Keeping the Minions under control

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One of the things I’m pleased about is that – despite the plaster dust and disorder kicked up by an extensive home renovation – the layout is running well. That’s not by accident, of course…

Layouts, like Gru, come with thousands of Minions. They’re all the little things that can go wrong, and keeping them on a short leash is one of the biggest tasks for a layout owner. It’s also one of the most important.

I was reminded of this earlier in the summer while re-watching the “End of the Line” segment on TrainMasters TV, in which three layout owners tear out large portions (or all) of their creations.

Two of the lessons I took from that segment were:

– How important it is to stay on top of the many little maintenance tasks any layout requires, and

– To be vigilant against the phenomenon of “Creeping Normality”.

Of course, there are many positive reasons to tear out some (or all) of a layout, as the “End of the Line” segment also makes clear. But if left unchecked, Minions will take over one’s layout – at which point a dumpster (and a good pesticide*) may be the only option.

As I prepared to show off the layout to visitors earlier this week, I gave the track and equipment a quick dusting with a soft brush. I also tested all track switches and loosened up the mechanical turnout controls by operating each of them back and forth about a half-dozen times. And I test-ran the locomotives that would be in service during the session.

It took perhaps 10 minutes to do this, but it made all the difference. If there were Minions about, I was able to keep them under control, and prevent them from creating havoc…

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(*No Minions were harmed in the writing of this post)

12 thoughts on “Keeping the Minions under control

  1. Did your weird ‘visitors’ accidentally crash land their space vehicle at Port Rowan and now looking for a ”ride home”?

  2. In their movie, the Minions were left to wander the Earth in search of a new, evil, leader to provide a muse for their abilities. See two on your layout I couldn’t help but giggle and wonder if they’d found that in you? Has this all been some part of a dastardly plot to re-focus our attentions on all things S? Have those Minions been helping all along? Helping to create one of the finest model railways the hobby has seen that promotes Canadian prototype modeling, small layouts, and S.

    Yup, well played.


    • Yes, that’s my plan exactly. Insert evil laugh here.

      Seriously, though: I’m the worst ambassador for S scale, because I don’t try to encourage anybody else to try it. Some might say I discourage them. I’m brutally honest about the relative paucity of choice in 1:64, compared to other scales. Even O scale – another niche player in the grand scheme of things – is much better served.

      However, if one does the research to determine what equipment is available – and if one is happy with that selection – it’s possible to build a very rewarding layout in S. It’s working for me.

      Oh – and I know it would work for you…


  3. Thanks for the reminder! I’m in the planning stages for a new garden railroad, and it’s very tempting to bite off more than I can chew. The prior railroad was torn up because of the lack of maintenance (something to keep in mind if you build your live steam loop). At least with an indoor layout, the weeds, trees, and bushes don’t keep growing after you’ve planted them..

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