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What Constitutes a Small Layout, a Plank, a Micro or a Diorama...?? - Small Layouts,Planks and Micros - Model Railway Layouts. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 02:56 pm
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Gary
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Last night I contacted Spurno and asked if the club could afford a seperate section for the above mentioned heading, Small Layouts, Planks and Micros. I thought it would be good to seperate this in the model railway layouts section. Yes, they are all layouts, but with many modellers building these and due to there popularity, it would make searching for this kind of modelling easier to find, for current members, new members and those who just browse through on the odd occassion.

Now, what we need is definition on what constitutes a 'small layout', a 'plank', a micro' and a 'diorama'.  I have submitted these definitions to Spurno and I would like to share this with you to mull over. Whether we need definitions or not could be disputed, but I wrote these as a guide only.

4mm/OO gauge

1. Small Layout : would be anything no greater than 72" x 48"  (6' x 4' rectangle)

2. Plank : would be no wider than 12"-14" and no longer than 84", but greater than 48" in length. (excluding fiddle yards)

3. Micro : no bigger than 4 square feet, ie 24" x 24" or 48"x 12". (excluding fiddle yards)

4. Diorama : which would come in under the size of 2 square feet, ie 24" x 12" or smaller for model displays etc.

2mm/N gauge

1. Small Layout : could be anything no greater than 36" x 24" (3' x 2' rectangle)

2. Plank : would be no wider than 6"- 8" and no longer than 4', but greater than 2'6". (excluding fiddle yards)

3. Micro : no bigger than 3 square feet, ie : 1'6"' x 1' or 2' x 9" (excluding fiddle yards)

4. Diorama : which would come in under the size of 12" x 6" or smaller for model displays etc.

7mm/O gauge

As we have only a few members modelling O gauge, I think using the term 'small layout' may not be practical, but certainly 'Plank', 'Micro' and 'Diorama' could be used to describe what is being modelled.

1. Plank : this could be anywhere between 18" and 48" wide and no longer than 240", (4' x 20' maximum)

2. Micro : no bigger than 8 square feet, ie 24" x 48" or 16" x 72"

3. Diorama : which would come in under the size of 48" x 18" or smaller for model displays etc.

Other Scales/Gauges

If we look at other scales, which would incude 009, 3mm, HO, TT, P4, EM and On30, I would assume most of these would fit into the 4mm/00  gauge catergory. For example 009 is Narrow gauge, but utilsing models (locos, rollingstock, structures) closer to 4mm scale. HO scale is only 0.5mm off the 4mm/00 gauge models, so it could fall into the 4mm/00 gauge catergory. On30 utilises HO/OO gauge track, although with larger models (locos, rollingstock and structures) so it too, could come in under the 4mm/00 gauge catergory. 3mm scale may have to have it's own definition, but a simple solution for 3mm would be to reduce the 4mm/00 gauge area/size by 25% ??

I trust I have not missed any other scales within this post.

Please add your thoughts/opinions.

Cheers, Gary.

 



 



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 03:10 pm
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gormo
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G`day Gary,
Interesting idea to classify these layouts.......correct me if I`m wrong but I haven`t seen this done before.????
The only suggestion I would make is that the plank definition in OO Gauge be eased out to 96" or 8 feet or 2.4 metres based simply on standard sheet sizes available from the hardware. An 8 foot plank could be easily achieved from a standard 8 x 4 sheet.
It`s no big deal and no reason why 84" or 7 foot shouldn`t be the standard......it`s just my personal mental sorting and classifying system kicking in.
:cheers  Gormo



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 03:20 pm
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Gary
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Yes, your right Gormo. :thumbs

Eight feet does seem a better size. In a matter of fact, it could be any length, but I would say a maximum width would probably be the main criteria when it comes to planks.

Cheers, Gary.



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 03:25 pm
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Longchap
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Hi Gary,

I agree that for easier navigation, placing the smaller layouts in a relevant category could help more members discover the joys of planks, etc, so a good idea.

Presumably, the next step is to move the smaller layouts to their new home.

My 00/4mm plank's scenic board is currently 2 400 x 400mm (96''x 16'') simply due to the standard board sizes.

I'll start packing!

Bill :)    



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 03:32 pm
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Gary
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Hi Bill,

Ok, maybe the maximium width for a plank could be upto 18". At that size, it still does not fit into either of the other catergories. So, do you agree that 96" x 18" could/would be the maximum size allowable for planks ? Afterall, there is no minimum width for a plank, but there is a minimum length.

Cheers, Gary. 



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 03:41 pm
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Longchap
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Hi Gary,

The trouble with definitions is that many people will have many understandings of the criteria.

I often like to apply the duck test, 'if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, lays eggs and quacks, then it's probably a duck! 

So, if it looks like a plank . . . . .

All the best and power to the plank!

