Jump to content

Please use M,M&M only for topics that do not fit within other forum areas. All topics posted here await admin team approval to ensure they don't belong elsewhere.

Recommended Posts

Having been to many exhibitions over many years, both as a visitor and as an exhibitor, it seems to me that the smaller cameo layout never gets a look in when it comes to the awards at the end of the weekend.  I appreciate that many layouts win 'Best in Show' are chosen principally by the general public with their greater majority of votes, and not by modellers.  While the bigger layout, with their many operators, can be crowd pleasers, for me much of the more serious modelling skills are to be seen in the cameo layouts - which are often to a much higher modelling standard - and operating standard - than the big boys.

 

How do we ensure these smaller gems are not overlooked when the votes are counted?  (AM)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps two categories of award - one for layouts over a certain size, and one for those under that size. Of course the dividing line would have to be related to the scale being modelled - say, 8 square feet for 00, 2 square feet for N and 20 square feet for O gauge.

 

Robert.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recall seeing a phrase along the lines of "A good big one will always beat a good little one".

 

If you have two layouts of equal quality, the bigger one will probably have more locos and stock to admire, more track, signals, buildings and scenic work and generally more modelling. They are a greater spectacle to the viewers and anything that has lots of trains whizzing about always does well in a public vote.

 

I quite like the idea used, I think, at Wigan show where other exhibitors rate their top 3 layouts in the show.

 

In many respects I have mixed feelings about trophies at shows. I have been asked to be a judge a few times and I always feel that you can only please one layout and leave many others disappointed which is not a good ratio! Some people have been known to be quite upset when they don't win but feel that their entry was better than the one which wins.

 

 

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect that a lot of it is the simple fact that bigger layouts take a lot more work to create and maintain, and that additional effort is (rightly) rewarded by the voting public. But I do wonder whether it would be worth having separate categories for awards, at least at the larger shows, with small layouts being one of the categories.

 

By "small", I don't just mean micro-layouts or cameo layouts, but the type of thing that's within the reach of a solo modeller in a normal size house without a dedicated railway room - that is, a "bookshelf" type shunting plank or something that can be erected on the kitchen table for a running session. My guess is that that's what most of us are building, and it would be good to see exceptional examples of them being rewarded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I gave up the desire to build and own a large layout many years ago, because I realised that they are paradoxically dull to operate.  I like to operate trains much more than I like to watch them running through landscapes or complex track plans; carrying out realistic sequences of movements where I can replicate the actions of drivers, signalmen, shunters, guards, and Control is my ‘bag, man’, along with making up or breaking down goods or parcels trains. 
 

If you take Pete Waterman’s Leamington Spa as an example of the sort of dream layout many of us would build if we had the resources, it would not do for me.  This is not to criticise Pete or his vision; it’s a wonderful layout.  But it fails to tick a good few of my dream layout boxes.  I need a layout on which I can operate a feasible working timetable in real time on my own, meaning that depending on others to turn up and help me is a no go.  To achieve the full operating potential of Leamington, up and down GW and LNW mains, yard shunting, station pilots, all running at the same time probably needs nearly as many drivers and signalmen as the real late 50s Leamington did, never mind the maintenance regime!

 

I require an instantly accessible layout situated inside the heated and ventilated area of my home, that I can operate myself and manage the stock and layout maintenance myself as well, bearing in mind that this is a hobby and should not dominate my life to an extent that becomes onerous.  I am limited by the available space and my income anyway of course.  
 

I’d love a bigger layout in the sense having more space, but tbh I doubt that I would extend the existing BLT trackplan much more than lengthening, enabling longer mineral trains to be handled.  I occasionally think about including colliery exchange sidings, but I’m not sure it wouldn’t be pushing the envelope of working the branch timetable in real time more than I want.  I could, given space, extend to a good length of plain line scenic section between the station throat and the scenic break.  
 

Is bigger more?  I’m reasonably content with the size I’ve got and get an enormous amount of pleasure and satisfaction from it; by and large it fulfils my needs in 14’ of length and 18” of width, including fiddle yard.  
 

But I can only speak for myself, and so can you!

