Posts Tagged ‘Belle Isle’

CFR-Detroit 2018 Race #5 – Detroit Grand Prix

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

Thirteen drivers gathered at RIW Hobbies & Games in Livonia, Michigan, on Saturday, September 15, to race in the Detroit Grand Prix, using the rules from the Championship Formula Racing board game. The 2018 race was on the Belle Isle track. When the exhaust fumes had settled, it was found that Mike Cook had won his second consecutive race, winning both races from the pole position. Bill Worrel, who started 2nd, finished in 2nd place. And Mike St. Peter made an appearance on the podium, finishing in 3rd place after starting 8th.

Belle Isle CFR track

The Belle Isle track we used to race on (designed by Garry Kaluzny)

The Belle Isle track we used was of our own local design. For information about how to make a large scale track of Belle Isle, see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. (Of course, those same techniques can be used to make any track of your choosing.)

After the drivers set up their car’s specs, the drivers secretly bid for starting positions. Each wear chit counted as 1.0, and each skill chit counted as 0.5. Higher bids started in front of lower bids. Ties were resolved by rolling percentage dice, high rolls favored over low rolls.

Mike Cook (5 wear + 6 skill) and Bill Worrel (2 wear + 12 skill) both wanted pole position real bad, as they both bid 8.0. (Note: the all-time high bid for pole position in the two seasons of the CFR-Detroit racing season was 8.5, bid by Chad Marlett at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.) Cook won the subsequent percentage dice roll by ’97’ to ’09’ and so Cook was on the pole and Worrel started 2nd. Garry Kaluzny (2 wear + 8 skill), Jim Robinson (3 wear + 6 skill), and Richard White (4 wear + 4 skill) each bid 6.0, with Kaluzny starting 3rd with a roll of ’79,’ J. Robinson starting 4th with a roll of ’33,’ and White starting 5th after rolling ’23.’ Kaluzny thought for sure he would get the pole position with what he thought was an overly high bid of 6.0, but was amazed with the number of other high bids. Mark Moellering (3 wear + 3 skill), in only his 2nd race of the CFR-Detroit racing series, qualified in 6th position with a bid of 4.5. Gary Sturgeon (1 wear + 6 skill) and Mike St. Peter (3 wear + 2 skill) each bid 4.0, with Sturgeon starting 7th after a dice roll of ’26’ and St. Peter starting 8th with a dice roll of ’21.’ Jim Landis (1 wear + 4 skill) bid 3.0 to start 9th. Jack Beckman (1 wear + 3 skill), Greg Lim (1 wear + 3 skill), and Brian Robinson (0 wear + 5 skill) each bid 2.5. They started 10th, 11th, and 12th, after dice rolls of ’76,’ ’47,’ and ’30,’ respectively. Aric Parr (0 wear + 0 skill) bid nothing, so he started in 13th position.

The starting grid for the Detroit Grand Prix with their car specs:

 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)          120   40    40   140  5x   2x   soft
 4 Bill Worrel (Tyrrell)            100   40    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 8 Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)          100   40    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 1 Richard White (Brabham)           60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
10 Mark Moellering (McLaren)        100   40    40   160  4x   3x   soft
22 Gary Sturgeon (McLaren)           60   60    40   160  5x   2x   hard 
44 Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)         60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)             60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
12 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            60   60    60   160  4x   2x   soft
13 Greg Lim (GoDaddy)                60   60    40   160  4x   3x   hard
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)    20   60    60   140  5x   3x   soft
14 Aric Parr (Motul BRM)             20   60    60   160  4x   3x   hard

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers (per lap); Skill = # of Skill markers (per lap); Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race.

Starting grid at Belle Isle

Starting grid at Belle Isle: Cook (yellow car); Worrel (blue); Kaluzny (orange/white); J. Robinson (white/blue/yellow); White (blue/white); Moellering (orange); Sturgeon (gold/red/black); St. Peter (silver/teal); Landis (green/red/blue); Beckman (red/white); Lim (green); B. Robinson (white/blue); Parr (gray). Note that the Grid Girls have cheerfully helped the drivers to line up in the proper order.

