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TimWay4

Something to think about

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TimWay4

This weekend there was an N gauge show a few hours from where I live (The International N Gauge show) and one of the stalls was selling this. It's a metal flight case with a small layout in it. In it's current guise it's a very generic scenic layout that I intend to keep to show people what it used to look like, mostly because it has attended three shows at least and if asked I'd like to be able to say I still have the original board. 

 

Going forward however I'm thinking of possibly making a couple of different boards up that I can take to places, I like the idea of attending shows, but I rely on public transport so being able to put a board in the case and carry it to the show is a big appeal to me. The first board is looking like it's going to be a Yamanote Line station with a small loop of track and a B-train shorty that runs around.

 

I'm also considering seeing if i can do something with Tomix buses and maybe a couple of other things. For those interested this set me back the sum of £100/US$130/AU$161/14,000 yen (depending on your currency of choice) 

layoutcase.jpg

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cteno4

Tim,

 

careful shows can get addictive! They are fun and I have found most folks really interested and appreciative of you taking the time to show them stuff, especially when it's something different like Japanese trains. Btrains shorties also lend themselves well to doing compressed scene show layouts like this. 

 

 

http://japanrailmodelers.org/pages/modelingjapan/btrainshorty-pt1.html

 

you might think about a little sectional layout and use foamcore or ultraboard (styrene instead of paper faced foamcore) to make very light and thin bases for like 4-6 modules. The bases only need to be like 1" high for rigidity and space for wires and such (you do need to add cross bracing like every 6" to mKe it nice and rigid). Foam core glues well with hot glue or good old pva glue and cuts well wirh a matte knife and straight edge, so no woodwork needed, just practice cutting and some engineering of the pieces, but you can easily and cheaply practice till you get to something that works for you. You can face the visible edges with wood veneer tape that just has stickum on the back side and oil the wood, they will look like nice hard wood bases but weigh nothing!

 

Then make a carrying case out of foamcore or ultraboard and you can stack the modules in to have basically a suitcase you could easily carry. Just glue some runners on the insides of the side pieces that will support the modules to slide in one open end. The open end can then have a cover panel held in place by some Velcro patches or straps. Make the top and bottom like 8mm ply and put a carrying handle on it and a sturdy base to handle being put down on uneven or rough surfaces while on public transport.

 

make any taller scenery removable so it can either be packed sideways on top of parts of the modules that can take it. If you get cleaver you could have most all scenery above an inch come off and just pack into a single drawer module and you could maybe pack in 8 or so modules and a drawer into a case like 24" high and like 13"x13" footprint. This would expand into a 2'x4' layout. With smaller radius curves you can so a lot in that area. Hardest thing is having the track plan break at the proper places for the sectional track and module sizes.

 

folks have also made show layouts like this in a folding or snap together 2 sections like 2'x3' that have a frame the two halves pop into face to face (again taller scenery is removable and packed in between if possible or in a small separate box) to make a carrying case like a portfolio like 4-6" thick with an handle on the long side.

 

other idea is just take track and put down a sheet of brown or green fabric ona table and set up track on the fly and plop down buildings and some scenery buts (make small scenery islands like they do in wargamming.

 

http://japanrailmodelers.org/pages/modelingjapan/tempoary.html

 

These could pack in 3-4 plastic containers and bungee cord to a small luggage carrier. Our club got started this way, but we started a bit larger in scale and it was a lot of work to set up and tear down and a lot of pieces to keep track of! But on a small scale it's very doable by one person. The great thing about this approach is you can start small and grow and change the track plan if you get bored with it! Scenery is done a bit more on the "perceived" side, but it's amazing how little can end up going a long way! Start with a table cover of brown earth color the. Glue on patches of gray or black for roads, green for grass or ground cover, etc. Also great way to show folks how they really don't need to start building a layout to get into the hobby, you can start with sectional track and some bits of scenery and building and have something fun and easy to make and a great way to slowly build up skills and not tackle too much at the get go that kills so many beginning modelers on the hobby.

 

http://japanrailmodelers.org/pages/layout/layout.1.0.html

 

jeff

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TimWay4

Hey Jeff,

 

Yeah I took a small setup to the open day for my local MRC and actually really enjoyed it. I'm not sure I'd ever make something big to take as I like small setup and tear down times which is why i bought this, basically open it up, put a train on it and let it go :)

 

I've seen nickhp's layout before and I love it, so much in such a small space, it looks fantastic. 

