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TEAMYAKIMA

What's more important to you? The scenery or the railway?

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No doubt this issue has been raised before, but what is your priority?  The scenery outside the railway fence or the railway itself?

 

For the record I think in my case the scenery is more important than the railway.

 

This came to me today when I realised that I don't care too much that I have 35 tank cars (some heavily weathered) which weren't first introduced until 2005 running on my layout which is set in 2004, but I do worry that most female HO Preiser figures come in dresses or skirts and so I spent 30 minutes or so per female figure carving off the shirt/dress and shaping the legs into trousers/jeans because that suits my period better.

 

Which way is it for you?  A railway with some scenery attached? Or a scene representing life as a whole which just happens to have a railway in it?

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Posted (edited)

I think that they are equally important. I wouldn't want really good scenery with poorly designed track or models of rolling stock which would never have run in the same time frame and/or the same place. Equally I wouldn't want a perfect representation of the railway with no scenery or something done hastily and badly. To me it is the overall picture which matters.

 

Whether I can achieve that is a different matter.

 

Robert

Edited by Robert Stokes
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At the moment it is the track because I have just started the model railway, later on it will probably change.

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Scenery, with appropriate stock as moving scenery.  I'm not interested in the intricacies of shunting which frankly I don't understand, but trains moving through prototypical scenery, in correct formations (as far as RTR availability allows) and, to borrow Hatton's phrase "prototypically literate" for the area in which my fictional location is set are my driving force.  Within that, I will be making sure the track is well laid and fit for purpose but no doubt others will see the layout as operationally "boring" because it most definitely won't include some twiddly little kettle faffing around in a yard shuffling wagons from one place to another and back again.

I construct a back-story regarding the place, the location and timetable scenarios to enable me to plan the layout, but I suppose that's the retired Town Planner in me, setting a strategic guidance before embarking on the development plan!

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I'm primarily interested in the hobby to operate trains.  I'm not saying that scenery isn't important, but to me it's the track layout and signalling that is most important, accompanied with prototypical trains operated in a realistic manner.  Once you step over the line-side fence, the purpose of the scenery (as far as I am concerned) is to present a pleasant backdrop that conveys the wider environment in which the railway operates and the people and businesses that it serves.

 

However, I can appreciate your need to change figures.  In my case, I bought a set of the Dapol figures, but these largely represent how people looked in the 1950's and I'm interested in the early 21st Century.  The biggest issue for me was that most of the plastic figures have hats, whereas people wearing hats are not that common today, so I have tried to remove the hat and make what was left look like a hairstyle.

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44 minutes ago, Dungrange said:

I can appreciate your need to change figures.  In my case, I bought a set of the Dapol figures, but these largely represent how people looked in the 1950's and I'm interested in the early 21st Century.  The biggest issue for me was that most of the plastic figures have hats, whereas people wearing hats are not that common today, so I have tried to remove the hat and make what was left look like a hairstyle.

 

We seem to model the same period although in my case HO and 'yes' hats is another issue with many Preiser figures as well as jackets and ties - people in the early 21st century don't normally go around in formal jackets and ties unless they are going to a business meeting and so the paint brush has to come out!  What I need is people in hoodies, people on mobile phones and passengers with over the shoulder bags or suitcases with wheels not old fashioned suitcases from the 1950's/60's.

 

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It's the reliable working engineering of the mechanisms and track before all else   That's what the prototype is and what you are actually modelling in scaled down working form anyway.  Any thing else and it's a static diorama.  The exteriors of the moving models are just cloaks of the mechanisms inside.

 

Don't think you are not doing engineering. Those who lay PECO or other manufacturers track and RTR models are just buying the engineering already done in modular form.

 

Andy

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Everything is important (to me).

 

Thinking of the Scalefour Society mantra 'Getting it all right' (as opposed to 'getting it, alright?'), I was discussing this with friends the other day. Really (for me, anyway), it's a case of 'getting as much of it right as I can, as much of the time as I can'.

 

Good looking trains moving through a poorly-executed landscape is almost as bad as unrealistic trains running through an exquisitely modelled landscape, but the one thing that never fails to turn me off or fails to float my boat, is poor running (I mean stalling and jerky locos). Unprototypical operation is also a bit of a turn-off, but (as a retired professional railway operations person), some of that you can explain away by 'special working' or 'local instructions'.

 

Edited by Captain Kernow
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Railway.  I like operating my trains . Yes its nice to have scenic backdrop and see the trains in context , but at the end of the day its changing routes, running round stock, running a train from one destination to another that floats my boat

 

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having a layout that does what you want comes first but then it is really only in its place when in the context of the setting with landscape, buildings, people, trees. Everything comes together to give the region, time period and atmosphere.