The drivers all made clean getaways from the start as the green flag waved. Mike Cook, with his 120 mph start speed, used a wear to increase his start speed to 140 mph, making him the only car to make it through the first two corners on the track during the first move of the race. He had to pay 2 wear to traverse the first corner over its 100 mph limit (on the racing line), and another wear to go through the second corner at 20 mph over its limit. So with Cook having spent 5 wear to get the pole, another wear to increase his start speed, and 3 more wear for the first two corners, he only had 6 wear remaining to drive the rest of the first lap.

Bill Worrel did not increase his start speed, and merely moved at 100 mph, taking the arrow for the 2nd corner. Jim Robinson, who started on the outside of the 2nd row, boosted his start speed to 120 mph (using a wear) and pulled alongside Worrel, thereby taking the inside lane and also taking over 2nd place on the track. Garry Kaluzny, the 3rd place starter, used a wear to increase his start speed to 80 mph, leaving him in the middle of the first corner. Mark Moellering, starting from the outside of row 3, used a wear to increase his start speed to 120 mph and moved up next to Kaluzny in turn 1. Richard White increased his start speed to 80 mph, as did Mike St. Peter. Gary Sturgeon, on hard tires, merely started at his car’s 60 mph start speed, and that allowed Jack Beckman’s Ferrari to increase to 80 mph and pull alongside Sturgeon. Jim Landis and Greg Lim both started at their normal 60 mph start speeds, as both were on hard tires and neither wanted to risk throwing dice to increase their start speed. Brian Robinson increased his speed from 20 to 40 mph, as he was on soft tires. And finally, Aric Parr also boosted his starting speed to 40 mph.

Cook races away from the line

Cook races away from the line at the start of the Detroit Grand Prix.

As the pack raced down Central Way, then turned right onto Insulruhe Street, made another right onto Loiter Way, then the left onto Picnic Way, Cook was barely in front of Worrel, and Moellering was right behind them. As they made the sweeping right turn onto The Strand, Worrel pulled alongside Cook, to challenge for the lead.

Worrel challenges Cook for the lead

Worrel challenges Cook for the lead. The rest of the pack is running in the order Moellering, White, J. Robinson, St. Peter, Kaluzny, Beckman, Lim, Sturgeon, B. Robinson, Landis, and Parr.

But Cook won the game of chicken with Worrel into the right-hand corner at the end of The Strand, and so Cook maintained his grip on the lead.

Cook leads through the horseshoe on Belle Isle

Cook leads through the “horseshoe” on Belle Isle, followed by Worrel, Moellering, White, J. Robinson, St. Peter, Kaluzny, Lim, Beckman, Sturgeon, B. Robinson, Parr, and Landis.

As the pack came around the Scott Fountain and onto the start/finish straight, Cook, Worrel, and White quickly ducked into the pits. They were shortly joined in the pits by Moellering, St. Peter, Kaluzny, Beckman, J. Robinson, and B. Robinson. Only the four cars of Sturgeon, Parr, Lim, and Landis stayed on the track instead of pitting as those four cars were all on hard tires and so that quartet all regained some wear as they crossed the start/finish line.

The first pit stops have begun

The first pit stops have begun — Cook, Worrel, and White are in the pits.

The official order at the end of the first lap was: Cook (0); Worrel (0); Moellering (+3); St. Peter (+4); Kaluzny (-2); Beckman (+4); J. Robinson (-3); Sturgeon (-1); Parr (+4); Lim (+1); Landis (-2); White (-7); and B. Robinson (-1). The numbers in parentheses indicate how many places a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position. However, due to some cars pitting and some cars staying on the track, Gary Sturgeon became the new leader on the track as he passed the cars that were in the pits.

Gary Sturgeon passes the pits and takes the lead

Gary Sturgeon passes the pits and takes the lead after the 1st lap at the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle.

After all of the cars that pitted rejoined the track, the running order was Sturgeon (leading by 5 spaces) from Parr, Lim, Landis, Cook, White, Worrel, Moellering, St. Peter, Kaluzny, Beckman, J. Robinson, and B. Robinson. But, as was the case during the 1st lap when Cook had a big lead down Central Way, after Sturgeon turned right onto Insulruhe Street he found that the pack was right up with him. As Sturgeon turned onto The Strand, he had Parr right behind him, and Cook was now in 3rd place, having passed Lim and Landis.

As the pack roared down The Strand, Parr pulled alongside Sturgeon, and then took the lead as they turned into the “horseshoe.”

Aric Parr takes the lead at Casino Way

Aric Parr takes the lead from Sturgeon at Casino Way.

