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August 1999 - Page 50


A s outhbound pig train passes over the Larkspur bridge as a motorist d rives underneath .
p ower and telephone poles and l i nes that run through the scene. Record all the water elements, i n c l u di n g both m a n made ( l ike d a m s or d i tc h e s ) a n d natural ( stream s , ponds o r waterfalls). A lmost any scene w i l l have drainage courses, s o don ' t forget them. Note where the trees are found and where a n y r o c k o u tc r op p i ng s a r e . Take p h o tographs o f the trees and rocks t o b e able to color match them during the model phase. Note where any s i dewalks and pavement are. Record all the roadways and highways. Most also have signs, so don' t forget them. This itemized scene element checkl ist w i l l b e q u i te u seful when deciding o n what to compress or eliminate. It can also be used to ensure progress during the model i ng. For m y prototy p e scenes , the M o ffat Tu n n e l checkl i s t i n c l u de d : main t u n n e l b u i l d ing (with snowshed), MOW building and ome of its surround i n g c l utter, communication poles, grade cro s s i n g , stream , rocks and trees. The trestle s ide of the module con tained: the trestle, dirt and paved roads (and their s i gn s ) , retain i ng w a l l s , power l i nes, trees and the stream. t h e track elements o r y o u may loose the prototype feel of the site. If y o ur chosen scene i n c l udes a l arge building or two, you may have to compress the building to squeeze it into the available space and to align it with the model track age. Leaving off a section or reducing a wall i n length may be needed to get i t to tit. O f c o u r s e , w h e n e v e r you c o m p r e s s something, you need t o strike a compromise on what gets omitted. This compr i s i n g is usually a personal thing and reflects on your i n terest in the scene. Rank all the items in the prototype scene checklist by importance to you and i mportance to the scene. This can give you a way to choose what to compress or even e l im i nate completely. The e lusive goal of the prototype modeler is to compress and compromise as l i ttle as possible. On my module, the real J o i n t L i n e Santa Fe bridge i s b u i l t on a large, sweep i n g c u r v e . U n fortunately, my Foa m R a i l modul e d i d n o t a l l ow a c urve w i t h i n the constraints of the module. So the model ATSF bridge was built straight. Very few people h ave noticed the change. On the M offat s i de , t h e re are several a n c il l ary b u i l d i ngs next to the MOW shed. Agai n because of space l i m i tations, I elected to e l i m i n ate a l l those extra b u i l d i ngs. How ever, I felt that the track layout needed to be to scale, so the turnout leading to the tun nel portal is in correct relations h i p to the scene. T h i s necessitated h a n d l ay i n g code 4 0 rai l and building the turnout. Also, the portal building i s the star of the scene, s o n o c o m p re s s i o n was a l l ow e d t h e r e . A l though t h e trackage w i th i n t h e actual Moffat Tunnel is straight, I had to bend it w i t h i n the tunnel to again match existing FoamRail specifications. Compression and compromise at work.

P utti ng It A l l Together
A fter a l l t h e research , fie l d notes and measurements have been taken, i t ' s now time to actually model the scene. Don ' t fal l i nto the research trap o f trying t o obtain that last bit of prototype data . . . because you never w i l l . A l though research i s necessary, you will never get everything. A rule of thumb i s that y o u w i l l obtain 9 0 % of t h e necessary modeling data in 1 0% of the time. To get the rema i n i n g 1 0% , you w i l l need 90% more t i me. The key is to strike a balance. Only you w i l l know when it's the time to begin model i n g . The research trap is espec i a l l y nasty if y o u have chosen t o model a scene from a bygone era. At some point, you w i l l need to choose a modeling scale. It may be what you're used to, l ike HO scale. Consider, however, chang ing scales to better represent the scene. N scale has a huge advantage over the l arger scales s ince more c an be i n c luded on the same model real estate, thus leading to less c o m p re s s i o n a n d f e w e r c o m p ro m i se s . Scenery can dominate the trains i n N-scale in a way that HO or l arger can never hope for. Changing scales can also stimulate your model rail roading hobby. When matc h i ng a prototype scene, the structures w i l l be the easiest to model, fol lowed by the trackwork. Scenery will be the hardest to duplicate. Trying to plant every tree and bush and carve or cast every rock outcropping can be a recipe for frustration. Try, however, to follow at least where the trees and rocks o c c u r in the real s c e n e . Duplicating t h e colors o f the rocks a n d trees is easy. Plant model grass (foam) where the prototype has real grass and weeds. Don ' t forget the backdrop. D u ring your v i s i t to the s i te, take some photographs of the di stant mountains or h i l ls, water or at A U G U ST 1 99 9

Com p ression and Compromise
T hese two words can make or break the proj e c t . No m atter how m u c h s c a l e real estate you have to work with, i t will be next to i m p o s s i b l e to i n c l u de e v e ry t h i n g . Because o f l i mi t a t i o n s i n ava i l ab l e track components, the actual track l ayout w i l l probably have to be compressed. To include every s w i tc h and s p u r m ay j u s t take too m u c h roo m . O r t h e n a t u r a l f l o w o f t h e trackwork m a y have t o be adjusted t o fit the confines of the room or space you have to work i n . Whatever the case, be prepared to compress or even bend the track arrange ment to fit. Try not to change too much of

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