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It depends whether I'm watching or driving!

 

If I'm at an exhibition, then the scenery is the thing that really makes the difference. I like to see things moving, but I really want to see them moving in an appropriate, well-made and visually effective setting.

 

At home, though, I can have fun just setting up the test oval on a couple of boards and running trains round and round. While I am working on a "proper" shunting plank layout, that will be fully scenic, there are times when I just want a bit of mindless tail-chasing. And, until I can convert the loft and do a full-size scenic layout, a couple of bare boards with track on is the only way I can do that.

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Posted (edited)

For my present layout it is the railway. I have purposely built the baseboards up to the "railway fence". It is a fictitious layout set in Sheffield so anything outside the fence would have to be based on buildings in Sheffield which doesn't work on make believe layouts. Great on real locations as it helps set the scene. Also going back to my trainspotting days we hardly took any notice of what was happening in the back gardens the other side of the fence, we were not interested in what colour Mrs Smith's (not so) smalls were on the washing line, mind you on a sunny day when young Mrs Jones came out in her bikini.

 

Model figures are quite a problem, as noted how people dress has changed over the years. Action poses always look wrong to me, a train passing a PW gang where they are wielding pick axes and spades looks wrong. A PW gang standing back  as a train passes holding their tools looks a lot better. Two things that spoil many layouts are the passengers. First those sat on station benches with their feet swinging in the air, where are your feet as you sit reading this, on the floor. Second people evenly spaced along the platform, most the time there are very few passengers waiting for a train until just before it arrives and then they are mainly massed around the platform entrance slowly spreading along the platform. The exception to this is stations were there are a lot of commuters during the morning peak, they do tend to stand were they know there will be a seat on their regular train.

 

I fully agree with Tim (Captain Kernow) about the scenery and the railway both need to look right, despite my intention of not modelling the other side of the fence the railway scenery is equally important as the right loco in the right livery.

 

Edit...Forgot to say I am lucky I have learnt to make my own figures so hopefully they will be dressed appropriately for the period I model and in poses that look natural for their surroundings. .

 

Edited by Clive Mortimore

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The locomotives and rolling stock. The rest is a background to run trains through.

 

However I do appreciate good quality scenic modelling, just that it isn't something I'm particularly interested in with my personal modelling.

 

It's getting the balance right that's important. Especially if your efforts are going to be on show.

 

 

 

Jason

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Everyone should plough the furrow they want so I wouldn't criticise anyone for not thinking the same as me and I don't consider myself to be a more serious modeller than anyone else. If a fellow enthusiast gets satisfaction from running trains on a bare baseboard that is fine by me and I see what they are doing as being just as valid as what I am attempting to do. 

 

 

For me though it is the whole scene that is important. I like a reasonably accurate train to run through a carefully thought out landscape. I always build open baseboards with land height going both below and above track level. This really helps to give the feel that the railway was built through a landscape that was already there. It's a shame (in my view) that so many layouts are still built by laying track on a flat board and then building scenery around it. That never looks right to me but on the other hand I am quite happy with Peco track. I have built my own many years ago but it isn't something I like so I don't do it.

 

I like the train itself to be a reasonably correct formation although  scale length trains can look too long on smaller layouts. So sometimes it's about looking right rather than being 100% to prototype.  I also like stock to look like it is in use so everything has a light weathering; I could not bear to run anything straight out the box ( unless already weathered). Stock out of the box just looks too "plastiky".

 

The other thing I like to do is model a representation of a real railway location. I find this to be an interesting challenge. I spend as much time investigating the place and it's history as I do building it. The frustration of doing this is that you never have as much space as you need. The satisfaction is ending up with something which is a reasonable representation for my eyes.

 

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Operation, as close as I can to the 1955 Rule Book and at realistic speeds, is by far the most important factor as far as Johnster is concerned, but he tries to ensure that the locos and stock are as realistic as possible and represent types and numbers appropriate to his period and locality.  All the (RTR but worked up) locos are correctly numbered for Tondu in the 1948-58 period, and a good number of coaches are as well; some of these are kits.  

 

The purpose of scenery, however, is not just to present a pleasant backdrop to the layout, but also to evoke the topography and geology of the Mid-Glamorgan uplands and the deep, steep, valleys that penetrate them.  The rock outcrops are painted to emulate the correct Pennant Sandstone dipping southwards at the correct sort of angle, and the scenic treatment, an ongoing project, is sensitive to the 'Valleys look'.  The backdrop is actually a series of scenic mats sloping steeply upwards to suggest what is in reality a precipitous 70 degree slope rearing some 1,600 feet above the valley floor.  