 

Edited by The Johnster
  • Like 5
  • Friendly/supportive 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

I gave up the desire to build and own a large layout many years ago, because I realised that they are paradoxically dull to operate.  I like to operate trains much more than I like to watch them running through landscapes or complex track plans; carrying out realistic sequences of movements where I can replicate the actions of drivers, signalmen, shunters, guards, and Control is my ‘bag, man’, along with making up or breaking down goods or parcels trains.

 

I'd love the space for a lengthy "train in a landscape" layout, and if I ever get round to converting the loft that's what I'll put there.  Unlike you, I do like a layout where I can just watch the trains go by, but, like you, I don't particularly fancy a big, complex track plan. Some of the multi-level, wraparound loft layouts that feature in the model press have little attraction for me, they're too overcrowded for my tastes.

 

What I'm building at the moment is a fairly simple shunting plank, 2,700mm by 400mm including traverser (approximately 8'10" by 16"), which fits almost exactly along the short wall of my study (there's about half an inch leeway either end) and sits on top of a set of shelving units. The idea is that if I do get the loft converted, the traverser can be replaced by a spur into a junction on the main oval or, alternatively, just have a longer section of plain track before the break.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The wife seems to think so, but when I ask her to elaborate on this she just sniggers and changes the subject. I can only conclude she doesn’t wish to hurt my feelings, but infact prefers a large mainline layout to my current 6ft depot.

 

In all seriousness I think there’s another question within this, does added size really need more track, trains, and activity?

 

I wish I had a better memory of the layout, but I recall seeing one in the late 90s at an exhibition (can’t even recall which one! South B/ham area somewhere to be unbearably vague), the layout must have been 20ft+ in length, yet featured just a modest branch line through station, a single set of running lines and a token small siding, the rest was just scenery, and nothing extravagant either, just a very well modelled cutting carving through some countryside.

 

What an absolutely mesmerising viewing it was too. I could have spent an entire day admiring this stunning layout. A perfect depiction of just an ordinary reality somewhere. There was something exceptionally special about it being precisely nothing special.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 28/01/2020 at 15:14, The Johnster said:

I gave up the desire to build and own a large layout many years ago, because I realised that they are paradoxically dull to operate.  I like to operate trains much more than I like to watch them running through landscapes or complex track plans; carrying out realistic sequences of movements where I can replicate the actions of drivers, signalmen, shunters, guards, and Control is my ‘bag, man’, along with making up or breaking down goods or parcels trains. 
 

If you take Pete Waterman’s Leamington Spa as an example of the sort of dream layout many of us would build if we had the resources, it would not do for me.  This is not to criticise Pete or his vision; it’s a wonderful layout.  But it fails to tick a good few of my dream layout boxes.  I need a layout on which I can operate a feasible working timetable in real time on my own, meaning that depending on others to turn up and help me is a no go.  To achieve the full operating potential of Leamington, up and down GW and LNW mains, yard shunting, station pilots, all running at the same time probably needs nearly as many drivers and signalmen as the real late 50s Leamington did, never mind the maintenance regime!

 

I require an instantly accessible layout situated inside the heated and ventilated area of my home, that I can operate myself and manage the stock and layout maintenance myself as well, bearing in mind that this is a hobby and should not dominate my life to an extent that becomes onerous.  I am limited by the available space and my income anyway of course.  
 

I’d love a bigger layout in the sense having more space, but tbh I doubt that I would extend the existing BLT trackplan much more than lengthening, enabling longer mineral trains to be handled.  I occasionally think about including colliery exchange sidings, but I’m not sure it wouldn’t be pushing the envelope of working the branch timetable in real time more than I want.  I could, given space, extend to a good length of plain line scenic section between the station throat and the scenic break.  
 

Is bigger more?  I’m reasonably content with the size I’ve got and get an enormous amount of pleasure and satisfaction from it; by and large it fulfils my needs in 14’ of length and 18” of width, including fiddle yard.  
 

But I can only speak for myself, and so can you!

