Friday, June 27, 2008

The Marshall Amp of Track Plan Books?

book ad

Model Railroader has gone where no track plan book has ever gone.

It has surpassed 100; it has reached a new "volume" level for the occasion when you have gone through 101 track plans and need just a little more track planning "to make that extra push over the cliff"; it has simply become the "11" of the model railroading track plan book world. It goes to 102!

But seriously, it probably is worth checking out. I haven't seen it, nor held it in my hands, but it looks to follow the standard format for all of Model Railroader books: aggressive typography, scenery-rich track plans, composed color photos, and some supporting text. Usually good "glossy" fare from the first name in model railroad publishing.

The cover has an interesting topic: "Design your own detailed drawings". If you parse that, it means that you are designing the format of the drawing, not using a drawing to design a layout, which is probably what they mean.

Track planning books are good for a couple of things:

If you have never built a model railroad, finding a "neat" track plan and building a layout to learn what the hobby is all about. Then, when you have learned what you like and don't like about the plan (and/or hobby) go design your own layout according to your own particular set of needs and desires.

When you are designing your own layout, you can appropriate ideas and situations from many different layout plans to incorporate into your own. Sometimes you can start with a track plan that generally fits your conditions, and then modify it accordingly. (I don't recommend this - it is like starting with a house plan from a House Beautiful plan book and making the garage a little bigger, shifting the entry orientation to the side, turning a Georgian house into a French country house...)

Simply fun to look at and ponder what you would do differently and why. What could be better on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or while you are waiting for the bus? The eye candy is usually pretty good in these books, so I would suggest having it after your meat.

If you get this book, let me know what you think of it.

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