real scenery map ?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by viorel, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. viorel

    viorel New Member


    I'm on the way to start my small N scale diorama. I have 1 meter / 80 cm available space (that's 100 meters / 160 meters in nature).

    I have in mind that for this project to try to replicate as close as possible a surface that actually exists somewhere. I don't mind my layout will be very simple, as long as it does replicates with high fidelity a real area.

    To start, I need a map / plan of a real 100 / 160 meters territory, with level curves displayed, and also many photos of the area.

    My preference goes towards a mountain/hills area, with one railroad passing through.

    Have you tried something similar ? Do you have any ideas how can I get some "real territory" map ? I've seen "Terragen" this morning, and it seems that I can use it to import some real data...but I'm not sure.

    Any help, highly welcomed [​IMG].

    Thank you,
  2. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Hi Viorel,
    I never tried something similar. I wanted to make real diorama of the place my grandfather used to work ( astone quarry in Belgium located a few kilometers from my hometown ) , but I would have to scratchbuild everything, the houses, the locomotive and the cars of that vicinal raylway ). I have a military map ( scale 1/25000 ) but the scale is too small anyway.
    I wish you good luck in your project. Maybe it wouid be easier to model one place without buildings, but just with a few structures such as a tunnel exit and a bridge crossing a small river.
    Maybe Z scale would be a better choice for a diorama modeling an existing place.

  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    doable but difficult. You may find the scale of things to be larger than the space you have - especially for a mountainous area. Keep in mind, steep mountain slopes are usually never greater than 25-30 degrees unless it is a rocky cliff. That doesn't leave much room for elevation change on a 1 meter layout. There are also "optical illusions" involved - sometimes building a scene true to scale doesn't look right in person, but may look okay in photographs. That has to do with our physical size and not being able to get close enough to the scene, and having our eyes too far apart. That makes us see the true size of things rather than getting fooled by the illusion. To compensate, modelers tend to make background buildings smaller, streets narrower, etc to make things look okay.

    I was actually just thinking about this topic today. If I scaled up my whole layout to life size - it would resemble an amusement park ride or a hollywood set.

  4. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    I couldn't have said it better ( of course English is not my primary language )
  5. viorel

    viorel New Member

    Thanks for the valuable advice, guys ! :). I do imagine that the things I will be able to put on my 1 m / 1.6 meters will be very few, but I still want to give it a try :D. I'll keep you updated on my progress.
  6. abutt

    abutt Member

    Talk about illusions...When I moved last October, I not only had to cut the layout into five 8 to 10 foot sections, I also had to cut 15" off the legs to get the whole thing out the hatch. Now reassembled in the new basement 15 inches lower from the origianl 50 inches high, the illusion of distance is totally gone!

    I'm saying this to point out that you've got to get everything up near to eyelevel or no matter what you do on the layout to simulate distances won't work if one is looking down on everything.

    I thought I might get away with leaving the layout in the new position. But that won't work. I'll have to puit that 15 inches back in there. (sigh, more work!)
  7. viorel

    viorel New Member

    I've finally decided on the area, near my hometown. As I couldn't find any map with enough details, I've decided to ask somebody to raise a map for me.

    The measurements :


  8. viorel

    viorel New Member

  9. viorel

    viorel New Member

  10. viorel

    viorel New Member

  11. viorel

    viorel New Member

    Today I got the terrain map :D !

    I've took a photo of the map, and here we go with a first 3D representation. It does match what I remember from the field ;).


  12. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Viorel, whatkhind of software did you use to get a 3D representation ?
    Is it available for the Linux operating system ?
    You for sure did your homework.
    I'm looking forward to see some pictures of your diorama and compare them with the real landscape.
    Keep us informed about your project.
  13. viorel

    viorel New Member

    I've used, just because I found it first :D. I'm still researching the best product to use for that. It's certainly good to be able to see the finished layout on your computer and compare it with what you build at every stage.

    Seems interesting (and I think this will be my choice) :

    However, none of these two are available for Linux. You might want to try wine :

    Keep me informed if it works for you, and I'll post here my progress and findings.

  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Interesting project...! I think that the photos will prove to be the best resource for this as compared with a map. If the end result is something that "looks right", you will get far more from the photos than the map.

    Having said that, your software is very cool! :cool: There is a project in a town not far from where I live, that is trying to replicate the towna and railway as it was many years ago. They have access to a 3-d foam cutter (like the autoindustry uses to create mock ups of new cars) that did the terrain for them. Also very :cool:... ;)

  15. viorel

    viorel New Member

    Andrew, it's correct that in the final phase the photos will help me more than the map. But in the construction phase, I need exact numbers to deal with ;). And I need a map for numbers :).


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