Exhibition Presentation

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Exhibition Presentation

Postby Gavin Sowry » Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:30 am

:? Having recently exhibited (again), I got thinking about Layout Presentation at exhibitions. There are many fine layouts on show, but are we, collectively, letting ourselves down with poor presentation?
Let's start with this one, a pretty fair effort, so I have been reliably informed. What spoils it ? Well, it ain't the boys, they were fed and washed before leaving the house. Just look under the layout, and in the background.... people are paying money to see all that (that we shouldn't really be showing them). Don't worry, there are worse photos to show, but I make my point.

Image

So, what do we need to do? Present it better, as a total package, not just a 'layout'.

Yes, simple things, like skirting, signage, and backscreens.

Now, a few comments, to get discussion rolling...

Skirting. Needs to be ery well done. My pet dislikes are seeing rough and ready stuff tacked to the front fascia with drawing pins... and velcro is so 70's ! I believe skirting needs to be pelmetted, or at least, attached to the underside of the fascia.

Signage. Absolutely no excuse to have hand written stuff these days, and see above re drawing pins.

Backscreens. Photo speaks for itself. Did see recently, one of the big English shows setting up... appears exhibitors were allocated cubicles. I like that.

Comments please.
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Postby Prof Klyzlr » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:39 pm

Dear Gavin, Gn15 crew, Exhibitors and Show Layout Owners all...

I'll preface this by saying:
- over 15 years of show layout building and exhibiting experience
- 2 personally owned award winning layouts
- over 3 award-winning layouts I've helped build and "tune" for optimum "presentation impact"
(Please, this is not intended as bragging,
just setting out my "relevant qualifications" :wink: )

Absolutely agree that "Presentation" is Critical to how a layout is percieved. Indeed, the owners/builders of the first show layout that I was involved with, a HO/HOn3/HOn30 aussie logger called "Swan's Crossing",
(covered in AMRM and Continental Modeller),
emphasised "Presentation" of layout, "backstage", and even the Layout operators themselves, as a complete package.

I'll take each of your points in sequence:

Skirting:

Yes, it can be done badly, but the difference between "Badly"and "Wll-done" is simply a matter of attention to detail. Of the 5 layouts I have built or been involved with, all have used black flat bedsheets as a source of lightweight, easily sewed and customised skirting.

Image

The image above is of my last On30 logger, covered in the Oct 05 AMRM.

Leaving aside the "see-thru" look of this shot,
due to the "worklight" being used under the layout,
I assure you that it looks opaque in person.

The skirting is "flat line" skirting,
(which is significantly easier to make than "pleated" skirting BTW!)
using modified Esprit sheets.

These skirts are made to 1200mm long, which nicely matches my preferred module length. The "seams" between skirts are veldro'd, such that they naturally "sit flat" against each other when viewed front-on,
but easily split for access to switches etc by Right-Handed people.
(Yes, like mens and womens shirts, the "direction" of the seam overlap will "prefer" either Right or Left handers).

Look again, just to the right of the crowd barrier pole is a darker vertical line in the skirting. THAT is the seam overlap between 2 skirts. Right in front of the audience! But if I had not pointed it out, I bet you would never have known it was there... :wink:

The skirts are velcro'd top the modules, with the skirts using the "hook". The "catch"
(pun not intended... :wink: ),

is that the modules are faced with charcoal car carpet, which effectively works as the "loop" velcro half. This single-handedly avoids most of the aesthetic "issues" with velcro-attached skirts, and makes setup and teardown of the layout a breeze.
(Since "Swans Crossing" used this technique back in 1995, it has gone on to become very popular all over the Eastern Aussie show circuit!)

Oh, another major concern for exhibitors, esp when contemplating the use of "light" skirts, is the "Marilyn Munro" effect when the layout is placed in a particularly "jetstream-prone" position in the hall.
(someone opens a set of double doors, and suddenly your layout's in a wind tunnel!!!)

The Solution is:

You an pickup a packet of fishing lead sinkers, and have your Layout Skirt Seamstress sew them into the bottom edge in a "oversized hem". The skirts will hang flat and straight everytime, even under "extreme weather" conditions... :wink:

Now, for the practical issues.

