train v non train

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Groove, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. Groove

    Groove New Member

    Hi (again)​
    I know I don't post here as often as I should (or would like to) but I read everyday!​
    anyway, went to an exhibition on sunday and one of the main things that struck me was most layouts have too much 'train' (track etc) and not enough 'not train' (town, houses, all that other stuff). The couple of layouts that did have looked far and away the better layouts.
    So where do you think the line is between something that you can play/operate with and something that looks like the real thing. Obviously space is an issue, I've got 11ft X3ft to build everything in so I'll have a lot more trouble getting non-train stuff in then the guy who's got his basement and a million foot track run! (sorry can't remember your name).
    So what do you think you've got? too much train? not eough train?
  2. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    To me it depends on what you're trying to protray. I want the open spacious effect so am trying NOT to jam too much track in. Urban scenes could justify more trackage, structures etc. I have one area approx 13' wide and tapering from 7' to 4' that will only have a single track S-ing thru - that's RURAL! See layout details on my site in the sig line.
  3. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    My layout is the same, I have one line snaking through, with assorted passing sidings. However the yard area is all track (of course).

    Follow the link below if you are intersted in the full trackplan.
  4. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    UM, the hobby is model railroading, not model landscaping.:D So the focus is the track and trains and their right of ways. So sure there is going to be more track than flower gardens. Also remember some people just like to run trains and are happy with paper sheds on plywood as they switch their boxcars to the paper factories. Others enjoy landscaping and the trains are just more landscape. That's why the differences you see are existing. From your comments you prob. lean toward the last group, as do I. Fred
  5. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    Nice job both on the layout and presentation on your web site. Don't take this too critically, but the alternate routing allows for trains going back thru a scene the opposite direction - something I avoid. I like to keep my left-right/north-south orrientation pure. That is MY choice. If what you've done works for you fine. I like your approach and you're doing a good job executing it.
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I have never been a fan of the spaghetti bowl layouts and always thought that a layout looks better when its balance out to include industries,yards,engine service area,small town/city and some country side.
    My favorite type of layout that incorporates all of the above is a point to point branch line layout..However..I have only had 3 point to point branch line layouts over the years due to lack of space.. :(
  7. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Jerry, thank you for your kind words.

    The layout is based on a prototype, from the left hand side, the line goes behind, representng the line South. The return on the right side, represents the line North. The return in the center with the WYE, represents a branch line that ran West. The rear line is at table height, while the front is 2" higher.

    With the way I am blocking things, I can leave two trains on the back tracks and have one come from the North and one from the south. OR switch one to have it come from the west.
  8. sams

    sams Member

    for me, i like "pockets" of activity interspersed with "lulls".
    basically, areas with intense activity like packed yards and industries...
    and areas of serene country side and long runs.
    of course, as you mentioned, space limitations need to be taken into account.
    so, unfortunately, the thing that ends up being cut the most is the scenery/countryside...
    and the yards are made smaller too (smaller than prototypes since a mile long yard would work out to 33feet).
    right now, i'm working on a 2'x4' mining module.
    it'll have two yards, one on each side, inside a simple oval, separated by a large mining complex.
    for this module at least, i want the trains/yard to stand out.
    but to keep it realistic, i'm gonna make the mining complex large enough to visually isolate the yards, and provide a more prototypical appearance in proportions.
    i guess, when you look at it, it comes down to that "selective compression".
    and as fred said,..
    we're doing model railroads...
    not model landscaping.
    it all boils down to how much you want to compress, and what you want to compress, inorder to bring out those aspects you like.
  9. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    That 'splains it. I'm doing somewhat the same. Modeling about a 20 mi streach of mainline with (hidden) reversing/staging loops at each end.
  10. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Part of the problem is that none of us have homes big enough to really capture, in true proportion, the real scales of the great outdoors! We must resort to a variety of modeler's tricks to fool the eye into thinking it is seeing more than it actually is.

    Landscape painters have a whole arsenal of techniques to make oil on canvas look like a scene from life--even those with an impressionistic style can make a scene look "real" if they can successfully capture proportion, color, shade, perspective and other cues that make a scene look real. Photographers can use a similar set of tricks to fool the eye or modify the view of what is there to change the mood or feel of a scene.

    Much depends on an individual railroader's emphasis--if you don't care much about making a scene look realistic, you won't bother with such trickery. If you do, then you have probably given it at least some thought. If you're a beginning modeler, and the thrill of that loop of track on the plywood is beginning to wear thin, learning some scenery tricks can help maintain some of that magic for you.

    Personally, I am an urban modeler--I like tight, crowded cities, busy switching yards and industrial settings filled with grease, grime and human artifacts. But even an urban modeler MUST use these tricks--otherwise our task becomes much more difficult.

    Here is a relatively mild example of what I am talking about:
    The two shots above are of the same scene, shot from about the same perspective. However, the second shot LOOKS larger. The scenery makes it look more like a "real place", as opposed to the bare foam and MDF of the first shot. The backdrop makes the background look like sky, rather than a wall. (Okay, if we ignore the gap in the backdrop panels next to the water tower--but the fact that most of the sky is blue makes it easier to do so!) And the bit of tree visible behind the factory implies that there are things behind the factory, even if we can't see all of them, other than the wall of my layout room, two inches away. Finally, attention to lighting makes the scene look more like an outdoor scene in color and tone than a shot of the inside of my garage.

    A backdrop helps a great deal--and can conceal many lies. Anything that prevents viewers from seeing too much of your layout at once makes it look much bigger--centerline backdrops, around-the-room configurations, high mountains, tall buildings, etcetera. If we can't see it all, we assume it has to be big!
  11. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    I'm a modeller first, and a train fan second. I choose to model trains because, well, I like trains. :) But it is also the only hobby I know of that I can create my own 'world' with as much or little detail as I like. Being able to run trains through it is just a wonderful bonus for me.
    I could not get the same satisfaction from model cars, or R/C vehicles. Once they are built and running, that's pretty much it. A train layout is a never-ending project you can enjoy any time.
    So, I appreciate detailed scenery as much as detailed rolling stock. I find I look at 'scenes' far longer than trains that are rolling by on layouts I've visited.
    YMMV. To each his own. This hobby has something for everyone. :thumb:

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