Back to Back Issues Page
Scale Modeling Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #008-- Less Space, More Action
September 14, 2007
September 15, 2007

In a lot of ways in Scale Modeling, smaller is bigger. In terms of action, you will find small shelf model railroads will provide you with more action, the new R/C mini cars, planes and helicopters zig and zag in the space their larger brethren can only zig.

Take a look at the small side of modeling.

Shelve It And Get More Action

When I first decided to build another N Scale layout in my newly renovated home office in an 8X10 that needed to contain two lounge chairs, a 6X2-foot desk/workbench and a shelf unit, I knew I was talking shelf.

To still maintain the presence of being a spare room, I am limited to a table top five feet in length and about 18 inches wide. In fact, this is ideal for my purpose, I don't want to devote both my home and the next 4-5 years to building a model railroad.

My previous N-scale "Layout-In-A-Shed" offered the advantage of more room, (6' X 10') but when I got right down to it, I ended up having to cramp curves to make room for human access and there wasn't much room for off layout construction without trampling scenery.

Another disadvantage, was getting to track trouble spots to solve an electrical problem, or a derailment.

Then there was all that rock work with 2-foot cliffs, tunnel faces and rock outcroppings--enough plaster of paris to fill a bathtub.

Then we had operating sessions. Drop off a boxcar at the machine plant and that it was all the way around the layout to pick up a load of logs, through the tunnel and back to town for the paper mill where the logs were dropped off. Not much switching in a session.

I am looking forward to the changes a shelf layout promises:

· A relatively short construction time. · No substantial curves making real track fitting hassles. · Cheaper with less scenery, structures and stress. · Less track and rolling stick required, also a budgetary consideration. · A test-bed type environment to evaluate new products and new ideas. · Build a few diorama-type buildings and structures, not an entire town.

I am actually looking forward to tackling a shelf layout. I can see it will provide increased realism and operating conditions as well as attenuating modeling skills in producing and kitbashing a few chosen craftsman kits. By not having to buy 100-15 plastic structure kits, I can afford the more realistic and detailed stripwood and castings project kits.

I also like the idea of using a "fiddleyard" to provide alternative operating conditions.

Scale Modeler's Review

Not Too Early For Christmas Shopping

Here at Scale-Modelers-Handbook, despite the fact I am well beyond "Boomer" classification I've been reliving childhood R/C fantasies (no there wasn't much R/C back in the early 40s.) but hey, it is my fantasy. --I wanted a cool remote control tank; didn't happen. --Yearned for a mini helicopter to land in my palm. Nope.

The latest crazy hybrid super-light indoor flying plane is getting a trial. Its the Palm Z Mini Indoor R/C plane from Silverlit in the UK.

The Palm Z is so light that crashes don't bother it much, but it is somewhat fragile and you still need to take some care with it. Don't buy one for your careless 8 year old nephew and please avoid stepping on it. Remember the Palm-Z is intended for indoor flight only. The Palm-Z is remotely controlled via infrared and not radio waves.

What's New In the Handbook?

For both experienced modelers and new beginners, my single, most important piece of advice is to network.

Like any other experience in life, excellence is not something you are born with it is attained through understanding and interaction with other modelers.

I equate it to my early experiences in trying to learn how to build a successful website. I was self taught and actually got to the point I could put together a pretty good looking website. But it never made a nickel and had very little traffic.

Being self taught I had no mentor, no one I could question and no one to show me how. Contrast that to today. I now make a decent income from web sites and deal with a lot of purposely centered traffic.

The difference is that I have about 3,000 mentors only too eager to help through the interactive learning provided by a concentrated forum of website owners.

The Site Build It forums are some of the best in the world to help users build successful web sites.

Through I hope to one day have a similar series of forums devoted to modeling and have established the skeleton under the "Your Forums" button in the left Navigation bar. Yup, its at the bottom.

Final Thoughts

I don't want to overstay my welcome, nor do I want to offend anyone by harping too much about the environment, but it has become a concern of mine. I do find it a lot more beneficial than jumping on the which-starlet-got-the-drunkest-with-whom- and-got-out-of-jail-free-bandwagon.

I have a couple of neat modeling informationals that I'm going to hold until next month.

If the only action you take based on The 11th Hour is to log onto the new forums and tell me you don't care what hour it is, I will appreciate the feedback and act accordingly.

This is your Newsletter, Not Mine.

Back to Back Issues Page