The "Average" modeller may not have the skillsof machinery required to convert a black bedsheet into a "custom skirt". If you have a obliging seamstress/seamsman available, all the better. As long as you can provide the required "visible dimensions", your seamstress should be able to advise what "adjustments" will be needed to allow for the seams around each edge, the excess hem for the weights, and nicely sewing the velro in place. (I'm sorry, but while velcro may be "soo 70's", dang if it ain't cheap, works fantastically, and when used intelligently, simply "disappears" from view).

Signage:

Absolutely agree. Signage should be visible, appropriate, and a tocuh of creativity wouldn't hurt :-)

Again, check the image above. The "Nine Mile" sign is a pair of aluminium L channels, to which are bolted some aussie ironbark planks.
(These were donated by one of the layout operators, from the pile of materials leftover from the demolition of his back fence :wink: ).

Below that is a 5' crosscut saw I spotted in a antiques store located in the town that the layout's "prototype logging operation" was based in...

Both parts are anchored with 1/2" dia bolts and nuts to a length of 25mm aluminium tube, which is clamped in a 32mm galvanised post junction,
and mounted on top of a seriously over-engineered floor tripod stand.

All visible "metalwork" is rated at over twice load-rating, so there's no issues with having a sign hoisted over people's heads.
In today's litigious environment, all "live event" production crew consider load ratings and stability of structures in the hall very critically!

Now, a note. while I insisted on using brand new hardware for stength, Every piece of "visible" brand-new-metalwork was treated with a quick dose of Muriatic Acid. This created a totally authetic (Read : REAL) patina of surface rust, that really set the sign off...
(Consider it 12"/1 scale "weathering"... :wink: )

NB that I mocked up the height and position of the sign in MSWord before I built it, so I could be sure that it would "look right" in position.

For another example, check the image at top left of this site

http://www.geocities.com/loggingloco1/B ... epage.html

it's hard to see, but this is a strategically cut sheet of corrugated iron,
again treated with the Muriatic Acid trick,
that was the sign for my first show layout, Broughton Vale Tramway.

As a final example of signage, this is the sign I literaly just built, for my current HO street switching layout, based on the corner of 41st St and 2nd Ave in Brooklyn NYC.

Image

The sign itself is a sheet of 5mm foamcore.It is mounted in a aluminium tube frame, making a sign 600mm X 900mm in overall size. Please excuse the poor photoshopped graphic in the bottom right.It's "pinch hitting" for a totally scratchbuilt LED matrix display, comprising 64 x 10,000 millicandle 10mm dia RED LEDs. (The same as used in modern car hi-intensity LED brakelights :!: ) It should be easily seen from accross the average basketball-hall-sized show hall... :twisted:

The sign graphic is derived from a graphic on a T-Shirt I own. It was scaled, stenciled, and sprayed over with a selection of cheap (read : end of line discounted) spraypaints from the local hardware store...

Given the layout's "down and dirty NYC" nature, IMHO it "suits" the layout nicely...

Now, the practical issues:

Sure, you could take to a signwriter, perspex pro, or neon sign guru,
(I was contemplating using one of the signs from the Brooklyn Brewery as the sign for the "Brooklyn : 3AM" layout,
http://www.brooklynbrewery.com/store/
until I worked out how fragile such a sign would be...)

however, all of the sign examples I've shown are totally do-able by any modeller with the skills to build a layout, and a "regular toolkit" set of tools. This saves time, $$$, and most importantly, puts the "creative control" in the hands of the modeller....

"BackStage" :

This is a funny one. If you follow the Iain Rice or Carl Arendt "theatrical" school of layout design, then the idea that "backstage"/"offstage"/"staging yards"/"show crew relief area" area really should be screened off from "public view" is not new to you.

However, you will be amazed at the number of punters who try all manner of acrobatics to see what happens "behind the curtain"...
(Shades of the Wizard of Oz,
"...Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!..." :wink: )

Image

This is a skewed shot from Front RH. Notice that "backstage"is not visible!

Image

Here's a "backshot" of the layout, showing one of the operators working on a figure, another getting some equipment ready for it's turn on the layout, and the mandatory "show card table" with a spare cassette staging system, ready to be loaded.
(There is another visible on the layout...)

