Iain Rice

Layout Design ‘in the Round’ by Iain Rice

Starting with the notion that model railway design is about much more than a track plan, Iain outlines his philosophy of integrated design and will share observations on a lifetime of building model railways. Starting with the notion that model railway design is about much morethan a track plan, Iain outlines his philosophy of integrated design.Broadly speaking, this is where coming up with a workable layoutlooks at all the aspects of the design – infrastructure,accessibility, effective presentation, lighting and blending of themodel into its setting – rather than just a track plan with afringe. This is very much a visual approach to creating a model railway in alandscape setting, using various devices – backdrops, controlledviewpoints, a bit of forced perspective, background flats, hidingwhat should not be seen and making the most of the interestingfeatures you want to emphasize. All set off by careful lighting andsome form of ‘picture frame’ or layout fascia that blends the model inwith its surroundings. Fair warning for those modelling in the workaday ‘North American-style’ -- The designs presented are mostly founded on the Britishnotion that a model train is basically eye candy. And thusmust look as good as possible under the lime-light, whilenegotiating what is the railway equivalent of the cat-walk at afashion show. The fact that our trains thus simply go round in acircle and back into hidden staging rather than threading their wayaround a maze of peninsulas, duck-unders -- andother devices intended to create the longest possible run in which to do thepaperwork -- is aprice we’re prepared to pay for our obsession.
photos by Iain Rice
click photo to enlarge
Biography Iain never had a train under the Christmas tree but he’s made upfor that ever since through a lifetime designing and building layouts and writing about the model railroad hobby –which has led to 20+books and well over 400 articles over the last 45 years.
One of his major areas of interest has been the evolution of layoutdesign. Never having had the space for a ‘Grand Opus’, Iain took thealternative path and developed a range of concepts for smaller layoutson a variety of themes, in scales ranging from N to G.
Iain was also a pioneer in the evolution of fine-scale ‘Proto’standards in both Britain and Europe, addressing technical problemswith plenty of practical hands-on and not too much theory! He servedtwo terms as President of the British Scalefour Society and has travelled widely in Europe, the USA and Australasia