Posts Tagged ‘1:64 scale’

Making a 1:64 Scale Track — Part 3 — Painting the Track

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Welcome to the final installment of how to make a large scale race track on a bed sheet. Of course, by “large scale” I am not writing about a “real life” size race track, but a track that can be used to play auto racing board games on something larger than a small board game sized board. Previous blog posts in this series were:

Part 1 — Laying out the track

Part 2 — Marking the track on the sheet

At the end of part 2, we used masking tape to mask off the inside and outside edges of the track. We then mentioned masking off the parts of the sheet that you don’t want to paint, and then start spraying the track. After I finished masking the sheet with newspapers, I then sprayed the first coat of flat black paint on the sheet. It looked like this:

First coat of paint has been sprayed.

First coat of paint has been sprayed.

As you can see, although I tried to spray the paint fairly heavily, it soaked into the sheet and almost looks like it wasn’t sprayed very well. While I found that I usually only had to spray two coats of paint to fully cover a track in the past (allowing about 30 minutes between spraying each coat), this time I went cheap. Instead of buying a “name brand” of flat black spray paint, I opted for the “house brand” paint from a local hardware store. Big mistake. With the house brand paint, I had to apply about five coats of paint to get good coverage, and one can of spray paint wasn’t enough to do the entire job! I had to start using a second can of spray paint. When I previously used the higher quality paint on other tracks, it would usually only take 3/4 to an entire can of paint to cover the track satisfactorily.

The track after several coats of paint.

The track after several coats of paint.

Let the coats of paint dry enough to where you are satisfied with the results, then remove all of the masking. I suggest letting the paint dry at least a full day before applying any other markings to the track.

Masking has been removed.

Masking has been removed.

There was a little bit of spray paint that “bled” onto the sheet, but it’s not too bad. C’est la vie, as they would say in France.

Next, retrieve the track templates you saved, and place them on the track where they belong (i.e., put the turn 1 template where turn 1 should go, etc).

Track templates are back on the track.

Track templates are back on the track.

When you are satisfied with the track template placement, use your templates to mark where the horizontal lane lines will go to divide the track spaces. You should use a pencil to make “tick marks” on the sheet, just inside and outside the track. Then make tick marks with your yellow paint marker on the edges of the track. Note: You should only mark the spaces on straight sections at this time. Leave the corners and “curvy” straights for a little later.

Tick-marking for the horizontal lines.

Tick marking the horizontal lines.

Then remove the template and use a ruler/straight-edge to make straight horizontal lines across the track with your yellow paint marker.

Marking the horizontal lines.

Marking the horizontal lines.

There are usually a few special cases for marking the horizontal lines. On the Belle Isle track, the southeast “straightaway” actually has a gentle curve to its right when it starts outside of turn 6, and then it kinks a bit to its left just before turn 7. See the track diagram:

The Belle Isle track layout from Wikipedia.

The Belle Isle track layout from Wikipedia.

It was difficult to layout the horizontal spaces using a ruler or tape measure, so finally I just placed three rows of 1:64 scale cars on the track (with 12 cars in each row).

Using scale cars to determine track spaces on a curvy section of the track.

Using scale cars to determine track spaces on a curvy section of the track.

There needed to be 12 spaces in this curvy section, so lining up the cars on the track template helped with initial alignment, but then I moved the cars a little until the spacing looked right. I then made tick marks with the yellow paint marker on both sides of the track, then removed the cars and the track template, then used a straight-edge to paint the horizontal lines in this section of the track.

Horizontal lines are painted on the curvy section of the track.

Horizontal lines are painted on the curvy section of the track.

Note that a yellow line is missing in the left side of the above picture. I still wasn’t satisfied with where I had painted the yellow line, so then later I went over it with the black paint marker, effectively erasing that yellow line. Later, when the black paint dried, I re-painted the yellow line in a slightly different location.

Horizontal lines are painted on the track.

Horizontal lines are painted on the track.

Give the just painted yellow horizontal lines a little time to dry (so you don’t smear them by rubbing your hand across them in the next step), perhaps 15 to 30 minutes, then paint the lane divider lines. For straight sections, I usually use the straight section templates, and make tick marks where the lanes should be.

Placing tick marks where the lane lines will go.

Placing tick marks where the lane lines will go.

Move the template down the track, making more tick marks every two or three spaces along the track. When you have marked that entire straight section of track, then use a straight-edge and mark the yellow lane lines. When you have finished a straight section, it should look something like this:

Lane lines have been added to a straight section.

Lane lines have been added to a straight section.