You will also hopefully have noted that all of the layout operators were wearing matching blue "Nine Mile" embroidered shirts. These are nowhere near as expensive as one might expect,
(AUD$20 for setup, + AUD$5/shirt,
I personally supply cotton shirts of decent quality so I KNOW the shirt color we are getting, and that they will work under all seasons of Aussie conditions...)

It's maybe not so critical for "one man shows", but if you have a regular "team" of operators, it's a worthy investment in the layout's overall presentation... :wink:

Now, having a layout that uses "procenium modules" with integrated roof/lighting rig is not really everyone's cup of tea, and can maybe look funny on our often "microlayout" sized Gn15 efforts.
(Must watch what I say here,
I've just built an all-foamcore module with integrated roof for a 500mm X 210mm On30 "Microlayout",
pics available if your Really Keen... :wink: ).

However, tag-team this module design with a "near eye level" display height, and "backstage" almost hides itself :-)

So what about other situations?

Image

here's an example, C/O one of our other GnatterBoxer's, "OzTrainz".

This layout is a promo for a local 2'gauge museum. The "track height" is barely 900mm above the floor, so even young kids can get a "eye level view". The top of the layout is a shelf for display of other models, and promo materials for the Museum. Ergo, kids get the "look at the trains!" wow-factor, an the parents get the "pitch"... :wink:

This layout again has carpeted modules, velcro-attached weighted skirts, and a sign mocked up VERY quickly to look like a New South Wales Govt Rwy station sign. (It's 2 thicknesses of foamcore,
a handful of 3mm MDF letters from the crafts area of the local hardware store,
and regular modelling paints!!!)

Here are some other examples, C/O the Aust NG Convention, held over Easter '07 in Melbourne Australia.

Image

Laurie Green's On3 layout "Delores"

Image

"Toms Creek" On30 logger. Note the smaller sign, and the affect of <NOT> taking care when folding/ironing your layout skirts!!!!

Image

"Totternhoe Mineral" Oe.

This has a particularly interesting approach. The layout "modules" are actually displayed fairly low to the ground. They are in trestles, and faced with flat black layout skirting.

However, instead of hiding any "backstage" operator antics,
and forcing them to operate from the front with the punters,
(which is my personally preferred approach, better "punter interaction", and a much more engaging experience allround),

the operators stand <behind> the layout modules,
but in FRONT of a full-height black theatrical drape, which wraps around and encloses the sides of the layout stand area.

Bearing in mind that not all show layout stand positions will allow you to hang a drape off a wall,
(you may not be placed up against a wall!)

and the size of such a drape becomes a interesting logistical exercise to get to the show, set it up,
tear it down, and get it home again.
(And you thought keeping a 1200mm layout skirt "pressed flat" was a challenge.... :wink: )

As a final set of examples, I offer the following

Image

Image

These 2 images are Left and Right hand views of Geoff Nott's "Leigh Creek" On3 layout, as shown at a Fine Arts show on Sydney Australia.

The layout skirts here are again built from black flat sheets, velcro'd onto the modules. In this case, the modules are painted black, so the "edge" of the velcro is hidden by a small-cross-section pine beading. This also acts as a nice "guideline" when installing the skirting at high speed... :wink:

Elsewhere on the GnatterBox recently, someone suggested that the level of craftsmanship shown on most layouts is well within the realms of "Art". Seeing the examples prevelent in the NG modelling community, I completely agree, and have seen this particular layout easily "stand up, stand proud, and stand tall" amoungst Oil paintings, sculptures,and other examples of "traditional Fine Art"... :wink:

Practical Issues :

Depending on the layout design, shielding the "backstage" area can be as simple as hanging a black flat sheet across the rear edge of the module,
or as complex as the "Totternhoe Mineral" example. Either way, I totally agree that the overall presentation of the layout as a unified display would be materially improved....

I hope this is helpful,
any questions, feel free to ask....
Last edited by Prof Klyzlr on Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby John New » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:41 pm

Fully concur that presentation is important.

On the UK railway forum RMWeb there are several threads covering exhibitions, what spoils an exhibition layout etc. http://www.rmweb.co.uk/forum/ is the general into page.

This what spoils a 00 exhibition layout covers most issues.

Time and/or cost can be an issue though. My photo exhibition boards are OK, but not premier league. However all I could afford were elderly second hand one's to which I have done some refurbishing but they don't look as good as the latest styles used by the multi-national's.

