This week on the Great Model Railway Challenge, the Fawley Fliers, Diesel Dynamos and Railway Children battled it out to create layouts on the theme of fire and ice. I think ambition outstripped time on a few of the layouts but there were some fascinating results and a truck crash!
Behind the Scenes Photos
What did I learn?
Scenic-wise, a great back scene and atmosphere really work to draw you into the layout. The Fawley Fliers had a wonderfully evocative but fairly simple back scene painted by Rachel. It wasn’t a typical sky either which added even further to the look and feel of the layout. My second layout had a grey cloudy sky and I do love the feel that it gives.
The second thing I learnt is that trains running well is most important thing on a model railway. Overly complicated control systems may work great at home but are one more thing to go wrong when putting on a display. I’m just putting in a complex Arduino turnout control system into a micro layout. It will save loads of money but if it doesn’t work robustly, I will have to rethink it.
Finally, there’s no alternative to experience. I learn by trying new things and making mistakes but I still learn from those mistakes. As you spend longer in the hobby, you accrue a great bank of mistakes! This heat made me realise how much I have learnt over the last 18 years, sometimes in model railways, sometimes in other modelling and just generally in life. That pushing our boundaries is what makes great layouts though sometimes they take multiple iterations! Don’t be scared to try anything but recognise that not everything will work first time or even at all.
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