A question about forced perspective and smaller layouts

I've been without a permanent layout for about 15 years.  My last layout was an 8'x8'.  I had always planned for a bigger layout and have continued piling up trains, die cast vehicles and structures of all sorts for when I build my next layout.  We're planning on moving south, where it's warmer and basements are few and far between so I'm figuring my layout will be in a spare bedroom about 10'x12' in size.  Over time I picked up several of the American Highway Legends series of 1/64 scale trucks.  I knew they were too small even though many of the Lionel vehicles and trailers were approximately the same scale, but they were pretty cool and I figured they would work for forced perspective.  I've also got some Matchbox Collectibles that were listed as 1/50 scale but they're actually closer to 1/64. Given the limited size of the room I'll probably have, would using these vehicles in combination with ceramic structures, that are not to scale, for forced perspective work on a smaller layout or is the distance between viewer and the smaller scale items not enough to complete the illusion?

Original Post

 Layouts I've seen were a basement/spare building size layout for forced perspective to work.  On an O Scale layout, S Scale items about 25 feet away seems to work.  Closer than that falls under the heading of:  It's your railroad, do whatever trips your trigger.  Place a short length of track, a scale engine with some rolling stock, one or two buildings with highway vehicles outside.  Pace off ten feet and place your 1/64 vehicles.  Step back and judge for yourself.   John

Hi Coach,

The responses you have received have all been very good advice.

Here is a photo of my farming area where I have a train of flat cars loaded with farm tractors on a siding. The closest tractors are Ertl 1/43 scale (larger than O 1/48) and they are models of larger real tractors. The next cars contain models of smaller real tractors, still in 1/43. There is an Ertl 1/64 machine shed by these cars. The last two cars contain 1/64 scale tractors near a 1/64 scale Ertl elevator set. The farm on the backdrop horizon is probably close to N scale. The total depth of the scene is about 5 feet. I think it looks quite believable in person.

DSC00157

This next photo shows my O scale passenger station in the foreground with a city skyline in the background. The city is obviously a fraction of O scale. That entire scene from the locomotive to the backdrop is only about 18 inches. Separating the two areas with the retaining wall makes it look a lot better.

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Main Street USA in Walt Disney World has the third story of their buildings at 80% the height as the first story. This is about the equivalent of 1/48 to 1/64 in our world. I have found that you can get by with a lot more compression than you might first think. Hopefully your viewers will be concentrating on your cool trains.  

TJ                                                                       

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Thank you all for your replies.

TJ thanks for the pictures.  In addition to the forced perspective aspect I too have an Ertl farm equipment dealership.  Although 1/64 I think the building works well with O.  I've been thinking about getting one of those grain elevators also. Now that I see it next to a flat car I think the shorter silos will be too short next to covered hoppers.  Not saying it's definitely out of the question but I will have to rethink it.

For an idea of how 1:64 looks, here's a 1:64 truck in the back (the yellow truck at the crossing in back of the scene), and a 1:43 car (albeit a small car because the road is narrow).  I did this for forced perspective.  But if you are looking at the back scene, the train looks huge when it come through! 😁

20180711_163623

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some very good suggestions above. the only thing I'd add is in your own words, you said you're using ceramic buildings that are not to scale, so I'm not sure it's that important if the cars aren't totally to scale. I've always used the "what looks good to my eye" as criteria for what I put on the layout. p.s. Pennsy484, that's a great scene. 

pennsy484 posted:

For an idea of how 1:64 looks, here's a 1:64 truck in the back (the yellow truck at the crossing in back of the scene), and a 1:43 car (albeit a small car because the road is narrow).  I did this for forced perspective.  But if you are looking at the back scene, the train looks huge when it come through! 😁

20180711_163623

Looks quite satisfactory in my opinion.

MELGAR

pennsy484 posted:

For an idea of how 1:64 looks, here's a 1:64 truck in the back (the yellow truck at the crossing in back of the scene), and a 1:43 car (albeit a small car because the road is narrow).  I did this for forced perspective.  But if you are looking at the back scene, the train looks huge when it come through! 😁

20180711_163623

Fantastic job!!

Alan Arnold
CEO/Publisher/Partner-Advertising Sales Manager
O Gauge Railroading magazine
adman@ogaugerr.com
800-980-OGRR (6477)

One of the best uses of forced perspective was in the California Museum of Science and Industry's Model Railroad diorama. As I recall, it was about 36" deep. The O scale trains were in the foreground and 1:64 autos "ran" along the highway at the back. There was even a spur that ran out toward the back with an S scale care spotted on it and the track's gauge tapered from O scale to S scale. I only have these two photos of the layout but it should give you a good idea.

Post_Card_CA_Museum_Layout_1Post_Card_CA_Museum_Layout_2

Matt Jackson
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