If the modelled content is good you don't notice the surroundings too much, your interest stays on the models, but the converse is very, very noticeable as interest wanes and the eyes drift off set!.
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Postby John New » Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:00 pm

Follow up (the first above crossed with the Prof's excellent post)

BackStage" :

This is a funny one. If you follow the Iain Rice or Carl Arendt "theatrical" school of layout design, then the idea that "backstage"/"offstage"/"staging yards"/"show crew relief area" area really should be screened off from "public view" is not new to you.

However, you will be amazed at the number of punters who try all manner of acrobatics to see what happens "behind the curtain"...


Personally I like to see back stage provided there is a scenic break for a few reasons the most significant two being:-

1) To get ideas on how the back stage area is organised I might want to adopt or avoid.
2) To see the reserve stock

If there are modelling tools, coffee mugs etc in that area I don't care, it is the back stage working area and you know that, what is critical if you are allowing viewers to see that working area though is provison of an adequate scenic break so that it clearly is two (or more) parts just like two photographs.

The Totternhoe black backscene idea I really liked when I first saw it and is being trialled experimentally on my current project.
Last edited by John New on Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Prof Klyzlr » Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:35 pm

Dear John,

With my "Broughton Vale Tramway" layout,
http://www.geocities.com/loggingloco1/B ... ding1.html

there wasn't any "backstage" train staging area,
all train consists had prototypically valid "parking areas", which means that everything was "staged in plain sight".

However, with the use of a centreline viewblock that formed a ? shape,
(yes, that was a Question mark style shape :wink: )

I was able to create 3 totally independent scenes, none of which were visible from the other. This meant that punters were forced to walk around all 3 "scenic'd" sides of the 2'X 4' layout, in order to see everything.

In extreme cases, this resulted in a punter walking around the hall clockwise, and seeing me in front of "scene A" on the layout,

later he is walking around the hall "counter clockwise", and sees me standing in front of "Scene B".

Says he "didn't I see you on another layout?",
only to realise seconds later that he'd written the layout off as a "one scene/trick pony",

before he'd actually seen all 3 sides! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Bearing in mind the tiny footprint of the layout, having it mounted with a trackheight of 1350mm definitely helped the "viewblock" effectiveness,
and stopped the "helicopter viewpoint" stone cold.

Having the layout mounted soo low that it can be obviously visually taken in in one glance, as if from a helicopter, is Guaranteed to make the viewer think,

"well, I've seen everything that (layout) has to offer",

and move on...
(No matter how standout the modelling, train consisting, or operation is) :cry:

Furthur, by disguising "mouseholes" where track punches thru a very real module wall or backscene, the train can achieve the desired "I can't see where it'sgoing, but it's is definitely going <somewhere>".

This is the mental "scenic break" that goes along with the physical/modelled "viewblock" to which you quite rightly refer...

Said another way, the train needs to gracefully disappear behind, under, or around some visually viewblocking object,
so as not to "duck offscene like a mouse down a hole",
thus giving the game away... :wink:
Happy Modelling,

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Postby John New » Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:53 pm

Said another way, the train needs to gracefully disappear behind, under, or around some visually viewblocking object,


Working towards that on three of the four exits on my current project.

1) & (2) Will be behind buildings (N Gauge side of the layout)

(3) Will be trees PLUS a matt black equivalent of a stage play style side wing flat.

(4) This exit will be a bit more conventional, into roofed loading shed. roof. The cheat is the open loading bay on the side wall will go straight on but inside is a matt black angled divider hiding the track curving round.

I have a build blog here and the line is mentioned in this gnatterbox thread too.

Currently working up the 3D 1:1* sketch outlines of the building shapes that are in my head in situ prior to moving to the detailed build. Nominal scale is 8mm to foot based on size of the workmen figures bought for it.

(*NB 1:1 as in full size for the model NOT real world full size!!)
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Postby greengiant » Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:57 pm

I present my layout like this:

Image

I am not keen on layouts whose background is the operators stomach or tea cup.
I like to see good lighting, not fussed about information panels.
I believe as much care should go into the layouts presentation as to the actual building of the layout, why waste all that work with poor presentation?
Good presentation of a mediocre layout can look better than a poorly presented good quality layout.

