Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mocking the HOG

It's been a bit since I've blogged anything. Chalk that up to Ph.D classes, qualifying exams, and teaching a class. So anyway, my wife tells me that she'd like for me to build something over the Christmas break so we'll have a layout to show people when they come over. Not being one to argue with an agreeable spouse, I've been toying around with building a 7.5' x 7.5' N scale layout that takes its design cues from the Heart of Georgia beginner's layout. Scenery will depict either generic North Mississippi scenery (for those shortlines I love) or Memphis, TN (where both my wife and I grew up). I'm leaning toward the latter since I think it'll hold her interest a little more...

But before building this thing, I wanted to get an idea of just how big a 7.5' square would be and (more importantly) how big a 5' x 5' or 4' x 4' operating pit would be. I needed a cheap way to do this and, thankfully, I had just the thing in some 1/2" PVC pipe and fittings that we'd used to support string beans in our garden. Turns out that rearranging these pieces gave us a 5.5' square that's 5' off the ground. That was perfect for letting me get a feel for how big the pit would be as well as how difficult it would be to duck under.

I used some 1' x 6' pieces of cardboard that I cut from an old furniture box to adjust the size of the pit. This allowed me to get a feel for how long I'd have to be stooped over while ducking under the layout. At the end of the day, a 4' square pit is about the minimum that we can handle. A height of 60" makes ducking to enter a snap, but it does make the layout awfully high for viewing (64"). I'll probably compromise a bit here and set the bottom edge of the benchwork at about 56". I'm 6'1", so this is about as low as I care to duck. More to come...soon!