Build Journal: Earl Grey Speedway

Rainsford Wednesday, 3/30/2022

New home state, new world...

The shelf that hosted Flintrock didn't exactly survive the 2,000 mile road trip and 2,500 mile sea voyage...

So, with the Flintrock modules still in storage on the mainland with most of the steampunk cars, it's time to gather up the pieces of Crash Racers track that managed to sneak into the container for shipment and form a new plan for the present minimum-space living conditions and need for better portability in the future.

First, a little worldbuilding - Hawaii has a rather, er, complex history, sooooo... let's come up with an island locale to set my model railroading and racing in that's free of human habitiation when discovered and settled.

Reading an old history of Hawaii, an appendix mentioned that old Spanish maps made by galleon captains on their way to Mexico from the East Indies included a bunch of islands labeled in the general vicinity of Hawaii, including...La Mesa! I took Oahu and put it through some morphing and stretching to get my "alt-Oahu," discovered and settled by the Spanish in the late 1500s.

Carried forward a bit, we have development by the 1900s of the island's rare "magnite" resources by my venerable Mustang Mining & Railroad Co.

The Spanish built a road encircling the island, which they called Camino del Rey. After the building of the railroad, some portions of the old road fell into disuse. However, on the windward (northeast) side, most of the land was still held by the English noble Grey family who had originally been given the entire windward holding by the Spanish king. The "Earl Grey," as he was known to the locals, was a bit of an eccentric and imported newfangled motor cars for the Century Fair held in Puerto Seguro in 1900. He imported racing motor cars. And the abandoned portion of the old Camino del Rey through his holding became an internationally known race track by 1919. The Rainsford Bros. heard of this in 1921, sold the family garage in Flintrock and packed up the team to go enjoy life in the warm tropical sun and pleasant trade winds of La Mesa. (See the last report from the Flintrock Journal-World here.)

Some concept sketching...

I'm experimenting with using cheap and plentiful materials for making trees. I'm going for a more generic 1990s racing video game look, so some polygonal-shaped styrofoam trees coated with Elmer's glue and acrylic paint for durability are actually OK:

Also starting on assembling some new paper buildings from Papermau's wonderful blog to build out the "Californicated" island look of the scenery that I'm surrounded by now:

More to come - next up is some experimentation with laminating cardboard with wood glue to make a thin but strong and flat base for the track modules that will host the scenery. From a little research I've done it will likely come out a bit like being "cardboard plywood." I have nearly a full complement of the Crash Racers wide track that made it here, and instructions from "Lady Rainsford" to build a 270 degree corkscrew loop, so I'm going for a series of scenery modules built around the curves that will be linked by the straight sections mostly devoid of scenery - other than those trees that seemed to line every early '90s racing video game course. Since it starts up in the mountains, the finish line will of course be at the beach.

Oh, well, and not to forget there will be plenty of signage from the course's "sponsor," courtesy my daily tea wrappers and tags...


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H3zzard 3/30/22

Brilliant! Love the lore you've created. And genius idea with the low-poly trees too. 

  • I’m debating with myself whether to print some 8-bit-style grass textures to glue down for the ground on each side of the road, but that might be taking it too far. — Rainsford
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Bongo 3/30/22

Just incredible! Will be watching for updates on this one! Thanks for sharing your process/ knowledge/ experiments along the way. 

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GT_Diecast 3/30/22

WOW! Can't wait to see more!

I like the story line development. I am still working on construction development and fine finishing. I haven't worked on the story line so much yet!

I really like this!  Great job and thanks for sharing!

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Rainsford 4/2/22

Quick update on laminating cardboard to produce "ply-card"'s very strong with only two layers of cardboard glued together with a thick coat of wood glue and with the corrugation oriented 90-degrees from each other. I can't bend it without trying to break it over the edge of a table. Perfect low-cost track base material!

Love this!

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Rainsford 4/9/22

Island Courier
April 9

Some progress is being made at the Earl Grey's racetrack on construction. A new curve is taking shape at the hands of the workers of the largest construction company on the island, the La Mesa Dredging & Sludging Company.

Sir Vey's Landscaping & Terraforming will be moving in soon to provide greenery and final touches.

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Rainsford 4/11/22

Island Courier
April 10

Sir Vey's Landscaping & Terraforming moved in to the new corner at the racetrack and completed the job today, laying down an Earth Grid and painting in the Instagrass.

Cardboard Earth Grid installed.

Paper mache terraforming is hot work in the island sun.

All in a day's work and ready to race! More track components are reported to be coming soon, as soon as the Earl himself determines how to tackle the next parts of the track layout.

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