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Author Topic: Good Layout Presentation  (Read 5887 times)

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Offline PostModN66

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Good Layout Presentation
« on: November 17, 2013, 03:09:47 PM »
Thought I would spice up a wet Sunday afternoon with a heated debate about layout presentation.  Based on my POV as an attendee of shows, and also as an exhibitor with "Lofthole" and a helper with "Horseblock Lane"

Here goes:

1) Good lighting
2) A backscene (it ruins the effect for me when you can look through the layout and see "giant" middle aged men, coffee cups and soldering irons in-between the buildings)
3) A proscenium arch to frame the view
4) Fiddle yard not visible in the same view as the layout (you should have to step to/go round the side to see it, if at all so it doesn't detract from the effect portrayed)
5) Layout height - high enough so you're not looking down from a helicopter!  A tricky one this as some people are in wheelchairs, and need to be accommodated - I have a big periscope.  Children can stand on chairs!
6) Something moving at (nearly) all times
7) No "do not touch" signs!   A negative note, even if politely expressed
8 ) Operator round the front for easy communication with the audience
9) No hands (or elbows) in the view.  Sometimes operators dangle their hands over the backscene, ruining the effect, or in explaining something point excessively to the thing in question
10) Check the switching before you give it a shove!  Often a "stalled" loco is stationary because the points are set wrong or isolating switches thrown, but a finger appears and gives it a premature push.
11) A "story" - so people can get some sense of what they are looking at.  A visible timetable can help with this, or at least an explanation of where the trains are coming from and going to.
12) Some form of audience involvement/participation
13) No "wobbling".  Level the layout, brace the legs as appropriate, don't lean on it so as to make it shake.

The last one is an aspiration: 14) No derailments or stalled locos!  This is never 100% achievable, but at least keep the rails and wheels clean, quarantine poorly running stock.

If you have seen Lofhole feel free to pick me up on any of these points.  :worried:  In particular we had a 'mare with derailments at Romford (but on a positive point only one "stall" of the shunting loco.

Comments.........!?

Jon   :)
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 03:11:52 PM by PostModN66, Reason: ! »
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

My Postmodern Image Layouts

Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

Deansmoor http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14741.msg146381#msg146381

Offline Luke Piewalker

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2013, 05:21:08 PM »
Funnily enough there was a fella writing about layout presentation in RM this month and he mentioned layout height and framing as a means to control viewing angle to avoid the 'helicopter' view. I suppose some of it comes down to the show and the size of the layout as well, if you're at a big national level show you would expect a higher level of presentation than at a 'local' show.

Offline PostModN66

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2013, 05:24:19 PM »
Sounds like a wise fella!   :D

Many of my suggestions are just a matter of deciding to do it rather than costing very much, so might be just as applicable at a local show too..........maybe!

Cheers   Jon    :)
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

My Postmodern Image Layouts

Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

Deansmoor http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14741.msg146381#msg146381

Offline grumbeast

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2013, 05:34:29 PM »
These are good points, interestingly whe. I lived in Canada I belonged to a bend-track group, the whole point of this was that the operators were always on the outside so that we could talk to the public, there were curtains around every module and the layout was 50+ inches high.  We had a great time at exhibitions and always had trains running (bendtrack is a continuous run standard), we also recruited people to the group.

A couple of points that are important, we had no clubhouse, we only got together for shows, we all built to a strict standard, so anyone could join in.

I was trainmaster at one show in Truro NS and did a few calculations, the track was over 5 scale km long and we had 2 -3 trains running on each line, some with over 40 grain cars (DCC thankfully)!  The public loved seeing these huge trains run with 2 or 3 locos up front although when I calculated the cost of the trains it was enough to make you sweat bullets

Graham

Offline Ben A

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2013, 06:09:45 PM »

Hi Jon,

Some good points there and I agree with most of them. I'm not too bothered about layout height, as I think it's easier for a taller person to bend forward than for someone small to be raised up if they don't have a stool!

I tend to view exhibiting a layout as akin to a theatrical presentation - the audience deserve to be entertained and so keeping things moving is essential.

The counterpoint to that is that sometimes showgoers might be a little more patient - operating our club layout Horseley. Fields there have been occasions when people wander off without actually giving a train enough time to get back into the fiddle yard and for another to be sent out!!

Cheers

Ben A.



Offline GrahamB

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2013, 08:29:01 PM »
I didn't used to have "Do not touch" signs but found people prodded bits of the layout. Once someone even picked up a loco!

Upon asking them not to touch a received the reply "There's no signs so how am I expected to know?" or something less polite without exception.

Hence the signs.

Offline PostModN66

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2013, 09:24:19 PM »
Crikey Graham that sounds rough!

I haven't had any incidents of touching myself - one there was a grandma and grandson (about 6).  Grandma reached out a hand as if to touch something and the little boy said "Don't touch grandma!"  That was the closest approach I have had.  In fact, it seems to work the other way - I continually try to encourage people to work the control panel which is prominent at the front of the layout, and it is surprising how reluctant people can be!

I have a floppy barrier to get people to stand about 18" away, and as a precaution there is nothing right at the front that is fragile, so even if I do get the occasional prod I will resist putting the sign up, for the benefit of the majority of people who wouldn't dream of touching.  I don't have a Perspex screen up for the same reason - it would reduce the quality of experience for the well-behaved majority.

