Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Art of Compromise - test

Art of Compromise
The AoC was set up yesterday as a quick fault finding mission - or to see what I'd forgotten. Plenty. The main issue is that this wasn't envisaged or planned as an exhibition layout. The problem here is that it is due to go to it's first and last showing at the WRG show in March.

On a basic level everything worked fine. RTR Hornby/Bachmann locos coupled with PECO track is pretty safe. What I'd missed was some sort of minimal lighting, so the post was nicked off of Morton Stanley, still warm from the weekend's outing (and visible behind). What was noticeable from the rear running as just how 1980s it all feels. This was after all the point of the exercise and running it was actually rather fun within the limits of the operation. It also dawned, not surprisingly, that a few visits to exhibitions with around £200 to spend and you could pick up all the bits for this secondhand. Not poor quality, just not fashionable anymore as they're not DCC. The newest loco on here is a Bachmann 56XX, brand new at £42 from a box shifter. The rest were around £30 including the Hornby open cab pannier which purred around the layout all afternoon.  The most expensive building was the signal box at eight quid. Expensive hobby? Not if you don't follow the crowd.


  1. Hi Chris.

    That picture is really informative. I think it shows that the arbitrary selection of one foot as the width by Roy is the main limiting factor of the AoC. The road adjacent to the back scene is a real thief of space.

    Increasing the width by say 4 inches or so would help. As would setting the layout in the Edwardian or post WW1 era.

  2. Sitting in Sue's shed are a pair of (nominally) 4'x1' baseboards that I've knocked up to go on top of the 3 IKEA Billy bookcases in my living room, so this photo is very informative for me, too.
    Whatever goes on it will largely feature freight traffic, although there might be a minimal platform for the Dapol/Branchlines railbus.
    I've a feeling there won't be much in the way of scenery on my effort; perhaps more of a suggestion than anything really solid...but then, it's meant to be a shunty plank for my own pleasure (and to actually get something working in EM) rather than for exhibition.
    Now where have I heard that before?

  3. Oh, and the expense thing...must admit that I wince when I see the prices of some new locos with DCC and all the bells and whistles.
    Personally I'd rather pay less and either live with a model as it is or work on it so it satisfies me. Mind you, the Heljan BRCW Type 2 I got at the weekend was both cheap (£61) and ticks most of the boxes...regauge, possibly add small yellow warning panels and a bit of light weathering and it'll be fine, so you can also get the best of both worlds.

  4. Having seen the picture I want to see the real thing to see if it is as cramped as it appears so I hope youu will do a selective set of exhibitions .
    It also makes me wonder adout my 2 4' X 1' baseboards which were going to make a 3mm test track etc

  5. Kane: I've made the point all the way through that opening it up to at least 15" x 7' would make the whole thing breath a bit, that said...
    Richard: It's surprisingly not cramped when you consider what it's supposed to do. I'm trying at the moment to see if I could make it smaller. CP's Sutton Wharf could be a start point for this, but don't tell him.

  6. Hi Chris

    I know you have consistently articulated the limitations of the space allows and as. They say a picture paints etc. Looking at the photo I get the impression that maybe a quarter of the surface area of the layout is platform or road. That is quite an imbalance.

  7. First of all, thanks Chris for spurring me on to revisit my own attempt at TAoC. Whilst the baseboard has been sat in the shed the mice have made their thoughts known about my original EM gauge trackplan. Moving them (the baseboards, not the mice, not that the cat would notice) into my home office has actually brought home that for many of us the space limitation Roy was working to is actually a practical minimum. In fact I'm going to have to either shorten the fiddleyard baseboard, or extend the baseboard into the 6ft length.

    Now that you've shown the original design is feasible I also feel a bit happier about playing around with it a little.For instance losing the road and having the entrance to the goods yard at the far end.