Parr continued to lead over Sturgeon under Parr made his pit stop near the end of the 2nd lap. Richard White, who had been running in 7th, spun at the sharp right hand turn from Fountain Drive onto Casino Way as he was leaving the “horseshoe.” The spin dropped White back to 12th place out of 13 cars.

Aric Parr continues to lead while Richard White spins

Aric Parr continues to lead while Richard White spins back by the yellow flagman.

At the end of the 2nd lap, some cars pitted for a 2nd time, other cars stopped for their 1st, mandatory, pit stop. Aric Parr had been leading when he pulled in for his mandatory pit stop. He was then followed into the pits by Sturgeon (1st stop), Landis (1st stop), Kaluzny (2nd stop), J. Robinson (2nd stop), Lim (1st stop), and White (2nd stop). All of the pitted cars returned to the track on soft tires for the last lap. Cars that did not pit were Cook, Worrel, St. Peter, Beckman, Moellering, and B. Robinson. The non-pitting cars were all on hard tires and so picked up 2 or 3 wears apiece.

Mike Cook retakes the lead as cars make pit stops

Mike Cook (yellow car) retakes the lead as other cars make pit stops. Jim Robinson (gray shirt, center) appears dismayed, and Jim Landis (blue shirt, right) appears lost in thought as his car is serviced in the pits.

The official order at the end of the 2nd lap was: Cook (0); Sturgeon (+5); Landis (+6); Kaluzny (-1); Worrel (-3); St. Peter (+2); Beckman (+3); Moellering (-2); J. Robinson (-5); Parr (+3); B. Robinson (+1); White (-7); and Lim (-2). However, after the pit stops were completed, the actual running order on the track was: Cook; Worrel; Beckman; St. Peter; Moellering; Parr; Sturgeon; B. Robinson; Landis; Kaluzny; J. Robinson; Lim; and White.

As the 3rd lap progressed, Cook continued to lead from Worrel by 4 spaces, while Worrel was still in front of Beckman and others. Going into the right-hand corner at the end of The Strand, St. Peter took 3rd place from Beckman. Then the jockeying for positions back in the pack grew intense. Kaluzny was able to force a pass over three other cars, those of Landis, Parr, & Sturgeon, at the first left-hand bend in the horseshoe. Kaluzny did make contact and had to lose a wear, leaving him only 1 wear for the balance of the race. But then Kaluzny lost that position he had just gained when he spun at the sharp right-hander exiting the horseshoe.

Kaluzny spins exiting the horseshoe

Kaluzny spins exiting the horseshoe. He had just moved up from 9th to 5th. The spin dropped him back to 7th.

Then Aric Parr forced a pass past Kaluzny and Moellering as Kaluzny was recovering from his spin. Then Sturgeon tried a forced-pass on Moellering, but was blocked. Sturgeon had to scrub off 40 mph of speed. He spent a wear and rolled an unmodified deceleration dice roll, which he failed. He then had to spend another wear to avoid spinning out, and his deceleration was now only 20 mph, which didn’t matter, because he wouldn’t need to decelerate any more until the end of the race. In Moellering’s blocking of Sturgeon, there was contact between the cars and Moellering also had to lose a wear.

Next, Jim Landis spun at the 2nd of the twin 80 mph corners on Casino Way going around Scott Fountain. At the same time, Gary Sturgeon was spinning at the 1st of those corners. And Richard White managed to bend his Brabham in a failed attempt at cornering at the 40 mph corner exiting the horseshoe. While this carnage was taking place on the track, Mike Cook (0) was taking the checkered flag while crossing the finish line without fanfare, making it two wins in a row for Cook. Both wins came after Cook started in the pole position.

Cook takes the checkered flag to win

Cook takes the checkered flag to win; meantime, Landis has spun (at right of picture), Sturgeon has spun (directly behind the yellow flagman), and White has crashed (upside-down car in front of Lim’s green car at upper-center of picture).

Then Worrel (0), St. Peter (+5), and Beckman (+6) crossed the finish line to take 2nd, 3rd, and 4th positions. Parr (+8) then crossed the line to take 5th place. But wait! There’s more! (Sounds like a commercial for the Amazing Ginsu, does it not!?) Back in the 2nd of the 80 mph corners around Scott Fountain, where Landis had just spun, Jim Robinson crashed out of the race. Brian Robinson used some late-braking to try to avoid being collected in the crash, and Brian did narrowly succeed in avoiding the car parts that were strewn across the track.

