Unfinished business.

Discuss model railway topics and news that do not fit into other sections.
User avatar
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 7:45 pm
Location: Kalamunda WA.

Unfinished business.

Postby captrees » Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:35 am

My first layout has now taken two and a half years. I spend a lot of time looking at it in contemplation. Often trains go round and round, but that doesn't seem to be important. Actual work on it? Maybe half an hour a week, but it's coming along, and occupies a lot of thought, and computer time in research and scouring ebay. In fact I am obsessed with it.

Its a biggish layout, set in a time and place, and progress and refinement go hand in hand. But I have no urge to finish it. In fact I don't want to finish it. It is my first and last layout. I simply don't want the process to end. Is this a common trait in railway modellers? I can't ever imagine myself just sitting there watching trains going round and round, and I can't imagine starting all over again either.

But it looks unfinished, and I'm really untidy, so its a bit embarrassing if people want to come and see it.

Is this normal?

User avatar
Posts: 1611
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:26 pm
Location: Bribie Island. Australia

Re: Unfinished business.

Postby Peterm » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:02 am

Nothing wrong with doing one layout and going to the trouble of making it as near a correct representation as the real thing.

Can you put some pic's up? I for one would like to see it and you might even get some advice from others.

Posts: 814
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:56 am
Location: Wimborne

Re: Unfinished business.

Postby heda » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:22 am

I can certainly relate to that, I spent around ten years building my first n gauge layout and it still wasn't finished when I sold it on in favour of OO gauge. More time is spent thinking than doing for me, the important thing is that it is fun. Whether the fun comes from watching trains go round, building scenery researching or whatever doesn't matter, enjoy.

User avatar
Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:26 am

Re: Unfinished business.

Postby SRman » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:34 am

I can say I finished one layout, and it was boring after that. I have not finished any others, having built several over the last five decades or more.

I try things out scenically by putting 'place holders' to represent my ideas. I currently have bits of grass matting and scenic rectangles with a row of poplar trees hiding bare boards behind my future loco shed and yards. These do not represent the final form or colours and textures I want there, but they do give an impression of scenery that looks better than the bare boards, while being easily lifted when I am ready to proceed in that area.

My method is to do smallish areas at a time, usually divided by some feature or boundary (e.g. a road, or on the railway, a level crossing or bridge), build these areas up into something presentable, but maybe not with all the really fine detail, then move onto another area. I can slowly add extra details such as people or bicycles and cars, fences, detailed plants, bollards, and so on. Again, I try out positions for these things and move them around until I think they look right, but it takes me along, long time to actually glue things permanently in place.

It's a bit like project management: break the big overall job down into smaller, easily achievable chunks, and take your time to get them to the stage you are happy with them. There's no real hurry, it's a hobby.

User avatar
Posts: 1162
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Unfinished business.

Postby stuartp » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:45 am

Some people enjoy building, some enjoy operating, some enjoy research, some enjoy all of it: this hobby is a very broad church and can be as general or as focussed as you like. There is no right or wrong way to do this beyond a few fundamental principles (it helps if the gauge is consistent and all the electrics are the same way round for example !).

Because it is also generally a long term hobby it is also true that you get better at it (whatever 'it' is) over time. So if you should find yourself in the position that your layout is 'finished', have a critical look at it, especially the bits you did first, and improve it. I'm not suggesting you rip up half of it and start again (although people do), more gentle re-working of things you could now do better and continual improvement. These days, after 30 years practice, I can knock up a Parkside kit in a couple of evenings to a reasonable (ie consistent) standard. The ones I built 30 years ago as a schoolboy (back in the day when they and Ratio kits came with moulded wheels !) don't bear close scrutiny now so they get put in the pile for a 'heavy general' and come out a few days later like new (well, more or less !).

If you are worried about it looking like a continual work in progress then finish one bit to the best standard you can. Most visitors will disregard the bit you obviously haven't finished / have only just started / are clearly in the process of re-doing because they can see what you are aiming for. Although all of us are, I think, guilty of starting new projects before the others are finished. One of the things I hate about working from home is that I am sitting surounded by my pile of half started things...
Portwilliam - Southwest Scotland in the 1960s, in OO - http://stuart1968.wordpress.com/

User avatar
Posts: 12467
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: Unfinished business.

