COUNTRYSIDE MODELS Artists in Miniature Landscape
The Countryside Models Questionnaire
1 General Questions
(Please give detailed answers, just like you would if we were sitting talking face to face!)
When did you first take an interest in railways?
What are your first memories of trains?
Did you have a local station as a youngster?
Did you visit it regularly?
If it's relevant, what year(s) was this?
Do you still have pleasant memories of this time?
Are there any specific memories?
Have you any photographs that capture the essence of the scene you want modelled?
Can you scan/photocopy them and include them with your reply? Please add captions to explain, as best you can, precisely what it is that appeals to you. (At a later stage it would be very helpful to have proper prints if details contained in them are to be modelled.)
Were there other favourite places you used to visit regularly?
(If yes, please again give further answers for each location. The easiest way to do this is to simply "copy and paste" the 5 questions above!)
Did you travel regularly by train in the years noted above, or did you merely watch the trains go by?
Did you have a toy train as a youngster? (Please describe it)
Have you had a model railway since? (Ditto)
Did you build it?
How do your friends and family view your hobby?
How do you view your hobby?
Do you intend using this model for business purposes?
(To break the ice prior to a business meeting for instance, as in, "Do you want to come and have a look at my train set while we're waiting for Fred?")
Is there any specific deadline for this model?
Is it for you?
Have you felt (like me), that some specific occasion sparked your interest in railways?
What specific effects do you think this has had on your interests?
Do you have any specific area/county/landscape in mind for your model?
Have you any photos or magazines articles illustrating the above?
Is there a specific historical episode/occasion that you find fascinating?
Do you wish us to capture this in model form?
As just one part of the model or as the major feature of it?
Is this railway local to you?
Could you go out and photograph the local landscape and surviving buildings, bridges, features etc?
Are there published any local histories of the area which contain useful references to the line, its surroundings and/or the traffic it carried?
Are you aware of any railway histories of your chosen line being available? (We have a considerable library of such histories for a wide variety of lines, especially the "big Four", but we certainly can not cover all of them!) (Please quote author and title! And ISBN if you have it.)
Have you any plans of the area/stations you wish to base your model on? (ie; ratings plans, period maps, etc.)
Do you prefer branch or main-line trains? (Again, please be specific, especially if you like both. Of course, if you have no preference...)
Do you like shunting?
Would you like to be able to just push a button and watch the trains go round?
Do you want to be able to control the whole layout from one place?
Would you like to have more than one control position so guests can operate one part of the model while you operate another?
Do you want your model to feature just one station and its surroundings or would you prefer a length of railway line featuring more than one station?
Are there any special features you wish us to incorporate?
End of section one!
2 "Tick-Your-Choice" Key Questions
2.1 In general terms, what type of model do you want?
(If you are typing this, just type a "y" for yes next to the most applicable box. If you have printed this off, please tick one
a) [ ] a layout permanently erected in a room in my home*
b) [ ] a sectional layout to be erected occasionally or a transportable exhibition layout*
c) [ ] an automatic layout on permanent public exhibition*
d) [ ] a toy-train set or easily portable model. (ie; one which can be erected quickly on
a table and then put away after use, or one bolted to a wall so it can be hinged
up out of the way.*)
e) [ ] other. (Please specify)
[ * In all these cases, if you have a dedicated railway room in mind, please draw up a sketch showing its floor-plan. Include dimensions of the room, ie; all wall lengths (measure at about 4ft/1.3mtrs from the floor; please also check that walls are straight - by eye is usually sufficient but if there is any doubt, get someone to hold each end of a straight, taut piece of string and measure the depth at both ends of any bows in the wall which intrude into the room.) We will also need both diagonal measurements, the size of any alcoves or recesses, plus fireplaces, doors (include arc of opening), windows (note space required for curtains if fitted and whether access is required for drawing curtains or opening lights), radiators, power-points, light-switches (include height from floor), any sloping sections of ceiling (below about 6ft/2mtrs), and any other features which might affect construction such as an uneven or sloping floor or any steps, raised or lowered areas.