Jim Robinson crashes in the 2nd to last corner of the race

Jim Robinson crashes in the 2nd to last corner of the race (directly in front of the yellow flagman at right). In the meantime, Worrel, St. Peter, and Beckman have crossed the finish line (at left).

Finally, Kaluzny (-3) managed to hold off Moellering for 6th place, thus getting the last available point; Moellering (-1) was 7th. Brian Robinson and Sturgeon were both able to pass Landis before the finish line, with B. Robinson (+4) finishing 8th, Sturgeon (-2) 9th, and Landis (-1) 10th. Finally, Greg Lim, although running a ways behind the other cars, managed to achieve the final spinout of the race, in the final 140 mph corner just before the finish line. Lim (0) was 11th. Jim Robinson and Richard White were both DNFs due to crashes; J. Robinson (-8) was classified 12th and White (-8) was 13th.

Points awarded at the Detroit Grand Prix: Cook 10; Worrel 6; St. Peter 4; Beckman 3; Parr 2; Kaluzny 1.

The points standings of the 2018 CFR-Detroit season after five of eight races:

Place Driver (Car)                    Points
  1   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           27
  2   Richard White (Brabham)           23
  3T  Jim Robinson (Williams)           16
  3T  Bill Worrel (Tyrrell)             16
  5   Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  14
  6   Gary Sturgeon (McLaren)           10
  7   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             7
  8   Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)          5
  9T  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)     4
  9T  Aric Parr (Motul BRM)              4
 11T  Joel Lauder (HSBC Jaguar)          2
 11T  Greg Lim (GoDaddy)                 2
 13T  Jim Landis (Benetton)              0
 13T  Mark Moellering (McLaren)          0
 13T  Gary Kempen (Williams)             0
 13T  Chuck Modzinski (Arrows)           0
 13T  Jim Lauder (Shadow)                0

The next race of the 2018 CFR-Detroit racing campaign is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, using the Yas Marina track. It will be raced on October 13 at Imperium Games in Wixom, Michigan.

Report from FlintCon 2018

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

On Saturday, February 3, FlintCon 2018 was held at St. Paul Lutheran Church on S. Ballenger Highway in Flint, Michigan. It was mostly miniatures gaming, with some role-playing activities taking place in a different room. I ran a race of Championship Formula Racing, followed by a game of Gutshot.

But for the early session, I didn’t run a game, but instead played in a “pirate” game where there were two large scale pirate ships fighting each other. That game was run by “Captain Curtis,” and it was a lot of fun.

Captain Curtis' large-scale pirate ships

Captain Curtis’ large-scale pirate ships.

Each ship had 30 pirates on deck, divided into the foredeck, midships, and the afterdeck areas, with 10 pirates in each section. Each ship also had three sets of reinforcements below decks, with 10 more pirates in each section. The pirates were 54mm plastic minis, like the size of the plastic “army men” that many of us used to play with when we were kids. The object of the game was to either sink the enemy ship by cannon fire (each ship had six cannon that could fire at the other, and each cannon had to be manned by at least two crew in order to fire), or to board and capture the enemy ship. You could also win by boarding the enemy ship and bringing back two of its treasure chests to your own ship.

Pirate ship close-up

Pirate ship close-up.

As it was, my ship was able to call up its reserves before the other ship, then we boarded the opponent’s ship, and in hand-to-hand combat, my ship’s pirates were able to overwhelm the enemy pirates and capture their ship. It was a lot of fun. Not a lot of strategy, mostly just rolling dice, but the visuals made it a lot of fun.

Some of the "dead" pirates

Some of the “dead” pirates during the battle for the enemy ship.

When a pirate was “killed” it was simply removed from the ship, else there would have been a pile of dead plastic pirate bodies three or four deep across the entire deck of the ship.

Meanwhile, my buddy Greg was playing in a minis game from the age of Napoleon.

Napoleonic miniatures

Napoleonic miniatures.

Napoleonic minis—the Redcoats advance across the bridge

Napoleonic minis—the Redcoats advance across the bridge.

There were also some other minis games going on.

Battle in the desert

Battle in the desert, I believe it was from the Crusades.

