Modeling different regions or time periods?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by RobertInOntario, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Just curious as to how many folks model different regions or time periods on their layouts, and how they work around any logistical problems caused by this?

    I actually run 2-3 different regions/time periods, depending on my mood! This is partly because I've inherited quite an eclectic mixture of model trains from my Dad and also because I like the variety.

    My main focus is British trains. I usually run British trains from either the 1950s/1960s OR from the 1920s/1930s, and my small 4x6 British layout works well for both.

    But then I occasionally like to run 1950s North American trains, although they have to travel through British countryside! (If I ever get more modeling space, I guess I should build a second layout!)

    Just wondering how common it is for modelers to focus on different regions and time periods. Thanks! Rob
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I stick close to home (more or less) and keep to southern and eastern Ontario. However, I do time-travel! 1920s and 1930s is my preferred time period.

  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I remember an article in Model Railroader about club layout that could switch from Pennsy steam circa 1940-50s to more modern BN diesel. They changed rolling stock but also had buildings that they designed to be the same size that could be interchanged to suit the era they wanted to run.
  4. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    That's interesting and I'd be interested in tracking down that MR article sometime. And since I have a small layout, it should be quite easy to have interchangeable buildings, etc. Thanks, Rob
  5. cpr_paul

    cpr_paul Member

    I remember that MR article too, and if I have it (and can find it) I will see about passing it on to you Robert.

    I've bounced around a bit but usually modeled modern day (either British or NA prototype). At one point I inherited a few UK steamers so I set up a "heritage" railway branch to justify'em. I've always tried to stay within a set period on any layout.

    I'm currently between layouts, but have decided that I will be modeling the mid-1970's...either around Lindsay or Sudbury, Ontario. I know the Waterloo group models 1970s Sudbury in HO...but mine will be N scale, and I'm thinking about proto-lancing the Algoma Eastern Railway.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I have a book by robert Sleicher (spelling?) published about 1982 if my memory is correct that was titled BUILD YOUR NEXT MODEL RAILROAD THIS WAY. The model railroad he proposes uses a removable modul in the center based on the John Allen timesaver, but it has longer sidings and a longer run around section. It is a layout designed to fill a small room which is roughly a dog bone shape with return loops on each end and featureing a small town/industrial switching module in the front center. He modelled a small midwestern town with a grain elevator and I think maybe a lumber yard (the book is pack away right now due to an impending house remodel). In the book he shows how to change the buildings and trains to model early 1900's, 1930's, & 1970's on the same layout. The buildings all fit the same footprint, and were just updates or back dates depending on which way your were going.

    With some careful thought, I think time travelling on a model railroad would be fairly easy.
    Trying to use the same model railroad to operate as both British and American prototype would be more challenging. If all of the buildings were interchangeable, it could be done believably. I think you would be somewhat restricted to areas you model. I've only seen pictures and movies of the British countryside, but parts of Eastern Canada, and the American East Coast may be similar enough to masquerade for Britain. I don't think there is anything West of the Rockies that would do it, and it may be that there is nothing West of the Missippi River that would look like England.
  7. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks for your note about finding that MR issue. Don't go to any extra trouble but if it does turn up, that would be great. So I do think my best bet is to find some interchangeable buildings, etc., which should be easy enough to do. And my layout's not that detailed or specific to one area. I hope your next layout goes well and that you can post some pics, etc. I hope to post some pics of mine in a few weeks. Thanks again, Rob
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    From Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery:

    [Driving on a supposedly English road, clearly *not* filmed on location]
    Austin: You know what's remarkable? Is how much England looks in no way like Southern California.


  9. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks for your comments, Russ. Those are helpful. With my layout, it should be easy enough to remove my few British buildings and replace them with North American ones when needed.

    As far as scenery goes, I've got lots of hills, and "supposedly" rocky out croppings and chalk cliffs (all of which are common to England). But I still think that these are generic enough to pass of as somewhere in eastern Canada, as you say. At any rate, I think all of this is do-able and only a few people might pick up on any inconsistencies.

    A lot of people who view my layout don't really clue in that I'm running British trains -- they can't really tell the difference between British ones and N. American ones, yet there's a huge difference!

    Thanks, Rob
  10. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    That's hilarious! I was actually thinking of that Austin Powers scene when I first typed this! Rob
  11. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Actually, it was The Spy Who Shagged Me, but who's counting ;) england california
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    LM -

    Right you are old boy, but Austin Powers is still the "International Man of Mystery". It says so on his business card... ;) :D

    I liked the sequel better than the original. I think this is one of the relatively few instances where the second movie was better than the first. Of course, the opening of the third was brilliant with the "Austin movie" being filmed... sign1

  13. JAyers

    JAyers Member

    When I finally get around to building my GTW Romeo sub, I intend to have 3 and maybe four eras: Pre-war, where I can also run Doodlebugs; transition, with Consols, passenger service and F-Units; and then mid seventies, where I can use GPs in blue and run the Ford Tractor plant with it's small yard. For me, it's a matter that I want the historical features of each era, but they don't overlap! The tractor plant didn't get built til 1974, the trolleys stopped running in the 30's and passenger service stopped by about 62. I don't think i will swap out buildings, but ignore them when not running in the era. The track changed very little in that 100 year span, til they tore it out in 1999; just the industries came and went.

    I am also considering running 1900 era trains, just for the old time trains and rolling stock.
  14. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    I was just watching the trailer for Spider-Man 3 and as the text came up on the screen I said outloud ...

    How Long ...
    How Many ...

    Can any man fight the darkness ...
    Sequels of the same series ...

    Before he finds it in himself.
    Before the fans give up.

    Then the audio,

    "What's happened to you?"
    "I don't know. But I have to stop it."
  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    While part of me wonders what Lucas had in mind for Star Wars 7, 8 & 9, most times I am not sure that Episode 1, 2 (especially 2) & 3 were a good idea. :rolleyes:

  16. Papa Bear

    Papa Bear Member

    I agree. Nothing like taking a good idea and then beating it to death. I was an avid Star Wars fan when it first came out, but by the time Episode 3 came around, I had no desire to see it. Looking back, I'm not even sure that Episodes 5 and 6 were a good idea either.

    Getting back to the original question, I got around that problem by building a few small layouts instead of one big one. You can have 2 or 3 2' x 2' layouts in the space it would take to build and set up a 4' X8'. You can even get real sneaky and disguise them as furniture so that you can have them in the living room or other politically sensitive areas. And each layout can represent a different era or geographic region.
  17. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Andrew. That's another good idea. I wouldn't mind building another, but much smaller layout sometime. But 2x2' is pretty small, but maybe a small switching/shunting layout would be good at some point. I have a Hornby model railway book the describes 2 or 3 long narrow shunting layouts that are around 6" wide by 6' or 8' -- so they're really long & narrow, but great for shunting operations.

    BTW, I like your quote from Proverbs!

  18. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Sorry for hijacking the thread...!:oops:

    Note that it was John (PapaBear) who suggested the diorama/microlayout as furniture idea... (which is very sneaky, BTW ;) )

  19. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Andrew: No problem -- we still got back on topic! Cheers, Rob
  20. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I'm doing a 1930's logging diorama (operational) on our club layout, which is present day oriented. I have created a high bluff along the mainline to seperate the two areas and partially hidden some logging trackage. Since our club layout is in a museum I am trying to convey an idea of logging in Western Montana in the pre WWII era.

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