I am 1/2 way done with my n scale shortline and ready to start a new one! LOL. As I look at pictures of past layouts, I wrote some lessons I learned the hard way. 1. Do backdrop first! 2. Paint track BEFORE laying it down 3. Don't run tracks parallel to edge of layout (3"- 4" away from edge minimum) 4. Building structures: a) paint all wall interiors black while still on the sprue b) secure walls better with plastruct c) Don't use CA, it fogs windows d) use a square for corners e) mask areas you don't want painted 5. Scenery: a) Don't use oversized rocks b) mixing sawdust with woodland scenics gives better color and more volume c) Don't use moss in N scale d) Styrene roads work better than plaster in the garage 6. Trackwork a) No more 9 1/2 radius curves b) have longer leads before switches ( avoid curves before switches) c) smooth liquid nails down before laying roadbed to avoid bumps d) learn to solder rails better e) hills on curves make it twice as hard to climb and cause most "stringline" derailments 7. Benchwork a) dont rush! b) use 1" x 3"s, not 2" x 4"s (too heavy) c) never use white bead foam d) use level, use level, use level!!! e) curve all corners 8. Wiring a) color code it from the beginning & don't improvise b) avoid stapling to underside of layout. Vibrations affect scenery c) avoid stapling period, it shorts wires some times Now, back to the drawing board.