My First HO Layout
Assembly Instructions



Parts Inventory
2 Layout Panels ("A" is the flat panel with the pond,  and "B" has the hills and tunnel)
1 Mountain Interior Track Support Panel ("C")
1 Strip Hold-Fast Adhesive

Basic Assembly
    The Mountain Interior Track Support (C) keeps the track level as it passes through the tunnel. It is designed to "nest" under Panel B.  The weight of the layout will hold the track support in place. It can also be temporarily glued to the underside of Layout Panel B with a small "dot" of the Hold-Fast adhesive or permanently glued with any styrene adhesive.
    Arrange the layout panels on a hard, flat surface (floor or table). Be certain that the overlapped joint is straight and the "locking posts" on the bottom of the A layout panel are sitting in the alignment holes in the B layout panel.  If you wish, you can hide the overlapping joint with white tape or with ordinary masking tape which is then covered with artificial snow. Usually, a simple dusting of artificial snow will do the job.

NOTE -- If you are using the layout for Christmas Tree display on a carpeted floor, it is recommended that a sheet of plywood or hardboard be placed under the pond to prevent the weight of the tree from distorting the plastic layout panels.

    Place the Christmas tree stand on the pond area of the layout. The pond is designed with coves which will accommodate a three- or four leg stand up to 24" in diameter. The Master Track and Layout Plan (below) illustrates the proper placement of the legs.  You may want to remove some of the bottom branches of the tree in order to have a better view of the buildings and train.

Modifications to the Layout
    If you wish to cut or modify the layout panels, you can do so using most standard cutting tools such as, utility knives, tin snips, saws, and drills. When cutting with a knife, make two or three passes over the same line, cutting about half way through the thickness of the plastic, then flex the panel, focusing the bending at the cut.  The cut line will usually "snap" and separate cleanly.

Repairing the Layout
If your HO Layout should get cracked or damaged, it easily repaired using any glue formulated for use with styrene model kits.  To repair a crack, simply apply glue to inside surfaces of the crack and press together. The crack should be clamped in such a way as to hold it closed while the glue cures. If a piece of the layout needs to be replaced (wrongfully cut or drilled, for example), sheet styrene (purchased at your hobby dealer) can be cut to size and glued into place. Bondo automotive putty and Green Squadron model putty can also be used.
 

Installing Track
   Your layout is designed to accommodate track with built-in roadbed such as, Bachman EZ-Track. You will need the following:
        1 full circle of 18" radius curved track (12 sections)
        3 sections of 9" straight track
        1 section of 9" straight with power connector
    Snap together 3 sections of the 18" radius curved track and slide them through the tunnel so that some track extends out of each end of the tunnel.  Proceed to snap together the rest of the oval, keeping the track in the shallow track channel molded into the surface of the layout. Use a small ball of the Hold-fast adhesive at two or three randomly selected positions to hold the track in place (it tends to slide under the weight of the moving trains). Apply the adhesive ball to the bottom of the track roadbed to hide it from view.  Connect the power feed from your train set controller and plug the power cord to the wall outlet. Place the locomotive on the track and you are ready to roll.

Decorating Tips - Christmas Tree display
    After setting the Christmas tree in place, wrap the tree stand in cotton batting to simulate a mountain and to hide the pond area.
    There are several techniques for creating snow scenes on your Christmas Tree Layout.  Artificial powdered snow can be sprinkled over the layout after the track and buildings have been put in place.  For a more permanent, less messy snow scene, use one of the several brands of "snow paints" that are on the market.  Choose from "Plain Snow paint," or "Glitter Snow paint" at stores such as Michael's' Arts & Crafts, Cherry Tree Toys, and other Christmas decor shops.
Decorating Tips for Year 'round Use
    For year 'round use and a "summery look," the layout can be painted with most types of paint including aerosol cans and brushable acrylics. Your hobby dealer also stocks paint which will work very well. Ask for his recommendations.  The best and most natural looking colors for this purpose are the military camouflage colors offered by Zynolite, Krylon and other brands. These are available in browns and greens, and dry with a flat finish which emulates nature. After the basic colors are applied (Khaki for the base coat, Earth Brown for rock shadows, Sand Dune for rock highlights, and Forest Green for grassy areas), ground foam texture materials can be glued in place to create the appearance of grass and weeds. Rocks, such as those made by Woodland Scenics, can also be added in the flat areas and at the base of the rocky cliffs and hills.
    Buildings and trees can be glued directly to the surface of the layout, using any glue suitable for styrene buildings. Trees, such as those in the Woodland Scenics tree kits, have small pegs molded into the bottom of the tree trunk pieces which allow them to be "planted" by simply drilling a small hole in the surface of the layout and pressing the tree into it.  A small spot of glue will hold the tree securely in place.
    When arranging your village buildings, be sure to leave enough room for trees and bushes. Your local hobby dealer can supply you with a variety of tree kits.
    If you are mounting your layout on a table and don't plan to put a Christmas tree on it, there are several tricks you can use to make the layout look more realistic. First, you might want to fill the joint where the two panels meet. Modeller's putty and Bondo automotive putty work quite well for this purpose. While the material is soft it can be shaped to flow with the surface of the two panels.
    Second, paint the lake with colors that start with Khaki or Sand Dune at the shore line and progress to darker and darker brownish blues at the center of the lake. Using a clear epoxy resin, such as Envirotex, fill the lake with artificial water. Woodland Scenics also makes an artificial water  product called E-Z Water that only requires heat to liquefy it. In either case, pour the material in layers of not more 1/8 inch to avoid shrinkage and cracking. You can build up as many layers as you wish.

Lighting Tips for Village Collectors
    Some collector buildings have light fixtures mounted in the back walls, while others are mounted from the bottom. Holes can be drilled in the layout with ordinary hand or power drills.  It can also be cut with utility knives. Make the holes under your buildings large enough for the bulb and socket assembly to pass through.
    It is recommended that before setting up the trees or the train, you first make a plan for the building arrangement. Actually place your buildings on the layout. Seeing them in place is often much different than just laying them out on paper. Move them around to find the plan you like best. When you are satisfied with the arrangement, make a sketch indicating each building's position. (Tip: Use the Master Track Plan included with these instructions to sketch in your buildings' locations.) Now you can drill or cut the holes for the lamp cords, locating them according to each building's design, either under or behind their assigned location. Install the lamp assemblies before setting up the layout, pushing each lamp up through its hole, then taping the cords underneath the layout and routing them to whichever corner will be the least obvious when viewing the final display. Finally, once the layout is set up, as you place buildings on the layout, the lamps can be inserted into the interiors.

Track Plan
    Pine Lake is the site for your Christmas tree stand. It will accommodate a 4-leg or 3-leg stand up to 24" in diameter. Place your tree stand as indicated on the plan, then wrap the stand with cotton batting or a piece of white cotton.

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