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  1. Snowmobile Layout - Christmas '08

    Snowmobile Layout - Christmas '08

    Built using an original T-jet Snowmobile Set (circa 1971) by Aurora. This is the suggested track layout from the set, except for placement of the terminal track. The jogs and gaps in the track plan indicate that this was not the best job of trackfitting on Aurora's part.
  2. Overview of the Snowmobile Course

    Overview of the Snowmobile Course

    One end of the Aurora set is elevated by a styrofoam hill, and I built a raised foamcore platform for that track and the surrounding scenery. The power pack and constant-speed controllers were under it. The ground is snow blanket, sold for Christmas decor. The kind with the small specks of metallic
  3. Thumpity - thump - thump

    Thumpity - thump - thump

    The blood pounding in their helmeted ears, ace sled-jockeys Anton Blouski and Donatello Snowe wait tensely as Frosty the Flagman counts down to start the first run. He's made from polyclay, painted with craft acrylics.
  4. The Low End

    The Low End

    The lower end of the layout features a partially frozen-over river. The Aurora set had two translucent bluish wiggle-tracks, representing icy patches. I cut pieces of waxy milk jug plastic and built out ice shelves, so the ice tracks wouldn't look so artificially straight crossing the water. Not a p
  5. Up the Back Slope

    Up the Back Slope

    The back slope starts with an unwinding s-bend and leads uphill to the big tight-winding curve at the top. The rearmost trees are in a sort of trench in front of a 2-D backdrop board to look as if they are over a hill. The backdrop board is cut from foamcore to look like distant snowy hills or mount
  6. High End Overview

    High End Overview

    The short straight enters a 9-inch curve that cramps down to 6-radius and is easy to misjudge. All along the upper level, the track is inset into the foamcore, so that the board forms a spin apron for the outer lane - and believe me, it's needed. Scotch frosted tape connects board to track to elimin
  7. Against the Cliff

    Against the Cliff

    Blusky and Snowe dice on the high curve. The stand of trees on a two-level cliff looked great in person, but none of the photos quite capture the feel of it. The cliff face was crumpled grey paper and is barely visible above the rump of the blue sled's driver.
  8. Down and Damp on the High Curve

    Down and Damp on the High Curve

    On the next lap we see the curve from eye-level. I frequently wished I had taken the time to cover the brown wood behind the layout with a blue or grey wintery sky backdrop paper, but I was too eager to put up the tree and get the layout built. Here I Photoshopped a hazy sky on the picture to see wh
  9. Down the Front Slope

    Down the Front Slope

    The sleds looked great thundering down the front slope as they bounced along Aurora's wonderful Model Motoring bridge tracks, molded in white as snowdrifts just for this set.
  10. The Split

    The Split

    Hurtling down the front slope, Blue hits the split, where the course goes around each side of a large hummock. At downhill speeds on snow, even this slight curve is enough to throw you around, and Blue is about to fishtail out. Frosty the flagman looks on with a worried expression in his coal lumps,
  11. Dash to the Line

    Dash to the Line

    The hills are alive with the blaaaat of two-stroke engines and clouds of blue smoke as the sleds finish up the run neck and neck. A dual control system allowed the track to be used for continuous display running, or racing. Unfortunately one of the set's original carbon disc controllers was always
  12. Starting Line

    Starting Line

    Whoa, the fans have arrived! Time to get serious. The resin snowmen were bought for pennies at an after-Christmas sale, modded and repainted. I liked the way their branch-arms were up in an excited wave. Snowmen aren't usually known for their enthusiasm.
  13. Roaring Out of the Birches

    Roaring Out of the Birches

    Blue comes back down the mountain in a big hurry. Must have used the sled's air-horn on a drowsy moose (never a good idea - they think it's a mating call).
  14. The Homeward Lap

    The Homeward Lap

    It's possible to run the course in the opposite direction, but struggling up the steep, bumpy front slope with the skinny-tired Tjet chassis under the sleds is nowhere near as much fun as flying down the snow-humps at top speed. Nonetheless, the sleds look good coming over the front ice from the bac
  15. Snow Flies in the Esses

    Snow Flies in the Esses

    Running the course in the reverse direction, the sleds roar through a gloomy stand of tall pines which lines part of the Esses. I couldn't resist Photoshopping some flying snowflakes onto this picture.
  16. Trees for Snowmobile Layout

    Trees for Snowmobile Layout

    Most of the trees were inexpensive "bottle-brush" pines intended for ceramic Christmas village scenery. This year Home Depot had bags of 21 in assorted sizes for an astounding six dollars. I tried to eliminate the perfect conical shape by clipping and squeezing portions of the trees. Some
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