Cheers

Jon    :)



“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

My Postmodern Image Layouts

Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

Deansmoor http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14741.msg146381#msg146381

Offline Sea Mills

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2013, 09:36:42 PM »
Jon

If everyone took your approach I would go to more exhibitions, especially your points about height and having someone at the front.  Ben, why is it easier for someone tall to bend (especially when there are barriers in front of a model) than it is for someone short to stand on a step or use a periscope?  Bending gets harder as you get older, not sure using a periscope does!

David

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2013, 09:42:55 PM »
Ben, why is it easier for someone tall to bend (especially when there are barriers in front of a model) than it is for someone short to stand on a step or use a periscope?  Bending gets harder as you get older, not sure using a periscope does!

David

Very true, David.
I was at a show yesterday and one of the best layouts IMHO was actually at chest height (I'm 5'10") so all I had to do was lower my head to watch at eye level.
Any kids were offered steps to be able to see too.

Offline GrahamB

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2013, 09:45:18 PM »
Crikey Graham that sounds rough!

I haven't had any incidents of touching myself - one there was a grandma and grandson (about 6).  Grandma reached out a hand as if to touch something and the little boy said "Don't touch grandma!"  That was the closest approach I have had.  In fact, it seems to work the other way - I continually try to encourage people to work the control panel which is prominent at the front of the layout, and it is surprising how reluctant people can be!

I have a floppy barrier to get people to stand about 18" away, and as a precaution there is nothing right at the front that is fragile, so even if I do get the occasional prod I will resist putting the sign up, for the benefit of the majority of people who wouldn't dream of touching.  I don't have a Perspex screen up for the same reason - it would reduce the quality of experience for the well-behaved majority.

Cheers

Jon    :)
The kids are generally fine. Like your experience it's the adults that are the problem.

Does your "floppy barrier" use those springy door stops? I had those until someone remarked that the horizontal mounts were round about child eye height. Much as I hate people touching the layout it's not worth risking a child's eye.

Offline PostModN66

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2013, 09:56:45 PM »
My barrier is a length of light plastic pipe from B&Q resting on two light plywood brackets that are Velcroed to the layout.  It is designed so that if anyone pushes against it, it gets knocked off and falls to the floor.  Net result - everyone politely stands behind it.   It probably gets knocked off by accident (sometimes my clumsiness!) about three or four times a day.  People are always very apologetic, and of course I tell them it doesn't matter at all and it is designed that way, which is generally a good introduction for a conversation.

I have painted the pipe with black and yellow stripes to fit with the industrial theme of my layout.

Cheers   Jon    :)

“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

My Postmodern Image Layouts

Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

Deansmoor http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14741.msg146381#msg146381

Offline Ben A

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2013, 11:04:49 PM »
Jon

If everyone took your approach I would go to more exhibitions, especially your points about height and having someone at the front.  Ben, why is it easier for someone tall to bend (especially when there are barriers in front of a model) than it is for someone short to stand on a step or use a periscope?  Bending gets harder as you get older, not sure using a periscope does!

David

Hi David

If steps aren't available (as I said in my post) then a shorter viewer requires layouts to be set at a lower level to be able to see anything at all.

Whereas even if they are unwilling or unable to bend for that "trackside" view, a taller viewer will always be able to see.

So on balance, and allowing that not every show provides steps, and not every visitor thinks to bring them, lower seems fairer.

cheers

Ben A.



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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2013, 06:04:47 AM »
Some good notes there although I have to disagree with the following:-

7) No "do not touch" signs!   A negative note, even if politely expressed

I've seen too many cases of spectators poking and prodding trains and scenery to agree with this I'm afraid, especially with models becoming ever more adorned with fine (breakable) details. Either use a low perspex screen to discourage it or if notices are used they can be more polite than just "please do not touch" ;)

Quote
8 ) Operator round the front for easy communication with the audience

Definitely not practical for most layouts, especially where there is a large control panel for points or a fiddle yard where trains need constant supervision or swapping around.

Quote
12) Some form of audience involvement/participation

Can't see why? Personally when I go to an exhibition I want to see other people operating their layouts - that's what I've paid for! :D


Paul

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2013, 06:37:44 AM »
Jon: thanks for starting this thread. Good, healthy discussion here.  :thumbsup:

I too have my own thoughts, and while I agree with many of your points, I must side with Sprintex in that there's no way I want to drive a layout I just want to look at.

I have also been guilty of walking away from a layout before a train even got out of sight... for the simple reason I didn't like it.

I do like higher layouts, though.

 George
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline GrahamB

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Re: Good Layout Presentation
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2013, 08:14:13 AM »
My barrier is a length of light plastic pipe from B&Q resting on two light plywood brackets that are Velcroed to the layout.  It is designed so that if anyone pushes against it, it gets knocked off and falls to the floor.  Net result - everyone politely stands behind it.   It probably gets knocked off by accident (sometimes my clumsiness!) about three or four times a day.  People are always very apologetic, and of course I tell them it doesn't matter at all and it is designed that way, which is generally a good introduction for a conversation.

I have painted the pipe with black and yellow stripes to fit with the industrial theme of my layout.

Cheers   Jon    :)
Any chance of a photo please?

 

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