10. Git 'r Done
- Don't spend ALL your time thinking, or you're just daydreaming. Get
out the shovel or hammer and go lay some track!
11. Don't set project deadlines
- Instead, set how many HOURS that you intend to work that day... Then
you won't feel as much like a failure if things don't go quite as
12. Plan how you will access every single foot of track. -
I can almost guarantee that if it's hard to get to, that's where you'll
have the most trouble. There's not much more upsetting damaging your
new locomotive because you had to fish it out of a tunnel with a broom
is the best help I can offer for layouts and for life, without any
mumbo jumbo, or sugar coating. How you use it (or not) is up to you.
Know your target audience
Folks always seem to like to argue over proper 'scale models'
versus semi-scale or 'toys'. I'll clue you in on a secret.
Everyone is right, and everyone is wrong. It all depends on the frame
of reference and who you're talking to. Like it or not, LGB was THE
gold standard in large scale trains for decades. They carefully chose
their target audience - folks who wanted robust, good running, good
looking trains for indoor and outdoor use.- And were willing to pay for
superior quality. - They produced exactly what those folks wanted. If
you preferred perfect scale, or cheap and cheerful, they never claimed
to be what you sought. Yet some folks slammed them for not being so.
Bachmann and Aristo-Craft OTOH have chosen to cater to those who seem
to prefer lower price and a more scale appearance over quality and
durability. As with LGB, it's not wrong, just a different target
has all this to do with you and me? We need to take the same approach. When
we plan projects, we need to decide WHO our target audience will be. If you
are building for a club or other train folks, you will need a
different mindset and standard of finish than if you're building for
family and friends. Trust me, your kids won't disown you if
something is off by 3 scale inches or even a couple scale feet. MOST of
your train buddies won't actually embarrass you over it either (unless
you REALLY make a hash of it.... but then, those that do probably deserve to
be shown the door anyway.) While a Colorado NG enthusiast might be
really impressed if you build a historically accurate model of D&RGW
#483 as she appeared on the afternoon of August 26, 1943 at 3:52PM....
your 4 YO grandson will just be mad because you say he can't touch it.
If you want to mostly run in public, then you should plan for
durable, easy to repair, and reasonably good looking. Most folks can't
tell a Baldwin from an Alco or Aster from New Bright, and really don't
much care, either. Kids (and many adults) WILL try to touch your
stuff - So i is much easier to plan for thatt than to get upset
afterwards. Thomas WILL get more attention than your scale models. Most
folks will just ask how much it cost because they are curious, or maybe
because they think you're a bit daft. - not about why you put an
incorrect paint scheme on something "XRR never owned". There may
be a few, but most won't give you grief, even if they notice.
If you want to win a model contest, get printed up in a magazine
or are building for a museum, then by all means go whole hog. Put a
perfect scale pickle chip on a perfect scale sandwich in a perfect
scale lunchbox in that perfect scale toolbox. If you just plan to sit
it in a case to look at, then you probably may want to draw a line
someplace short of that. If you plan to actually RUN it - especially
outside, then please realize that some of those more fiddly detail bits
are probably not going to hold up for very long. And once lost they can
be a bear to find!
Generally, for most of us,
if all the parts look like they belong together, and the model works
visually with everything else on your layout, then it IS 'right', even
if it is wrong. When you take in the whole picture, you won't really
notice that the gauge is off by 6" or the building has 4 windows instead
of 5. And stuff that looked like total crap from 3" with a flash often
will look great from 3 feet away under natural light. OTOH a perfect
scale model that overwhelms everything else around it may totally ruin
the mood you are trying to set. Okay, so painting an undersized cow to look
like a pig might not be very convincing when viewed up close, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.
A point to remember is your layout is (hopefully) a sort of
picture, or series of pictures, that tells a story, and YOU are the
artist - whimsey, selective compression (aka the rubber ruler),
impression rather than fidelity, even rigidly counting rivets ALL have
their place in your properly equipped toolbox. Knowing when and how to
use them is what separates the fantastic from the merely good. It IS an
art, not a science, but it can be learned. And carefully choosing your
audience (even if it is yourself) and playing towards what they want
and expect is the first step.