Height of base board.

Discussion of model railway baseboard design and construction
shezza2
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Height of base board.

Postby shezza2 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:13 pm

Hi all, is there a standard height for a base board, or what height do members prefer?

smeghead28
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby smeghead28 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:21 pm

Not a standard height as such but most will probably use a top board of 6-9mm and a framework that is about 40-50mm high.

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Emettman
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby Emettman » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:57 pm

That's very variable.
My most used layout I operated from a swivel stool and the board level there was just below my shoulders, giving much more of a side view than a "look at all the roofs" one. That had 3' 9" legs.
To do that with a walk-around operator would put the board at about 5ft
(Done for some exhibition layouts, at least.)
In a home layout that might be too obtrusive, depending on the type of layout, especially a big single board...
... but think what might be done with all that lovely space underneath!

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

shezza2
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby shezza2 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:25 pm

smeghead28 wrote:Not a standard height as such but most will probably use a top board of 6-9mm and a framework that is about 40-50mm high.



Yes what I should have said is how far of the floor.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:04 pm

Mine shares its space with a lot of book cases so it's mid-chest height, which has definite advantages when it comes to creating the scenery as it puts your eye at the sort of level you would be on an overbridge or the upper floors of an adjacent building, Makes the transition from solid model to backscene far more realistic. Down side is much construction work needs to be done from a step-stool, or two of them with a good solid board across them. For operation standing or sitting on a draughtsman's chair give a very realistic view. When my grandkids visit I sit them in the chair or stand them on the step stools.
It's obviously no good for free standing layouts as they would be far too unstable. The all up weight of the book cases ensure that the baseboards are rock steady. No use and for exhibition purposes it's much too high for youngsters and wheelchair users.
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Ex-Pat
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby Ex-Pat » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:40 pm

You will find much food for thought in this old thread:

viewtopic.php?f=44&t=39767&hilit=baseboard+height

b308
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby b308 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:28 pm

Yes, it was all said on that thread and many other similar ones across all the MR forums... At home do whatever you feel comfortable with, for exhibitions try to think of the paying public, especially wheelchair users and small children...

Dad-1
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:34 am

Thank You b308 .....

I tend to have quite low layouts, except in my garage where it's set high
enough to store bicycles underneath.
All too often I hear recommendations of heights pushing 5 feet from the
ground to allow an 'improved' viewing angle as if you were a miniature person
and I will agree that works quite well.
However as b308 says we are a nation of random height people and at one time
I was looking at being in a wheelchair. I had to work from a seated position and
have because of that experience always kept my layouts quite low and consider
them to be wheelchair friendly. I believe this is one aspect most exhibition
managers do not take into account when organising. They DO have plastic steps
for children at many, but that's no help if you are confined to a seated viewing
location.

As to at home layouts the world is your oyster, do what suits you, just remembering
that hand access to all rails is almost a must and at the minimum you will need to
clean rails let alone rescue failed, or derailed stock.

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

Dad-1
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:05 pm

Hi Dave,

I certainly don't advocate all layouts should be low, but when trying to organise, in the
same way one tries to have different scale/gauges perhaps it's something that should
at least be at the back of the mind.
I agree it's another of those details that can make running an exhibition quite a chore,
but that doesn't mean it should be totally ignored. Perhaps it's a question that should be
in the layout details requested ?

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

b308
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby b308 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:22 pm

Dave wrote:The vast majority of layouts at exhibitions belong to individuals, and most individuals build the layout primarily for themselves. It is a no win situation where you cannot please everyone. The overwhelming majority of the paying public want to see realistic views and that means at a height impractical for the minority of small viewers and wheelchair users.


The height at home is a red herring, as most layouts when at home don't tend to reside on the legs they use at exhibitions (in the case of the tall legs they would be impossible to work on!)...

The italiced bit I would answer that you and I as able bodied people (I assume from your reply) can bend down, a wheelchair user can't stand up, can they! I set mine at about 100/110mm height and people can see them realistically enough, small children, wheelchair users and full sized adults, they don't have to be set at 5 or 6ft to do that.

