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Scenery before Trackwork

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Scenery before Trackwork
Posted by NWP SWP on Thursday, November 09, 2017 2:18 PM

Has anyone ever done a scenery plan? What I mean is instead of planning the track plan the scenery first build it and then add track? I think it might give a more realistic look. It would only really work on small layouts bigger ones not so much. IIRC there was a MR article about a layout that had its scenery built first and then the track was laid. Any opinions on this?

Modeling the combined lines of the Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, and Northern Pacific after a fictional Depression Era merger forming the SouthWestern Pacific and NorthWestern Pacific Railroads. SP, WP, and NP operations remain independent but also operate alongside NWP and SWP equipment.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, November 09, 2017 3:41 PM

I didn't but after carefully looking at Rob Spanglers layout and how the track realistically travels through cuts and fills, I do plan on figuring that into the equation for a future layout.

On my last layout I built the track roadbed, laid track and then added scenery.  It looked decent, especially me being a noob, but then I did noticed the track didn't go through cuts and fills as real track or real roads wood.  So it is definitely good to imagineer the scenery - even if you still lay in the track sub road bed and track first.

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Posted by snjroy on Thursday, November 09, 2017 4:02 PM

I believe John Allen did that for at least some sections of the G&D. According to the book, he did have an idea of the track plan and left space for the track when building the scenery. But scenery was built first...

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Posted by NWP SWP on Thursday, November 09, 2017 4:14 PM

I agree, on my 'dream' layout I would definitely do that.

Modeling the combined lines of the Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, and Northern Pacific after a fictional Depression Era merger forming the SouthWestern Pacific and NorthWestern Pacific Railroads. SP, WP, and NP operations remain independent but also operate alongside NWP and SWP equipment.

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Thursday, November 09, 2017 6:17 PM

I am engineering the track plan, then designing the scenery to complement the track plan, then engineering the benchwork to meet the scenic and track plan requirements.  

Dont put the cart before the horse.  The iron horse that is.

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Posted by BATMAN on Thursday, November 09, 2017 6:24 PM

riogrande5761
I didn't but after carefully looking at Rob Spanglers layout and how the track realistically travels through cuts and fills, I do plan on figuring that into the equation for a future layout.

I was the same, cuts and fills are a vast improvement on my current layout as well as tiny little bridges. You don't see a whole lot of small bridges over creeks or gaps along a rocky cliff.

A cut on my layout.

 

 

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, November 09, 2017 6:57 PM

Linn Westcott did something like this, I think on his home layout, which of course ended up as an article in MR. 

The WS terrain system, such as used in their layout kits, is sort of scenery before track - you put the risers in, then cover with plaster cloth, then lay the roadbed and track.

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Posted by NWP SWP on Thursday, November 09, 2017 7:13 PM

Modeling the combined lines of the Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, and Northern Pacific after a fictional Depression Era merger forming the SouthWestern Pacific and NorthWestern Pacific Railroads. SP, WP, and NP operations remain independent but also operate alongside NWP and SWP equipment.

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Posted by angelob6660 on Thursday, November 09, 2017 8:02 PM

I thought the same way too. Believing adding scenery first and track second. Unfortunately it never left the planning stages. But it would be interesting neither the less.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, November 09, 2017 8:10 PM

It seems like a lot more work only to eventually reach the same destination. How about just mocking up the scenic profile first with thin paper mache and then figuring out the track.

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Wiring, switch machines, and subroadbed all seem like real chores if scenery is already in place.

.

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Posted by selector on Thursday, November 09, 2017 11:49 PM

Getting the scenery just right, and then trying to get your trackwork to fit seems backwards to me.  The most important element on a layout, unless I'm in a tiny minority who prefer the scenery and other parts of layout development to running trains, is the trackwork; without getting it darned close to perfect, the rest will be just a disappointment...if pretty to look at.

I think the sub-roadbed should come first.  It's a challenge all by itself.  It has to be even, with gentle changes to grades, including at places where ends of the sub-roadbed abut one another.  Next, the roadbed and tracks, and then confirming that they are laid well enough to run all your trains backwards and forwards at various speeds.  Once this task is achieved, you can then fashion the scenery as you need to, but with the all-important trackwork proven and functioning.

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, November 10, 2017 12:39 AM

NWP SWP
Has anyone ever done a scenery plan?

Plan? That's so boring, why not plan on being surprised at what turns out?Wink

Just keee-ding. Planning is worth some effort to pin down the big picture of whatyou're building and toavoid wishful thinking. This is especially important with grades and in determiing acceptable radii.

NWP SWP
What I mean is instead of planning the track plan the scenery first build it and then add track?

Even if you do concentrate on scenery first, you'd still be well-advised to make some accounting for grades and curves from the beginning unless you're blessed with unlimited space.

NWP SWP
I think it might give a more realistic look. It would only really work on small layouts bigger ones not so much.

It might. It vould also present problems that might cause the wise to start over.

However, I converted to a method that incorporates some of the better ideas of planning wth the opportunity and serendipity of leaving many of your final track location options open. When I built my Cascade Extension, I planned the main with enough care to account for radii and the grades I needed to get to the end of the line and laid subroaded for it as I went. Most other trackwork I left to to be determined later. This let me enjoy a long run right from the beginning, which also encouraged thinking about exactly what arrangements would serve me best at each station and industry.

