It’s fun to daydream future model railways that explore ideas that are as real as the spaces for them are not. Whether or not on top of a bookcase, as my current layout is, or on its own set of legs everything I have ever built has been placed on trestle legs framed like a series of traditional free-standing tables. I find that my style of trestle framing closes in the room and I don’t like that. Even though the walls aren’t closer the new vertical plane created by the line of the fascia now changes the definition of the room from its original size, measured to the finished face of the walls, to the shape of the remaining aisle space. Not only does this plane reduce the physical size of the room but it also creates a visual mass that feels greater, to me at least, than the purpose of the structure (the model railway itself). Too often, the room feels like that purgatory in the basement where all the unpacked boxes will live out their secret eternity.
So I’ve been playing around with an idea to remove the from leg of the layout and instead build an artificial stud wall “backbone” or “spine” and hang the layout from it on cantilevered shelves.
- floating shelves screwed into this new thin wall aren’t damaging the face of the actual wall in the room making it easier to restore the space if plans change
- this thin spin doesn’t need to follow the line of the walls and can easily flow in a more natural form since it can be easily framed with flexible materials
Based on a set of plates that can be made up from plywood and then using regular studding this wall can be very flexible in form. Initially just to flow around corners and avoid right angles but every time this line wanders away from the face of the wall this fluid form adds stability without additional mass.
- like the wandering stream if this wall flows occasionally away from the perimeter of the room it’ll change movement in the space inviting us to collect in some places or move through others
- aisle design for model railways is usually just considered in terms of girth but this could be a place for discussion on how we modulate travel within the space
Space within the cavity of the wall needn’t be wasted either. I can see framing this wall in a series of panels not unlike the office cubicle walls. This way, if the layout’s form needs to change we can edit the set of frames easily to reduce waste. Plus that space within the cavity of the wall can be used to run wiring or even something as luxurious as air lines for local airbrushing ports along the railway.
- there’s still space above and below the wall for shelving
- new LED strip lighting is so easy to use that a line of this should be installed in the underside of the lowest shelf for some very soft ambient lighting that deletes that cave under the layout and reminds of the true dimensions of the room
The idea is only starting to form in my mind and I’m between meetings and just wanted to, very quickly, scratch out some very rough notes here to remind Future Chris of this idea and the need to return to it.