Friday, January 7, 2011

Import Store Pasta Tins & The Idea File

Sorry 'bout not posting yesterday.  The wife wanted to use the computer and so my normal Thursday evening post is a tad delayed.  I'm gonna do one now and then hopefully I can pick it up again this evening.  In any case it gave me a pause to think about what I wanted to do this time and it struck me, as I was looking at my train layout, that it didn't turn out exactly the way I had envisioned - yet the overall vision remains true.  The layout is an inverted 'U' shape with the town of Marxville on the right and a Plateau on the left.  The Plateau is designed specifically to be able to change themes at will - little of the scenery will be permanent so that if, let's say, I don't even want to have trains runnin', I can pull off the track, place whatever I want up there and have fun.  The transition area (the 'bottom' of the 'U') scenery as it appears now wasn't really planned, it just kind of evolved after messing with different areas.  

The Marxville area was planned but turned out a tad bit different.  Which brings us to the purpose of this post.  For many years, while I was still into HO scale model railroading, I would jot down sketches of different scenery ideas.  I would look at things that would inspire me and try to record, somewhat ineptly, my impressions and these went into a folder simply labeled the 'Idea File'.  The following sketch was made while waiting in a doctor's office in Germany.  Hanging on the wall was a folk art painting (actually a print) of a very small harbor.  I thought at the time that it would make an ideal scenic element for a small model train layout and so I made this sketch.

While gathering buildings and materials for building my present layout I purchased the following two buildings off of eBay.  What is surprising though is that these buildings aren't meant to be toys.  They are decorated pasta tins sold from one of those fancy Import Stores!!  They're not true tin-litho, but rather have a lithographed wrap, applied perhaps using a thin shellac, to the outside of the tin containers.  They're beautiful, and the artwork is spot-on for a harbor scene.  Here they are:

Below is a small Lemax boat from Michael's

The point to all this is that even after preparing for a nice fisherman's harbor scene, I decided to change the theme to a Navy Base.

The reason for this was three-fold:
 1.  The buildings and boats I had been buying were a little too large for the space they would have been shoe-horned into.  The buildings were perfect for O-gauge but just too big for this particular location.

2.  The Navy Base has a more industrial feel to it, making it a better fit for a city-scape.

3.  I could choose from a wider array of toys which would fit the location and give me the 'feel' I wanted for the space alloted.

The key here, is that it's OK to plan and prepare, but don't be a slave to your plans.  After all it's just a hobby and these are just toys.  Make any changes you feel are right, go with your instincts and above all - Enjoy!