 

I think my plan is to make several small but very different boards to put in the case, it's handy because of the way it is setup, it has bracing built into the case, due to originally being a flight case it still has a couple of the dividers left in it which provide bracing for the board without having to put any on the board itself. 

 

I had thought about tall scenery and realized that anything over a couple of inches will need to be removed for travelling, so everything i buy will need measured to make sure that if it is too tall i have space under the board to store it. I think as far as track plan goes, i won't have anything too complicated, I think the Kato CV1 will just fit on a board that is the right size for the case, other boards I'm considering should be easier as I may make a T-gauge and/or Z-gauge board, but again for simplicity sake, they are likely to only be ovals. 

 

Thanks for the advice, it is nice to hear and has made me think about a few things for when my skill level and confidence has increased. 

 

Tim 

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cteno4

Tim,

 

hey thats great! Kudos to you for doing that! It really is fun and addicting. You have the right thoughts, try to keep it so it's not a huge amount of trouble for you to do and it will stay fun and not become a chore. Once it becomes a chore it's no fun! It's the main thing our club has discovered in the last 13+ years of doing shows is make things as easy as you can to prepare, transport, setup, teardown and store. All of these things can be points where you can get stuck and worth thought on each to streamline things as much as possible. It is a balance of trade offs of course and you won't get it right the first time, but just remember to keep evolving and don't let a mistake stop the whole process as with some thought and work you can make it better. We are on our third big show layout now and all those mistakes and ideas have been honed down to try to make it as easy as possible to store, transport and setup/tear down the layout and at the same time get as much of the layout features we want. It's still a struggle and even during constructuon here on this one we are still finding new ideas!

 

take a look at Barry lovel's article on scenery patches, may help thinking with taller scenery. He packs away scenery very compactly for storage but still fast to put out.

http://japanrailmodelers.org/pages/modelingjapan/tempoary.html

 

also these little rare earth magnets are great to use to hold buildings and scenery bits, and even track, in place but easy to pop them off. You just glue one to the base of your item and when dry pop another magnet on them and a drop of glue and place where you want it, and once dry you can just pop them on and off. 2 or 3 hold a structure quite well.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/100pcs-2-X-1mm-Tiny-Disc-Rare-Earth-Neodymium-N35-Permanent-round-Strong-Magnets-/282314215585?epid=692789128&hash=item41bb3d10a1:g:PcMAAOSw-0xYgBSZ

 

play and experiment. Try some easy things first like you have and build up ideas, skills and experience before investing huge amounts of time and money. 

 

Small mosules that can easily breakdown into s storage/transport case sounds like it's fitting your needs and wants the best.

 

It really is worth it as it's great fun to see the joy in folks (especially the kids) eyes when they see interesting things and talk with them, I most like encouraging folks to give it a try themselves and talking about hobbies with others as it's a bit of a dying thing in our current culture and it's my shot back at that to the world. It's also nice to hear folks appreciating your work, I've had some of the greatest interactions with folks at shows that were not in praise of the layout but at the genuine, heartfelt appreciation of us taking our own time to bring the layout out for them to see and enjoy, and that's priceless!

 

cheers

 

jeff

 

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TimWay4

Hey Jeff,

 

That's my thoughts exactly,  It needs to stay fun for me or why bother doing it. I would love to get to the point where I have a big size Japanese layout to take to a show, however my local MRC mostly builds big British based layouts to take and run, which are fun to operate, but I have fallen in love with Japanese trains and would much prefer to take those instead. One day when me and my partner have a big place, maybe the dream of an exhibition Japanese layout can be realized until then, small layouts are king :) 

 

I've looked at Barry's article before and thought it was a fantastic idea, it's something I will definitely look into as it definitely fits with my layout's philosophy.

