Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Missed opportunities? What might have been?

When I tore out the upper deck (and frankly, most of the lower deck) on the layout last fall I seriously considered other options - some radically different than anything I've done previously. One possibility I contemplated was a East Tennessee & Western North Carolina RR layout in On30. I couldn't resist the Bachmann model of no. 11, and since I remember visiting "Tweetsie" in North Carolina with my kids when they were little - and even getting a few cab rides in no. 12 - it's always been a tempting theme for a layout.
Another possibility I hinted at in a conversation with Bernie Kempinski was an On30 layout that was patterned after the Maine Two-Footers. This certainly isn't the first time I've flirted with 2-foot modeling in 1/4" scale. Back in my MR days, the very first plan Iain Rice and I collaborated on was an On2 layout (this was the days before On30 took off) based on Phillips (o maybe Strong), Maine on the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR. It's never been published, but I did find the plan and have posted it here.
Bernie, always willing to be a trouble maker, and perhaps sensing a convert to O scale, quickly fired off a track plan for the layout area patterned after the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington. I'd forgotten about it until we were watching "Aerial America" on the Smithsonian Channel the other night. Basically, the series is an aerial tour of one state. the episode we saw was filmed in Maine and featured the a look at the Wiscasset waterfront.
Just for fun, and maybe to offer you some inspiration, I've included Bernie's trackplan here. The footpringt is very close to the current HO layout.

As I build my "simplified" layout - which still has several dozen turnouts and a lot of buildings I find a LOT that's appealing about the 15 or so turnouts on this layout.
But not this time - I have too much invested in the CV of the steam era to change at this point.
But I also think  this will be the last CV layout - the next one (if indeed there is a next one) will likely be something very, very different.
So part of me wants to file this plan away on this blog so I can come back to it, just in case.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Peninsula Campaign - Part 3 - Decisions, and more planning

This should be the last of the "planning" posts for the peninsula project. Sure, there will be more planning as construction commences, but I'm ready to start building. 
I've decided "option 2" is the best choice (from the previous post). This decision means I have to (1) figure out if I'm going to add a second mill - where the Branchline creamery kit is shown in the earlier pictures and (2) determine a logical way for the river to gracefully exit the visible portion of the layout. 

I don't want to use a bridge over the river as bridges are a little problematic, especially on curves, but mostly because I want to avoid a non-prototypical bridge intruding onto the Waterbury scene. The answer seems to be a culvert. After all, a culvert is really, in essence, a small bridge with the added advantage of being very subtle. 

For this scene I think I'll go with the arched stone culverts offered by New England Brownstone, (http://nebrownstone.com/culverts.htm)

If you aren't familiar with NEBS masonry products you need to check them out as they are some of the most realistic stone and brickwork you'll every find. 

With the river taken care, the next step was to select what to use for "the second mill." The Berry Mill is a multi-building complex - an old wooden mill building with several outbuildings. I've narrowed the choice down to one of two possibilities for the second mill - the first would be a building scratchbuilt based on this prototype photo: 



That leads us to possibility #2. About 12 years ago - maybe longer - I bought and started building a kit from South River Modelworks called "Lamson & Goodnow." The issue has been I've never finished because I could never find a place for it on any of the layouts I've built in the intervening years. Perhaps it would work here? Here's what the key buildings in this complex look like. 

This photo was taken on the upper level of the previous version of the layout. I may well use it on the peninsula scene - the brick buildings would contrast nicely with the primarily wooden Berry mill complex. Besides, I have the kit so it seems a shame not use it. But the issues I've had "placing" L&G over the years shows a real problem with these craftsman structure kits. We can easily be lured in by how great they look on a diorama, but it can be a real challenge to incorporate them into the layout. 

Perhaps the planning isn't quite done yet . . .