After marking the lane lines on all of the straight sections of the track, we have to add lane lines to corners and other curvy parts of the track. I use the ruler to make tick marks along the curves, then draw the actual lane lines “freehand.” It’s not that difficult to draw an arc. Just place the side of your hand on the table, and slowly “connect the dots.” To make the tick marks on this “3-wide” section of track, I marked ticks at 1.75″ and at 3.5″ from one side of the track.

Drawing lane lines on curvy parts of the track.

Drawing lane lines on curvy parts of the track.

In the above picture you can see me drawing a slightly curved lane line. If you are not sure about this step, you could always practice on some scrap material before you draw on your track. But don’t worry about mistakes, because you can always use your black paint marker to “erase” mistakes you drew with the yellow marker!

Now, some of the corners have one space in their inside lane, and two spaces in the outside lane. This means we need to draw a horizontal line to divide the spaces, but only in that outside lane. Which is why we had to mark all of the lane divider lines before we could divide the outside corner lanes into spaces. For this step, I once again like to use the actual cars I will use for races. Place the cars on the corner, and you can the best place to make that horizontal line. Make tick marks at either side of that outside lane, then remove the cars, and use a straight-edge to draw the line.

When all of the spaces have been marked on the track, it should look something like this:

All track spaces have been marked.

All track spaces have been marked.

Start/Finish Line

Although I could have performed this next step earlier, I will now make a special start/finish line, to make it easily recognizable.

Most track spaces are marked with yellow lines, but to differentiate the start/finish line, I will use a white paint marker to create a sort of “checkered” line. Use a straight-edge, and draw “dots” across the width of the track where the start/finish line will go.

The start/finish line and starting spaces.

The start/finish line and starting spaces.

I also painted an arrow off the extended start/finish line as an aid as to which way the direction of travel goes on that track. Of course, there are also the other cornering arrows, and I also draw the corner speeds so they are readable in the direction you approach them from. Note I also marked six “starting” spaces, like a real F1 race track would have (the real tracks will have more than 6 spaces marked as above, but three rows are sufficient for our game needs).

———-

Once all of the spaces have been marked with the yellow paint marker, use that same yellow marker to apply the speeds in the corner spaces. Make sure you refer to your track diagram to get the speeds and arrows in the proper spaces.

Corner speeds and arrows have been added to the track.

Corner speeds and arrows have been added to the track.

I will make two passes for this step. First, I will go around the track and mark all of the cornering speeds, then I will make a second pass and add the arrows. I will let the paint dry in between each step, so I don’t smear any previously applied paint will adding more speeds or arrows. I also go backwards around the track, so I don’t smear any speeds that I just marked in a corner when I add speeds to other spaces in that same corner. And after the corner speeds and arrows have thoroughly dried, you probably should go over them again, to make them brighter and easier to read from the other end of the track.

When we originally made the tracks in the 1980s, we used red paint markers to mark off the track spaces, etc, but we found that the red lines are too hard to see from some angles. We now use either yellow or white for all of the lines and speeds and arrows. The higher contrast between the black track and the yellow or white lines makes it much easier to see the spaces, no matter where one sits around the track.

We next add the red-and-white stripes to denote the side of the track that is inside to the next corner. Although we never worried about this when we played Speed Circuit (we just designated the infield side of the track as the inside lane), with Championship Formula Racing (CFR) it is more important to know which side of the track is the inside lane to the next corner, so we need to add the red and white stripes. You could make a simpler marking, but the red and white stripe is easy to see at a glance. You will have to go over this striped line at least twice, as the first time you paint the unpainted sheet, the paint will soak in when it dries so that it will almost look like you didn’t paint it in those areas. The 2nd coat should look much better. Go around the entire track in this order: Mark the white dashes, then go around again and mark the red dashes in between the white dashes. Then make a second pass with white, and finally a second pass with red. After you add those stripes, it will look like this:

Red and white stripes have been added to the sides of the track.

Red and white stripes have been added to the sides of the track.

Either use a black permanent marker or a black paint marker to add the name of the track, its location, miles per lap, and years it was raced on. Add this somewhere in the infield of the track, if you can, although it could be anywhere.

Name of the track has been added.

Name of the track has been added.

Notice that I also added the actual name of the road, “The Strand” that the track is on at that part of the Belle Isle track. In other pictures you can also see a “5” or a “10” in a box outside the track. Those numbers are a play-aid so drivers can more easily count the number of straight spaces remaining until the next corner space.

Here’s a little trick to line up the letters nice and even. Mark some pencil lines along where the top and bottom of the letters will go.

Pencil lines were used to line up the lettering.

Pencil lines were used to line up the lettering.

