I’ve got my Waterfront Project kits all lined up from Micro-Trains, lots of really good water-themed structures here… now I need to design the layout around this theme, I need a look. As I wrote in the previous article this is going to be a protolance layout, so I have some wiggle room on prototypical and historical accuracy. Still, I want an authentic feel to come through on this build.
My first step has been looking at Florida rail photos, lots of them. Even though I’ve been to Florida many times photos are always an invaluable resource for both reference and inspiration. I really enjoy scenery work and I wanted to get a good visual feel for the Florida railroad landscape so I’ve been pouring over photos.
While looking at mainline as well as the smaller short line railroads with their subtropical surroundings I have to say, there’s some pretty amazing scenery down south! What you first tend to notice in Florida is the wide array of tree and plant life… it’s like looking at a primeval forest with varieties of pine, oak, hickory, mangrove and palm trees to name just a few. The low lying plant life is equally diverse and includes a near countless diversity of grasses and ferns, low-lying conifers, mosses, vines and more.
Threading its way through this landscape are the ever present rivers, canals, creeks, swamps and lakes. Modeling water in Z scale is always a challenge and this build will offer some terrific possibilities.
One very important decision I need to make deals with the layout itself. Initially I was thinking of a conventional sized layout for Z scale… 2’ x 3’ or so. On a suggestion from a friend I’m now considering more of a mini-modular shelf / switching layout. I need to kick this idea around just a bit more but I have to admit, it’s incredibly tempting. I’m always looking to improve my scenery chops and this sort of tightly focused mini-module idea may be just what I’m looking for.
The Micro-Trains kits can definitely stand the scrutiny of the macro lens on a mini-module. Making the scenes believable… that’d be up to me! It’s an exciting prospect. I’ve noticed from looking at a lot of really terrific modeling over the years that this sort of highly detailed shelf layout seems to be a very popular choice with modelers outside of the US. Maybe we can give this concept a spin here and see what we can come up with?
I think I’ll take the next few days to consider the mini-module idea versus going with a more conventional layout. I’ll also be digging in to additional Florida photos to get more familiar with my layout location.
Category: Z Scale Basics