I can’t remember if it was Al Gore, Mark Cuban, or Leonardo  Da Vinci that “invented” the 80/20 rule.  Either way, it is one of the more universally applicable concepts to roll out of a R&D department in years.  It even applies to our leisure time pursuit.  At least eighty per cent of the visual impact is obtained from twenty per cent of our modeling efforts.  It should be a source of encouragement to modelers of all skill levels that some of the most effective modeling techniques are relatively simple to apply.

Are you a middle school student, high school student, or recent retiree jumping into the fray for the first time?  My consistent drum beat has been one of starting with a simple plan that guarantees success, develop skills and confidence, and then progress to more complex layouts over time.   What’s one formula for success?

  • A one foot by eight foot shelf style layout with no more than three or four turnouts
  • Micro Engineering code 70 turnouts painted with Rustoleum “Earth Brown” camo paint
  • Arizona Rock and Mineral Ballast
  • Heki 1576 Wild Grass Fiber for your grass surface
  • A pale blue, cloudless, backdrop with a low horizon
  • Obsessive neatness
  • Knock the shine off your rolling stock with dullcote and accent the panel lines with the Tamiya Panel Line paint I mentioned a few posts ago
  • Apply an India Ink wash to all of your structures (1 teaspoon of ink per pint of alcohol).

If anybody goes this route, I’d love to see some photos of how things turned out for you.