Although the pencil lines may be hard to see in this picture, they are there. I used my tape measure to make tick marks at several places, measuring from one side of the table’s edge. I made the tick marks for the top row (the “Detroit Grand Prix” row) 2″ apart, then the other rows are each 1.5″ high. There is a 1″ space between each row. You can use whatever spacing looks good to you. If you haven’t done this kind of lettering before, mark all of the letters in pencil before using a permanent marker. If you absolutely can’t print neatly, and don’t have time to take drafting classes so you can print neatly, you could always use some lettering stencils or get a friend who can print well to mark the name on your track.

I also add the track name to a corner of the sheet, to make it easier to tell which track it is when it is all folded up for storage. Recently, I’ve also been adding its years of use if you might have different versions of a track.

Track name on the corner of the sheet.

Track name on the corner of the sheet.

I wrote the track name on both sides of one corner of the track, so it doesn’t matter which side is folded to the inside when the track is folded. It is probably better to fold the track with the painted side to the inside, just to better protect it. We used to just apply a piece of masking tape to the folded track with the track’s name, but tape will fall off after a number of years, so using a permanent marker is a much better way to go. And since some tracks have had revisions over the years, (see the many changes of the real life Silverstone, England, track as an example), the years for a particular track configuration have been added. I’ve also been adding what minimum table size is needed to use that track, so you’ll know what size or how many tables you’ll need to set it up. In the case of this Belle Isle track, the minimum table size is 3’9″ wide by 7’1″ long. In practical purposes, this will probably be used on a 4′ x 8′ table top.

The finished track.

The finished track.

At last, the track is finished. It’s time to race!

Making a 1:64 Scale Track — Part 2 — Marking the Track on the Sheet

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

In this blog post, we’ll tape our sheet to the table, then lay out the track sections again. Read Part 1 of Making a 1:64 Scale Track to see how we arrived here. Note that you can make a similar track for other scales of cars. If you use something like 1:43 scale, you would have to adjust the size of the spaces (and a full track probably wouldn’t fit on a sheet). You could of course make large tracks on foam-core board, or other material. Part of the reason we went with 1:64 scale cars originally is that in the 1980s, when we starting making the large tracks, Hot Wheels cars were the easiest cars to find. We also found that most of Avalon Hill’s Accessory Pack tracks would fit on a sheet at 1:64 scale.

So, I finished washing and drying my twin bed flat sheet, then stretched it out on my ping-pong table, and then taped it so it would stay fairly tight so it would avoid wrinkling while I marked it up. I laid out the former track sections on the sheet, but the outline just didn’t look quite right to me.  In particular, some of the corners on the real track were sharp, 90-degree turns, while the templates I used for 90-degree turns were more gradual and rounded. So, I then printed out the actual track file using the Acorn program (from Flying Meat Software), then taped some sections together, then laid them on the table on top of the former outline. That original track plan is with the red stripe down its middle.

The new track outline is on top of the old track outline.

The new track outline is on top of the old track outline.

It was very apparent that the new outline seemed much smaller than the former outline.

The new track outline is smaller than the old track outline.

The new track outline is smaller than the old track outline.

The former outline that I used was based on templates, where all of the straight pieces had spaces that were 3″ long by 1.75″ wide, and the template corner spaces had been printed so my 1:64 cars would fit on them without encroaching on the spaces of other cars. When I printed the actual track outline (with the red stripe), I printed it at 775% of my original file’s size. That made most of the straight spaces 3″ long, but it also meant that the corner spaces were too small. If you had more than one car in a corner area, the cars would interfere with each other. Since you can only paint the track once, it is better to resolve any issues in this, the planning stage! Naturally, I had to cut out these new track sections and tape some of them together with clear cellophane tape. Note that I cut close to the track outline as eventually I will trace around the track outline with a pencil. If I just placed the printed pages on the sheet, I would have to cut them later before I could trace the edges, and that would then put pieces out of alignment.

Now, of course, the table top was too cluttered, so I picked up all of the template sections and left just the new track outline pieces on the table.

Track outline sections.

Track outline sections.

I then measured from the different edges of the track, and tried to center the sections as much as possible. This is not only for aesthetics, but for practicality, as when playing Championship Formula Racing, each driver needs to lay out their cards without laying them on the track. While you should try to leave an open “border” around all edges of the track, that won’t be possible with some tracks.

Measuring from the edges to center the track on the sheet.

Measuring from the edges to center the track on the sheet.

I then centered the pieces, and placed them together to see how it looked.

The centered track.

The centered track.

Now comes the task of checking how the 1:64 scale cars fit. Get out your scale cars and see how they fit on actual parts of the track outline.

Cars fit on the straight sections.

Cars fit on the straight sections.