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Postby Giles B » Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:36 pm

A big topic, and one that will bring many different opinions, I'm sure.

Prof - your first posting seems devoid of pictures; is this just me? or could you re-post them please. It would make detailed responses easier.

Have to admit I'm guilty of some of the sins you catalogue, from time to time, though I do like to think I'm getting better at presentation. However, some things are not always possible.

As an example when I was showing a portable G scale layout there was no room in the car for a lighting rig, however much I'd have liked one. As I was often putting up the layout single handed the extra time needed would have made for impossibly early starts - not all exhibition managers will pay for a previous night's accommodation. Having said that lighting is really a necessity, arguably even in a brightly lit hall, and something I should try to address on my two current showable layouts.

The Underworld:- Like Queen Victoria, I think legs should be covered. One usually - though not always - knows one's location in the hall in advance, and can plan to cover the rear of the layout if in a central position. The drawback here will be if there is any under-baseboard maintenance needed during the show. I certainly put all boxes and travelling cases etc out of sight below the layout, but both Futtocks End and Lazy River depend on locally provided tables, which may vary in size and materials - difficult to attach a curtain to a metal-edged table! As both layouts are designed to sit on low legs on the table top, at least this area can be covered with made to measure drapes - made from a black felt-like material that doesn't show creases too badly. The curtain was run up by the lady who does alterations in the local dry cleaners; an earlier layout used black Bolton twill (a material used for masking the wings in theatres).

Signage:- Having invested, many years ago, in some adhesive backed lettering about 30mm tall, these have been used on at least three layouts, stuck to a piece of plywood covered with white plastic. This was attached by clips to the over-head lighting pelmet (Alcudia, Stratford - Waterside and Ste Emilie), the letters merely being peeled off when the layout was scrapped, and re-used to form the new name- an easy DIY job.

Backstage. I've had hidden fiddle yards and open-air ones. Some people (me included) always want to see what's going on round the back, either to ask a question about one of the models or to see how someone else solves the traverser/cassette/general handling question.
If open-air, they should be kept clear, if "hidden" then as tidy as possible but not excluding the odd coffee cup, operating instruction sheet, or pen and paper for noting faults, etc.

Just a few personal experiences and thoughts to add to the debate.........
Giles

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Exhibition presentation

Postby Mike Lee » Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:55 pm

Hi Prof, I don't seem to have the pictures either :(

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Re: Exhibition presentation

Postby greengiant » Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:20 pm

Mike Lee wrote:Hi Prof, I don't seem to have the pictures either :(

Regards Mike Lee


Are you logged in?

I could not see them first time around until I logged in, may be a fluke but it worked, except the last two :(

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Postby More_Cats_Than_Sense » Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:56 pm

I'm logged in, but the pictures haven't displayed for me either :(
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Postby Nick Ellingworth » Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:02 pm

I found that I had to view the thread a couple of times to get the photos to work, and without them Prof's post is rather difficult to follow.
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Postby Trevor Coburn » Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:16 pm

As one who has been exhibiting for more decades than I care to remember, both with my own, friends and club layouts Also have been an exhibition manager / organiser.
So I am going to add my "2 pence-worth".

Fully hidden "Hidden storage /staging sidings: No matter how much you try to hide them, 'jo public' is always trying to sneak a look. So now work on the basis that they should be visable, but kept tidy. I often got requests to "run that train", or "when is that loco comming out so I can take a photo?"

Drapes (curtains) are an absolute must. However many venues insist that they are fire proof, some exhibitions now provide thier own logo'd ones. I also make sure that the back of the layoout has some drapes as well, so stock/tools/transport boxes remain hidden.
(If they are rolled up at the end of the show, you dont get creases!)

Back scenes, I am not sure about these, unless they are very well done they can detract from otherwise exelant layouts.

Layout height, this again is down to debate, but remember that you and your opperators could be behind the layout for a long time, think of your comfort!

Ligthing, absolutley esesntial as (in the UK at least) most exhibition venues, have appalling lighting, carefully aranged shadows can disgise the exit from the layout.