Bill :)



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 04:22 pm
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jakesdad13
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I personally understand the reasoning behind building a small layout be it plank or diorama or what ever is down to two criteria A, as a learning curve for track laying, scenery and/or carpentry, or B, lack of space for a larger layout build so I am not sure that having specific sizes for a particular scale will work, in my own case a 20ftx4ft O gauge layout wouldn,t constitute a plank more a large layout, I think it comes down to a modellers personal needs and wants, I have 2 layouts one 00 and one in 0 the 00 layout Locoford Yard was built on a whim, I just wanted somewhere to play trains at home with the 00 stock I had bought to run on my local clubs layouts,there we have just one running night per month so my stock wasn,t getting much use, I only have roughly 8ft x 2ft room for it but I need to get around the ends and back so I settled on 6ft x 14", my 0 gauge layout is in my shed the shed is 16ft x 10ft but is also home to my vintage engine collection so I needed to allow for those I came up with a size 11ft6" x 2ft which I think is a more acceptable example of a plank in O gauge but as you can see it is the result of a compromise, I think myself a plank is what you make it as long as you are happy with what you have, now dioramas are a different kettle of fish in my mind, I like to think of them as a three dimensional picture and as such they need much more attention, they are a great way of developing skills in all aspects of modelling as I believe they need to be much more interesting to view due to their small size to keep interest in them, I would include micro layouts in this category, detail is key, there seems to be a lean towards building micro type layouts in box files or lunch boxes and making them operational so size wise it seems the smaller space the better, I think I have rambled on for long enough, I imagine this is a topic that will run on, as I imagine there will be a great many different opinions, I look forward to seeing what others think! 


Cheers, Pete.           



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 04:26 pm
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gormo
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G`day again Gary,

Bill made a comment about people having different definitions of the criteria, which makes absolute sense because until now, nobody (I think?) has set any guidelines about what defines a plank etc. etc. etc.
So it`s a good move mate:thumbs......at the end of the day you`ve got to start this sort of thing somewhere, which is exactly what you`ve done, and you can refine it as you go along.
:cheers  Gormo



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 04:35 pm
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Maximum size for an N Gauge diorama for the societies annual competition at the AGM is 4 Sq ft; for a "small layout" for the annual competition max is 8 Sq ft. Should this possibly be taken as a standard maximum for N gauge and scaled up for HO, 00 etc?

http://www.ngaugesociety.com/index.php?page=ammc-classes

Section "I" small working layout, section "N" Diorama



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 05:07 pm
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MMmm... interesting discussion...

One result from research on 'Plank' from t'net gives the following;-

"n. late 13c. (c.1200 as a surname), from Old North French planke, variant of Old French planche "plank, slab, little wooden bridge" (12c.), from Late Latin planca "broad slab, board," probably from Latin plancus "flat, flat-footed," from PIE *plak- (1) "to be flat" (see placenta ). Technically, timber sawed to measure 2 to 6 inches thick, 9 inches or more wide, and 8 feet or more long.

So, even the plank I purchased for decorating wouldn't fall within the technical description given here as mine is only 1 1/2" thick and 6' long.

My own thoughts on a definition for a plank layout would be, rather than trying to approtion different measurements for the various gauges, would it be better in this instance to simply state ' long and narrow' irrespective of gauge... or you could go for 6 or 8 times longer than it is wide, as planks for O gauge would differ significantly from ones for N. 

As Gary is trying to provide guidance for would be readers as to the type of layout being written about, surely 'long and narrow' or '6 times longer than wide' would indicate what type of layout it concerned... ie, you maybe wouldn't look at such a layout if you're interest lay in multi track roundy roundies..... 6' x 1' to me would indicate a plank, as would 16' x 18", and it wouldn't matter what gauge it was - no reason to me why you couldn't have a 16' x 18" N gauge layout and call it a plank... cause I'd know it was long and narrow.....

(just my two pennarth).....



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 08:04 pm
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Ianvolvo46
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My personal opinion (bit of a luxury having any sort nowadays...sh) is that the basis of having any criteria isn't so we get to join a select club it's for us to quickly find references so that we gain knowledge and ideas as well as admiring the project. So whilst I agree on a separate section I think exact dimensions would also isolate some proud plank builders (plankers)? It's only an opinion... 'what dear? ... no I said I'm chopping the onions' ... I for one will follow the threads whatever it's called. Ps mines 250cm x 25cm and called a 'plonk' and I therefore am a plonker.

Ian

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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 08:14 pm
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Did you move to Spain on your own Ian or were you removed by the authorities?.  :mutley:mutley:mutley



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 08:18 pm
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Ianvolvo46
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She'll like being called 'the authorities' Alan

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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 11:14 pm
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I'm building in n gauge and my layout comes a foot longer out side the stated size though I would say it's tight to get enough operating interest plus 4 foot but 2 foot sounds right:mrgreen:

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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2015 11:52 pm
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In N gauge 2'/600mm is pretty close to  minimum curve diameter, it can be done but looks dreadful and even using Peco R1/R2 your track will be pretty close to the edge of the board, however going much over 2'6"/750mm for me starts to make back problems  if the layout is up against a wall, especially at back corners. Ideal would be an island layout you can get all round, then 4'/1200mm is doable, but not many rooms in today's houses lend them selves to such luxuries.