It looks like the straight sections are long enough for my Greenlight IndyCars to fit. I also tested the sections with my old Hot Wheels open-wheel race cars that are the same length as the newer Greenlight cars. Note that the printed track is narrower than I will paint the finished track. The proportion of the rectangles for a poster-board size track is different than I want for my large track. When I design a poster-board size track, I make the straight spaces 1″ long by 0.5″ wide. That usually works well with small race cars. However, for the large track, I make spaces that are 3″ long by 1.75″ wide. That means that when I trace around the edge of the finished track layout, I will have to do a little more marking.

Now, to check the fit in a corner. Oh-oh! The corner spaces are too small!

Cars don't fit in the corners.

Cars don’t fit in the corners.

While the #3 car in the picture above fits on the inside space, the two cars on the outside of the corner (which is two spaces long) don’t fit into their spaces. This means I will have to allow for more space. In years past, I would just move the straight track sections a little and “fudge” or estimate the new corner area. I would put a clean piece of paper under the corner area, and pencil in where the lines should go. But this time, I decided to go back and reprint the corner sections. I printed the corners at 900% (instead of 775%) of original this time, and they printed just about right.

But before I reprinted the corners, I substituted the template pieces.

Cars on template sections.

Cars on template sections.

Using the template sections, I can see that the cars will fit. Of course, by allowing for a longer corner section in this area of the track (this is turns 1 and 2, just past the start-finish line), it will affect the alignment of other parts of the track.

Another part of the track where the cars don't fit.

Another part of the track where the cars don’t fit.

I also found a part of the track that was in a “U” shape also didn’t fit the cars well, not for the curvy-“straight” sections nor in the actual numbered corner spaces. So I had to re-print that entire section. And even after I printed that section at 900%, some of the spaces were still too short. So, I spliced in a couple of pieces of paper to “expand” that section slightly, and also used a permanent marker to mark new lines between the spaces.

Splices added and spaces re-marked in the "U" section.

Splices added and spaces re-marked in the “U” section.

After checking all of the sections so that the cars would fit the spaces (particularly in the corners), and rechecking the track alignment (also  re-centering the track sections on the sheet), it is time to tape down the track sections so they don’t move when you mark off the outline of the track. I just use small pieces of masking tape to tack down the track sections. I’ll usually just use four small pieces of tape per track section to ensure that section doesn’t move when I mark its outline on the sheet.

Taping the sections of the track.

Taping the sections of the track.

Note that the above track sections were printed at two different scales, which is why they don’t line up along their outside edge. Since I am using the inside border of the track as a reference, that is not critical.

Now is the time to mark the outline of the track. Use a pencil for the “first pass” as if you make any mistakes, you can easily correct them! At first, I only marked off the inside edge of the track sections, as that was my “reference” point. Some of the printed track sections that I used for laying out the track were not wide enough, so I had to make sure that I marked the track as wide as it needs to be for each section. Remember that I am making each space 1.75″ wide, so if the track is “2-wide” (meaning the track is two spaces wide) in an area, then the total track width is 3.5″. (Sorry, I didn’t warn you there would be math involved in painting a large-scale track!) If a track section is “3-wide” (three lanes side by side), then the total track width is 5.25″ in that area. I use the straight edge to check the width of a section before marking the outside lines of the track.

Using a ruler to check the track width.

Using a ruler to check the track width.

In the above picture, I am making pencil “tick” marks where the 5.25″ outer edge of the track will be for this 3-wide section. I had to do this because of the varying scale of my template pieces. Even if you have perfectly sized templates, you should check the width of your track before masking and painting it. After making tick marks in an area, I used a pencil to “connect the dots (ticks).” When I was satisfied with the pencil inside and outside borders, then I went over the pencil marks with a permanent marker.

Outlining the track with a permanent marker.

Outlining the track with a permanent marker.

When the outlining was completed, I removed the paper templates. I removed the small pieces of tape from the templates, then stacked them carefully out of the way, in order, as I will need them again to aid in actually painting the lines for the spaces on the track (see Part 3 of this series).

The completed permanent marker outline of the track.

The completed permanent marker outline of the track.

Note that there is a pit lane to the left. Although Championship Formula Racing doesn’t use a formal “pit lane,” we are thinking of using our older Speed Circuit era pit stop rules, and we would need to drive down pit lane. I felt it would be easier to add the pit lane at this time, rather than to try to add it at a later time, when I would have to re-mask the track and paint part of it again. Towards the right side of the picture I also made an adjustment so a 3-wide straightaway section could blend into a 2-wide corner.

The track outline has been masked with tape.

The track outline has been masked with tape.

Next, we will need to cover all parts of the sheet with newspapers (or whatever you have on hand) and then tape it down to the inside and outside track outline, and then we’ll start painting. That process will be continued in Part 3 – Painting the track.