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 shelf layout composition
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Author Previous Topic: turnout radius Topic Next Topic: Modular Traction Layout  

Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/15/2017 :  04:42:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
rather than to caboose another thread ....

from a visual standpoint, on a long, thin, module, is it awkward to have its single switch at midpoint?

trying to walk the line between having enough physical room on the siding for a loco & car or two, yet give the run through track the primary importance/ emphasis.

probably more an artsy question than a hogger's quandary.

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Posted - 02/15/2017 :  07:56:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not quite sure what you're asking here but let me try anyway. If you have a long, narrow, 1/2 way back and a straight-edged-ruler run of track with just one switch smack in the middle. Probably would look a bit boring. Personally I'd put come sort of curves in the long run and plan structures and scenery to break it up.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/15/2017 :  08:50:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
and still leave the switch center, or shift it fore or aft? (that's the concern)

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Posted - 02/15/2017 :  08:58:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You can put the switch where ever as long as you use something to break up the "straightness". Visually you need to add interest... long slow 'S' turn (aka large radii), trees, low hills, maybe a cut, buildings etc to break up the view.

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Frank Palmer

Posted - 02/15/2017 :  09:08:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I agree with Rich, straight is BORING, curves add interest and visual appeal. Also by breaking the view of the track with buildings and scenery it looks more realistic. And I never put something directly in the middle, it's too symmetrical, and I don't use even numbers of things.

Edited by - Frank Palmer on 02/15/2017 09:09:10 AM

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/15/2017 :  11:53:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The narrowness and length of shelf layouts are design limitations which everyone lives with. Remember that long, straight stretches of track may be boring, but they are also prototypical.

If you are making a module not intended to operate, then you give priority to the look of the track over function. If you want to operate, you give priority to function over looks. The length of a stub is crucial to operation. If a switching lead can't hold at least the engine and 1 car, you cannot switch a car.

Once your track plan is set, then you may create visual art incorporating the track. As mentioned above, if you don't like the look of the switch, you can "hide" it. Anything, even a low rise, will hide track.

Modeling Arizona Eastern Railroad, Hayden Junction (1920), in On30

Edited by - rca2 on 02/15/2017 11:56:27 AM

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/15/2017 :  1:58:47 PM  Show Profile  Send cajon a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
If you take a look at most RR tracks on Bing or Google aerials they run straight except when following some topographic feature like a river or cliff face. So having curves for just aesthetic reasons isn't the RR way. >)

Andy Jackson
Santa Fe Springs CA
LAJ/ATSF Modeler

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/16/2017 :  06:21:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
good considerations all; thanks

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David Clark
Crew Chief

Posted - 03/16/2017 :  12:59:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can't tell from your post how much room is involved or in what scale you are working, but I would suggest trying to use elements of composition to help situate the turnout. Having the scene too symmetrical will not necessarily balance it. An elevation change might help take the boring out of it, by dropping the ground for a river or chasm. A Bend, for bend's sake, might not be prototypical but honestly, we gave up prototypical as soon as we compressed a RR into a basement. It's your world...who's to criticize? Especially if it ends up looking amazing!

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Michael Hohn

Posted - 03/16/2017 :  10:27:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
One rule of thumb for picture composition is to imagine vertical and horizontal lines dividing the canvas into ninths. Then put the most important visual element where two lines cross. Applied to your case, that suggests the turnout one third of the way from one end. If a structure is the important element then it should be about a third of the way from one end and the turnout placed in a logical place.


Nobody living can ever stop me, as I go walking that freedom highway -- Woody Guthrie

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/17/2017 :  04:49:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
David - the symmetry and balance considerations seem to be a constant series of tweaks as things go along. almost like chess; moving one element suggests, or even requires, something else to be wiggled this way or that. since the shelf is gone in favor of a loop, now i have two turnouts to position and while not entirely double the conundrum, they seem to require some empathetic symbiosis.

i will most likely get everything planned in 2-D, and then any elevation changes will surely enhance the overall plan. ideally it will be 50% above and 50% below track level with the intention of no grading, although at this phase i'm not placing too much emphasis on "the garnishes". just trying to get the meat 'n' 'taters ready!

Mike - that's a pretty good - and interesting - proportion (for lack of better design vocabulary). it has a good "feel" to it.i did a couple of quick pencil sketches and that "9ths" grid does have a bit of merit and i will use it in conjunction with the other suggestions. thanks

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