Jump to content
DART8118

Building and Viewing Layouts

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

  

On 4/8/2020 at 8:31 AM, David Holman said:

All ideal train combos, even in 7mm scale. Applying Iain Rice's formula, that a train needs to travel three times its own length across the scenic part of a layout, means that on Belmullet/Arigna my fiddle yard is a quarter of the overall length.

 

Ian Rice's formula of 3 times its own length seems and excellent one.  Are there any similar 'rule of thumb' formulae or guidelines for getting the most out of a layout? 

For example, across the scenic part, what percent should be railway and what percent should be landscape/streetscape, or many points in the scenic stretch, and things like that?

8118

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guess much depends on whether the scene is rural or urban. Country stations were often well spread out, because land was cheaper, whereas town scenes could be very tight.

 'Less is more' can be a good motto - in other words,  avoiding too much track if you want to portray a realistic scene. Likewise, avoiding track that is parallel to the baseboard edge. Gentle, sinuous curves appeal to the brain for some reason too!

 Rice discusses the various parameters of layout design in his books. Certainly recommend 'An approach to layout design' and 'Creating Cameo Layouts' - both Wild Swan.

 He likens layout design to  both stage design in the theatre and the way artists compose a picture, so there is visual balance and the eye is drawn in deeper. I've tried to follow these on all my layouts and hopefully Fintonagh gets fairly close. 

 A balanced scene is often one framed by taller features at either end, with lower ones in the middle. On a longer scene, there might be a succession of these - after all, when you are standing close, your eyes can only take in about a metre or so. An effectively way of doing this is to have some structures (could be buildings, trees etc), in front of the tracks. They act as view blockers, effectively dividing a layout into several separate scenes and making even a short layout look longer.

 Add in lighting, back scenes, pelmets and fascias and there are all sorts of tricks one can use! Baseboard depth is another one. Back in the day, ace modeller Barry Norman used boards three feet wide, but five feet deep on his ground breaking layout Petherick. Helped shift them once when he brought it to the Chatham show. Made of double skinned 9mm ply, they weren't light...

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

This is excellent stuff. I think one of the biggest mistakes we can fall into is over-compression of track plans - over- tight curves etc. This has huge effects on how ‘natural’ everything looks. I had to have a serious think about this for my tiny layout, and have tried to avoid it looking too track-heavy. I followed the advice about parallel track by gently curving my front siding and it makes a huge difference. I have miserably failed on the train length though - I’ll need one of these to do that ! (Image from Transports of Delight, SmugMug).

CF8C5ACB-19B2-41C8-B67B-B431EE7AAA69.jpeg

A fairly limited palette of colours helps a layout blend in together and appear part of one big scene, rather than track and stock planked on a scenic board with no real connection to their surroundings. David is too modest - have a good look at his stuff, but also Gordon Gravett’s ‘Pempoul’. 

Edited by Galteemore
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

For me any more than a slight curve before the track goes offscene and the effect is lost as it immediately suggests an O or an L of track, so don't overextend the landscape.

Edited by NIR
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. Ideally, if using a fiddle yard, the track needs to exit parallel to the baseboard edge, but no reason why it can't go diagonally (ish) across the scenic section. Increases the overall length a little too.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, DART8118 said:

  

Ian Rice's formula of 3 times its own length seems and excellent one.  Are there any similar 'rule of thumb' formulae or guidelines for getting the most out of a layout? 

For example, across the scenic part, what percent should be railway and what percent should be landscape/streetscape, or many points in the scenic stretch, and things like that?

8118

 

Artists use the rule or 3rds too so no surprise it was taken across to model railways too.

Kinda been around a while!

 

ne of many compositional tricks that artists use, the Rule of Thirds was first written down in 1797, when an author quotes English painter Sir Joshua Reynolds. In discussing the balance of light and dark in an artwork, Reynolds refers to the Rule of Thirds, discussing it as a more general principle of balance. It would later be transformed into the grid system we know today.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Makes sense to try and follow it though. Getting the overall composition right is a key part in the visual aspects of a model railway. Unlike a painting though, a model railway doesn't just hang on the wall, it needs to run well too!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use