Module Design: Scenery

In previous posts I’ve discussed the rules I’ve adopted that will govern module size, the type of track I’ll use and the minimum switch/curve radii of the trackwork but there’s one more thing to consider and that’s scenery at the module edges.

As a group of modules that make up a layout can be arranged to create a number of different formations you obviously don’t want a situation where a road on one module runs straight into a river or the side of a building on an adjoining module.

To minimize the possibility of scenery at the edges of modules clashing a certain degree of standardisation is required. Let’s take a look at the recommendations of the two modular standards I’ve been using to develop my own modules:

The Official Free-moN Standards document states:

Main line shall be ballasted with a fine light gray material…”

“Scenery for the first 6 inches at the end plates shall have a flat profile roughly 1/4 inch below the top of the main line rail.”

Landscaping along the module ends must be designed to flow smoothly into adjacent modules…”

“Use a generic grassy/sandy terrain.”

The website of FreemoN-RE recommends:

Scenery should represent Central European in late summer time i.e. “green meadows, leafy trees, harvested fields…

The landscape at the module edges is expected to be “…as thin as possible.

“Roads, ditches, or similar structures should never be placed at the module edge.”

All of which sounds very sensible, however I think I’d struggle to come up with hard and fast scenery rules that I could apply to all the modules I want to make so I’ll probably have to apply different rules to different groups of modules. As an example, I’m quite interested in building a group of modules that will represent a North American industrial area like Annacis Island in Vancouver. The scenic rules for a group of urban industrial modules will obviously need to be different to a group of modules that represents the European countryside or mountains.

Any Exceptions To The Rule?

There is a situation when you can ignore these scenic rules and that’s when you are creating a series of modules that will always be connected together in the same way; a set-piece if you will, for instance you might use a pair of modules to recreate a bridge across a wide rive, in this case you would only have to follow the scenery rules on the two outermost edges of the set-piece where other ‘normal’ modules will connect.

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