The Model Railway Show – Episode 0051

This episode of The Model Railway Show is made possible with the support of the National Model Railroad Association.

From Start to Finish

In this episode…

Scott Perry, Layout Designer.
Lynn Mitchell, spokesperson, Woodland Scenics.

A better way to start

It’s time to challenge another convention in model railroading – namely, that for a beginning hobbyist who is building a first layout, the best design choice is the 4×8 rectangle.

For decades, the 4×8 has been a staple of track planning, particularly in HO scale – in no small part because it’s the most common size used for plywood sheet goods in North America. And while 4×8 layout designs still feature regularly in magazines, books, and online, a number of modelers who enjoy thinking about layout design feel it’s time to do away with the plywood slab.

But this raises a question: If the 4×8 is not the best choice for a starter layout, then what is? As more experienced hobbyists, we’ll never be able to retire the so-called “sacred sheet” unless we can offer beginners some suitable alternatives.

Utah resident and life-long hobbyist Scott Perry has taken up that challenge, and developed an alternative design for a beginner’s layout. It’s called The Heart of Georgia Railroad – The HOG for short. The HOG is an 8×9 layout that one operates from the middle. (It actually has a smaller footprint than the traditional 4×8, which requires 8×12 when one adds a 24″ access/operating aisle around each side of the plywood slab.)

Scott is prolific online: In addition to sharing his own modeling adventures, he maintains a blog about The HOG, where one can find the layout plan, benchwork cutting and assembly diagrams, ideas for operating the HOG RR, and more. Scott also moderates The HOG Newsgroup where current, prospective and past HOG layout builders can ask questions, discuss variations, share encouragement, and show off their progress on their layouts – all with the goal of providing beginners with a better start into the hobby.

Scott joins Trevor to discuss how this design came about, why he wanted to offer an alternative to the 4×8, and share some of the success The HOG has enjoyed.

What’s up at Woodland Scenics

Older modelers will remember the days of dyed sawdust, zip texturing and – gasp – mixing asbestos into plaster to make it stronger. We’ve come a long way in scenery-building, and in North America at least that’s thanks in large part to one company: Woodland Scenics. Four decades ago, this company popularized products and techniques that were previously used primarily in the architecture profession. More importantly, the company developed a scenery system – a complete approach to everything from foundation to finish, with rocks, trees, ballast, ground covers, plus the how-to manuals and videos that took the mystery out of building scenery.

Woodland Scenics spokesperson Lynn Mitchell joins Jim to discuss the company’s role in the hobby. She also describes the fire that broke out just over a year ago at the company’s facility in Linn Creek, Missouri. And she provides a teaser for what’s to come this year from Woodland Scenics.

Make a day of it in San Bernardino, CA at the Western Prototype Modelers meet – April 13!

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Episode 51 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Jim speaks with Robert Simmons about his unique set of wheels for transporting a layout to shows.

Trevor welcomes back Lance Mindheim to talk about why we should run our layouts several times per week.

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