Postby Bufferstop » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:10 am

You can never truly say a layout is finished until you sell it on or tear it down. The last major thing I did to my layout was building the traversing/rotating fiddle yard supported on a 5 castor base and length of alloy tube. I now have thought of a way to accommodate a few more of my small and quirky loco's.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

Posts: 6354
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: Unfinished business.

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:27 pm

Only 2.1/2 years ? You're in the early stages still !!
100 new railway modellers and all will have different ideas of what they want to achieve.
After a year, or so, many will have changed their minds based upon their experience.
I've been there and done that a few times and that's helped me to distil my personal requirements
into more defined boundaries.
End to End layout - O.K, but you're always driving back and forth, with just 16 feet (00).
Big Roundy - Roundy layout - fine if you have the space, but if not it can be a white elephant and expensive.
Small Roundy - Roundy layout - One of my favourites, the initial planning was extensive & it shows. Always in use.

The above are suitable for passenger & freight, but I found it was freight I preferred.

That lead me to make a shunting puzzle. That's freight only, you can't just sit and watch trains go
around, you have to think, plan and drive. They also have the advantage of being small enough to
fit on a cars back seat for exhibitions. Don't cost a fortune and you can include as much fine detail
as you want without it taking a lifetime.

I've discovered I'm a builder, it's taken a few attempts, but I've enjoyed every step. As to finishing ?
Probably the only things I've finished are a few Dioramas. They are an education in themselves !!

So try something different, remember the skills are transferable to your main layout - nothing wasted.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

User avatar
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:09 pm
Location: Both sides of the Border

Re: Unfinished business.

Postby glencairn » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:46 pm

I love doing the scenery. (One day I will get it right.) In a way trains are incidental. The scenery was there first. :)
To me the trains have to go from A to B with a purpose. A timetable is in the process of being implemented.
Although the layout, in essence, is a roundy roundy, trains are not run as such, (unless the grandchildren visit).
Trying something new? The building of Clarence Dock is a challenge. Standardising the liveries of the steam locomotives and carriages has been a pleasing one.
Now I have some new figures to paint. That I am very apprehensive about.
Things are certainly unfinished. :lol:

To the world you are someone. To someone you are their world.
I Cannot Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought

Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:24 pm

Re: Unfinished business.

Postby alan_r » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:22 pm

I know exactly what you mean!
It was this thinking that inspired me to try an experimental modular method and remake different interchangeable modules, which I have to say was very successful from that point of view. Once 'finished' I then removed modules and made new ones, then when they were finished, I extended to surround with further modules.
Search the layouts under construction on the forum for 'Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge'

I'm almost finished again, but I've left some space to make different scenes within the main model, so I can keep building and never finish it, whilst still being able to run trains on a finished scenery very quickly and easily by slotting back in the finished modules.

Maybe something to consider?

User avatar
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 7:45 pm
Location: Kalamunda WA.

Re: Unfinished business.

Postby captrees » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:16 am

Thanks for the interesting responses. I could add that I know no other railway modellers where I live, so I have no communication or association with others, or access to other layouts for comparison. My layout is my private realm, but if anyone wants a look, they can.

Alan-r, I have started that modular idea too. It allows for a bit of change and flexibility.

I also have about 8 different shades of house paint, acryllic sampler pots to be precise. I slap paint on everything so it has a more finished look, but will get round to ballasting and proper grass and ground cover eventually. Or maybe not. It's all part of the "getting there" process. There is a very slap dash backdrop of hills that desperately need refining. But they do give the ambience I want.

Here's a taster. This pic is probably a year old. You can probably spot Ingleborough and the Howgill fells. Very garish.


A little more recent detail. A very fictional Oxenholme station.


I'll take some pics soon and start a thread. There has been so much evolution from the original ideas which I posted on here a while back.

I think its called the East Westmorland Railway now, but that could change, yet again.

Posts: 814
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:56 am
Location: Wimborne

Re: Unfinished business.

Postby heda » Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:02 am

Well I can't see anything wrong with that, unfinished yes, slapdash, untidy not at all. I agree with your 'slapping paint on everything', one of the first things I do after laying the track is to paint the board, grey roads and where buildings will go, green for grass areas (all subject to change), it gives the bare board a bit of colour and is part of my planning process.
Looking forward to seeing your layout thread, you will get a lot of inspiration on here once you start posting pictures and updates.

Return to “General Model Railway Discussion / News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests