I’ve been mentally planning a shelf layout project for quite some time and I believe have even alluded to it on this very blog but never described it very much. Chris Mears’ posts on Location and Control are a large inspiration to post about it and hopefully start designing it in earnest.
The major inspiration is Lance Mindheim’s article in the May 2015 Model Railroader, the Los Angeles Junction shelf layout. The track plan is basically the same (some minor modifications and basically mirrored to fit my space).
As with the article layout it will be 12 inches deep (except the corner) and I’m a bit torn but currently leaning towards a backdrop and valance. I’m thinking of using track shelving but using the layout itself to hide them. The shelf itself will have a clean fascia that is stained to match the other trim in the room and will be tall enough to hide the shelving bracket. A bottom panel will be installed to hide the brackets from below and give it a cleaner look.
The valance will be basically the same except house some lighting for the layout. It will also be tall enough to hide the brackets. The tracks will not extend below the shelf or above the valence and between the two they will be obscured by a simple backdrop. I am looking to go with the forced perspective route so the trains are at eye level but since I have kids that would be interested in operating I’ll aim for a level that I can achieve sitting in a stool so it’s more feasible for the kids to see.
The plan with the fascia and valance are an attempt to basically make it more respectable since it’s not just a train room anymore but a regular room that also has some trains in the corner. This also means I won’t be able to dawdle with the scenery like I usually do.
The theme is winter in a somewhat city/industrial setting. I’m looking to achieve the a gray day where you get the feeling snow is imminent. Being Minnesota based and a fan of the DM&IR I’ll probably try to find some inspiration from Duluth. Unless luck is with me it will be a freelance location rather than a specific location.
This post has kind of been a big wall of text with no pictures which is a little different than my usual style. I plan to next start drawing some ideas for how the benchwork will be assembled and then (a little further out) in the future working on little display pieces to test scenery techniques and eventually building it.
One of the other things I want to try is more detailed track laying, I’ve spent far too much time staring at Proto87 track with the tie plates. At least one of my display tests will give it a try.