Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by nachoman, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Question: What criteria tell when a layout becomes "completed", or even "reasonably completed"?

    Of all the layouts I have started, none has ever been even "reasonably completed". Right now, I am working on a 3x6' HOn3 layout. My thinking is, with a layout that small, I should be able to "complete" it before moving bigger. So, I have set a goal by next summer - this 3x6' space will be "completed". But how do i decide what I mean?

    Past layouts I have built usually got to the point of having no "holes" in benchwork. Track was operational, but maybe not ballasted throughout. Ground cover was usually at least latex paint everywhere - with some dirt or ground foam in places. I've never had more than a few structures. So, for my current project, I find it a test of myself to get beyond where I have been before. My goals for "completion" are as follows:

    1) All track in place, ballasted, and operational. I don't want there to be major trackwork problems. The test here is if someone came over an wanted to "see it run" I would be able to run a train around the layout within 15 minutes.

    2) Scenery so that no bare construction materials show. the whole layout should have ground cover of dirt and ground foam and at least scattered bushes or trees. I model desert scenery so this shouldn't involve much.

    3) All major structures should be built - this means all industries constructed, no "vacant lots" in the middle of town, and even no cardboard "mock ups". There should be no more "temporary bridges" of plywood.

    What are everyone else's thoughts? Have any of you ever built a layout you considered "completed", and how does that definition apply to your efforts?

  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    May 2, 2003
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    My thoughts would be that they are never completed, they only reach a sense of overall finished appearance. Think about how your tastes and skills have changed over time. While your first scratchbuild made you thump your chest and drew oooos and aaaahhhs from those close to you, your 15th build makes your first look like a child's fingerpainting in comparison. Not that you'd get rid of it but you'd likely go back and improve it, hence your layout is not "completed". You'll change eras, railroads, scenery, etc.; all elements that leave a layout in a constant fluctuation.

    The only state of completion I shoot for is trackwork and wiring, on a larger layout i shoot for a completed mainline and a few sidings. Then I work towards a base scenery to which I add the remaining elements; buildings, details, branch trackage and such. Then I go back and attack areas on an increasingly smaller scale, from city blocks to buildings to sidewalks and roads to vehicles to people to soda machines to newspapers blowing in the wind.

    One of my favorite layouts I visit fills a 45x30 el shaped attic. After 26 years, 1300+ feet of track, 40+ locos and 750+ cars, there's still a couple plywood towns with buildings only in your imagination. Yet, those of us who operate it don't think of it as incomplete, only in progress.:thumb:
  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Jun 18, 2002
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    I'll think my layout is completed when I no longer look at sections of it thinking..."that needs improvement!" :)
  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Nov 8, 2001
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    Kevin,I fully believe a layout can be finished.To my mind after all the track work is in,ballasted,all buildings in place and all the scenery is finished then the layout is finished.Our club layout has been finished for the last 12 years.I have personally finished several industrial switching layouts over the years and 4 small loop layouts including one in N scale on a 36"x72" hollow core door.
    You see once you get the above done how far more can you take it if you have a limited space there is only so much one can do in that space? As far as improvement it is my opinion why tear it out and redo it after all if it looks good then don't fix it by some new scenery idea..I contended at the club we should do it right the first time and not have to redo our work and waste time,track and scenery materials by rushing through the job at hand.By doing this we finished the rebuilding of the layout in 14 months with very little rework..Most of that rework was faulty track work or in some cases glued switch points. :eek:
    As far as adding new mini scenes from time to time I just call that Micky Mousing around in order to have something to do or because I like a given detail scene from Woodland Scenics-such as those old codgers playing checkers.LOL!
    So,in closing after all this babble I suspect the layout is "finished" when the modeler takes it as far as he/she wants and declares the layout finished.. :thumb: :D
  5. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    May 13, 2004
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    I think it's finished when you take the wrecking bar too it!