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September 2001 - Page 46

pine tree

The only problem is that the F&SM attracts so many visitors, certainly more than I would have ever expected! L ike most of us, the main line radius was my main c onsideration in design ing the benchwork (George k eeps it at a minimum 30"). As for changes? No, I wouldnt have really made a ny, although sometimes I have to wonder to myself, Why did I make this lay out so big! T here are numerous c hanges betwe en the o riginal area of the F &SM and the new est portion. You really started to cut back on y our over-abundant detailing by quite a bit. But isnt it the detailing t hat made your lay out unique? Yes, but I overdid it. Ive heard a lot of gripes a bout the abundance o f detail on the layout, b ut it seems that most o f them came from the operational side of the hobby...guys that leaned more to minimal detailing and whose focus was more on the actual operation as opposed to the running of trains. U nfortunately, there a re some guys who t hink of the F&SM a s more of museumtype layout build ing, which really isnt much of an insult considering there was, at one time, talk of moving the F&SM to the Smithsonian when the time came! W hat really irks me is the simple point that the layout is designed for some really serious operation as well. How often have you seen a trackplan that consists of little more than a simple oval and a couple of spurs, and yet the article stresses all the operating fun that can be gotten from even a modest layout? Well, it may be true that the F&SM staging could handle some intensification, but the layout itself is a quagmire of switches and sidings, controlled by DCC, and just waiting for the right time to come along to enjoy that facet of the hobby. I make no secret of it; my favorite part of the hobby lies in the creativity of the layout itself, operation still takes a backseat, but in future years that will be changing as well.

and conifers. I never liked the cotton-ball trees used to cover many layouts, and generally blend scenic foam from various manufacturers to create my own blend of foliage cover. One thing I make sure of is NOT to get a salt-and-pepper effect on my treetops. How has the room size and aisle space affected your overall feel of the layout. Are there any changes you would have made to alter the layout dimensions if you had a second chance?



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