Building layout,, order?

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by tonphil1960, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. tonphil1960

    tonphil1960 Member

    Hi all,

    I have seen many articles on building layouts and I see that most guys lay track and get it running bare before adding scenery and groundwork?? As I military modeler who builds small vignettes and diorama's I usually do all the ground work and scenery and then place the model and fig's on.
    I know MRR is different than what I am used to but what is the reason for this order in building? I want to just mark out the track do the major scene work then lay the track and concentrate on the buildings. I would think all the goop and glop from the scenery building would foul up the tracks??

    Thanks Tony
  2. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Not all model railroaders built the trackwork first. Noted model railroader John Allen did scenery first, then trackwork. Part of why most model railroaders do it first is because trackwork and wiring can be kind of messy in its own right, you can still have easy access to wiring under the track on open-frame benchwork (whereas once scenery is done the open frame is covered) and you're less likely to put your hand through a finely detailed hillside if you slip doing trackwork.

    Part of the difference is animation--military model vignettes generally don't move. The static models placed on a model railroad (structures, cars, miniature people, etc) are generally placed after scenery, as in military modeling.

    Painter's tape is a good way to avoid getting goop and glop on the tracks--that's what I use, anyhow, although typically you have to clean the tracks after lifting the tape. Easier than getting off globs of plaster.

    A final reason to lay track before building scenery: you can start running trains! For many model railroaders, operation of the layout takes precedence over scenery--for a while, anyhow, you can "imagine" scenery on operating benchwork, more easily than imagining running trains on a scenicked piece of benchwork with no track.

    Besides, you'd have to have the track area laid out and clear anyhow, and detailing track (ballast, grade crossings, turnouts, bridges and trestles, etc.) is part of the scenery step that can't be done if the track is not yet in place.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Trackwork usually comes first because if there are problems, you want to be able to change/fix them before getting too far. Pulling up ballasted track can be a pretty rough exercise, and you don't want to compromise your models, as structures, vegetation, etc are usually fixed in place.

    If you want to "complete as you go", try a modular approach. That way, you can do the modelling, scenery, etc from start to finish, 8 square feet at a time.

  4. tonphil1960

    tonphil1960 Member

    Yeah I guess I can do it that way just cover the track with something, like you say the ballast and road bed should be done so scenery can be run up to it.

    can't wait to get going on this, gonna be a while though, have to finish one model first,, tear the room apart and go back to work so I can get to buying all this cool stuff!!!!

    Thanks Tony
  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Probably one reason is, scenery is built around the track. Of course, in our planning, we try to make it look like the track is governed by the scenery, but usually modellers plan it the other way round. Probably 'cause track location isn't so flexible in our finite spaces as on the real thing.
    Yes, it would, so you cover the tracks with something when you're making scenery.
  6. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    I do track first for a very simple reason: I hate derailments. I want the track bulletproof before I get to anything else, and it becomes far more difficult to achieve this is you have to work around relatively delicate scenery, structures, etc. Not to mention the difficulty in working on any track that's hidden by scenery (e.g. hidden staging, tunnels, etc.)

    And don't discount the impetus to get things running. Layout scenery can take YEARS to complete, and if you aren't able to get some operation going on it, I suspect you'd find far more abandoned half-complete pikes. Getting the track working allows you to combine continuing "creation" of the layout with some degree of "use/enjoyment" at the same time.
  7. tonphil1960

    tonphil1960 Member

    I hear you guys, I need to do hidden staging work too. The layout is small and it will be easy to get the track perfected first than move on.

    Thanks Tony

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