 

I had forgotten all about rare earth magnets, that is a fantastic idea as they are relatively cheap to get hold of and would definitely help with the setup and tear down speed. I will definitely play and experiment :) 

 

I had great fun at the open day running my Tomix Thomas stuff, it was great seeing the kids look at and enjoy it as they don't usually get to see such a small version. They really enjoyed it and I know a couple convinced their parents to come back on more than one occasion, as well as that I had a small visitor who was very keen to understand how a layout worked, so i showed her the controller and talked her through what I was going to do and what that would make happen on the layout, one of her accompanying adults thanked me for taking the time to do it in a way she felt the little girl understood, without making her feel silly, which was very nice to hear. 

So far I have plans in my head for a b-train board and a Thomas board, both are likely to be ovals and share some scenery. I'll likely end up cutting wood so my partner can have a T-gauge board and a Z-Gauge board

 

Tim

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cteno4

Tim,

 

thats great, having an interaction like that is what makes it all worth it and is something that does not happen our current culture a lot these days sadly, but it's easy to do and you will find the human part of all of us screaming for it and folks lock onto it right away and are very appreciative! Kids especially are sponges for this kind of how it works stuff and it's amazing to see them grok it and that lightbulb go off. Also adults will sometimes patronize kids in those situations not realizing how well they can grok things if you just take the time with them to go thru it,

 

Play and wxperiment and figure out what works best for you, we all have lots of suggestions and advice on the way we do it, but it boils down to the way you like and need to do it in the end!

 

just grow with it. Btrains are a great starting point as they are small and can use right curves and points in a very small space. Also let's you compress the scenery as well and the minds eye will accept it. Keep the straight side on views to the minimum and they will look longer to the minds eye.

 

being different than the rest of the display layouts is to your advantage! Folks like the exotic and variety. You also show there are more than one way to do the hobby which is important as many folks not in the hobby I've talked with at shows had the impression from going to a few shows there were only certain specific ways that were "acceptable" to do the hobby, always love shattering that myth! Also Japanese trains look so cool and different than what folks are use to, gets them excited and they always say are these sci-fi? Again great to say no they've been running sometimes for decades in japan. The sheer variety also excites many that want/need that to get the critical mass of interest to get into the hobby.

 

great your partner is getting into it and the T and Z gauge will show whole other dimensions and directions you can go with the hobby!

 

have a btrain partically assembled there and the parts to show folks how fun and easy they are to clip together! 

 

Best of luck with it, keep us posted it's really fun to see you getting into this and keep having fun!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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TimWay4

Hey Jeff,

 

Yeah that's what her accompanying adult said, she finds that older operators can be a bit patronizing and sometimes frustrated with trying to explain how things work, I just figured if they have asked questions to start with, if they don't understand, then they will just ask more questions :) 

 

I like to have something that is different, at the end of the day I live in the UK and unsurprisingly most of the layouts you see are British steam or British modern image, and while there is nothing wrong with that it would be nice to have something different.  It's funny seeing people react to my trains, I get a lot of jokes and joking comments about how weird of terrible they look at my MRC, but as I pointed out, they all stand round the test track and watch and look at the detail for far longer than they do when the track is full of british steam/diesels.

 

She is, I think she prefers the T-gauge as it is so small and that makes it easier for her to make a layout and work on it.

 

I think i will do that Idea with the BTrain and have one partially assembled and one on it's sprues 

 

to sign off with, a  little bit of progress news: Last night a gentleman from my MRC provided me with a board that I just need to trim down to the right size and then I can get started on it ^_^

 

Tim

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cteno4

Tim,

 

folks of all ages do that with kids. I guess I never really grew up so it's easy for me to think like they do and try to not patronize them but also challenge them as well as they like to reach for the high fruit naturally. They actually don't get as upset if they don't get it and if you are there with them to give them a little boost on another attempt they usually quickly do it!

 

the same is true here in the US and why many of us in the club do Japanese trains. Those that make fun here also tend to stop and stare longer than they do with all the us stuff, so it's a way to brush off their jibes, knowing you have maybe quietly pried open their closed minds a little bit. Actually more fun some times than the wild enthusiasm of kids or non modelers.

 

you can pack loads in with T. Really amazing. Also papercraft building work great in T scale as surface detail relief would be so tiny it's better to print it anyway. Lots of free pdfs out there that can do some good sized building in T that would be tedious in N to do the detail which you can see and starts to look a little funny printed on. Pm me if you want some of these free ones.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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