Trackplan Mk2

In a previous blog post I mentioned the planning process from survey sheet of the original route survey found in the National Archives, to a layout trackplan.

One thing I was particularly proud of on that plan was the way the landscape of the actual place fitted onto the baseboard with the railway seemingly running through it as per the proposed route. However, the track itself didn’t seem to flow too well around some of the paintwork or the loop.

So it was out with the computer, printer and point and track templates again, and a cheap roll of paper from Ikea to have another crack at it. I’d rather spend more time trying to identify any baseboard design issues before starting the woodwork!

The baseboard shape has been refined slightly with a smoother series of curves along the front. The 1903 OS map and a 1930s photograph of the location have helped massively get things in the right place.
A trick I’ve picked up from Barry Norman is to have as large a foreground as possible to help emphasise the depth of the layout. As the near end of this photo is actually quite narrow I wanted to make sure the track was further back than version 1 at this location to help achieve this.
The result of that added depth is the ability to photograph quite an extensive scene without the baseboard edge in view.
The same effect has been achieved over the sea and rocky coastline at the pier end of the layout. This will add more fun in the scenic phase.
Looking the ‘wrong’ way there’s quite a nice view emerging over the cattle dock area.
Excuse the bad stitching of an iPhone panorama, but this gives you an idea of the design from above.

So, other than working out the placement of details, which I’ll do by drawing on the paper, i’m pretty much set for the woodwork phase now. Just need to summon up the enthusiasm to do something I don’t like much…

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Wordless Wednesday – Scottish steam of my childhood

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A new look?

Don’t worry, this post won’t contain any fashion advice, i’m not capable of that – I’ll stick to my surf t-shirts and faded jeans regardless.

There may not appear to have been much progress on the layout of late and, whilst materially that’s true, I’ve been mulling over the baseboard designs and presentation of the layout for a while.

I drew up my initial thinking on presentation and baseboard design in ‘the book’ a while back. However since then I’ve been pondering whether there’s a more imaginative way to present the layout.

Here’s what my thinking was before this started:

Note the theatrical style with traditional curtain and proscenium arch. 

The design is very traditional, but has potential to be professional. I’ve assisted Richard Williams and Christopher Payne in exhibiting their minimum gauge layouts at a few shows and their approach to display has worn off. I think the theatrical nature of the proscenium arch and front operation is a great idea. A recent(ish) purchase of Iain Rice’s book ‘cameo layouts’ reinforced this.

The eagle-eyed will have spotted the numbering on the diagram above. I’ve been pondering how to have a baseboard design that has multiple uses for the component parts in both ‘transport’ and ‘display’ modes. The theory being a set number of components that help provide a rigid box (or close to) for transport, and a professional display that’s easy to assemble on arrival at the exhibition.

How the design is proposed to fit together should be fairly obvious from the top left-hand cross section. 
And here’s the proposal for ‘transport mode’.

It works in theory. However, having done this thinking I started to ponder what I could do to make my layout stand out a bit more at a show. To my mind the unusual element of the layout is the research and its basis in semi-reality. So displaying the layout on its own without the research de-values this. I’m therefore keen to find a way to display whatever miniature world I end up building, alongside some copies of the research materials from the proposed railway on the Isle of Skye.

To that end I have started to look at more modern museum exhibits and art installations which display dioramas, documents and artwork to the public. I’m still not 100% sure how I can do something more imaginative, but trying to integrate influences from outside of our hobby is something I really enjoy, so I’m going to pursue this a little further. Until I’ve worked my way through that I won’t know how to build the baseboards. 

A few things that have caught my eye thus far…

There’s something simple, clean and refreshing about white. The norm is black (or at least a dark) baseboard fascia – why not white? Image source: https://museumsvictoria.com.au/article/the-art-of-the-diorama/ 
Light boxes work well at showing elements of an overall scene or piece of work – like a station on a railway… Image source: http://blog.asianart.org/blog/index.php/2011/08/30/where-did-all-the-korean-art-go/
Rather than documents being stuck to the display boards, and ultimately ending up being tatty this sort of thing holds some appeal for a professional appearance. Image source: http://www.buyplasticsonline.co.uk

So, have you seen a particularly appealing museum display or other model which you thought mixed written and physical media in an engaging and original way?

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