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Thread: How do you plan your layout

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    Default How do you plan your layout

    I am having the most difficult time trying to decide on what to model for my first layout. I finally have some space, about 10ft by 20ft to work with, but I can't settle on an idea.

    The only thing I know is that I want to model the Chicago Area, but beyond that, I keep flip flopping on the time period, roads, and subject.

    One option I was thinking about was modeling the Chicago Railroad Fair, basically combining aspects of both the '48 and '49 fairs.

    But I was also thinking of modeling some Modern Street Running on the Former Milwaukee Road trackage.

    Or something along the lines of CNW and MILW in the 70's/80's in a heavily urban environment.

    I've also been toying around with the idea of incorporating Chicago's famous "L" into the layout as well.


    Has anyone else had similar issues trying to pin down an idea? How did you finally make your decision?
    -Orion Field

    CEO of Out of The Box Models,
    UX Architect, Social Media Director of IPMS Syracuse. Oh yeah...train nut!

    Support us on Patreon!

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    yes I believe most of us had some false starts before we got going.

    why not build a small layout to one of the themes you have listed above. then either incorporate that into a larger scheme or tear it up, use what you can and go to a larger format. Speaking from experience, I have an expanded 4 x 8 and the thought of finishing a large layout scares me! I have been working on, modifying, redoing, etc. the layout for about 10 yrs!
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    Quote Originally Posted by epumph View Post
    yes I believe most of us had some false starts before we got going.

    why not build a small layout to one of the themes you have listed above. then either incorporate that into a larger scheme or tear it up, use what you can and go to a larger format. Speaking from experience, I have an expanded 4 x 8 and the thought of finishing a large layout scares me! I have been working on, modifying, redoing, etc. the layout for about 10 yrs!
    Thanks! I'll try and come up with some drawings for each idea and see which one comes together best.
    -Orion Field

    CEO of Out of The Box Models,
    UX Architect, Social Media Director of IPMS Syracuse. Oh yeah...train nut!

    Support us on Patreon!

    WANTED N scale:SP Harriman Commuter Cars,Chicago Northwestern ​Wheels of time Bilevel cars, Wheels of Time Caltrain bilevels

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    I started by narrowing it down to one scene. One must have mental snapshot that I wanted to model. I designed that scene and the rest of the layout evolved from there. Picking something specific helped keep "scope creep" from creeping in. I have a personality that makes me want to model everything. Focus has saved me so much time and money.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    My first layout was HO. I was far more ignorant in those days, some 7 years ago. But my wife had inherited a starter set with a steamer and a mixed bag of freight cars. So I picked an era appropiate to the trains, say circa 1935. Pre-disiesel. And one should build what one knows, so I decided to do a Front Range Colorado scene. And that's what I did. Lots of mistakes, but this was for the Grandkids.

    Then they moved out of state. And Kathy and I started taking vacations in Europe and doing serious train travel.

    I came back and started a modern German layout in N scale. I made more mistakes and also took more vacations in Europe and visited Miniatur Wunderland (3 times). I started another (the present) German layout, specifically for train shows. Guess what? I made new and different mistakes.

    I'm contemplating yet another layout build, correcting old mistakes and creating new ones. But I'm sticking with modern German/European passenger service.

    Have fun! Viel spaß!
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    For me, it was the space available that helped dictate what I wanted to do.

    I don't have a huge space, but I wanted a loop and switching operations of some kind. This meant I could possibly have curves with a small radius. So... I decided my era had to be earlier, so I wouldn't deal with huge intermodal cars or large oversized cars.

    For similar reasons (small radius curves), I decided early on that I wouldn't do much with passenger trains, which often have large cars.

    I went with mostly diesal engines, because they are smaller... sooo I ended up with all of this at around 1960s.

    I didn't want to try to custom paint expensive locomotives with limited money, so I didn't make up a custom line.

    For my actual track plan, I just browsed plans online for a long time, found one I sort of liked, then started playing around with it in a software program.


    I
    Fribur
    My Layout

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    correcting old mistakes and creating new ones
    I was once told that we learn more from our mistakes (failures) then we do from our successes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fribur View Post
    For my actual track plan, I just browsed plans online for a long time, found one I sort of liked, then started playing around with it in a software program.
    Did the same thing,and still fiddling with it even with the track about 2/3's laid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wentzeljr View Post
    I was once told that we learn more from our mistakes (failures) then we do from our successes.
    Soon I'll be a genius!
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    I recommend starting with a main thing you want to model (industry or location) and a specific era. Then expand on that. Having limitations is actually quite helpful in getting the creative juices flowing. If you know what specifically you're trying to model, it makes research more focused. It also makes buying decisions easier.

