Thursday, February 27, 2014

Does dividing the peninsula make a layout seem larger?

I follow the USA & Canadian Railway RMWeb forum since I think getting a British perspective on American railroads and modeling is kind of interesting. (I first found RMWeb looking for information on Irish narrow gauge railways since I have a long-standing interest in those lines). One of the regular posters on the USA & Canadian forums is an N scaler "Barry Ten" who is building a very nice layout (see this thread) reflecting the railroads of the Southeastern US.
The footprint of the layout is similar to many we have on this side of the pond (as the Brits would say) - around the walls with a peninsula jutting into the center of the room. Or at least it will have a peninsula jutting into the center of the room once he finishes building it.
The other day he posted the following regarding whether or not to include a "backscene"  - what we'd call a "backdrop." Hey, I might not be able to translate a lick of Russian anymore, but I can handle translating English!
Here's Barry's post:
"I considered a backscene, but reckoned it would make the room feel a bit too cramped as it would effectively block my view of one half of the room from the other. My plan is to have a high ridge down the middle of the peninsula instead, but not as high as a backscene would have done..."
When I read this over my morning coffee this morning I immediately remembered having the same concerns with my layout in Colorado. On that layout I'd originally built the peninsula without a center divider,  (even though we'd used them pretty consistently on several MR project layouts as then managing editor Jim Kelly was a big fan of them!) I planned to rely instead on a ridge to divide one side of the peninsula from the other as I'd done on the N scale Carolina Central. Here's what the layout looked like - sorry if these images aren't up to snuff, they're fairly small pics and I no longer have the original larger files:

 I toyed with the idea of adding a peninsula, but, like Berry, was unsure if it would make the room seem even smaller than it was. In an effort to see what it might look like I used my completely mediocre Photoshop skills to add a "sky" backdrop, as well as some of the planned buildings to the scene. The result is shown below.
I'll leave it to the reader to decide if this makes the room larger. I will say I added the backdrop to the layout and was happy I did.

1 comment:

  1. I think that people are looking at this backwards. Who really cares if the room feels smaller? Controlling the view with the extra backdrop will create the illusion of more layout. As well as adding "distance" between scenes. Which to me is more the desired effect.