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I've got so many things I want to include on my future layout but I know I'll never have room for it all so I was thinking about interchangeable scenery modules that would fit on the layout with a spur track leading into the module.  Modules I was thinking about would be a small fishing harbor, a spur leading into an oil and coal scene, some storage tanks, loading rack, Oil derrick and a small coal mine with the KCC Plymouth /ore car set bringing coal out of the mine on an elevated track "dumping" into hoppers below, a zoo where the spur would serve a passenger terminal, or a variety of industries.  Of course the module size would be limited to make handling and storage manageable.  I was thinking of either vertical storage of modules not in use or perhaps under the layout if space is available.

Has anyone else thought of something like this?  I seem to remember someone trying to have a removable water feature, pond or lake.  I can't remember if it was for a similar reason or was it to be removed to allow access?

 

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This entire valley is crafted as you have suggested, all on removable baseplates. The trick for me is making sure the seams among the various vignettes are obliterated when the whole vista is complete. As you can see, I had completely different intentions for this real estate through the years. Changing the valley was a matter of changing out the individual sections of the overall scene, after each separate piece was crafted, in comfort, at my worktable, then moved to the valley.

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Is this what you were talking about, Coach Joe ?

FrankM.

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I'm in the process of doing that now.  I like two time lines, late steam, and modern diesel. So once a year around thanksgiving I change from one to the other. soon the steam and old vehicles will be packed and the modern vehicles will be on the streets. Some old industries will be gone and newer ones in their place. Gone are the 2 bay coal hoppers in with the newer 4 bay. Amtrak comes in, the Twentieth Century is gone. Gone is the icing platforms, in with steel and scrap steel.   The local coal yard, is now petroleum. The saw mill, now is plastic pellet's, The piggy back operation, is now intermodal. At least that's the plan.      

coach joe posted:

I've got so many things I want to include on my future layout but I know I'll never have room for it all so I was thinking about interchangeable scenery modules that would fit on the layout with a spur track leading into the module.  Modules I was thinking about would be a small fishing harbor, a spur leading into an oil and coal scene, some storage tanks, loading rack, Oil derrick and a small coal mine with the KCC Plymouth /ore car set bringing coal out of the mine on an elevated track "dumping" into hoppers below, a zoo where the spur would serve a passenger terminal, or a variety of industries.  Of course the module size would be limited to make handling and storage manageable.  I was thinking of either vertical storage of modules not in use or perhaps under the layout if space is available.

Has anyone else thought of something like this?  I seem to remember someone trying to have a removable water feature, pond or lake.  I can't remember if it was for a similar reason or was it to be removed to allow access?

 

Coach Joe,

I have thought about the interchangeability but not in the same way as you.  I was considering a trolley loop with a city scene in center.  Downtown Deco buildings when I run scale, Plasticville when I run postwar, and tin buildings when I run prewar.  Only the signals would remain as full scale.

Lou N

 

One end of my layout is a farm scene; the area inside the loops is on a piece of 1" foam.  After Thanksgiving, I remove the buildings, vehicles, and figures and install a Christmas tree, a nativity set, and other Christmas scenery.  After Epiphany, I reverse the procedure.

On top of the mountain/tunnel, I shift between the late 19th-century town/figures/scenery and ceramic Christmas buildings and figures/vehicles/scenery likewise.

Last edited by palallin

This is the only module so far, but it was made to be removed and there is a second base is cut and ready. There is even a 5v, 12v, and variable line ready on the underside. Lift the module and that lamp unplugsmine3.JPGIMG_20170613_163832

Dowels, and leaning on brackets  are all that holds it in place.IMG_20170912_180256

Four peices corner base, mine, inside shelf, portal base.

pieces #1 & #2

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Thanks for the responses.

Frank so each individual structure is on a removable base section and can be switched out.  Was the transformation of the valley done over a long period of time?  They seem more like the valley transitioned from one scene to the next rather than being changed between industries or time periods and back again on a somewhat regular basis.

Clem, when you swap time frames I understand the trains, cars and trucks, but do you do each structure individually or do you have a removable base that includes multiple structures or scenes.

BigDodgeTrains, is it 5 whole modules, bench work, table top, track, and scenery or just scenery on a tabletop?

Lou and Palallin that's kind of the idea, change the scene but in one basic move.  Yes some details will always have to be done individually but the overall scenery would be modular.

Adriatic, do you use your module strictly for access to the track underneath or are you planning to swap out the mine for another scene?

I have not changed a scene. But I remember seeing an article long time ago where the person made a flip scene where they could just turn it over so to speak for the other scene. You could make a cut out foot print and make a number of scenes so you could change them out at anytime but I suppose then you wuld have to find a place to store them safely............Paul

coach joe posted:

Frank so each individual structure is on a removable base section and can be switched out.  Was thetransformation of the valley done over a long period of time?  They seem more like the valley transitioned from one scene to the next rather than being changed between industries or time periods and back again on a somewhat regular basis.

Each structure has its own baseplate (1/4" acrylic) which includes all the details, such as foliage and groundcovers. I got tired of a loss of such items when I had a notion to change a scene, so having everything glued-fast to a base helped with minimizing waste. Plus, the use of bases helped me with installation, because I am not a small guy, so crouching my frame into and around that valley's overall space has always been a challenge, which the use of the all-inclusive baseplates helped with immensely.