The other thing that is an absoulute must (apart from the coffee
flask :lol: ) is a length of carpet........... many exhibition halls here have cold concrete floors. :evil:

Better go and get on with some modelling now, I have had an invite to an exhibition in March, and havent even started on the layout yet :shock:
(But then I havent told them what my exes' are going to be!)
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Postby Rockley Bottom » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:55 pm

Sorry :!:
No pictures getting through Pity, interesring comments.

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Postby michael » Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:35 pm

Having logged on off a few times no pictures on this side of the pond either but everyone elses pics show up. This leads me to conclude that is the Profs set up that is the problem, so now someone will prove me wrong :)
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Postby rue_d_etropal » Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:41 pm

I've exhibited for many years, mainly at local show till recently when I have been at bigger shos.
I would never have a layout on an uncovered table.
I have tried various formats, and finding the right mixture of entertainment, easy to set up/ take down, a good balance of operating and having time to talk to public.
I used to favour continuous runs, which did not need much effort to operate. Most of those watching only stopped a short time so it was easy to just use one or two trains, which ultimately becomes boring for me. My answer was t build a new layout.
Since discovering shunting, initially with 'Christmas 1945' and then 'Port d'Étropal', I have enjoyed exhibitions more, and hopefully provided a better show for the paying public.
My Gn15 layout may not get exhibited as much, unless I can build more modules to force me to operate, not just watch trains. Will have to see how it runs at Crewe at end of January.

Now for pet hates.

Large groups of operators standing around waiting for timetable to tell them to run a train.
Layouts built to very high standard, almost looking down their noses at neighbouring layouts, but having glaring faults, the classic being under gauge track. I have nothing against using OO gauge, but don't pretend to be better that others who model more freelance and less rivet counting.

Exhibition competions, which award prizes to either home club layouts, or a friend. I don't expect to win, as I model on the fringes, but would prefer there was no competition.

Professional built layouts, these should be advertised as such. I wouldn't expect all rolling stock to be built by layout owner/operators but you would normally expect that the actual layout has not been built as a commission. Another problem that can arise is that the operators do not know how to fix any problems.


Finally it should be remembered that if you are exhibiting, then you are providing entertainment for the paying public.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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Postby More_Cats_Than_Sense » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:23 pm

Images are working for me now :D
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Postby Oztrainz » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:40 pm

michael wrote:Having logged on off a few times no pictures on this side of the pond either but everyone elses pics show up. This leads me to conclude that is the Profs set up that is the problem, so now someone will prove me wrong :)


Hi all,
I just had a quick look at properties for both the good and missing photos, both have the same type of information for Protocol, Address, Size and Dimensions fields but the missing photos are showing "Not available" in the Type field
Perhaps they will magically appear if reinserted/editted between [img]and[/img] using the Img button when editting/posting to tell the "lump" that it is a photo or image rather than a link?
(shows as Image, you need to click the Img button before and after your photo link)
Just thinking out loud as I am still guessing how all this stuff works....
John Garaty
Murphy was an optimist

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Postby Glen A » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:08 pm

Re the Prof's photos; I had a look at the link, and they are coming from geocities. (a.k.a. Yahoo).
When I try to go directly to the photo, Yahoo returns a message: The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later

As it is a free webservice, there may be a limit on bandwidth (the number of people who can access it on one day). Photobucket has the same rules. In which case it resets after 24 hours.

So can you guys stop trying to look, so I can get a chance to see them please :roll: :lol:
Last edited by Glen A on Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby DCRfan » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:11 pm

Concur - server is showing as down. Probably doing some work while the Northerners sleep :lol:
Last edited by DCRfan on Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby John New » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:11 pm

On my PC the photo's appeared, disappeared for a while this morning but then came back next time I veiwed it. They are visble now. I would guess it is not a coding issue but a network link break somewhere between the ISP server the viewer is connected to and the ISP where the Prof has them stored.

Has everyone that cannot see them tried the obvious forced reload of the page to clear any cache problem with the page?

We get this sometimes on the SLS site where after I have updated the image and caption text to the latest Journal cover, the text always updates for viewers but some people occasionaly still get the replaced picture.
Yahoo returns a message: The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems.


Edit - the last two posts above from Glen & Paul about Yahoo appeared whilst I was typing the original of this, if the server is down para 1 above applies..
John
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Postby Glen A » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:39 pm

Getting back to the topic at hand;

Presentation is like art; not every one has the same standards.

