Hi guys, I could use a little help. Just for the fun of it I’m working on plans for a forced perspective HO/N/Z layout. I don’t have any local hobby shops worth a pinch of salt within 200 miles of me and what I need help with is getting familiar with the different brands of track. I want the entire track to look similar to one another. Sure, I could use Rokuhan or MTL for Z and then say Bachmann roadbed E-Z track for N and HO, but I had really wanted to use Marklin for the Z part of it. With that said, I can use Marklin K track for the HO part of things, but that leaves the N. Does anyone know what brand of N scale track most closely resembles Marklin Z or Marklin K track? Perhaps Marklin's MiniTrix, (not having ever seen it, I really have no idea)?
“Most” forced perspective layouts would have the Z scale farthest away from the viewer on a horizontal plane, say toward a back wall, then the N scale toward the middle and the HO up front. With this project I’m locked in to a 3’ x 4’ home living room or family room layout. There’s not much space in that area for HO, let alone two other scales. What I’ve got pictured in my mind is the same concept but going down into a type of oval cone shaped layout instead of back on a flat type of rectangle.
I happened to have an extra Bumble Bee (the Marklin 88035 2-6-0 Mogul) and a Marklin 87910 D&RGW Old Time passenger set to go along with it sitting around. And for $145.00 total I recently purchased an Athearn ATH11902 N Scale D&RGW #597 Mogul, and a RoundHouse RND84777 HO Scale D&RGW #592 Mogul. Next, for about $65.00 total, it was sets of Bachmann HO Scale & N Scale Old Time Union Pacific passenger cars. The HO and N moguls will need their roofs painted and numbers changed and I think they’ll be a close enough match to the Marklin mogul that no one should complain. The HO & N Union Pacific passenger sets will need complete repaints however. And as the Marklin set comes with 4 cars, and the Bachmann sets each have 3 cars, I may need to purchase extra HO & N passenger cars or I’ll need to pull off one of the Marklin passenger cars from the line up. That will depend on how the length of the HO set looks in relation to the rest of the layout as it comes together. If the HO set would look too long with 4 cars, I’ll pull a Marklin car to equal the three cars on the Bachmann sets. If I can get away with it though, I’ll add a car to each of the Bachmann sets to equal the Marklin set. All this should give me the same D&RGW train in three different scales, or at least something close enough to pass.
The layout itself will be three simple ovals on three simple stacked levels (or layers), each progressively smaller around. HO on the uppermost level, N in the middle and Z on the lower level. There will be a tunnel on each layer long enough to conceal each length of train. As one train enters, and is concealed on that layer, it is stopped in its tracks. After it stops, the train on the next level will emerge and make the round. When that one goes round and is concealed, the next train will emerge from its tunnel, and on and on… Down, down, down, and then up, up, up again. Using ones imagination and with the right timing, it should appear the same train is going down to the bottom of a mountain and then appear to go up a mountain.
Since each gauge track will be on a separate level, it’s similarity to one another is not as important as other forced perspective plans where those tracks might sit closer to one another. As long as I get something that looks close, I should be fine.
This is a rather complex and ambitious layout design I have in mind. Not in the trackage itself, but in frame construction. More than an oval cone, I also plan to have areas cut out on the sides so that besides looking down into the fake spiral, one should be able to see in from all four sides. These sides will most likely be covered with easily removed Plexiglas panels (to keep out curious little hands or paws) and I already have a 3’ x 4’ x 9'' Plexiglas box top to cover the top of the layout. And each level will sit stacked on top of the next with large index pins for easy un-assembly. There’s more to it, and maybe even some trestles, but I don’t want to give it ALL away. My only problem now is the usual lack of free time. Well free time, and DCCing this thing somehow so everything will be timed properly.
And lastly, like Nixon, I’m probably sorry I’ve committed this to tape, so to speak. A project in the mind is one thing, but when people know of that plan, it can be difficult to explain ones lack of progress. Give me a year, and I’ll get back to you on this one. I haven't even bought the lumber yet
Things really are difficult to explain without pictures, aren’t they? When finished this should be more a piece of furniture than a railroad layout. Think of this as one of those glass topped coffee table layouts but higher and larger.
I imagined this as the inside of a rectangle shaped cone with an oval track. The outside “walls” or sides, come straight down, while the inside walls taper down toward the middle. This way there is an outside frame of sorts making the box a rectangle piece of furniture, and the layout is meant to be viewed from the top down (with the bonus of cut away sides in places). The piece should sit no higher than 36” at the tree tops of the HO (top) layer and go down to the floor (or to casters) to the Z layer with one step in the middle for the N scale layer.
Those are the plans anyway... but who knows how this will play out in the end?
Joe, sounds very interesting. From the point of perspective I would space the HO to N scale distance proportional to the scale ratios and the N to Z distance scaled based on the new ratios. Good luck, sounds like a lot of fun.
Sounds like a plan, but what would be the starting point in your equation? Using simple division, I know that HO is 1.839 larger than N, and N is 1.375 larger than Z. But where I put the N scale in relation to the HO or the Z in relation to the N would still be strictly arbitrary. It would be after I position either one of a “pair” of scales, HO & N, or N & Z, that a ratio could be calculated for the other scale. Or did I miss something in the translation?
Joe, I would think that the distance from HO track to N track would be actual distance times 1.839 and then the distance from N track to Z track would be actual distance times 1.375. It would depend on the actual height of the top track (HO) and the bottom track (Z). Proportionally the distance from HO to N should be greater then the distance from N to Z. It was just a thought that flashed into my marshmallow but makes sense to me. I would think visually it would help it look more realistic, try making a mock up using cardboard and see if it warrants any merit.
Terry, I agree with the proportional calculations… IF I was trying to make the train appear an equal distance from the next. Like trains lined up on sidings waiting for departure.
However since this is will be a “forced” perspective layout, it’s actually up to the “scene” to dictate the perspective, whether or not that is proportional to the scales. As long as the smaller of the scales is the farthest away, and the scene looks “right”, then proportionality might be thrown out the window.
I agree with what you said; that “proportionally the distance from HO to N should be greater than the distance from N to Z”. BUT, by doing just the opposite; by placing the Z scale two, or three times farther away, it can give the forced perspective of being that much farther away, just as long as the other items in the scene are proportionally small.
I’m thinking of doing this scene as a train that appears to go way down into a valley. If I don’t have the space to make this very deep, then by placing the Z scale a greater distance from the N scale than true proportional values would dictate, it should make the Z scale appear that much farther away. In other words wayyyyy down at the bottom of a valley, or the bottom of a mountain.
Lastly… I just thought of something last night while doing that designing that we all seem to do while drifting off to sleep… that could make my job just that much more difficult – but deliberately.
I was thinking of making this a desert Southwest scene with those sort of yellow/clay colored mountains and terrain. But, since I’m leaning towards making this be more of a piece of furniture than a layout, so to speak, I’m thinking of doing away with the usual terrain making methods. Instead of making a framework for the table and then using plaster, etc. for the terrain, I’m thinking of making the mountains, etc. out of wood using the wood frame itself.