Monday, January 2, 2012

3-d Planning

Over the last couple of weeks I've managed to find a fair amount of time to work on the layout. Although I did get a fair start at kitbashing the Cooley-Wright foundry for Waterbury, I haven't actually completed any projects in the last two weeks - and nothing is even remotely close to be being ready for photography.
Yesterday Dave Emery came by and we did some "3-D" planning and arranging of the mill stream scene. This scene, which is essentially the back half of the Waterbury peninsula, is intended to showcase several water-powered (or originally water-powered) New England mills. With Dave' help I was able to identify the key elements and get a good idea of how the scene will look. Some of the "mockups"we used were more than a bit unorthodox, including structure kit components, boxes, folded up pieces of paper, and even locomotive boxes! But even these unusual mockups served their purpose - letting us visual how the scene and each element would look. I'll try to get the new version of Illustrator loaded into the computer later and see if I can sketch up a version of the resulting plan.
Over the last couple of weeks I've studied the planned White River Junction scene. Without going into a lot of detail, while WRJ may "fit" in the space, it will never look "right" to me. I've been stressing over that scene for months - which includes full sized mockups of the key buildings. Anytime you get that stuck on a layout project it's a sure sign something just isn't right.
The solution?
The layout needs a freight yard and some sort of engine facility to execute the planned operating scheme - I also want to include a single large industry that takes a variety of freight cars.  Both of these items can be found in Palmer, Mass. So, the yard will be based on the CV yard in Palmer - a small yard that is ideally suited for a model railroad. It was even used as a base for several local freights during my era - the exact same purpose I need a yard to serve on my layout. The single large industry is covered by the Spencer Wickwire Plant.
I've started mocking up the scene this morning and have found it fits much, much better than WRJ did. With WRJ I was constantly fighting the space - that's not been the case with Palmer.
For a track plan, I didn't have to look any further than my the article I co-authored with Iain Rice in own Model Railroad Planning 2000.  The first Southern New England layout, featured in that issue, included a version of Palmer yard. The dimensions are almost the same!
So in a way I've come full circle!

3 comments:

  1. It's always fun to help someone plan stuff -he's going to build- :-) I have a couple of in-process photos that I'll send to Marty.

    A couple of comments from my perspective: Marty had a huge landscape to play with, both the 'blob' and a long run down the back side. But we decided to break this up into 2 separate scenes. (If it were me, I'd have done a Manchester/Lowell style mill canyon, but that's not Vermont :-) In the blob, the goal was to produce a scene with several small mill/factory buildings, that looked good together and provided plausible 'prototype arrangement' and operating potential.

    What makes this scene unique is that the blob, instead of being filled with a mountain, will be dominated by a mill pond, with the mill buildings arranged around the pond. We carefully considered the sight lines and that's where the photos help. I'm hoping Marty takes my suggestion to add a small icehouse with some machinery going into the pond (i.e. a conveyor to hoist the ice into the icehouse), as that's something that's very rarely modeled but was very common in New England and upper Midwest.

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