So then after the first session games were finished, I ran Championship Formula Racing (CFR) starting at 1:00 pm. We raced on the Detroit Belle Isle track. We had nine drivers, and a rookie,  “young” Jack, won the race.

Belle Isle track at FlintCon

Belle Isle track at FlintCon.

Then for the final session of the day, I ran Gutshot starting at 7:00 pm.

Whitewash City at FlintCon

Whitewash City at FlintCon. This is the pre-game setup where players could choose from the minis at the front of the table.

Nine hombres played the Gutshot adventure “Love & Bullets.” In that adventure, Missy Picket has fallen in love with Billy Barnes, except Billy is the leader of a small cattle-rustling outfit, and Missy’s father, the stern Colonel Beauregard Jackson Picket III forbids his daughter to have anything to do with Billy. Well, so Billy’s gang is in town, and they are going to help Billy get Missy out of town. The Colonel also has some hired guns in town, and they mean to prevent Missy leaving with Billy. There is a major complication, of course, in that none of the Colonel’s men can cause any harm to come to Missy!

So Billy and Missy and the rest of Billy’s gang made it from the Grand Hotel to the livery stable before the Colonel’s men showed up. But then bullets started flying. Just as Missy was about to mount her horse in the corral, it spooked from the gunfire and bucked her off. Then Missy mounted Billy’s horse, and Billy got on the horse behind Missy. Then they rode off, with none of the Colonel’s men daring to shoot at Billy for fear of shooting Missy by accident.

Everyone at FlintCon seemed to have a good time, no matter what game they played. I reckon I’ll have to run some more games there next year.

Making a 1:64 Scale track — Part 1 — Laying out the track

Friday, July 14th, 2017

I have posted recently about playing Speed Circuit (past) and Championship Formula Racing (present) on large-scale tracks that were painted on bed sheets. Some folks on the CFR forums at BoardGameGeek  (BGG) have asked me to show the process, so here goes. Disclaimer: Since I am in the United States of America, I use inches, feet, etc, and also relate car speeds as miles per hour. If you are in a metric system country, you will of course want to adjust the measurements for your system.

Select a Track Diagram

First, you will need a diagram of the track you want to make. I recently designed the Belle Isle (Detroit) track that is used by IndyCars. I did find that track had already been designed by someone else (I downloaded it from the Files section at BGG), but I didn’t like the design. Some of the straightaway sections were too long in that other design, so cars could use a high top speed in the game to go 200 mph or so. Watching the video of actual IndyCars racing on the Belle Isle track, I never saw any car get much above 160 mph at any time. That other track design also ignored some of the corners in the corners 7 through 11 sequence, and also treated corner 14 as just another straightaway space.

I first obtained the real Belle Isle track outline diagram from online. I used Wikipedia as a source, but there are alternate sources for tracks that you could use if you were designing your own track.

The Belle Isle track layout from Wikipedia.

The Belle Isle track layout from Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the diagram incorrectly calls one of the streets “Lotter Way” when it should properly be “Loiter Way.”

I then imported that track diagram into image editing software (I use Acorn from Flying Meat Software). I then erased everything except the actual track outline, scaled it to fit a poster board size space of 22″ x 28″ (in case I want to print out a board-game size map of that track). Then I changed the track color to red so it wouldn’t interfere with other colored spaces I would create. I created spaces that were 1″ long for a board-game size track, then placed them around the track for the straight parts of the track. I then “fudged” in the corner spaces. I then assigned corner speeds based on watching race video, and added cornering arrows. Here is the track with the original red outline, and gray spaces added:

Belle Isle original track in red, with gray spaces for the board game track.

Belle Isle original track in red, with gray spaces for the board game track.

Acorn is a layer-based program like Photoshop, so you can make layers visible or invisible, change which layer is on top, etc, so that made the above process relatively easy.

Next was to print the track the size of a poster board, and then I ran some solo races on it using the CFR rules and cars of different configuration. I did make a few changes to the initial playtest track, so the “playtest 2” track above is how I finalized the spaces and corners. Except, I’m not sure about the speed of the final slight right-hand bend at the upper left of the track, just after the entrance to the pits. I have 140 mph marked on it for now, but may change it to 160 mph after I get some other folks to playtest it.

Poster board size Belle Isle track.

Poster board size Belle Isle track.

You may already have a track diagram, so you won’t need to perform the above steps. In that case, you will start here:

Gather Items Needed to Build Your Track

Gather items you will need to build a large track.

