The Model Railway Show – Episode 0038

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Creative Layout Design

In this episodeā€¦

Iain Rice, layout designer and author.
Brian Scace, layout designer and author.

It’s all good!

What do you do if you can’t pick a single modeling subject and stick with it? One of the most well-known layout designers to address this problem is Iain Rice.

Iain is known in North America for modeling a Proto:87 (finescale HO) North American-based layout (Roque Bluffs, which became a project layout series starting in the October 2003 issue of Model Railroader magazine). But at home, he also models a Dutch narrow gauge layout and a number of British themes in 4mm scale.

Iain joins Trevor to discuss how he became a layout designer, how he juggles multiple interests and some techniques for making it all work. He also shares his layout-building philosophy, which he has captured in many books on both North American and British themes – most recently, Layout Design (part of the Realistic Railway Modelling series).

As North American lifestyles become more mobile, hobbyists may be looking more closely at the creative layout design and construction approaches used by British modelers. Therefore, Iain describes how many of these ideas from the British School can be used to benefit larger, more permanent layouts.

The Blob, the Oval and Nodes

What’s a Blob, you ask?

Students of the late Dean of Track Planning, John Armstrong, know it’s the loop at the end of a peninsula that allows trains to turn back on themselves.

Brian Scace – who had the opportunity to discuss the Blob and other layout planning concepts firsthand with John when they were neighbors – also knows them as the worst enemy of layout planners working in larger scales such as O.

(He’s not the only one – many others, including Craig Bisgeier, have written on the problems of the Blob. Here’s what Craig has to say.)

Brian – a one-time editor of O Scale Trains magazine – penned a five-part series in Issues 53-57 (available to order here) in which he presents his thoughts on planning layouts for larger scales.

Brian joins Jim to discuss the Blob as well as why he feels the Oval may be the O scaler’s best friend, and what we can learn about layout design from computer networks.

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Episode 38 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Jim, Trevor and the rest of The Model Railway Show crew are taking a summer hiatus. We’ll be back in September with more insightful and entertaining interviews with the thinkers and doers in the hobby.

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