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This is an updated variation on my standard Christmas build. I've done this in O-27 and in MTH O-31. This year I'll be disassembling the MTH layout and rebuilding a little larger. It will be almost 6 feet by 5 feet. We got a taller / wider tree a couple of years ago and the wife asked for it to be a "little bit taller", so I put together a 2x4 base. That made it to large for the opening I had in the center of the legacy layout. Last year I just did a layout on the floor while considering options.

So time for a rebuild. I'm also going to make this in two halves for easier storage down the basement steps. More space also allows for a passing siding in the back. I like running two trains, but I always faced the "Gomez Adams two trains head-to-head" in switching one from the inside to the outside. Or, if I wanted it to run one train in the 3 times around mode I had to remove a train. So new opportunities all around. I also got some new LED lights for the buildings. In prior years they were the standard incandescent candle bulb that got hot. Plus to add some extra play for my boys who are all teenagers now, I got an MTH coal crane to lift M&M's into awaiting cars.

For the base I'm going to get some 1-inch 4x8 foam sheets and glue either a plywood or a masonite board on top. I like being able to screw down the track so this lasts over the years. The foam on the bottom is new as we have hardwood floors now and I want to provide both some sound deadening and scratch free surface on the floor. I've attached the SCARM for those who are interested.

Feel free to add your pictures of your 2020 Christmas layout here, I don't mind at all!

MTH 3X xmas tree 2020 b 3DMTH 3X xmas tree 2020 b 2D


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  • MTH 3X xmas tree 2020 b 3D
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I have started, with the race to finish by the weekend after Thanksgiving I didn't post as I went, but I have pictures and comments now.

First, here are the two prior versions, side-by side. For those who don't recognize it, the one on the left is MTH RealTrax (using O-31 curves) and the one on the right is Lionel O-27.



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I first tried to glue 2-inch white Styrofoam to a heavy particle board, but that failed miserably (not sticky enough) . So I went and bought some 1 by 2 furring strips to add a frame to the back.


Below are my sheets cut to the 80 by 70 rectangle and then I cut I diagonal to make my two halves. You can see one furring strip on the "left side" before I attached them to the back.


Then I laid out the track according to my plans, and put the tree stand so I could trace and cut it as well, then I could add the furring strips around the hole.



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Finally, both half's attached and the track moved back to the base.



Here is a close up of the seam between the two halves. You can see the staples. After the season is over (or if I get bored) I'll add some fingernail polish of the same shade to the staples to hide them better. I will also add the switch wiring under the board (you can see it on-top in the upper pictures). I have not screwed down the track yet as I have a short in one of the switches. It is receiving power on the auto-derail switch leg and not allowing the auto-derail to function on the straight leg. Once I solve that, I'll screw down the track and add the village (more picture to come).



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