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by tomparryharry
Post deleted:- Not helpful

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've built small layouts and a few big ones and to be honest I think that each would need to be judged on its own merits rather than in comparison to others. One of my smallest layouts won a pot at a local show, in fact it was the smallest there, but this was judged by an individual so not being a crowd pleaser didn't enter the equation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too difficult to manage. Compare to art. Is the Moany Lisa (small, dull) better than 'The Night Watch (grand, dramatic)?  Both are generally considered 'rather good'. I suspect that if both were up for sale the smaller might make more, do we accept that as a metric of 'better'?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The OP has asked, Is bigger better?

 

Every one of us can interpret that question in different ways, and there will be a variety of answers due to our own preferences. So should the question have been, is bigger better quality? Or is bigger more appealing? Again everyone has their own opinions and fancies. Personally I like big, but I wouldn't always say it's better.

 

The one thing this thread has highlighted for me is that we take our layouts to exhibitions. I don't take my layout to model railway competitions. I'd be happy to see no awards at shows at all, then everyone will be happy in the knowledge that it's entertained or inspired someone at some point without pots being handed out. Adding categories and size limits (in addition to scales and gauges) just makes things even messier.

 

One of the biggest problems with judging layouts at shows is the judges themselves. It would appear even their own goalposts are regularly moved, and you only have to read some of the comments that appear on RMweb from time to time to realise that. Questions have been raised as to why such and such a layout deserved that trophy, when it ran like a bag of nails or had the wrong lamps on the front of a loco when the judges backs were turned. You can't be in front of them all at the same time, so should a category be made for an exhibit when it's static? So many variables to think about.

 

Leave the trophies for club competition day, not exhibitions.

  • Like 4
  • Agree 7
  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deleted

Edited by tomparryharry
Post deleted:- Not helpful

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An 11-and-a-van mineral is inadequate, and capacity to take 40 or more and have room for more would be much better.  Abergwynfi is a major influence on Cwmdimbath and that had 42xx with 40 on, so that should be my ultimate aim.  But this could be done simply by stretching the layout as it is, with the same points, signals, locos, stock (apart from an extra 58 or so minerals), controller. 
 

Unlike you, my backlog of kits is much smaller and thus has less need to be justified, although the tasks are beginning to back up a bit.  A44 cyclops auto trailer, E147 B set, SE chassis for 1854 kit, Parkside Fruit D; plenty modelling in the pipeline!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some clubs/shows operate a system of having two or more  award categories, often one by vote of the paying public, and another by vote of club members or exhibitors, and the outcomes are frequently very different, with members/exhibitors far more able to appreciate the amount of 'work/skill per person involved' than an audience with a high percentage of non-practitioners.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going for big! As tomparryharry mentions above, I too have collected (but not as a collector) hundreds of items over the last 40 years or so. Even though the earliest stuff looks rather naff compared to items bought in more recent years, I haven't bought them to just let them remain in their boxes. It'll be a double track main-line roundy-roundy with a length of single track tunnel - as per the prototype. It will create operational difficulties - but deliberately so.

 

There will be landscaping - but little urbanscape as the prototype does not pass through any urban areas.

 

Am I going to exhibit? NBL! It'll be too big and besides I'm not sure that the final standard would be good enough.

 

In my case - will bigger be better? You betcha!

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Philou said:

It'll be a double track main-line roundy-roundy with a length of single track tunnel - as per the prototype.

Philip

Self-contained military layout?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@[email protected] No, it's Ledbury conjoined with Pontrilas - though the Golden Valley branch leading off at Pontrilas did serve an ammo dump that was very active during WWII - even had some USTC locos visit from time to time.

 

If you want to see the layout's evolution, here's a link, though I'm waiting for a start in late Spring ('things that needed to be done' have got in the way :( -again!) :

Cheers,

 

Philip

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Answer - generally yes. Having said that there are some very big layouts that somehow manage to not run many trains and this is he worst kind of layout.  Every is entitled to their own point of view and nobody is right or wrong but I find dioramas boring no matter how well they are modelled. I can see how operating a diorama would be interesting but watching one is about as interesting as watching paint dry (for me).

 

My N gauge layout history suggests bigger is better for me - first 1 - 44 in by 27 in, second one 7 ft by 38 in, latest one 11 ft 6 in by 40 in.