    And then don't try to do too much at once. You can start with a smaller module that can stand alone and be expanded later. But build it with that eventual expansion in mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    My first layout was HO. I was far more ignorant in those days, some 7 years ago. But my wife had inherited a starter set with a steamer and a mixed bag of freight cars. So I picked an era appropiate to the trains, say circa 1935. Pre-disiesel. And one should build what one knows, so I decided to do a Front Range Colorado scene. And that's what I did. Lots of mistakes, but this was for the Grandkids.

    Then they moved out of state. And Kathy and I started taking vacations in Europe and doing serious train travel.

    I came back and started a modern German layout in N scale. I made more mistakes and also took more vacations in Europe and visited Miniatur Wunderland (3 times). I started another (the present) German layout, specifically for train shows. Guess what? I made new and different mistakes.

    I'm contemplating yet another layout build, correcting old mistakes and creating new ones. But I'm sticking with modern German/European passenger service.

    Have fun! Viel spaß!
    Thank you all.

    I think I have a better Idea....I know I want Chicago, thats for sure, and I want in some way to Incorporate the L into it..but I Can't decide on a date range or place in the City that I like yet.
    -Orion Field

    CEO of Out of The Box Models,
    UX Architect, Social Media Director of IPMS Syracuse. Oh yeah...train nut!

    Support us on Patreon!

    WANTED N scale:SP Harriman Commuter Cars,Chicago Northwestern ​Wheels of time Bilevel cars, Wheels of Time Caltrain bilevels

    Ask me about Custom Designed models!


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    @orionfield... I selected my area/scene based on the location of where I currently live and the desire to re-create (so to speak), the Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix railway just prior to its demise in the early 1960's.

    Something that might help with your decision on a date range would be to do some research on the kits (industries, businesses, etc.) and loco's/diesels that are currently available in N scale that were in the Chicago area.

    regards,
    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnE View Post
    @orionfield... I selected my area/scene based on the location of where I currently live and the desire to re-create (so to speak), the Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix railway just prior to its demise in the early 1960's.

    Something that might help with your decision on a date range would be to do some research on the kits (industries, businesses, etc.) and loco's/diesels that are currently available in N scale that were in the Chicago area.

    regards,
    John
    I think I am gonna do Chicago in the early 1970's to the mid 80's. Just need to find a specific part to model now, where I can have the L and some regular operations. As far as structures and models go, I own Out of the Box models, I can just have my company make what I need, so thats not an issue.
    -Orion Field

    CEO of Out of The Box Models,
    UX Architect, Social Media Director of IPMS Syracuse. Oh yeah...train nut!

    Support us on Patreon!

    WANTED N scale:SP Harriman Commuter Cars,Chicago Northwestern ​Wheels of time Bilevel cars, Wheels of Time Caltrain bilevels

    Ask me about Custom Designed models!


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    No matter how much planning you do, how many changes you make during that planning it'll change when the time comes to physically put it all down, and then will change during the build and after it again, even in small ways. How something looks on paper is one thing, how it will look in reality can sometimes be different, hence small or subtle changes.

    Because of that, and keep in mind my layouts are all fictional, non road name and non era specific, I start with an idea of how I would like my layouts to end up with the things I "really want", put those ideas thoughts on paper and then start the build, making changes as I go. The changes usually end up being due to having more room than the "paper plan" indicated or, on some occasions, a little less room than was anticipated. Changes are made because something somewhere doesn't look as good in reality as it did on the "paper plan". Basically, I use my "plans" as a guide.

    In your case you have decided on a layout that is "representative" of the Chicago area. You have also said there are some things that you'd like to have that pertain to one era and other things that apparently pertain to another. This is where compromise comes into play as well as compression. Unless you want to replicate an area 100% correctly, then you do have artistic or modelling licence.

    For instance, all of my architecture is 40's and 50's era, my main engines are modern but I also run steam. The architecture of the 50' is still around today bringing the 50's into 2018. Steam engines still run as excursion trains or dinner trains, again the 20's to 50's are brought into 2018 without looking out of place amidst 2000 on wards diesel engines. My point is you can "blend era's" together and make everything look natural and real.

    Pick the things that you like for the area you have chosen and blend them together without be restricted by trying to focus on one particular era and recreating that exactly.
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    @wombat457 Thanks for that! I think that will help me a lot moving forward I am currently working on a Givens and Druthers sheet, once I have that done, then I will start drawing out what I want to do.
    -Orion Field

    CEO of Out of The Box Models,
    UX Architect, Social Media Director of IPMS Syracuse. Oh yeah...train nut!

    Support us on Patreon!

    WANTED N scale:SP Harriman Commuter Cars,Chicago Northwestern ​Wheels of time Bilevel cars, Wheels of Time Caltrain bilevels

    Ask me about Custom Designed models!


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