 

As important as scenery is lighting, and I haven't found the perfect solution to this yet.  I have 3 anglepoise led lamps lighting the layout, capable of 3 level settings and cold, warm, and mixed lighting temperature; they were obtained from the now defunct Maplins for £25 each, but a proper lighting rig is needed.  The layout is not intended to ever be shown, and there is no urgency for this, but things will happen bit by bit over time.  Onwards and upwards!

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Both have importance, but I've come to recognise that I'm happy to pare track back to achieve a more spacious look to my layouts. I feel that they both look better for this (and counter-intuitively) offer more operational interest as you have to plan moves more carefully which adds to the absorption in the task at hand.

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My main interest is in building and detailing rolling stock, which I aim to do to what I consider to be a reasonable standard.  Having achieved that standard, I like the track and scenery to be of a similar standard so there is consistency to the whole scene.  Would agree with the point made above about the importance of presentation (particularly lighting).

 

So to sum up, while one specific aspect of the railway is arguably the most important, I want to be able view that as part of a believable overall scene.

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With me, it varies from project to project. With my Discworld layout, the trains themselves are just an excuse for the crazy city around them. But with my Port of London stuff, the trains and the railway are as important as the scene they run through. I guess what I'm usually trying to do is recreate a picture in my head, which I must admit means that I often compromise on railway realism. For example, there are a lot of elements of the Docklands railways I'd like to include on my layout that would never have been seen together, but I want to create that picture.

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To me, it has to be smooth and reliable running. Is there nothing more frustrating than a loco (or its train) derailing or stuttering along? It could be your best hand-built (or latest bought RTR) loco, it matters not, if it falls over or stalls. Get the track right, then everything should follow.

 

In respect of the original question, I expect the answer would be if the detail is right, then the rest should be. Inside or outside the boundary? Horses for courses and each to his own in how much or how little scenery should be added outside the railway boundary.

 

On a personal note, I do find unballasted track a little - er - naked.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

 

 

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When Penhayle Bay was in its prime I had a visitor describe it as "34 metres of remarkable scenery through which trains happen to run".  I have always felt that the scene is at least an equal part not least because the scene came first - railways are among the most recent features in our landscape.  

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As I am into tinplate, scenery is a moot point but I do have what might be called basic scenery appropriate for toy trains and together it goes well!

    Brian.

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Scenery is key to me. It lets me dream of the reality and really puts the trains into context. 

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On ‎08‎/‎01‎/‎2020 at 13:35, TEAMYAKIMA said:

...For the record I think in my case the scenery is more important than the railway...

Would you bother to build a diorama of a scene, if there was no railway? I have not a clue what the relative popularity of diorama purely for itself might be, compared to railway modelling, but believe it to be pretty small.

 

 

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In answer to the question: yes.

 

By which I mean that it depends what I’m ‘into’ at the time.

 

For c20 years I built layouts in 009 then H0 that were quite ‘scenery heavy’, then got into very tiny diorama-style layouts in 0n14, where scenic detail was down to rusty bucket and blade of grass, then c10 years of 45mm gauge in the garden, where the scenery was the garden, and for nearly ten years now old-fashioned 0, where operation is the king and the only non-railway thing will be a long back-scene, when I get round to painting it.

 

Of course, what this all results in is becoming a jack of all trades, and master of none, but suits a person who likes the ‘discovery phase’ that goes with new projects.

 

One opinion I have formed is that ‘scenic setting’ has to be done really, really well to be even half convincing, which takes vast amounts of time, skill and patience. If done “not very well, but trying to be” it can let a layout down, by contrasting too much with, for instance, the astonishing finesse of modern r-t-r 00 rolling stock ....... I’d say that only 1:25 modellers can match their scenic standards to what Hornby, Bachmann etc bring to market.

 

If you look at Railway Modeller this month, there are two radically contrasting layouts, which I think both work: super-realism in the form of Semley; and, the rather ‘furry’ little layout made using all sorts of things found cheap or surplus called Deeply Vale. Each builder has applied the same approach to railway and surroundings, so things ‘hang together’, and they both quite clearly get a buzz from it.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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On ‎11‎/‎01‎/‎2020 at 13:11, Nearholmer said:

 

If you look at Railway Modeller this month, there are two radically contrasting layouts, which I think both work: super-realism in the form of Semley; and, the rather ‘furry’ little layout made using all sorts of things found cheap or surplus called Deeply Vale. Each builder has applied the same approach to railway and surroundings, so things ‘hang together’, and they both quite clearly get a buzz from it.

 

 

I agree with this. Consistency across the board gives a better result, IMO, than a layout that does one aspect really well and then falls down on another. It's like how an Impressionist painting feels real despite a lack of detail, but would look weird if one aspect was photorealistic. There are a lot of older layouts that really impress me, even though they are outclassed by more modern offerings, because I like the modeller's style.

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