I did say try to think of others when you exhibit it, but if you don't that's your choice...

b308
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby b308 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:58 pm

I'm calm enough, thanks, and I never said you had said anything offensive but I do challenge saying that the layout is built for themselves is a valid reason for it being inaccessible to some of the paying public at a show... When it's at home, as I pointed out, it doesn't matter but when someone chooses to exhibit it then I believe that they take on certain responsibilities to the paying public, one of which is to make their layout accessible to all who pay to view it...

But as I said that's down to the Exhibitor and Exhibition Manager and their views, no-one can force people to make stuff in a certain way, all we can do is encourage people to think of others, if they don't do then it's their choice, though I find it sad that they would!

Interestingly the majority of "tall" layouts have been built as exhibition layouts rather than primarily for the builder!

As an aside the first show I organised featured such a layout, this was long before my other half became wheelchair bound and I freely admit that at the time it never crossed my mind, nor the fact that the exhibition hall was up a flight of stairs with no lift access. If nothing else my recent experience means that I will not consider either that sort of location or layout in any future show I run!



I am not having a go at anyone or taking offence or being offensive (I hope!), just trying to make people think about things which they may not otherwise think about (just like I did!)...

Dad-1
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:05 pm

Calm it Boys !!

Dave is right in as much that an organiser has to try and get what will fit
the space, is affordable in time & cost for both exhibition managers and exhibit
owners, and will hopefully attract visitors.

The trouble has been not knowing, or asking what I think is a reasonable question.
I've never been involved with organising an exhibition, but know It includes making
lists of available exhibits and as much detail as you can pack into some "Black Book"
When you eventually are on the invited list a registration form asks :-

Name
Number of operators
Required stand size W and D with rough layout detail ........... but never height.
If any tables or seats required
Power Requirements.

Perhaps at this juncture that question as to suitability for wheelchair users should
be asked. While it'll never be a perfect world perhaps we should learn and try to do
better. Knowing which are easily seen could/should allow a location most suitable.
It's not much good having accessible halls if the next logical step on viewing exhibits
is not taken ?

Anyway I think we have left the OP's request behind - Fix it at what suits YOU !!

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

b308
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby b308 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:16 pm

Dad-1 wrote:When you eventually are on the invited list a registration form asks :-

<snip>
Required stand size W and D with rough layout detail ........... but never height.
<snip>


At the end of the day it is down to the Exhibition Manager, I don't know of many that would invite a layout "unseen" so they should already know at what height the layout is presented from a previous viewing or (if it is unseen) from previous layouts from that individual...

From experience the length and width are the most important to try to fit everyone in but even that can go wrong!! :)

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Bufferstop
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby Bufferstop » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:04 am

I did see one exhibition layout (more of a large diorama) where it was intended to show of some spectacular buildings in a street scene and so was pitched at a high level. The builder had very thoughtfully constructed a periscope (2 mirrors in a cardboard tube) which he gave to anyone in a wheelchair so that they could get the street level view. You also have to consider the backs of the upright majority.
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b308
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Re: Height of base board.

Postby b308 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:33 am

Yes, Bufferstop, the St Albans exhibition also issues their own periscopes, though aimed at kids rather than adults. I am pleased to hear that at least one exhibitor has their own, most leave it to the organiser! The periscope can also be used the other way up! ;)

Yes, Dave, I agree and I did say that the builder's reputation may result in a layout being invited unseen later in that sentence, it does happen, though not often. The OP asked what the "ideal" baseboard height was so I don't think we've strayed off topic. There are many things which can affect what the ideal height is, some of which are:

1. How it is meant to be viewed (from above or eye level for instance)
2. Location if at home - on top of shelves, for instance, table top, on a bed... all can affect the height
3. Is it intended for exhibition

There's no right answer, though if it is a "home" layout then I'd mount at a height where it is easily worked on, around a meter or so high, I use old kitchen units in my railway room (I have a feeling many others do as well, best combination of storage and flat tops known to the Railway Modeller for home use!!) and the layout goes on top of them. If I want to view at eye level I sit down on the seat I use for my workbench!


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