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Jim Martin: Jim's radio broadcasting career includes both the private sector and the CBC, Canada's national network. During his many years on air he was a reporter, announcer, news director, talk show and news magazine host, and his favorite part, interviewer. For many years he was also the book review and video review editor for Canadian Railway Modeller. More recently he has been writing articles for Railroad Model Craftsman. He also enjoys presenting backdrop painting clinics to local groups and train shows.

Trevor Marshall: Trevor cut his teeth in radio at Standard Broadcast News, a national radio newswire service in Canada. The radio news writing style has served him well in his current profession as a freelance writer for clients in the transportation, life sciences, and government sectors. Trevor's articles for the hobby press have appeared in Model Railroad Planning, Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman and other publications and he regularly presents model and prototype railway clinics on a variety of topics. He finds everything about the hobby interesting, but is particularly interested in the process that goes into a well-thought-out, prototype-based layout.

Chris Abbott is our Technical Director. Jim and Trevor would still be talking to each other without his help.

Otto Vondrak is our Creative Director. That awesome badge and banner on the site? That's his doing.

David Woodhead is our Music Director. If you find yourself humming our theme song, well - you're not alone. Jim and Trevor have had it stuck in their heads for weeks now. Well done, David!

Creative Layout Design

The Model Railway Show

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In this episode…


Iain Rice, layout designer and author.

Brian Scace, layout designer and author.



It’s all good!


What do you do if you can’t pick a single modeling subject and stick with it? One of the most well-known layout designers to address this problem is Iain Rice.


Iain is known in North America for modeling a Proto:87 (finescale HO) North American-based layout (Roque Bluffs, which became a project layout series starting in the October 2003 issue of Model Railroader magazine). But at home, he also models a Dutch narrow gauge layout and a number of British themes in 4mm scale.


Iain joins Trevor to discuss how he became a layout designer, how he juggles multiple interests and some techniques for making it all work. He also shares his layout-building philosophy, which he has captured in many books on both North American and British themes – most recently, Layout Design (part of the Realistic Railway Modelling series).


As North American lifestyles become more mobile, hobbyists may be looking more closely at the creative layout design and construction approaches used by British modelers. Therefore, Iain describes how many of these ideas from the British School can be used to benefit larger, more permanent layouts.



The Blob, the Oval and Nodes


What’s a Blob, you ask?


Students of the late Dean of Track Planning, John Armstrong, know it’s the loop at the end of a peninsula that allows trains to turn back on themselves.


Brian Scace – who had the opportunity to discuss the Blob and other layout planning concepts firsthand with John when they were neighbors – also knows them as the worst enemy of layout planners working in larger scales such as O.


(He’s not the only one – many others, including Craig Bisgeier, have written on the problems of the Blob. Here’s what Craig has to say.)


Brian – a one-time editor of O Scale Trains magazine – penned a five-part series in Issues 53-57 (available to order here) in which he presents his thoughts on planning layouts for larger scales.


Brian joins Jim to discuss the Blob as well as why he feels the Oval may be the O scaler’s best friend, and what we can learn about layout design from computer networks.