And I roughed in the scenery as I went, leaving the track laying until later when my budget could catch up with my desires.

The trick to avoiding the mess of tearing things out repeatedly?

Make the scenery removable, essentially a series of pop-ups. This way I had both good scenery and scenery that I wasn't so committed to  I didn't want to tear it up. I might need to modify what I had to lay track, but what I did have was rarely a wasted effort. In some cases, I laid subroaded wide enough to accommodate several options. In others, I left a truly blank check in that regards, as it was easy enough to lift out the existing  scenery and modify it and the trackplan.                                                                                                               

Mike Lehman

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, November 10, 2017 10:37 AM

I want my trackwork to be perfect, so I do my best to build it on a flat surface, typically putting the roadbed directly on the pink foam to get the best possible surface for the track itself.  I put down all my track first and then run it for a while, in a few cases years, to make sure it's as perfect as it can be.  That also makes it easier to make changes where necessary.

In a few situations, I've ended up removing scenery to add track.  This is a lot more work and the track is more difficult to lay well.

I do, however, have a good idea of how I want the scenery to look before I lay the track, so the pink foam is in place with any gaps for bridges already planned out.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, November 10, 2017 10:31 PM

I didn't have a trackplan or scenery plan, and I also had a somewhat odd-shaped room with ten corners. 
I knew that I wanted an around-the-room style layout and, after some though, a partial second level. 

Working with open grid benchwork and curves of varying radii cut from 3/4" plywood, I layed out all of the curves needed, then simply connected them with straight-ish track.  As I worked, the scenery and scenes began to present themselves in my head.  I'm rather satisfied with those that have been completed, and have no reason to believe that the rest won't work out equally well.

As others have already mentioned, track and roadbed needs to be well-done if you're going to enjoy operating your layout, and that often involves good access to do this work.  Once the track is in, it needs to be put to use to determine if there are any problems and to see if it works, operationally, as intended.  Whatever problems may crop up during this stage of layout construction can be dealt with more easily if there's no scenery in the way.

Wayne

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Posted by NWP SWP on Friday, November 10, 2017 11:31 PM

So track should go before scenery always, thanks.

Modeling the combined lines of the Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, and Northern Pacific after a fictional Depression Era merger forming the SouthWestern Pacific and NorthWestern Pacific Railroads. SP, WP, and NP operations remain independent but also operate alongside NWP and SWP equipment.

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, November 11, 2017 3:53 PM

NWP SWP

So track should go before scenery always, thanks.

 

Sort of...

Subroadbed is technically part of scenery....so that part of scenery goes first. 

IMO...the track plan comes first (scenery is also an element of the track plan).   If you wanted to make sure you incorporate a specific scenic element, the track plan would need to account for that.  

I have gone down the path of designing the track plan then building it and trying to make the scenery make sense... I was not entirely happy with the results.  Design the track plan, leave space for the scenic details.  Dont short cut yourself on scenery.  

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Posted by kasskaboose on Sunday, November 12, 2017 9:43 PM

My layout had the track work before the scenery, but I didn't do the wiring until late.  Bad mistake!  I would suggest getting the trackwork flawless with running trains and then adding the scenery.  Part of the problem doing that is covering the tracks so none of the ground foam, etc. gets on the tracks. 

Next time, I plan on just running the trains before worrying about the scenery.  Of course, I'll mark off areas to add scenery or structures and adjust accordingly.

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Posted by Track fiddler on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 6:41 PM

BMMECNYC

 

 
NWP SWP

So track should go before scenery always, thanks.

 

 

 

Sort of...

Subroadbed is technically part of scenery....so that part of scenery goes first. 

IMO...the track plan comes first (scenery is also an element of the track plan).   If you wanted to make sure you incorporate a specific scenic element, the track plan would need to account for that.  

I have gone down the path of designing the track plan then building it and trying to make the scenery make sense... I was not entirely happy with the results.  Design the track plan, leave space for the scenic details.  Dont short cut yourself on scenery.  

 

Touche.    I must have missed this thread but as far as I'm concerned BMMECNYC  hit the nail right on the head here.

The quote above is exactly what I did.  I designed my track plan, scenery, buildings Etc. simultaneously.  I had to. I have too many elevations. Three levels on a 4x8 layout did not come over night.  

I did a full size layout plan on taped together poster board with both track and scenery in the planning for a year-and-a-half.  I changed it and started over 7 times before I was satisfied that I met and exceeded all the rules for a trouble-free smooth operating layout.  The rules I followed from Allen and Armstrong.

Even after that point,  I mocked up a 17" radius ( my minimum for N scale) on foam board and also an 18".  I took it to the Hobby Store to see what a challenger looked like on these two radiuses.

You got it.  It looked better on the 18.  So I changed my layout plan again for the 8th time.  I kept the plan basically the same except I reduced hidden radius to 16 to achieve 18 inch radius in view.  I finally started the build close to two years from the start of planning.

I'm sure everything will work just fine when I get to laying track, as It has to.  I followed and exceeded all the rules.  

I still refuse to lay any track until I'm far enough along.

When I was young all I did was play with my trains and never get any work done. The little kid in me will come out in this grandpa and I'll do the same darn thing.

Therefore I am doing scenery before laying track but the path is laid.

            Track Fiddler

 

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