Building a Small Shelf Layout, Part 1: The Design Phase

june2017cover

Building a Small Shelf Layout, Part 1: The Design Phase

june2017coverLimited space, along with time and money, is a problem that many modelers have. A shelf layout is often the answer to not only the problem of space, but also of the other two as well. As the name implies, a shelf layout is built on a shelf against a wall of a room, taking up much less space than a full-size layout. They are usually no more than about six to ten feet long and one to two feet wide.

In this month’s report, we will show you how to determine the space you need – both for the layout itself and for you to work on it and operate it. You will learn how to pick or design a trackplan that fits your space, and determine if your layout will be semi-permanently affixed to the wall or if it will be in some way movable.  By the end of this report you will know exactly what supplies and materials you will need to build a shelf layout of your own.

There are other possibilities for a shelf layout beyond saving space, too. A small shelf layout may not have many, or any, permanently affixed scenery or buildings. This gives you the opportunity to try different scenery mockups – winter, spring, urban, rural, and so on – until you hit on the exact type of scenery you want to be permanent. The non-permanency of the scenery and even the layout itself, means it is easier to change things. This allows you to experiment, either for increased novelty or for using trial and error until you find something you want to make permanent.

An advantage a shelf layout has over something larger, even the standard 4 ft. x 8 ft. layout, is that everything is easier to get to. No hidden track inside mountains or behind walls, no leaning far over a table to reach something you can barely touch; it’s all right there in easy reach!

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Robert Thomson

Robert W. Thomson is a life-long railfan, the son of a former L&N Railroad B&B gang foreman, and an amateur photographer. He was born and raised in southeast Tennessee but now lives in Butte, Montana with his wife, Connie and cat, Charlie. Robert has worked as a park ranger, underground mine tour guide, freelance roleplaying game writer, and ran his own roleplaying game publishing company until selling it in 2012.

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About The Author

Robert Thomson

Robert W. Thomson is a life-long railfan, the son of a former L&N Railroad B&B gang foreman, and an amateur photographer. He was born and raised in southeast Tennessee but now lives in Butte, Montana with his wife, Connie and cat, Charlie. Robert has worked as a park ranger, underground mine tour guide, freelance roleplaying game writer, and ran his own roleplaying game publishing company until selling it in 2012.