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titus
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The hardest part is picking one.

No, really. Does anyone else have this problem? I come up with a neat theme, sometimes inspired by a prototype, sometimes inspired by a place. I spend a few weeks developing out how this theme might work. What's it's purpose? What freight does it move? What does it feel like?

And then I see something else cool and the cycle starts over. There are just waaaay too many choices.

How have YOU decided what narrow gauge theme to settle on and actually build for?

Herb Kephart
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If I were to start over, and go into narrow gage, I would build Maine 2'-- or else 2'
industrial / mining--but that is restrictive on the type of rolling stock. (and locos also).

At the rate I move, I will begin the transition when


Herb 

titus
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Speaking of industrial 2' in northeastern US, one of the theme ideas I had was a layout set on a place like Gould Island off of Rhode Island. It would be a small, dinky 2' gauge line that would service that island, maybe picking up stuff at a small wharf, bringing it inland, then bringing something back out to the dock (perhaps some kind of natural resource being harvested there).

There was actually a small industrial line on that island that serviced a Torpedo Testing station for the first and second world wars. Some pictures to get an idea:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/borahorza/sets/72157626715080505/with/5789628292/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/theviewfromthenorth/sets/72157615721475934/with/3373051682/

bobh
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i understand what you're going through completely.  One advantage that you have is that you live in Colorado and can view first hand things you want to model.  I live in the east so most of my info comes via the internet/books/etc.

Since the D&RGW served several different clients you can have a fair mix of industries to choose from.  One thing to remember is that you CAN"T MODEL EVERYTHING" you want. 

Deciding on a mix of scenery, realistic operation etc and be happy with that is as best as one can do.  A tonic for that is to make what ever you do...gooder!  By narrowing your choices you have more time to devote to what those choices are. 

Most importantly, relaxe and enjoy yourself!

Traingeekboy
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Titus, I think everyone has that issue. I think the only way to get past it is to build something, anything. It's very easy to develop a bad case of plan-itis.

It's also easy to look at magazines and go gee I wish I had a layout like that.

I have it worse because I honestly like all trains: standard gauge and narrow gauge; european and US; name the scale I've run some trains in it.

From what I see most guys on here mix up their themes a bit. So although they may have a perfect model of a steam engine exactly the way the prototype was, they may also be running a train from some place thousands of miles away right next to it.

A while back I got pinned on the idea of modeling the Gilpin Tramway. Well that was ok until I realized I wanted more than two dozen ore cars and a coach for rolling stock. (yeah they had more stuff I know but it was very limited.)

Right now i'm in my european HO phase. It's just part of my cycle of train obsessiveness. (The last one was 1970's standard gauge in N scale; before that I was checking out narrow gauge stuff. ARGH!!!) But I run what I have which is a weird mix of stuff and I'm having a blast.

So what scale are you modeling in? Do you have any rolling stock and locos or are you still planning?

titus
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Traingeekboy --

I've started trying to come up with strategies to 1.) make deciding easier and 2.) to not pick a theme that is so locked in to doing just one thing (or at least picking a theme or style that allows for future deviation).

As an example, if I model a later period of a lesser used narrow gauge, then I can run really older equipment, and say it was purchased 3rd hand, or I can run newer stuff and say it was 2nd hand.

If the location of the layout is moved to outside the US and set later, say 1960-1990's, it could run used equipment from the US and still be plausible, but also could use diesels and such (ie. in Mexico and Cuba they still run steam engines).

Another strategy is that I'm thinking of having a view-blocking backdrop that cuts the layout in half. The train will cross this backdrop as a tunnel through a mountain and it lets me say, when the train goes through a mountain that represents travelling a long distance through mountains, and thus I can get away with a slightly different theme on the "other side of the mountains".

This view block could maybe be done a few times and still be plausible.

My last strategy is trying to select a geographic location that has a lot of geographic features. For example, picking something that is up against an ocean or major river means you can do the overall feel of that place PLUS a waterfront section.

Traingeekboy
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I've seen some fine layouts that had a colorado narrow gauge terminal with loco facilities, a california logging area, a colorado mining area, and eastern dock scene. Actually that was one particular layout being done by some guy back in the 70's with HO track and I believe O scale everything else. hmmm... what a nut!

