I am sticking to it:

    • The cork and underlying material holds track spikes like a champ (practice hand laying track).

    • You do not need any power tools to build bench work. It is small enough to store under a bed if you have no room for a layout.

    • You can move it easily to the coffee table and run trains.

    • The layout will fit in the trunk of a car even my 2 seat SLK.

    • You can get 11” radius curves down that will allow you to run a lot of small HO or ON30 drives and cars.

    • I have built a mini and a micro layout on these before and they have each lasted 5 years and are still running.

    Here are the rules.

    • Must use a 2’x3’ (approximate) cork board to start, keep it intact or slice it dice it any way you want.

    • A train has to run on the layout when finished.

    • The layout needs a purpose to exist, industry, theme park ride, etc.

    • It must hold the interest of a 7 – 10 year old for a half hour of play time. Yes, this is possible; I know it to be true. The children should be able to drive it and throw a switch but tell them no touching the trains or structures. I suggest a loop with a couple of switches or cool automation.

    • It must be operational by Thanksgiving 2014 (Giving the finished layout to a child, hospital or old age home for the Holidays earn extra special bonus points).

    • I would like to keep the scale to HO or above to make it a real challenge. (bonus points for new gauges / scales invented)

    • If you model someplace then model someplace else for the challenge. I model the Yukon that means I have to model something like Arizona, North Carolina, Cuba, Europe or something.

    Sample of said board.

    I buy mine at Hobby Lobby and use a 40% off on line coupon they put out every couple of weeks.

    So let’s go, I know two ON30 guys who want in other than me.

  • #2
    I am in, Have my board in hand.

    Good way to practice things
    Sitting along side the orignal Central Pacific Rail Road.

    Home of The Great On30 Barn Meet, that will be held May 16th 2015


    • #3
      This topic will stay a sticky until the end of the challenge. Larry suggested N scalers could build in On18 which is a good idea so let's see what everybody can come up with! :up:


      • #4
        Here is a quick simple idea to maybe get some juices flowing.........I down loaded a picture of the 2x3 cork board and made a little sketch in Brushes that represents an On30 plan (roughly I think). Two sides of a desert hill with a water tank, speeder shed, and cabin on one side, and a mine tipple served by a horse cart road from some nearby mine. The road runs up, over and along the ridge. A rock tunnel portal, wood tunnel portal and dramatic rock arch formation. Desert scenery, saguaros, scrub vegetation, and lots of rock. Scott


        • #5
          Nice, are you going to build it Scott?


          • #6
            Maybe.....I have some HO stuff.....Maybe.....


            • #7

              I'm looking forward to what you do.


              Are you in?


              Great darwing you should join in.


              I have HO stuff I can send you

              Here is a list of HO / ON30 items that I know will take these small curves. There are many more drives and I may set up a test loop to help the cause.

              The following drives will make 9.5" curves.

              All Bachmann ON30 Porters

              ON30 Bachmann Rail truck

              Bachmann HO 44 ton, 70 ton, 45 ton and Ballast spreader.

              BVM, Mighty Midget, Woodchuck and all conversions for the above Bachmann HO engines

              HO Bachmann/AHM?Model Power Plymouths

              Grandt line 4 wheel engines

              ON30 Cars tested with no issue:

              Bachmann 18 foot cars

              Bachmann side dumps and v dumps

              Peco 4 wheel cars

              Cache creek 4 wheel and two truck caars

              BVM 18 foot cars

              My 19 foot flat car molds

              Grandt Line Koppel cars

              HO cars tested no issue:

              Kadee Log Disconnects


              • #8
                Sounds like a fun challenge. Hope some folks jump in.


                • #9
                  Larry, thanks for starting this challenge.

                  Count me in.
                  Follow along as my dog and I travel the country in our van.
                  FaceBook link:


                  • #10
                    Are there restrictions to track elevation?


                    • #11

                      Originally posted by Geezer

                      Are there restrictions to track elevation?

                      Nope, just make sure you can get it out of the room .

                      BTW my rules are loose and open to review. I am trying to get a few guys running trains this year.

                      It would be super cool if one of the craftsmen builders built a battery powered line on the inside of a structure with full interior then built the factory walls on the outside.


                      • #12
                        I've got a layout, but I'll be following along on this. The size sounds like interesting things could be done in HO standard gauge, though they might fail the "occupy a 7yo for 30 min" test.


                        • #13
                          Probably not Larry, too many other things going on right now.


                          • #14
                            Hmmm... I have a non-cork 2x3 foot board already on hand... So how much cork does the baseboard really need to be? Could I glue some cork to the underside to qualify? Or if I use some cork roadbed? How about if I painted the current baseboard to look like cork before I add any scenery?

                            Also, I have no access to any 7-10 year olds to test the layout on. Could I use 7-10 drunk college students? I have access to lots of those, though I'd worry they'd be more prone to break things and I doubt they'd be interested in more than five minutes each. But that sort of evens out right?

                            If I'm granted those two exceptions I'm in. I'll have to decide between On20, On30 and 1:35n2 and maybe have a bit of a dystopian / post apocalyptic theme (think Children of Men or District 9)...



                            • #15

                              What ever works for you no real cork required. If you have drunk female college students and you can hold their interest for 30 seconds you win.