login   |    register
RailRoad Modeling
For general topics on RailRoad modeling.
Narrow Gauge resources and micro layouts
velotrain
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Massachusetts, United States
Joined: December 23, 2010
KitMaker: 384 posts
Historicus Forma: 0 posts
Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 - 01:01 AM UTC
I noticed there was a recent link to a video of WW1 NG field railways, and also military establishments using railways on their property. It's puzzling to me that so many modelers around the world, particularly in the U.K., model U.S. railroad operations - often in tiny "Inglenook layouts" - while so few Americans model railways of other countries.

For the past decade or so I've found the NG railways of the U.K. and the continent having a great attraction for me. I can understand the appeal of Shays climbing 8% grades on the Cass, and the grand scenery of the Colorado 3-footers, but I find the smaller European lines have that certain je ne sais quoi that I find more charming. There are few remnants of the once extensive 600mm and 750mm networks, while some meter gauge railways have survived, often when they are somewhat isolated from the national railway and traffic doesn't warrant rebuilding the line to standard gauge. The even tinier 500mm Feldbahn small industrial lines are almost completely gone, although a few may still survive in Eastern Europe. These were generally short, dedicated lines used for a single purpose, such as peat harvest, rock quarries, brick making and the like, and there are some amazing videos on the web showing horse-drawn V-tippers, or cars rocking down track that is so poor the engine can only proceed at a few Km’s per hour.

For those not particularly familiar with NG, I'll provide four links for now and likely more in the future. I also recommend the bi-monthly magazine Voie Libre, published in France. There is also a British magazine, the Industrial and Narrow Gauge Review, initially published by the guiding light of O-14 (2-foot gauge in 7mm scale; O-16.5 is a compromise gauge), Roy C. Link. Neither is cheap, but the former is more my style, while the latter is much more serious on the rivet-counting end of things.

For those with little interest in rivet counting and desiring "large-scale" trains in a very small space, you might consider Gn15 scale. Several private "estate railways" were actually built to this gauge in England and some of the modelers try to be faithful to these, while for the most part Gn15 encourages creativity and unusual "functions" (excuses) for the railways. There is still a 15" line serving the public on the west side of the Lake District.

The movement is centered in the U.K., although there are also devotees in the Ontario region and the U.S. The easy part is that this runs on 16.5mm (HO/OO) track, so there are lots of inexpensive but good quality mechanisms for engine bashing, and an On30 truck might be appropriate for the tiny wagons. There is some manufacturing support.

The main site is www.gn15.info/, and there is a lively forum called The GnATTERbox. These folks are fond of sprinkling “gn” liberally among their conversation and writing.

Carl Arendt, a man widely credited with spreading the popularity of micro layouts worldwide through his site, http://www.carendt.com/, died a couple of years ago, but others are carrying on his work. Micro layouts are loosely defined as no larger than 2’ x 4’ (many definitions exist), although there have been many “layout in a shoebox” contests, and a few larger layouts covered on his site. The site has two main components, a Scrapbook, which had been a monthly “magazine” when Carl was running the show, but is now more sporadic.

The second major element is the Micro Layout Design Gallery, with over 200 designs for very small layouts in several scale-gauges. I personally feel that some are not actually buildable, usually due to claiming too many turnouts will fit into too small an area. I also question just how satisfying some of these would be to operate, as your options are often quite limited. If nothing else, I highly recommend looking at Scrapbook #100 from August 2010, in which Carl selected what he thought were the 10 most remarkable layouts from the first 100 months of publication. You’re not going to like everything you see on the site, but you’re certain to at least find a few things that will inspire you.

There are many sites on the internet which feature one or more model railroads, and a few that cover a good number of excellent layouts. One problem is that URL’s frequently change, and some of the site owners seem quite poor at verifying their links regularly. A site I particularly like is http://www.ngrail.co.uk/ , home of the Virtual Narrow Gauge Model Railway Exhibition.

There are a half-dozen “Halls”, separated by scale and gauge. Some of the layouts are quite ordinary, while others are truly exceptional. Some of my picks in that category are Totternho Mineral, near the top of Hall 4. What I really like here is the very unusual and quite effective presentation design, including dramatic lighting. The Brickworks, just below it, is a great example of a very small layout that still offers excellent operational possibilities.