If you want to be a model railroader...
get some track, nail it to a board, run a train; POOF! you're a model railroader. :)

elminero67
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narrowing it down to a specific prototype/theme with an exact date is just too restrictive for most people. But, the model railroads that impressed me the most did have ONE overall theme that set a context for the railroad, like Maine, or even an imaginary location-as long as it creates the feeling of a place.

Most model railroads that Ive seen in MR or other magazines dont stress the feeling of place. This is particularly true of club layouts that try to cater to everyone, where you see long intermodel freight behind modern locomotives-passing through a false-front western cattle towns while the rear of the train is still going through Donner Pass-even though everything is well done, it just isnt a credible landscape because it tries to do too much.

 

MillCreek
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You'll make yourself crazy trying to model prototype and get it right. I've spent over 30 years of my adult life modeling and for the first 20 years did exactly that. Building countless layouts only to tear them down because they did now suit my goal of a prototypical road. Then for what ever reason...one day I got the bug to model a logging and mining shortline and the fun factor of model railroading went up by a factor of 10. It took me a while to get away from trying too hard but once you get that mind set you will find that the possibilities become endless. Pick a general area, like West Virginia for example and an era and let it go at that. As was mentioned above, get the feel of an area and keep with an era and let the rest up to your imagination, budget and space restrictions and you'll end up with a very believable operation. Because on your railroad they could have purchased anything from anyone and whose is to say that someone on the east coast didn't get their hands on building plans for a west coast structure and put it up in North Carolina for example.

I spent years and tons of money trying to get it right but I'm having more fun now then I ever did back when I was building or trying to build the perfect replica of someone's existing operation. Who needs those strings of 50 hoppers anyway?

Relax and have some fun.

Al

W C Greene
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Well, when I was around 20 years old, I heard about the two foot gauge Silver City, Pinos Altos, & Mogollon RR in the SW part of New Mexico and have wanted to "replicate" it ever since. I have strayed from the goal many times, loggers, short lines, even Colorado 3 footers but the lure of the obscure 2 foot gauge line always enticed me. Once, I tried to model it in HOn30 but the 6" gauge difference was always a problem. Then, about maybe 8 years ago I learned that I could actually build a 2 footer without the high cost of On2 brass or a bunch of scratchbuilding locomotives-I "fell into" a scale that is virtually unknown in model railroading (in the US) but is supported by military modelers across the world...1:35 scale. My On30 locos could be bashed into 1:35n2 locos and I was off to the races. I jumped in and have not looked back. There is another thing that has made me love model railroading even more, but I won't try to promote it here. I am not building a "nuts & bolts" nitpicker proof layout but one that is based on a real prototype. In all, I am having more fun now than I have ever had (and I have had loads of fun) and don't forsee any changes. That's my story and I am sticking with it.
Woodie

Dwayne
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With the recent move to a small house sitting on a 1/2 acre lot, plans are being made for a 1:20n3 mining layout. Unlike most large scalers who want to run Big Boys or six axle diesels running around large radius curves, my engines and freight cars will be of the tiny, four wheel variety pulling short trains of ore from a mine to a transfer point around tight curves where the ore will be dumped into a few standard gauge ore cars connecting to the outside world. The primary focus will be running a simple little ore train through and around real vegetation outdoors.

An example from an outdoor railroad forum where I'm a member:


dmunseyjr
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Dwayne,
What forum and thread is that pic from?
Don Munsey,Jr
24n42 & 64n42 Swamp & River Logging Fan
Living in UpperRightCorner, USA

Dwayne
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Don, sent you a PM.

W C Greene
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And...a reminder that tonight 11/20/11 at 9PM Central US time, the live chat will begin. Narrow gaugers are welcome, scales from Z to 1:1...check it out..
Woodie


Pardon the "off topic" post. Back to Narrow Gauge Themes.

titus
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1:20.3 is pretty awesome. If only it weren't freezing for over half the year here in Denver... :cool:

Charley
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fellers..

My take is that I want to model some "scene"..A place where the atmosphere is so....this is not to say...a specific place on the face of the world...

I pick and choose..from the world of NG trains for rolling stock and Lokeys..all freelance..

specifically for the nitpickers noses...

