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Monday, July 22, 2013

R&D for the micro project being wrapped up.

Well, the Research and development phase of the micro layout build is coming to a close.  After my trailer, which you can see by going here, I now have enough space that the Camry is no longer a requirement.  Instead, I can now have 4, eight foot modules in the trailer which can be stored and shipped around the area for shows.  Therefore, I now need a modular layout.  These modules might seem big, but in 1:20.3 scale, these modules really aren't all that large.  If I were to scale down the footprint of a 32ft by 2ft switching layout (four 8ft modules connected end to end), in HO scale this would be a 10 foot long layout that is only 8 inches wide.  10 foot by 8 inches is only 6.667 square feet.  two square feet larger than the standard 4 foot Micro layout 'maximum.'

This brings up a question then, is this still a micro layout?  There exists two philosophies in the Micro layout world.  One philosophy is that a micro layout can only be under a certain size, no matter what scale is used.  This is true, Micro layouts under 4 square feet have been built in nearly all scales.  The other philosophy is that a micro layout is relative to scale.  let's say that the standard micro layout of 4 square feet is compared to the most popular scale, HO.  I built a layout in HO scale even smaller than this size, and yes it operated fine.  However, If I were to do the exact same layout in G scale or Fn3, it would need to be three times bigger to be effective, assuming I'm using the same type of rolling stock and motive power.

But is this still a micro layout?  based on the space taken up, it would appear not.  A G scale layout such as what I described would be several feet in length and at least 30" deep.  but due to scale restraints, this layout is tiny.  A run of 12 ft in HO is a lot, a run of 12 ft in G scale is nothing at all.  Ultimately, this project comes down to how the viewer sees this layout.  One might think of this as a very generous, large layout. However to a G scale enthusiast such as myself, I know very well that something this small for this big of a scale is indeed small.  Therefore I will call this project the room sized micro since this is a tiny layout when thinking in large scale terms, but it still takes up a lot of real estate in a home.  Whether this is a true micro layout comes down to you the reader.  Perhaps this is just the project you were looking for to fulfill an itch to run something, or perhaps this is seen as a room sized empire.  As I said, its up to you.

Now for what is going on the layout:

I've found that Colorado has many great scenes, but as of yet I cannot find a prototype that suits me, so this may be a freelanced layout based on Colorado's mining towns.  Eventually I plan to have four modules that make a complete circuit, but for now I'll stick with two.  In Fn3 scale, a 16 foot run is barely a siding, but with small rolling stock and with stub switches, this might work fine to be some sort of shunting layout.  The first thing I want to model is a station and General store/post office.  So maybe a very small yard and a siding for the station and store would work.

I know I can throw a passing siding out the window as there would be too much track on the layout  The other two future modules might be able to hold a passing siding and a spur to make a mine scene.  So we're looking at about 5-6 turnouts on the layout total. to provide adequate switching.

Buildings that would have to be built in the first phase would be a station, and a general store.  a post office might be integrated into both, or be a separate building.  Besides that, a couple miner's shacks and a pump house would complete the scene.  I may or may not include my Aristocraft water tower.  If there are too many buildings present, the water tower would be replaced by a pump house and an abandoned tank car for a water tank.  On the other modules which would be built later, a mine is what I envision.  I also could see a trestle over a small creek and/or a tunnel.  But that's for another day.

So with the important half of the layout in my head, now comes the time to actually construct the module.  I'll post once the bench work or framework is near completed.

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