Build Your First Layout

Peter Vassallo
Item #12829

Perfect for building model railroading skills, this compact layout will not take up too much space and does not require a lot of specialty tools to build.
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Description

This all-new how-to book is perfect for anyone getting started in model railroading or looking to build a simple, compact layout. Build Your First Layout features the small, easy to build Northspur & Tiburon Railroad from experienced modeler and Model Railroader author Peter Vassallo. You’ll get step-by-step instructions and all the basic techniques needed to build an operating layout including:

  • Benchwork
  • Tracklaying
  • Scenery
  • Structures
  • And more!
Author: Peter Vassallo
Size: 8.25 x 10.75
Pages: 96
Author Bio
Peter Vassallo’s Town of Hamlin switching module appeared in Model Railroader. A mechanical engineer, Peter lives in Albany, N.Y. He’s especially interested in small, sectional layouts.
Table of Contents

Foreword

Chapter 1 - The Northspur & Tiburon RR

Chapter 2 - Benchwork and track

Chapter 3 - Beginning scenery: making a mountain

Chapter 4 - Scenery and structures: Part 1

Chapter 5 - Scenery and structures: Part 2

Chapter 6 - Scenery and structures: Part 3

Chapter 7 - Finishing and operating

Reviews

Kalmbach Media Co. publishes many hobby books and magazines. Build Your First Layout is a recent addition to their library of how-to books in the series Essential Series, part of the Model Railroader Books range. Authored by Peter Vassallo, the format size is 8.25 x 10.75, containing 96 pages.
Kalmbach tells us: This all-new how-to book is perfect for anyone getting started in model railroading or looking to build a simple, compact layout. Build Your First Layout features the small, easy to build Northspur & Tiburon Railroad from experienced modeler and Model Railroader author Peter Vassallo. You’ll get step-by-step instructions and all the basic techniques needed to build an operating layout including:

Benchwork
Tracklaying
Scenery
Structures
And more!

Kalmbach updates and enhances their titles to keep up with developments in hobby technology and trends. This book by Mr. Vassallo shows us how to create a quality layout that we can all afford.

As much as many modelers would love to fill a basement with a quadruple main line with curves to prototypically negotiate triple heading Big Boys and full circle roundhouse, those can become a monster nightmare to keep running. A couple layouts that I have operated on that have been the most fun are relatively small. And simple. My friend that has his entire basement filled with track has commented upon the amount of work it takes to keep everything running properly trying to troubleshoot problems when they arise.

Build Your First Layout is geared towards new modelers and those that don't need a large out lay of money.

The author lives in a one-bedroom apartment and he built this layout to fit in it. He built this layout to also show that you don't have to be a gazillionaire to have a good-looking functional railroad. While this book is organized and written in a traditional way, the author also demonstrates his progress with several sequential steps. One page features seven photographs showing the sequence to create a crossover between two turnouts. Another demonstrates the steps for detailing and finishing stone walls, using multiple colors for different stones. Want to learn how to make great looking tree trunks from a piece of balsa wood? He shows you. He also explains why he prefers to weather his models with paint rather than pastels. The text includes several call-outs to assist the reader in gathering supplies for a project:

Water materials
Modeling tools
Scenery tools
Track laying tools
Benchwork building tools

The text continues in detail about important general and specific layout needs:

Complete list of lumber and hardware for bench work
Tips on selecting quality lumber
Basic tools you'll need
Detailed track plan
Structure kit list
Track component list
Step-by-step scenery instructions with material list and tools required
Highlights on building and finishing the structures on the layout and the tools to use
Tips on operation and how to develop an operating plan
Prototype information on the layouts inspiration

Whether you want to build your first layout, or want something small to try a new technique, Build Your First Layout has all you need.
Photographs and Graphics

A strength of Kalmbach books is their photographic content. This book is full of professional high quality full-color photographs. They show the reader what can be achieved, and how to achieve it. Images used in this book illustrate to great effect how even small layouts can look large based on selective viewing angles and the models used for backdrops. Looking at some of the photos, if I did not know the subject of this book, I would think I was looking at one of those gigantic basement feeling spaghetti Bowl.

New model railroaders and those with limited room - and even experienced modelers - should find Kalmbach's Build Your First Layout a very useful and educational book. Making water and making tree trunks from a piece of balsa are two of my favorite demonstrations. Kalmbach books rarely give me anything objective to criticize. I found nothing negative with this book,. It continues Kalmbach's tradition of quality books full of useful information and instruction. Recommended.

Fred Boucher, RailroadModeling.net 

 

Part of Kalmbach’s Essential Series of publications, Build Your First Layout is a classy 94-page overview of how modeler Peter Vassallo approached the planning and building of his HO layout, the 6 x 4 foot Northspur & Tiburon RR. The one-level layout features five towns, 11 structures, a small lake, a passing siding, spur tracks into industries and a main line loop track that circles the perimeter of the model railroad.

Vassallo built the colorful pike over a year’s time in the living room of his one bedroom apartment using code 100 track for the main line and code 80 for the spurs. The layout trackage allows two operators to attend their trains from either side of the pike. The author details how he built the benchwork from 6- and 8-foot-long pine boards, plywood and Homasote, then laid the trackage over the Homasote to deaden the sound.

The book devotes a number of detailed pages and illustrations to scenery-making, a subject that often is confusing because of the many possibilities of making scenery, and the many types of landscapes in real life. But the author offers plenty of guidance in this department showing readers the tools he used, and how to form mountains, rivers, and foliage. With structures playing an important part in the N&T RR, a good many pages are devoted to how these were fashioned, painted and weathered, along with a list of modeling tools used.

Featuring clear text, beautifully done, extensive photography, and in general covering all aspects of how this model railroad was created from beginning to end, the book is one that any modeler would benefit from.

—Don Heimburger, Heimburger House Publishing Co.

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