Paul from New Zealand wrote :
Hi Clyde, I am interested to know what you have used to paint your road surface on top of the photo card. On all my roads to date, I have used black blackboard paint. After it is dry I rub grey pastel chalk over the surface giving a fairly realistic look. I am not so sure that this will be suitable for the magnorail surface as I presume it will leave a track mark.
I would be interested in your comments.
Our Answer was:-I actually print my roadbeds and then matt laminate them - I have a video on my channel in the Echo Lakes section on how I do this.
What you are proposing is okay but I would finish it off with two or more coats of a matt varnish like Estapol. This will avoid obvious tracking on a chalky base. You can rub Estapol down once completely dry, with steel wool which will give it a smooth surface to get rid of any brush marks.
Also I am steering people away from Sliders which do leave a tracking line, and suggest attaching neodymium magnets directly to the chassis on the front just in the middle above the axle or just in front. Check that the wheels are free running and not fixed to the axle as the Magnet will grab the axle if it is metal and stop it from turning. If that is so you would locate it just in front or behind of the axle.
In most cases you only need one magnet but if it is a die cast truck or heavy vehicle, two magnets spaced to match the track magnets is the go.
The magnets should be high enough to clear from the chassis to about1-2mm above the roadbed.
Any track marks will be only from Tyres then and if Estapol'ed, a quick rub with a light rag with Turpentine on it or just a multi surface cleaner will clean up after a long run-in session or exhibition if that is what you are doing..
Hope this helps
William from the UK made a comment on a previous blog which I have listed below for everyone starting out and wanting to know the best surface materila.
In reply to your query on my blog - see below
brought the boat., as i have a lot of lake coverage, and i have brought the woodland scenics material for the water, my concern is
now finding on the info!!, the covering should be 0.25mm thick then mentions 0.4mm thick, and to use acetate,
The surface material is a key factor on lakes. I personally do not like the water mix materials as they give an unrealistic shiny reflection under lights which diminishes the Magic of the Magnorail System.
I have used, and sell in our web shop, the embossed PVC material which has an effect that looks like small ripples on a lake and diffuses any reflected light. The trick is to paint the underside but it requires some preparation otherwise the paint will just scrape off as the magnets and rack underneath gradually keep rubbing against it. The other alternative is to print your water shading and stick that to the underneath of the PVC and in that way you can control your shading better via your printer.
The thickness of the PVC and other surfaces is important as the the thicker the material, the harder the magnets have to work to drag the boats along. My Crater Lake and Echo Lakes layouts give you an idea of the effect that it is obtained. I have a YouTube video
showing the preparation and application of the surface - https://youtu.be/MX8nobuOOdA
what would you suggest, also i would like to buy the cars and bicycle, what thickness should this be, as i will have to paint or buy some road materials, again what would you suggest. thank you.
Once again I have used a different approach to this as I am not a master modeller and if I can use other tools and technology to make up for my lack of skill, I will!
I use my laminator (A3 size). I print my road bed that I whether it be it tarmac, dirt or concrete, with kerbing, manholes, rough edges etc, onto A3 paper - If you don’t have access to an A3 printer, you can take your files to an OfficeWorks or similar outlet and have them print it and laminate it. I do recommend that you have it done in a Matt laminate, as this also enhance the Magic with out getting horrible reflections from lighting. Real roads do not reflect street lights etc and neither should your layout.
There is a video on this as well https://youtu.be/epfSQr9vmTU
The PVC comes in large rolls 55cm x110cm and are about .5mm thick. The laminated paper ends up being .2mm thick
I hope this answers a lot of your questions.
I have been selling more product in to UK since Brexit as the European suppliers seem to be hesitant to sell to you lot. Check out prices and exchange rates though, Postage is probably a bit longer and higher, but I am always happy too advise via email as I am passionate about the Magnorail System.
Clyde has been involved for many years with the Magnorail system having initially built his own layout "Echo Lakes" featuring two concepts using the Magnorail System. In 2019 he rebirthed his layout as Crater Lake featuring four Magnorail circuits plus an Ho3 train line around the perimeter which is now the Magnorail flagship for exhibitions.