I do use drawing pins to hold on my curtains. I use the push in type, and I spray paint them black (the same colour as the curtain) and I pin them up into the underside of the module base so they are not so noticable. I think this is quite acceptable and other systems I have looked at require too much work everytime an extension is added in my opinion.

One other guy who displays has one big long run of material (a 10+metre roll of black curtain) and he just pins out as much as required (no joins to be seen between modules) and tucks the rest of the roll under the layout. He has three different layouts of different shapes (and they change like the wind), but the same roll of curtain works for them all.

It is interesting that the only layout with a nice frame box like Martin (greengiant) at our show two years ago hardly rated. Because of the narrow viewing area, it was not a good height for little children.
Similarly another very nice layout with some outstanding scenery and nice presentation (and a big black curtain to hide the set up area) was described as a wall of black, and not a friendly height for children, and may have fallen foul of the organizers.
Yet our G scale garden track on the floor with no scenery or presentation rated highly and they keep asking for it back!

So presentation is different things to different people.

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The mystery MIA images, and Layout heights

Postby Prof Klyzlr » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:45 pm

Dear Crew,

My sincere apologies, it was 01:00 when I was writing my reply,
and thru sheer laziness, I used my Geocities account to host the pics.

I then got hit with the double whammy of
1 - Geocities down for maintainence

2 - plus exceeding hourly bandwidth
(it resets after 60minutes <if> no-one else attempts to access the same images! Gotcha!!!)

Anyway, have re-linked the pics via some spare space on my work website, so hopefully the images should stay put... :wink:

I take the point that "Presentation is different for everyone"
(Sing it with me
"...You cannot please everyone all the time,
You cannot please Everyone, All the time,
You Cannot....." :wink: :lol: )

However, as someone who has had to play both sides of the fence,
(Modeller, who offers the layout for exhibition,

and Show Organiser, who has to select from as many or few layouts as he is offered, and pick a "mix" which will have hopefully at least 1 layout that appeals to <everyone>),

I tend to take this tack...

- some layouts are deliberately displayed "low" for ease of viewing by the kids. This is fine and dandy, and indeed we need such layouts at shows to "hook 'em in young", thus keeping the hobby going...

However, the exprienced modeller recognizes that this presents given and known challenges in terms of perception of the layout for adults, and taller viewers.

IE as mentioned above, a 2' X 4' layout viewed at "eye height" will appear much larger, and much more engaging to adults,

as opposed to the "postage stamp" impression they get of the layout when viewing from a simulated "helicopter altitude".

Furthur, I say again, if the viewer, no matter what altitude ther eyes are, can take in an entire layout in one glance,
(as is the case with all "helicopter shot" layout heights),

then the punter <will> think,
"right, I've seen everything that layout has on show, time to move on..."

Now, please don't mishear me,
I'm not advocating that <all> layouts should be displayed at "eye height",
(which of the myriad "eye heights" to choose from, should we use? :lol: ),

however, I DO firmly believe that whatever height you choose for YOUR layout, you should be aware of the impact that choice has on the way the layout will be percieved by <all manner> of punters.

Please recheck my initial posting, (now that the pics should be up :wink: )

I tend to choose 1350mm as my track height for my "prototype layouts",
(Check the "Nine Mile" pics)

because
1 - it's around my chest level. Lower than I prefer to operate at at home,
(My personal preferred height is 1550mm, just under eye height for me), but a compromise for "allcomer adults" at shows

2 - even at such a relatively tall track height, I have found it works GREAT for kids down to 4 - 5+ Y/o. Most venues here on the East Coast of Aust provide chairs as crowd barriers.

Given this option, most parents will gladly

- Stand the Child on the chair,
- and instinctively grab the child to steady them

As the operator, I get a height that gives the adults a NON-helicopter view, (read : better viewpoint for them, detail more visible, visual subterfuge and mirror tricks work better, etc etc),

I get a height that works for the child on the chair,

AND I get the relative comfort of knowing the Child is being "controlled/restrained" by the adult. (IE better control of "finger poking"/"leaning on the layout facia"/"scale sized earthquakes" etc etc).

