A little out of hand?

I’m finding that I really enjoy working with these full-size mockups. During a period where my hands are restless for a model to work on, this is something I can quickly dive into and satisfy that urge. It’s work with value that is helping me better understand my relationship with my space and will prove invaluable as I try to settle my mind on decisions that will guide changes to the composition of the layout. For a couple dollar’s worth of foamcore and hot glue, this work is proving to be money and time I consider well invested.

Shown above is the latest and, by far, the grandest. I have increased the opening in the front of the layout to eight inches. The structure below the track currently occupies a vertical space of four inches. Though not installed, I see the top frame set at two inches high. This sums to a fourteen inch high model that is about nine inches deep. I like the overall volume and I have something here that I can easily modify to tailor changes (for example: Is there enough room for the scenic elements in front of or behind the track?)

Keeping in the spirit of screwing around, I thought I’d try creating a variation on spline roadbed based on the 3/16″ thick foamcore I’ve been using throughout these projects. It’s surprisingly rigid and I’m impressed.

Foamcore, hot glue; thirty inches long, nine inches deep, fourteen inches tall; based on 1/87 scale models;

Categories: How I think

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6 replies

  1. What an amazing looking mockup! I’d have to display that, even if it never wound up being a railroad, just the thought process you’ve put into the design of the “test” is fascinating!

    • I have this feeling that I’ll develop this mockup in tandem with the layout. Practising the idea here and then more formally in place once I’ve established a means of how not to do it.

      I’m trying to overcome a fail point on most layouts I build by planning the entire scene in more depth; more than I feel comfortable doing in plan view on paper.

      Thank you for the compliment.


  2. i’m intrigued by the possibility of using the foam core as spline roadbed. Are you planning to test further to see if it is practical?

    • I hadn’t thought of it much myself until I got a bit carried away…

      The two sections I assembled are 30″ in length and are assembled using strips cut 2″ high. Both are curved.

      I didn’t want to force the foamcore around a curve so scored it at about 4″ intervals – just enough to break through one paper skin and preserving the opposite face intact. To curve, that uncut face follows the inside radius of the curve.

      Since my purpose was just to create something for my massing model, I only tacked the sections together with hot glue. Given the hasty assembly, I’m actually quite impressed with how rigid both sections turned out to be. I’m tempted to try another section assembled with a bit more care to test how practical this might be for actual roadbed.

      All in all, foamcore-based spline is certainly something I didn’t think about until I made up these first sections. Now I’m keen to test options for its use.


  3. I think you’re about to cross the line from mockup into layout construction.

    In programming, I’ve always felt that the investment level for a prototype was about two weeks. Anything more, and we’re going to be reluctant to throw away the prototype. I wonder what it is in model railroading…

    • With these mockups I’m trying to attack a point in development where I feel I’m stalling each time. Indeed, with the work that I’ve shared here and the mockups that never found a camera behind me I’ve never been closer to not only starting but actually having something worth executing and moving to Prod.

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