A cautionary tale…
I spent a little time a month or two ago wondering “So what does come next?” I’d been tinkering with the first ‘Upcycle’ board, ostensibly widening it by 1 ½” along the front edge as an expanded diorama base. However continued thinking reached the conclusion that it would be a diorama that cannot be displayed as it has no cover, and would (perhaps) be a little oversize just for photography. The thought had then occurred that with a suitable ‘fiddle stick’ it could become a boxfile-esque micro layout up to a maximum of 3 feet in length including the fiddle stick. This would be a return to the original concept but with the advantage of both a little more length and width. So I then went on to increase the scenic depth by another half inch at the rear and include a higher backscene, the result of which has been illustrated before.
Then of course came the question of scale and gauge. Having looked at the obvious alternatives (OO, O-9, O-16.5 and Gn15) and carried out some experimentation, I found that unless I acquired and used a small radius ‘Y’ point the 16.5mm gauge ideas could produce something quite cramped, surprisingly more so than a boxfile layout due to the lesser depth. O-9 actually offered the best prospects to use such a small space, either as an ‘inglenook’ configuration or the ‘Z’ plan of the original ‘Upcycle’, but with a slightly longer run off and more depth.
“But is it actually too small to make it work?” I asked myself. Eventually I concluded that it was, that whilst a micro layout was desirable, this was not a format that would work. So I hacked off all those extra parts (it certainly didn’t just come to pieces in my hands!), reduced the board to its minimum feasible dimensions, and plotted another diorama of ‘Headshunt’ dimensions. I’m still plotting and doodling, so who knows...?