Yes, the changeover took place over quite a period of time. The photos proceed chronologically, from top to bottom:

(1.) the factory-dominated incarnation of the valley existed in 5/2006 - 2/2007 (top photo);

(2.) the more rural version was completed in 7/2007 (2nd photo);

(3.) the suburban houses version came in 7/2008 (3rd photo);

(4.) the mixed-small-businesses interpretation, which includes the "urban renewal" lot being cleared, was begun in 2012 - to the present. (bottom photo).

For me, in addition to the increased ease of movement afforded by using the base-plated scenes, the end to buildings getting beat-up and ingredients for details getting wasted, as well as more easily applied/crafted into place and preserved, has been my biggest motivation.

If you take a close look here, below, at this trailer park, you can discern that the entire vignette is on two separate baseplates of Masonite, one for the main level, and one for the lower level, right up to the roadway (made of "3M stair-tread tape). I was able to create the scene at my worktable, comfortably, then move its two sections to its site. Plus, it is , also, readily available to be moved to another site if ever desired....

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These other two scenes are on baseplates, partially noticeable under the "apothecary - pizza parlor" scene, below , which allowed for great flexibility in my use of them and ZERO loss of ingredients and damaged to buildings when the scenes were moved around until finding their optimum emplacement.....

Perhaps, in this scene immediately below, you may be surprised to know that the seam between the  2-story frame store scene and the stone building on the right runs right alongside that Studebaker and the shed, included and affixed on the store's baseplate, with the trees on the right, the rear loading-dock, and the stone building being part of a neighboring scene, now wedded to it....

detail of B unit

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A portion of the black acrylic baseplate can be seen under the left half of this scene, below...

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FrankM.

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Last edited by Moonson

My entire layout 5x8 is changable, that is, nothing is attached to the base. When I was in a modular group, I switched two items between my layout and my modules...a very detailed flea market, and a swimming pool with people. On one of my Christmas layouts, I switched a farm scene to a diner and parking lot, as well as a church (food for body and soul). Last week, I moved a news stand to a space next to my station (instead of one of two taxies that were parked there).

This is a great idea and could be relevant in many different contexts.  For example if one was building a layout, but thought it might be torn down in a few years to move.  Modules could be moved from one layout/house to another.  Also, modules could be used on floor layouts, and as mentioned swapped in and out of modular layouts.

I made some small ones years ago and made a mistake in not making the module bases robust enough. 

There is probably a need to standardize sizes and mounting systems.  What have you done about that?

Bill

What a great idea!   I am building a layout at the moment and have got to the point of development where I have always stopped in the past i.e, when I have had to make final decisions about the positioning of features.  The ideas illustrated here give me great food for thought and inspiration not least because I intend to have loops of coarse O gauge and OO gauge and I had been agonising about how I could deal with the provision of structures etc suitable for the 2 different scales - now you have really fired my imagination! 

I'm bringing this thread back because I saw Bill Bramlage's article in Run 312 about something similar.  Bill's examples were simpler than what I had in mind.  The article showed parks, with landscaping, people, benches, vehicles.  In instances like that I can see the masonite being able to support modules up to 4' as stated in the article.  Has anyone tried to keep buildings on the module?  Would thin masonite be sufficient support when switching modules?  I was thinking maybe the pink or blue foam insulation board maybe 1"- 2" thivk.

I'm not a scenery guy.  But I read a lot about layout planning.  I've heard that in the U.K. (and other places where space is at a real premium) they use "cassettes" with multiple stub tracks to shuttle rolling stock on and off the layout.  I guess most of the time the cassette module is just track on a bare board.  But I have heard of some of them being styled like a car float (rail barge), etc.  Is that sort of like what you are proposing to do?  A whole section of the layout with track and scenery that can be disconnected, stowed, and replaced with another?  If so, how would you protect the scenery, or anchor it in place when the "module" is turned on its side?  Not criticising, just wondering.  It could be a brilliant idea if we figure out a way to make it work!

I think it is a fairly common practice.  I've done it several places on my layout, although I get lazy and often leave one module in place for months, even years, while the other one or two for that particular place gather dust while stored underneath the layout. 

As an example, the lake in the photo below is one of three modules that fits in that location.  The other two are: 1) a flat grassy area with a playground and park with people picnicing and flying kites and playing baseball,  and 2) a "secret rocket base" hidden by trees and cliffs that has several silos with missles that raise up out of the silo, a popup up radar dish and control house hidden in the scenery, etc. (which I need to dig out and play with - it has not been on the layout in over a year, I think.

One thing I do is keep a cut-out template of the exact footprint of each place so I can make more modules for it if I want without having to handle an existing module and possibily damange delicate parts on itwhile measuring . . . 

 

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Last edited by Lee Willis

Thanks coach joe for starting this thread!

I am looking at this from a slightly different angle.  I don't expect to be changing out scenery, but I do have buildings, terrain, etc. that must fit on top of an access hatch.  At this point, I am deliberately designing, sizing, and positioning the access hatches.  And I have to balance access with placement of streets - it's a bit tricky.

George 

I don't know if this effort fits the intent, but several years ago when a magazine ran a photo contest to be of a three rail train in a scene, I set up a square of abutted tables with high photo paper backgrounds on two sides.  An unmoveable strip of curving  MTH Scaletrack with a switch and siding was fixed, and l developed two different interchangeable scenes with kitbuilt and bashed buildings, one of a desert mining town, and the other of a mountain ranching town.  I used scale period vehicles, temporary scenery, and figures, details, and clutter.   l shot a "million" 35mm photos of the ranch town, swapped buildings, backdrops, and scenery and details around , repeat, for the desert town. Sent photos off. The desert module remains as my test base for ideas and structure scenes, but the ranch town could be reincarnated to replace it on that module

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