HO Scale Trains – Home Page quality
Truth is; no two model railroad layouts are exactly the same – and that’s a good
thing. Each layout is unique and in its own way will have interesting and exciting
features and details. However, all good model railroad layouts have a several
things in common… and this all starts with plenty of well though-out planning based
around a great theme, and practical functionality.
Every great railroad has a unique, well-thought out, well executed theme.
Deciding the theme is usually the starting point for any beginner. The theme will
usually be based around an era in time; have a function for the railroad (i.e.
moving freight, or passengers, servicing an industry etc.); depict a location; and
reflect a specific season of year (e.g. Winter, Spring etc.).
Although it is possible to have a mixed theme, the best model railroads are more
specific in nature. There’s the old saying, “rules are made to be broken”, and it
is your railroad so you can do what you want, but the best layouts stick to a theme
for very good reasons. The e-book (above left) details lots of options and critical
mistakes to avoid… from easy-to-fix problems, to the type that could take
forever to solve… not to mention the added cost fixing it.
In real life every railroad has a purpose or reason for its existence. Trains
will operate (performing the functions required by the railroad management), in a
logical and efficient manner. A 1960’s diesel locomotive would be out of character
in a Wild West desert scene located alongside a snow covered forest. It just
wouldn’t look right. That diesel locomotive would be best operated on a mainline,
or in a rail yard, amidst a scene depicting vehicles, brick warehouse buildings
etc. from the era. The scene could be made even more real with fine details like
signage depicting typefaces common in the 1960’s. Little details like that can
really add character and set a layout apart from the rest.
The eye is not easily fooled, so little things that look out of place can spoil
the entire scene. The wrong colors, props, structures etc. can make a scene look
artificial. So whilst uniqueness and character is good; to be credible to the
viewer, a scene needs to look as realistic and true to life as it can possibly
Deciding on theme before getting started is usually the wisest move, because the
chosen theme will help determine the most suitable scale, the type of terrain, the
nature of the backdrop, the style of structures, and the trains that will operate
on the layout. Determining the theme from day one can save an enormous amount of
wasted time, money, and future frustration. After…
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