Max’s Scenic Slot Raceway Layout

by Mark Beaumont

This is my partner’s son’s (Max) 10th Birthday Micro Scalextric layout that was built over a period of about 6 weeks in early 2011.

I wanted to give him something that would be a bit more than a circle or figure of eight track, which experience tells me, children (not to mention the adults!) grow quickly tired of.

Motor racing, with its various gaudy hoardings, large scale adverts and primary colours also lend themselves to the younger imagination. An appreciation of greenery, "chocolate & cream" livery and "weathering" only comes with age!

Note the 'catch-fencing'!

At the same time I wanted to build something that was "unique" and could conceivably be something that could be developed to his own requirements, give me a "project" to work on from time to time, and ultimately could be passed onto Maxís children.

So far we have had an amazing amount of fun with this. We have had no end of 10 year old boys around to see it and play on it, and the adults have also had games evenings where this was the central theme! Perhaps "entertaining the children" is only an excuse for every other aspiring Pendon modeller out there?!

Basis for the Layout:

The layout used is the Grand Prix Legends Micro Scalextric constructed into the format of a "right-handed figure-of-8" straight from the box. No additional track was used and no equipment was altered in any way.

Overall the layout measures approximately 120cm x 120cm with a maximum height of about 30cm. This will happily sit on a coffee or dining room table, and can be lifted (with a little difficulty) by one adult, and easily by a young child and adult. There has to be compromise somewhere!

Philosophy for the layout:

I noticed that on most slot car layouts that the scenery was at best secondary, and in a lot of cases pretty rudimentary. I wanted to build a layout that was a cross between slot car tracks and the more complicated and intricate model railways where this level of detail are considered ’standard’.

I also wanted to create a layout that reflected Max and his family and interests. For this reason there are various cameo scenes: the skate-park and his grandfather’s business being advertised on the hoardings being two of these.

The Micro Scalextric scale lent itself perfectly to a [very rough] 4mm scale, and this is something that I know and am comfortable with. If there is one tip I can give anyone it’s this: know how high a doorway and a single storey structure is "your" scale. It makes it much easier to work out what can be achieved in the space available!

That said, cost was also an important consideration. The model in it’s current form was put together for about £100. However, even in this comparatively small space I estimate that I could happily have spent £1,000 buying everything that I originally wanted to put on it! I have "Fleischmann style", but not their advertising budget!

Method of Layout Construction

Board Construction:

The board is a single sheet of hardboard, braced using sections of 1" timber, which has been glued in place. This is as light a construction as I could come up with. I thought about using foamboard but this would have been a big expense, which my budget did not extend to.

The layout under construction


Grand Prix Legends Micro Scalextric as per the box. An important part of modern day motor racing is the 'catch-fencing'. I made this using the standard material available from haberdashery stores for embroidery. I am told it has 11 holes to the cm, but I think it catches the essence of what I am trying to model, whether it is strictly to scale or not. All of the advertising hoardings were made using a computer and printer and then laminating each set before cutting out. The advertising brands featured are based on the 2011 Formula 1 Season, but there is no reason that they cannot be changed as tastes and style change!

Scenery Making:

The scenery is standard block polystyrene, glued into place using PVA glue and then covered in paper-mache. This was then painted a light green emulsion. Cliffs have been modelled by simply painting in either grey or brown, again to catch the essence of what is supposed to be there. The trees are standard Heiki ones, but since the photos were taken we have broadened the layout to include trees made from twisted wire and old soft toy stuffing sprayed green. A remarkably quick and skill-less job once you have made a few!

Buildings & Structures:

All of the buildings on the layout are scratch-built. Again the PC and printer were used to ensure the right sizes and then were built using mounting-card, and faced with either laminated printed paper or plasticard when I wanted a more complicated finish. Yes it is cheaper, the quality may not be as good as the commercially available types, but itís unique!

The "Dunlop" Bridge and Start/Finish Grandstand

Special thanks to Mark Beaumont for contributing this article
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