Before we get into the approach and concept development for your model railroad, here are some principles that help guide my model railroading decisions and plans.
- First, as the NMRA states: “Model Railroading is Fun!” Try to keep it that way as you pursue the hobby. When I was a Cubmaster for my son’s Cub Scout pack several decades ago we had an acronym that said it all: “KISMIF”, Keep It Simple, Make It Fun!. I always try my best to apply this principle to all of my hobby activities.
- Keeping it simple for me means keep the wiring as simple as possible, make my trackwork bulletproof, use easy scenery and weathering techniques, buy ready-to-run locomotives and rolling stock, limit scratch building and go with good quality kits, and use module kits rather than build my own modules.
- Keep it affordable! Develop your approach to the hobby in a way that keeps it budget friendly for you! Remember, cheap isn’t necessarily cost effective when it comes to your budget. Buy inexpensive, but good quality, products that you enjoy and will use. Something that sits on a shelf is a waste of your money (unless you’re a collector, and this site isn’t about collecting). A locomotive that doesn’t run well and doesn’t get used is a waste of your hobby budget.
- Create a believable impression with your modeling. I’m not looking for photo realistic scenes. I’m not looking for rivet-counter detail. I’m looking for good enough. I want to create the impression that’s good enough for the operators of my railroad to enjoy while they operate.
- Add life to your railroad with mini-scenes. Yes, I’m modeling a transportation system. Yes it’s about the trains. But a believable impression requires life! Get some people out there on the layout where they can help tell the story.
You may want to apply these principles to your modeling or define some new ones. Either way, I find them a big help in keeping me focused on enjoying the hobby!