Hall 5, under 9mm scale, 16.5 gauge (fairly accurate for 2’ gauge at 1:34 scale), has three excellent layouts created by two of the true masters, Otto Schrowsta and Christopher Payne. Each has other layouts that are missing from this site, but they can readily be found by internet searches. Christopher’s Sutton Wharf is an atmospheric masterpiece of what can be achieved in quite a small space; he also has some interesting ideas about layout presentation. For those not aware of it, there is a major model railway show somewhere in the U.K. almost literally every weekend of the year. This is known as the “Exhibition Circuit”, where popular layouts, perhaps covered in recent magazine articles, are made available to an anxious and adoring public.

I should also mention the Australian Narrow Gauge Web-Exhibition Gallery , at http://members.optushome.com.au/ There is a wide variety of layouts, while many tend toward American-west styled lumbering and mining, there are numerous interesting exceptions. Two that I should mention are Pete’s Pallets, one of the very early micro layouts, and No Hope Coast, a scenic gem in 1:32n20 (that’s the gauge in inches). I think the highly imaginative scratchbuilt structures and scenic composition are the highlights here, although will admit that the overall effect borders on caricature. Vulcan Vale also has some impressive structures, both large industrial and the supremely designed and detailed Victorian station.

Lastly, here is a video featuring perhaps a half-dozen outstanding, small NG layouts.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJGUzc0_-wk&feature=related

Charles Hansen
windysean
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Wisconsin, United States
Joined: September 11, 2009
KitMaker: 1,917 posts
Historicus Forma: 25 posts
Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 - 01:54 AM UTC
Excellent! I see you've done your homework.
thanks for posting this.
-Sean
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 05:57 PM UTC
Hi Charles,

Thanks for posting. Some great information here! This will keep me busy for a while.
highway70
_VISITCOMMUNITY
California, United States
Joined: November 27, 2004
KitMaker: 322 posts
Historicus Forma: 2 posts
Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013 - 04:12 PM UTC
Scale link has a nice line of 1/32 scale WW1 NG military railway equipment and 1/32 WW1 military models and fiqures.


http://www.scalelink.co.uk/acatalog/Narrow_Gauge__60cm__Railway.html

They have a lot of interesting items in British O, OO and N scale, and 1/35 scale WW2 resin military model kits, and many other items.

Their web site is funky, but their service is excellent.
velotrain
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Massachusetts, United States
Joined: December 23, 2010
KitMaker: 384 posts
Historicus Forma: 0 posts
Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 05:20 AM UTC
Thanks for the link - it's been years since I've been there, and I didn't realize how many other brands they retail - I appreciate the warning on the navigation. I've heard the Hunslet is a beast to build; maybe a decade ago I was close to buying a half-completed one from Keith Wiseman (Model Services), but only if the drive system was complete. He was so intimidated by the valve gear than he returned my money.

I do have their Simplex with a custom "SuperSpud" designed by Otto Schouwstra - no doubt Claude knows (of) him.



His site is here: http://www.ossynths.nl

and a Google Image search will locate more photos of his great engines, structures-scenery, and electronics. His micro-layouts are fully animated with synchro-sound; I'm sure you can locate videos of them.

While trying to find one, I came across some amazing machinery models in 1:87: http://www.mb1q.com/modelle/eisenbahnen/waldbahnmonster_in_h0/index.html

And some mini-layouts at a recent expo in Luxembourg:
http://tinyurl.com/an6nfom
Besides the high quality of the modeling, note how some of these (not representing the "Low Countries") make effective and dramatic use of space with varying heights - I think this could be done in military modeling.

A lot of links are dead on this site, but #29, the 2009 show, has Paradise Mining, by one of my heroes, Christopher Payne in England. I'm disappointed by his crude rock-work, but look at all the NBW's on the wood structures. Christopher is better represented by St. Pierre and Portpyn in Hall 5 here: http://www.ngrail.co.uk/

Charles
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 03:29 AM UTC
Gang,

Some interesting information here. Thanks!
fanai
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Queensland, Australia
Joined: April 10, 2005
KitMaker: 2,654 posts
Historicus Forma: 1,964 posts
Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2013 - 03:32 PM UTC
lovely links - know most of these as have been in the Narrow gauge world since 1987 and have built several exhibition layouts for the Brisbane and Ipswich Queensland shows
at present inbetween layout and thinking of going Radio control Love all the narrow gauge stuff ,grew up aroung some of the quaintest stuff as The Moreton Sugar mill was only 1hr away,Shays,Krauss,Fowlers,all in on place
Ian