Track building items laid out on the table.

Track building items laid out on the table.

  • A large table ( I use a ping-pong table that is 5′ x 9′ in size — you will probably need something larger than a 4′ x 8′ piece of plywood, as some tracks are larger than 4′ x 8′). You could also use a large area of the floor, if you are younger than me, and have good knees!
  • Track template pieces. I used to use poster board to create various sizes of straightaways (either two-lane or three-lane wide), but now I find it’s easier and cheaper to just print paper on my laser printer. I create spaces for straights that are 3″ long by 1.75″ wide, as that size space fits my 1:64 scale race cars well. If you make the spaces much smaller than that, cars will be too tightly spaced together if they are crowded into the same area of the track. If the spaces are too large, you might not be able to fit the finished track onto a reasonable table size. I also used to just “fudge” in the corners after laying out the straight pieces, but now I also print out some generic corner pieces. I found some generic track sections online, and printed them at different scales until I got the right size. I also tested the printed corner pieces to ensure my 1:64 scale cars would fit in the spaces on those corner pieces.
Older green poster-board track template pieces in the foreground.

Older green poster-board track template pieces in the foreground.

  • A pair of scissors for cutting the track templates.
  • Carpenter’s style tape measure.
  • A straight edge of some sort to help with marking straight lines. I use an old steel ruler from an old combination square.
  • A pencil to mark the basic outline of the track once you have completed the layout.
  • A black marker (like a Sharpie), used to go over the penciled outline of the track.
  • Clear cellophane tape. Use the tape to tack small track sections together to build assemblies, so there are not as many loose pieces to move around when you make track adjustments.
  • Masking tape. Used to mask the track so you only paint the track.
  • Miscellaneous newspapers, pieces of cardboard, etc. Use these to actually mask areas of the sheet that you don’t want to paint.
  • A can of flat black spray paint. You could also brush flat black paint onto the sheet, but I find spraying is easier, and doesn’t bleed-through the sheet as much as brush painting.
  • Different colored paint markers. I use black (preferably flat black), red, white, and yellow paint markers. Get oil based paint markers, as they won’t wash out if you ever have to wash your track. These markers are used to paint the lines for the spaces on the track, cornering speeds & arrows, and the red-and-white lines along the edge of the track to denote which side of the track is the inside to the next corner.
  • A flat bed sheet. Wait to buy the sheet until after you determine how big the track will be.

Laying Out the Track

Cut out the various straight and curved template pieces.

Cutting out paper straight-section templates.

Cutting out paper straight-section templates.

Then, tape together straight sections to make longer pieces. Do this so you won’t have as many pieces of paper to move around. For the Belle Isle track, I needed straight sections of various spaces long, such as 12 spaces long, 5 spaces long, etc.

Taping straight templates to make longer straightaways.

Taping straight templates to make longer straightaways.

After you have cut out and taped your various templates, place the various lengths of straight sections about where they should go. Use the track diagram as a guide. I also wrote the number of straight spaces in each area directly on that track diagram, so I wasn’t always re-counting the straightaways.

Placing the straight sections of the track.

The straight sections of track have been placed in their approximate positions.

In the above picture, the straight pieces are roughly where they should go. Don’t worry about exactness, as you will have to make adjustments. Then add the corner pieces, and try to “close the loop” of the track by making adjustments as needed.

Curves have been added to the track.

Curves have been added to the track.

In my example above, you can see that the track will actually fit on the table. Yay!

A view of the other side of the track.

A view of the other side of the track.

The next step is to measure the longest distance of the track’s length and width, and write down the numbers.

Measuring the track dimensions.

Measuring the track dimensions.

For my Belle Isle track, I found the rough layout was about 4′ wide and 7’6″ long, so the finished track should be able to be played on a 4′ x 8′ table size. This is now the time to purchase the flat bed sheet. I was able to purchase a flat sheet that is 66″ x 96″, or 5’6″ x 8’0″, for about $5 (US). For you metric folk, that sheet is 168cm x 244cm. Of course, before you can use the sheet, you will need to wash it, as the sheets are usually packed very densely, and the wrinkles will make it difficult to paint the track later. Also throw the sheet in the dryer (if you have one) after washing to “pre-shrink” it.

Continued in Part 2 – Marking the track on the sheet.

Also see Part 3 – Painting the track.