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 Posted: Thu Nov 12th, 2015 05:43 am
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Some alternate definitions:

Small layout: Fits in the spare bedroom. Just. But only If you enter sideways and on all fours. Shelf layout around 4 walls. Door? What door? "I thought open plan would make a nice change dear. Bring the family together". As if.

Large layout: Occupies all available space in the basement and has 3 different levels, two termini, 6 stopping stations, 2 turntables, 3 engine sheds and a storage yard (or two). Plus the entire membership of the local model train club is needed to run it. Once the wiring is properly sorted. If you don't have a basement a 2nd mortgage is required to build that 800 square foot extension or a double garage (or preferably both, you deserve it). Alternatively you arrange for the old cricket pavilion to be moved to the back yard. "Heritage building that. Somebody had to step up". Put all that time wasted on gardening to good use!

Even larger layout: You rent the 40 acres at the back from the local farmer and have a 12":foot narrow gauge layout.* "What do reckon to that ballasting then? Real granite, that". Plus it keeps you well out of the way of matters domestic. Bonus!

Mini layout: It fits on the back seat of the mini (the old one, the BMW version is too big for this definition). Or the seat of a London 'bus (fare paid of course).

Micro layout: You have too many file boxes/guitar cases/empty cereal boxes. You should really have a clear-out!

Nano layout: Z-scaler's only need apply. 20/20 vision is a must. Plus unlimited budgets.** Compression is not required, it all fits.

Plank: "Shame to throw it out, got character that wood 'as. Bit of old track and a few points, some paint and scenic's, it'll look the dogs. DeeCeeCee? Naaa, bleedin' waste of time with these old 'Ornerbies".

Modular layout: A free-for-all. Where else can you have the Iraqi desert post-Desert Storm complete with burnt-out tanks next to the freight car ferry in Baltimore harbor. And why not? ***

It's a hobby, have fun. Whatever scale you may find yourself in, a few square feet to a few acres is all it takes.

Nigel

*Group I know did just this. They have a 5.25" gauge garden railway. Plans are afoot for a rotary snow plow to extend the modeling season into the winter. Otherwise it's a waste of 5 months rent.
**There is an inverse relationship between scale and cost in this hobby.
***From my time with the Free-mo people.



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 Posted: Thu Nov 12th, 2015 10:08 am
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Longchap
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Brilliant !!!

:mutley :mutley :mutley



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 Posted: Thu Nov 12th, 2015 12:01 pm
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Gary
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Great discussions going on and all have very valid points. :thumbs

This is exactly the feed back needed to put definitions on what each of the catergories are. Now, whether definitions have been looked at prior to this (?), I don't know, but hopefully it does give some understanding to what defines the differences between each individual group and/or scale. :???:

None of the definitions I have posted in the opening are not set in stone, they are more or less a guide that can be manipulated to define what each catergory encompasses. With all yor individual notations, I'm sure that in the end we all could have a consensus on definitions, then again, maybe not ! :lol:

Now, Pete had posted, "in my own case a 20ftx4ft O gauge layout wouldn,t constitute a plank more a large layout". Ok fair point, but as long as it is not a roundy-roundy / tail chasers, I think that this size (20'x4') would qualify as a plank. It could actually be longer, if you have the room !

Mike (DorsetMike), Not having modelled in N gauge, your contribution to track radius size etc is a bonus. If we adopt the N Gauge Societies definitions, we can't go wrong. :thumbs

Mike (16A) & Ian, Yes, you are both right in respect to making it easier to find the right catergory. And no, it isn't a select club ! :lol: I do like the definition of 'long and thin, as long as  it is 6-8 times longer than the width'  Now that 'rule' (?) could/would cover all scales. Excellent. :thumbs

Nigel, you're funny ! I do like some of those definitions, especially the Z scale/Nano layouts. :lol:

Fantastic responses so far. 

Looking forward to more interpretations, club/society definitions, thoughts and feelings on this subject.

Cheers, Gary.



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 Posted: Thu Nov 12th, 2015 01:18 pm
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Maybe the 'plank' layouts enforcement/moderation could be done by Bill (Longchap) who, from his self description, seems to be of appropriate definition dimensions ie 'long and thin' :lol:


Note for Etiquette Enforcers
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Sorry Bill... no offence intended, just one of those amusing things that 'popped' into my head... sad I know.....



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 Posted: Thu Nov 12th, 2015 02:57 pm
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There are alternatives...

Small layout - What Peter tries to achieve when  at the bar?

A plank - Any contestant from I'm  a Celebrity....

Micro - E.g. me, after my Mediterranean swim this October......


Doug



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