I stumbled onto 3dBotMaker's YouTube channel a week or so ago, and my wife and I are hooked. I've been model railroading my whole life, but with the addition of a "quarantine kitten" to the family last year, I had been looking for something a little more durable while my trains cower with fear in storage. Hot Wheels track sections were available at the local Dollar Tree, so $5 later I was clearing the top of a bookshelf and going at my cardboard supplies with a box knife.
My concept is to go for a 20th century open highway theme, utilizing nearby Flint Hills scenery as inspiration. My wife and I are big into steampunk, and so I'm planning on collecting a stable of all the "old time" style castings I can find. (I already have one of the "Old No. 3," somewhere, I just need to pull the correct HO scale flat car from storage and pop it off...) Black and white newsreels of the latest races with silent film cards for commentary will likely appear on YouTube at some point...but first the track needs built!
I have to admit, I have an ulterior model railroading purpose in building this track - I've always wanted to test out lightweight open-frame cardboard and hot glue module construction I have seen used for some portable model railroads - so here's the start of a track section, with the hill profile cut x2 and bridging cut to the width of the track's underside channel glued between.
By spacing the walls of the track profile to line up with each notch on the outside of the connector channel on the underside of the track, the track fits snugly into the profile with a good surface area for gluing.
Next up, after assembling two tracks with profile supports and sandwiching them together to get a two-lane road, is adding the 3" bridging front and back to get a full width of 9" and meet the front and rear profiles.
Here's the completed framework of the first 4'-0" module. I'll be keeping a 2" high base on all the modules, so the "zero elevation" at the creek bed is 2" above the bookshelf/table.
And here's the completed first day of work! Gluing the 3" wide strips of cardboard (cereal box chipboard at extremely curvy locations) over the framework to form the ground plane makes it rigid, I swung it around a bit without hearing too much popping and cracking from the hot glue joints. Since it is basically a hollow speaker box underneath, it is a little noisy when cars run on it, but I might try stuffing it with wadded paper or plastic bags to take care of that.
I'm pleased with how it is turning out so far, and tomorrow plan to finish the profile of the hill for the homestead with the road curve below at the end of the 2'-0" module, paint the track, and apply scenery. With luck, we'll have some inaugural Valentine's Day races!
Let me know what you all think!