Currently me...1/2 n 18"..I have refined into one scale ..maybe several gauges ..but the 1/2 n is very interesting to me..I make it all..so gauge does not matter ...I use "O" scale athern freight car wheels for 16.5 inchers in 1/2 "...drill holes in them..at will ..

A canal...mission revival buildings..dock...minimalist..do whot I want / when i want...and enjoy the process instead of a life long mission to make the monument..which gets torn out in a day after the widder gets possession..that is sad..:time:




Woodie..I have long admired your outside railway..1:35th is very good..yours especially..you are gettin er done..good for you..I come here to check up on you time to time...




Charley Lix , Sparks , Nevada

W C Greene
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Charley, I have heard of you before and admire your work. Thank you for the kind words. I know what you mean about different "ideas" coming together, that's what I do. I have a "US built Garratt" which was once used on a Mexican mining road and now hauls ore in NM. It still has Euro-style buffers. Yep,the kickers have had fun with that one but I know that it is only "Garratt envy" so I run my lokie and don't worry about the consequences.
To butcher an old saw-"'Tis better to have built and screwed up than to never have built at all."
And on the subject of club layouts, Duane is right. At one show's layout tour, we walked out of a "magnificant" club's layout after a short visit and stayed a couple of hours at some fellow's 4 by 8 On30 layout. The club was trying to please everybody (except us) and the On30 guy was having fun and we did also. The theme was "I can do whatever I want" and it worked beautifully.
Woodrow

Charley
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W.C . fellers..

Thanks back to you..I haven't done ought of note in some time...dabbling in HO...and garden scales..mostly... dabbling...the new effort is upon consolidation...

I have a new start...A great thing..I was hidebound...gridlock...

In the fullness of time..I will post the Excelsior railway...as it comes along..it will be awhile before I can get started on modeling..this year./ spring/ summer fer sure...

I am motivated...and enthusiastic..and having the muse...maybe sooner than later...

The new effort is to be 1/2 n xx...a nice scale for inside...along the lines of "G" n whatever...it is good...I prefer 1/2 nxx..only personal preference..

The fellows using 16.5 mil track have it pretty good now too..the Bachman four wheel side rod dizzle quite the thing for making a 1/35 th or "G" n whatever...

Seems like..{results shew!..} that the gap between 1/48th and 1/35th is fine enough that your stuff on 1/35 th really makes the cut..

I really hate messing with mechs made by some en gineer somewhere with the mysteries inherent...you seem to be able to mangle the bachman stuff at will..I have little luck...I like simplicity. Even I , can do that..moo hahhahah:wave:

Herb Kephart
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Charley--

Go for it!

I look forward to what both you and Dwayne have in mind--simplicity works especially in the larger scales, where the eye cannot take in the whole scene in one blink. Works out to be the same amount of work, I think, because more time can be put on detail on a specific piece (if desired).

Please don't forget us when it comes to picture time--


Herb 

Charley
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Herb , WC  , fellers...


Pitchers need go on another...{photo bucket  ish thing }  to then load here...?

I will figger it out..thanks



Herb Kephart
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See very first post, under General Talk (first forum)


Herb

W C Greene
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Charley-go to Menu on the FR homepage, click on Gallery, then click on Upload Pictures from your computer..they will be sent from your computer to your gallery. Then when you reply or post a message, you should have a big "G" at the end of some icons. Click on the "G" and then select the photo from your gallery with a click and it will magically appear in your post. Try it out, it does work. My new computer didn't have the "G" until Herbert's son figured it out. If you don't have the "G", let us know...
It's so easy, I can actually do it!
Woodie

 

***DIDN'T MEAN TO HIJACK THIS THREAD, JUST GIVING OUT SOME NEEDED INFO. Please continue with NARROW GAUGE THEMES...

Last edited on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 03:33 pm by W C Greene

Nortonville Phil
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Charlie,

What happened to the Excelsior Ditch Co. 7/8n18 line?

Still doing that?

Phil Randall
KY

Charley
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Phil , fellers...

The SE  lies mori bund..like an abandoned railway ...I still need lift a Heywoodish switch throw ..lest it get walked on...

I am not currently building in SE...

I am currently sorting my life ..too much stuff...all of it seems cool..priorities....

I have not built anything lately..[img]">


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