I recently joined in a thread on RM Webb about pointless layouts. After an initial surge, it quickly drifted off to a trickle. I must admit that I was surprised and slightly saddened as I had hoped to contribute further.
I firmly believe that small layouts are a great entry-level into our hobby and further more they are great for modellers with limited space. I have had several friends that jumped straight in with larger layouts that later floundered and never got anywhere near finished. A small layout can be as complex as you want and is a great learning curve for bigger projects.
I find the use of traversers and sector plates great money and space savers and also reduces overall layout size. I have produced several layouts with space-saving devices and most are under 6′ x 2′, however one of my latest is 10′ x 15″ and is two 4′ boards plus the sector plate. When you consider that each point in O gauge needs a point motor, CDU, wire and possibly a chip, you rapidly approach £70 per point, with OO coming out just under half this price. If you also consider the size of an O gauge point you can see why it is wise to engineer as many as you can out of your layout designs. I have not used traversers or sectors in N gauge as by it’s nature it is a space saving gauge.
I have often been asked how I came up with the sizes on my smaller layouts. I always say, that’s easy, I measure the boot of the car. If you can not transport a layout, you probably can not attend Exhibitions.
A small by-product of having small layouts is that over the years I have had many Exhibition invites to ‘fill gaps’ in the floor plan. Some Exhibitions are obviously limited for space and have to keep exhibits small or medium-sized. On the other hand some of the bigger Exhibitions seem to only go for the medium to large layouts. As good as they may be the larger layout is mainly outside most people’s capabilities. I am not putting down large layouts, we are blessed with some fantastic ones at present. I just think that the bigger Exhibitions should have some small or even micro layouts to inspire potential new modellers and the widest presentation of our hobby should be portraid . Size is a factor at an Exhibition and is just as important as country, scale, era, gauge and location
The under 6′ layouts have appeared in previous posts on this site, they are:-
SEFTON YARD O gauge one point Sector plate
MERLINS LANE O gauge one point Sector plate
NORFOLK COKE AND TAR O gauge pointless Traverser (single track)
LOWE St. OO gauge one point Sector plate
And the 10′ layout is:-
MORLOCK HEATH O gauge one point Sector plate
Please have a look if you have not already.
RECOMENDED READING —-
Building Micro Layouts By PAUL A. LUNN
Layouts for Limited Spaces By NIGEL ADAMS