Help me with my show layout

Help me with my show layout

Postby ConducTTor » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:37 pm

It's time for me to start building for the 2013 NMRA "prom". I have several questions as I continue to think about the layout. I'll ask them one at a time as they get answered. If this degrades into meaningless diatribe I'll just decide on my own so only constructive answers please :mrgreen:

The only constraint is the size of the layout (for the first show anyway) which is 6' X 3'.

First question:

Who is the target audience? This has implications on the height of the layout.

Shorter = more kid attention. Hopefully this means their parents hang around longer and ask questions about TT. I'm guessing these would be casual "guests" that have little preconception about scale.

Taller = better for adults. I assume this would be targeted towards people who are already into the hobby. Do they care that TT exists?
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Re: Help me with my show layout

Postby railtwister » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:06 pm

Hi Alex,

Why not make the layout conform with the TT-Tracks table top module specs, using Tillig bedding track, like Bill Dixon has done? It would greatly simplify storage, transportation and set-up, and would not require you to build, lug around, and assemble separate leg assemblies, since the modules are designed to sit on the banquet tables commonly used at trainshows.

It seems like it's a bit late to be building anything too fancy at this point, since the show is only 3 month's away...

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Re: Help me with my show layout

Postby ConducTTor » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:27 pm

railtwister wrote:Hi Alex,

Why not make the layout conform with the TT-Tracks table top module specs, using Tillig bedding track, like Bill Dixon has done? It would greatly simplify storage, transportation and set-up, and would not require you to build, lug around, and assemble separate leg assemblies, since the modules are designed to sit on the banquet tables commonly used at trainshows.

It seems like it's a bit late to be building anything too fancy at this point, since the show is only 3 month's away...

Bill in FtL


Several reasons:

Why not Tillig bedding track? Because Kuhn track has a lower profile (public facing track will ONLY be Kuhn). It shows TT in a better light if you will. It's more realistic so naturally it's better.

Why not the TT-Tracks specs? The chances of ever being at the same show with Bill with modules in hand are slim to none. Also I don't want to depend on tables - I'm not excited about the table size offered at this show. It would mean the table is too small for my layout in one dimension and too big in the other or I would have to use two tables. Then it will be too big in all dimensions. I don't want "empty space". I think it looks bad. The size of layout I'm building is very specific and also constraining unfortunately. Also, I'd like to be able to do different layout heights due to the things mentioned in first post - again, I'd like to present TT well and being able to control height is important. I may not get it right the first time but based on the response, I'll be able to adjust for future shows around Atlanta. Finally, adjusting for height means no table support so the base of the layout has to be pretty rigid. Foam is no good in this case.

Another consideration is making it as simple as possible - no need to deal with foam! Just get a flat surface and throw track and trains on it! The "veterans" will know how to make a layout more complex if they want to. For the newbies it will be very straight forward. This I think is super important. There must be none or at least very low barriers to entry for someone to give TT a try.
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Re: Help me with my show layout

Postby CSD » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:39 am

The display should be above crotch height. This has worked out very well for the RATT display as the kids that are old enough to mind their hands will be able to see, the smaller ones will be minded anyway and adults won't have to crane over. Besides, lots of people will be looking or taking pictures at table height and the last thing they need as a backdrop is your XYZ.
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Re: Help me with my show layout

Postby CSD » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:43 am

railtwister wrote:... It seems like it's a bit late to be building anything too fancy at this point, since the show is only 3 month's away...


By the way, the RATT "classic" layout: Scenery - 3 nights.
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Re: Help me with my show layout

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:58 am

CSD wrote:
railtwister wrote:... It seems like it's a bit late to be building anything too fancy at this point, since the show is only 3 month's away...


By the way, the RATT "classic" layout: Scenery - 3 nights.


Uhm, yeah. I plan on cranking this thing out in no time flat. It's my highest priority until it's done. The wife's been warned :grin:
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Re: Help me with my show layout

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:59 am

CSD wrote:The display should be above crotch height. This has worked out very well for the RATT display as the kids that are old enough to mind their hands will be able to see, the smaller ones will be minded anyway and adults won't have to crane over. Besides, lots of people will be looking or taking pictures at table height and the last thing they need as a backdrop is your XYZ.


Sooooo, low = good????
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Re: Help me with my show layout

Postby Bill Dixon » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:10 am

ConducTTor wrote:It's time for me to start building for the 2013 NMRA "prom". I have several questions as I continue to think about the layout. I'll ask them one at a time as they get answered. If this degrades into meaningless diatribe I'll just decide on my own so only constructive answers please :mrgreen:

The only constraint is the size of the layout (for the first show anyway) which is 6' X 3'.

First question:

Who is the target audience? This has implications on the height of the layout.

Shorter = more kid attention. Hopefully this means their parents hang around longer and ask questions about TT. I'm guessing these would be casual "guests" that have little preconception about scale.

Taller = better for adults. I assume this would be targeted towards people who are already into the hobby. Do they care that TT exists?


Given your 3' x 6' space any HO Scale 4' x 8' layout would scale down nicely.

So what do you want the layout to do?
If you are going to be doing a lot of talking, it needs to run unattended so it would need several separate loops for the trains to run on.
If you can spend more time operating the layout then you can indulge in more scenery and switching operation.

What about weight? If you don't do light weight construction you will need a dolly or friend to move it around.

What about transport? 3' x 6' will need a mini van.

For your first show layout, simple would be best. Maybe add track connections to the ends it can be a part of something larger.
As the show is not too far away simple and easy to build seems to be the operative word.
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Re: Help me with my show layout

Postby CSD » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:21 am

ConducTTor wrote:Sooooo, low = good????


How tall are you?


Yes, it has worked out for us. Many of the group layouts are quite high. The kids can't see them, so they always have to bring step stools or the parents have to hold them. You can almost taste the relief of a parent that can put their kid down for 5 minutes. We use a short plastic shield to keep hands off the layout. The kids may hang on to the shield when they watch the trains, but none have ever made a grab for them.
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Re: Help me with my show layout

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:16 am

Bill Dixon wrote:So what do you want the layout to do?
If you are going to be doing a lot of talking, it needs to run unattended so it would need several separate loops for the trains to run on.
If you can spend more time operating the layout then you can indulge in more scenery and switching operation.


There are two loops so I can leave trains running. I'm really not sure what the atmosphere will be like so it's hard to say if I'll have time to do any switching.


Bill Dixon wrote:What about weight? If you don't do light weight construction you will need a dolly or friend to move it around.

What about transport? 3' x 6' will need a mini van.


The 3' X 6' is actually split in 4 "modules" each 1.5' X 3' so transportation and moving it around will not be an issue. Light weight construction is in the plan - I anticipate each piece will weigh no more than 10lbs.

Bill Dixon wrote:For your first show layout, simple would be best. Maybe add track connections to the ends it can be a part of something larger.
As the show is not too far away simple and easy to build seems to be the operative word.


Absolutely. KISS.
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