 

I agree modelling competitions are fairly meaningless as it says more about the judges views than the modelling, and how can you compare very different concepts? The visitor vote for best layout at a show can be a useful tool as the complete results give the organisers information as to which layout types are popular. The layouts that come third or fourth won't get a public mention but they help to show the organisers what the paying public like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Kier Hardy said:

The OP has asked, Is bigger better?

 

Every one of us can interpret that question in different ways, and there will be a variety of answers due to our own preferences. So should the question have been, is bigger better quality? Or is bigger more appealing? Again everyone has their own opinions and fancies. Personally I like big, but I wouldn't always say it's better.

 

The one thing this thread has highlighted for me is that we take our layouts to exhibitions. I don't take my layout to model railway competitions. I'd be happy to see no awards at shows at all, then everyone will be happy in the knowledge that it's entertained or inspired someone at some point without pots being handed out. Adding categories and size limits (in addition to scales and gauges) just makes things even messier.

 

One of the biggest problems with judging layouts at shows is the judges themselves. It would appear even their own goalposts are regularly moved, and you only have to read some of the comments that appear on RMweb from time to time to realise that. Questions have been raised as to why such and such a layout deserved that trophy, when it ran like a bag of nails or had the wrong lamps on the front of a loco when the judges backs were turned. You can't be in front of them all at the same time, so should a category be made for an exhibit when it's static? So many variables to think about.

 

Leave the trophies for club competition day, not exhibitions.

 

I'm with Kier on this one, it's a Model Railway Exhibition not a Model Railway Competition.

His comments are very pertinent as he is the winner of a sack load of trophies.

 

Mike.

  • Like 1
  • Agree 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our Crossley scrap layout  at Railex Taunton 2019 won best in show as voted by the club members , something we never expected to happen , did not even know they did awards ! 20191025_174818.jpg.dc00d37d6a3adf31b6a9f48d5d3b36fb.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, bazjones1711 said:

Our Crossley scrap layout  at Railex Taunton 2019 won best in show as voted by the club members , something we never expected to happen , did not even know they did awards ! 20191025_174818.jpg.dc00d37d6a3adf31b6a9f48d5d3b36fb.jpg

 

It certainly looks like a nicely detailed layout, so well done.  What size is that?  The scenic area looks like it's about five foot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Dungrange said:

 

It certainly looks like a nicely detailed layout, so well done.  What size is that?  The scenic area looks like it's about five foot.

Thank you  , its just under 5 ft long by 18 inches  wide with a 4ft fiddle yard 

Some more pics 

20190914_192825.jpg.7f8b466d336ca1abdbece97b66c88dbb.jpg

31052248_1661889087263193_1402003769251594240_n.jpg

Edited by bazjones1711
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that looks really great!  I'm for the smaller shunting layout, watching trains go round and round, regularly falling off (our club layout is a roundy roundy, yawn) is pretty boring I find.  The club layout also features a fine scale (code 75 BH) shunting section which is great fun to operate.

 

Keeping a large layout maintained can be difficult and I note many large ones do look tired.

 

As mentioned, punters will vote for the layout that has lots of trains careering around - that's what they paid for and their kids love that.  Laypersons do not get a shunting layout.  I had a 20' long end to end that I exhibited many years ago.  There were two awards, Public Choice went to a roundy roundy, my layout got Chairmans Choice - a more valuable award to me.

 

John

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, in terms of public voting at a busy exhibition large will always come out on top. I had a bit of a look at that at the SECC over the weekend. By eye a spectator takes up about 2 feet. So 10 foot layout , 5 voters / unit time, 20 foot layout , 10 voters / unit time. Twice the potential voters. 

 

Now I accept that if you want to really study a layout then you have to be patient and wait for a gap at the barrier. I did, and saw what I wanted to see. But everyone is different and so I rarely take notice of the voting, preferring to speak to the layout operators/owners and show my appreciation that way. 

 

Another point. I have stood next to folk who are criticising a layout, which I think is terribly impolite. Always encourage, find something positive to say or keep quiet. 

 

Just my personal view. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.