In proposing the sketch of the grain elevator layout I found something that I am still really amused by. Something that presented both the layout and the fascia on an almost level field where one was just as interesting to look at as the other: the layout filled with rich visual textures and details begging to be explored yet also providing a source of backlighting for the shadow play arranged by those silhouettes in front. Those sketches and then the mockups that followed also provided me with a chance to explore vertical dimensions like how much height was required by the scene.
What if the borders were tightened to provide just enough room to look across a freight car’s roof or to peer underneath? While I didn’t have a place in mind when I sketched that out, those close quarters felt urban. Urban things like people on a crowded sidewalk or the way a train must snake its way between buildings on its trip to work from home.
What if we cut into the fascia in sections? We might not even arrange each opening in the same orientation or on same elevation or plane. In the above sketch:
- A is cut open large enough to provide a full side elevation. Rail cars parked by factories. The scene is shallow and its horizontal bias plays on the length of the scene and excuses the height completely.
- B is the alley. Vertical. It’s taller than A but very narrow. Like seeing a train crossing the street downtown we see it moving between the buildings and that extra height provides a view deeper into the scene.
- C is cut open, wrapping around the corner.
Initially, I thought this was really neat for the way it played with the scene but, looking at the sketch, I also like the way it plays with definition of the sides and ends of the box itself. A and B are a presentation that might feel more passive as we watch something moving against something else but C, that view from the side and end simultaneously, is a terminal space from things arrive, leave, or rest.
In traditional model railway layout design we must provide white space to communicate distance or frame each element. In this concept, that white space isn’t required and we could quite radically tighten up the overall footprint of the layout. Furthermore, since we are more actively managing the view of the scene, we focus our work on modelling only what is required to complete the scene from that one perspective.
As a concept, it’s something that feels like it works as a static display or an exhibition layout and perhaps less well as a traditional model railroad. I may mock this up but don’t believe I have any interest in taking this much further than that. I’ve been trying to invest more time
Categories: How I think