20cm Space Brings Wonders to N-scale

As I looked back into the photos of my ICE diorama (to be reworked and completed), it strikes me how much space 20cm offers to N-scale. I always think that bigger is better. More space for more things. But sometimes, more space means find things to fill. And we start putting everything that we can get our hands on and fit them in. Perhaps, if we take the minimalist approach to modeling, we strike a balance between railway and nature. Ponder for a while.

I started with a piece of hobby pine wood 80cm x 20cm in 2012 and did some track-laying (see link for development of that diorama). I bent 2 Peco code 55 N-gauge tracks with 33mm spacing and yet I have quite some generous space to the left and right of the tracks. The initial idea was to have a small hill and a river crossing the mid section of the board. This idea will be retained and refined in my rework.


The completed tracks with roadbed suspended on the air. This was the last work I did on my diorama. I have stopped for more than a year due to work projects and now that I have some relaxed time during this winter season, I will rework on this diorama to sharpen my skills in module building.

First of all, the cardboard frames and base will be replaced with 6mm thick plywood. The tracks will retained their existing shape and the corks will be carefully removed and reused. A better 0.6mm superelevation (according to NEM114) will be used instead of 0.3mm. This should show a more prominent superelevation. Some adjustments to the landscape will be made.

The ICE diorama will be used as a programming track to test out decoders instead of testing on the actual layout. I am trying to minimise wiring on the modules. I have in mind how I will power the tracks and any accessories e.g. building lighting, signals and turnouts on modules without drawing power from the main.

As for the layout, I will focus more on the landscapes than on the tracks – not that tracks are not important; they will be NEM-compliant.


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