Building a cardboard layout may sound like a rather strange thing to do. Yet, there’s method in my madness.
I wanted to answer two questions. Firstly, could I fit everything I wanted onto the baseboard? Secondly, could I store the layout in a ready made plastic storage box?
To answer these questions I decided to build a cardboard model of the layout.
I started by making some buildings from cereal packets. These were the same size as the buildings I want to include on the layout. Placing them on the life size print out of my preferred trackplan showed me that there wasn’t quite enough space to fit them into the layout.
So, I went back into SCARM, edited the plan and printed it out full size. Here’s the updated version.
Eagle-eyed readers will see I’ve straightened the headshunt to bring it towards the front of the layout. This created enough space for a cattle dock and a road behind the headshunt. To create space for the goods shed and a small yard I moved both of the sidings forward slightly, and shortened one of them. Everything else (the station building, platform and engine shed) fitted rather well.
I would like to store each module of the layout in a large plastic box, the Really Useful Christmas Tree box. I believe Chris Krupa had the idea originally, and it’s a jolly good idea. The boxes are ready-made, light and have a clip on lid to keep the dust out. Internally they measure 1,135 (L) x 232 (W ) x 340 (D) in mm or roughly 44.5 x 9.1 x 13.4 inches.
Would the layout fit?
With the Christmas tree box on it’s side, the layout slides neatly into the box.
I made the base of the layout 27mm deep, to simulate a 6mm ply baseboard and a 21mm deep wooded frame. On all sides I added a 200mm deep scenic board (except on the far right hand side because I ran out of cardboard!).
When the lid is put on the layout is totally enclosed.
There are a few millimetres of additional space in every dimension all around the layout.
Making a cardboard prototype of a layout may seem a strange idea but it’s shown I can fit the track plan and buildings into the space that’s available, and that I can store the whole module in a ready-made plastic storage box.
Answering these two questions has given me the confidence to proceed…