NB that "Nine Mile"was researched, designed, and built from the outset as a prototype Aussie Logger,
so in terms of model content, it was strictly "10 scale mph log hauling",

and thus was Always going to be aimed at appealing to the adults.
(Rule #1 of any Public Presentation : Know your <Target> Audience :wink: )

- Does this means I deliberately choose a height for <THIS layout>,
that favored adult viewers over kids?

Yes.

- Am I apologetic about that?

No
(I knew my target audience,
and show managers booked the layout knowing it would cover the "hardcore auddie NG modeller" segment/demographic for their show.
They book "Thomas" for the kids, and I'm fine with that :wink: )

Did I compromise my <desired> height to at least allow kids on chairs a "fair shot" at viewing the layout,

Absolutely! :wink:

In contrast, I deliberately pulled for "Yallah2"
(the 2'gauge museum promo layout),
to be mounted with trackheight around 900mm off the ground. This is waaaaay too low IMHO for "standing adult viewing", but works a treat for kids standing on their own feet!

Furthur, the height of the scene + lighting facia puts the Museum promo stuff, and any "more highly detailed models" which would be of interest to the adults, (but scary in arm's-reach of the kids :evil: ), right under the adult's noses. Remember, this is a PROMO layout, it's whole mission is to get punters to come to the museum!).

To wrap, I personally like to stand when I'm operating, and I like to operate out the front, with and in some cases IN the crowd.

Thus, I prefer a taller track height. (My personal ultimate track height is 1550 above floor, just below eye level. I drop this to 1350mm or so for show work).

I definitely see situations and layout-design-specs where a lower track height is "better suited" to the layout's mission. (IE "Thomas" layouts, promos, etc)

However, no matter what layout height one chooses, it would be a crying shame to "negatively impact" the overall presentation of one's layout to one's specifically nominated target audience,

because one failed to understand the affect layout height has on the visual perception of the viewer...

Remember, there's room on this here train for everyone...
Happy Modelling,

Aim to Improve,

Prof Klyzlr

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Postby More_Cats_Than_Sense » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:47 pm

My 2 cents worth.........................

While I agree that the presentation of a layout (or module) can be important, to me it is the quality of the modelling that is the overriding aspect of what interests me with a layout or diorama at an exhibition. I have been drawn to layouts that are nowhere near my modelling interest simply because of the quality of the modelling (a South American sugar cane processing plant in HO, for example). The presentation of a layout is important, but it cannot make up for inferior modelling, and conversely a well modelled and balanced layout will make up for poor presentation. I have seen layouts that are presented with utmost care, but been totally insignificant (to me) with respect to their modelling standard (bland, run-of-the-mill-rtr), these types of layouts do not hold my interest no matter how well presented. While owner/operators should consider how their layout/model/diorama is percieved by Joe Public (and fellow modellers), it should not not become the be-all-and-end-all of exhibiting. If we are not careful, we may end up with beautifully presented layouts with minimal content.
I'm not saying anyones views are wrong, we are all different and see things through different eyes after all. I can appreciate a model where the modeller had strived to get every rivet/plank/weed/stone correct to the highest standard possible, as I can also appreciate a model where the modeller has produced a display which captures an overall "look" with minimal detail.
I personally like to "peek" behind the scenes to see fiddle yards and storage/control panels, I've obtained valuable information on how other people handle these areas and gained some ideas to use.
I can understand why fellow modellers and members of this forum wiill disagree either in whole or in part with my views, but I will ask them this question, would you go to an exhibition where every layout was displayed in the same manner, and everything that isn't part of the presentation hidden, including the operators?

As I said, this is just my two cents, I do appreciate it when the exhibitors have made some effort with the presentation of their particular layout (this includes the exhibition managers/organisers as well), but to me it isn't the most important thing that I look for when I go to an exhibition.

Feel free to shout me down.
Barry Weston



If at first you don't succeed, use a bigger hammer.



The only thing that keeps me sane, is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes....



Never knowingly sensible!

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Postby John New » Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:23 am

As a tall adult am I unusual - I prefer what is becoming known as, and sometimes derided, the "helicopter view"?

I think I know why, and it is not just down to my eyesight's prime focusssing distance, but it would take too long a post to explain here so I will add it to a future Reindeer Landing build blog entry.

The link I posted to RM Web earlier is worth following as most of this topic area was exhaustively and recently debated on that railway modelling forum too.
Last edited by John New on Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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