Prototype Modeling’s “Handcuffs”

The success of a layout, ultimately measured by the satisfaction we wring out of it, is usually determined before we even begin construction.  I’ll take it a step further, it even starts before we begin drawing a track plan.  It’s such a subtly complex topic because it may take years to ultimately know whether we […]


The timeless 80/20 rule, model railroad planning is not immune. All too often we have our 80/20 priorities backwards.  We spend eighty per cent of our time wringing our hands over what I would consider more tactical issues and only twenty per cent on the much more important strategic questions.  What curve radius to employ, […]

Stepping Outside The Sandbox

Model railroading is a hobby that allows it’s participants to dig in and participate as much or as little as they’d like.   On one end of the spectrum would be the casual recreationalist.  This is someone who wants to have a basic representational layout that he can unwind with now and then, perhaps entertain the […]

The Hidden Blessing of Constraints

Awhile back I was reading an article on architectural design.  The author, an architect, made the point that having constraints (budget, theme, etc.) on a project often made it easier rather than harder.   The constraints narrowed the focus leading to a more cohesive result. The same could be said for model railroading.   At first […]