Please consider whether any other special features are required such as storage, work-bench, etcetera. Where it might be feasible to wrap the tracks around the room in circular fashion allowing the operator to sit in the middle, please tell us whether a "duck-under" access would be acceptable or whether unimpeded (i.e. lifting) access is required.
Are there any "special considerations" we need to know about? For instance, does the layout need to be low enough to be able to be seen comfortably from a wheelchair or is access likely to restrict the size of baseboards we can get into the room - like a small loft access or tight staircase?
Anything else we should know about? (Be it relevant directly or indirectly.)
It may be that you have never had a model railway before and know little of such things as "scale" and "gauge". Do not worry! In case you want to know, "scale" refers to the ratio between the size of the prototype and the model, the former always being expressed as "one". Thus 1/10th scale means a model ten times smaller than the real thing, and so on. The word "gauge" refers to the distance between the rails, both prototype and model gauges being expressed in actual size, thus "9 mm gauge" means there is a nine millimetre gap between the rails for your model train to run on. Scale and Gauge are often, but not always, in a direct ratio with one another but different model train manufacturers have adopted different commercial standards which has confused the matter for everyone. Such is life!
Please state the gauge/scale you prefer;
If you want us to guide you through this "minefield", please tick either of these boxes;-
[ ] A particular scale or gauge is less important than the overall effect.
[ ] I am undecided and open to suggestions.
Now you can either ignore the next 2 sections or browse them anyway!
If you want a narrow gauge or broad gauge model (i.e. anything other than 4'-8½" gauge track) then move to the next section.
If you want a Standard gauge model of trains running on 4' 8½" track, read on. . .
If you have an open mind but preferences, please feel free to tick several boxes; everyone's different after all!
Standard Gauge Section
Tick box/gauge description
[ ] Z a commercial gauge of 6mm or about 1:200th scale)
(Only supported by one German manufacturer.)
[ ] N circa 2mm to the foot scale
(About 1:140. Excellent for highly scenic layouts, long fast trains and dramatic landscapes. Generally rather poor for shunting.)
[ ] "2mm" precisely 2mm to the foot scale or 1:152
(looks much better but very expensive)
[ ] TT c3mm to the foot scale
(very limited availability of commercial components)
[ ] HO c3.5mm to the foot scale
(most common European scale)
[ ] OO c4mm to the foot - commercial standards
(most common British scale)
 EM 4mm to the foot scale on 18mm gauge track
[ ] S4 precisely 4mm to the foot scale on 18.83 mm gauge
[ ] 00/H0 1950's or 1960's period type of model railway
(Ideal for running collector's models. Old OO/HO toy trains had coarse
wheels running on 16.5mm track, whatever the scale the model.)
[ ] S 3/16ths of an inch to the foot scale
[ ] 0 fine nearly 7mm to the foot scale
[ ] S7 precisely 7mm to the foot scale
[ ] 0 coarse about 7mm to the foot but with old, coarse wheels
[ ] G1 about 10mm to the foot scale
(Sometimes run using "live steam" locos.)
[ ] 3½" models of any scale built to run on 3½" gauge track
[ ] 5" models of any scale built to run on 5" gauge track
(Both the above are almost inevitably "live steam")
[ ] other please specify - consultation advised
As anything other than 4' 8½" is one or the other *, it is much easier if you to state the scale and gauge you require, preferably thus;
scale of model/`n' or `b' (for narrow or broad)/actual model track gauge.
then please add the company/country you wish to represent on your model, such as "Lynton & Barnstaple" or "Isle of Man".
Using this method for a 4mm model on "N" gauge track you could have 4n9(Ffestiniog) or 00n9(freelance); for a continental model you might have 3.5n9, or for a larger one 7n16.5. Broad gauge might be; 4b28(Brunel), 7b35(Eire) or even 3.5b18.375(España)!
My preference is ------------------------------------------------------------------------
(* even 4' 8½" can be considered "broad" or "narrow", eg. in countries where metre gauge or 5' 3" is standard!)
2.3 Please tick the budget-range you are considering;
(in Pounds Sterling)
[ ] 1,000 to 5,000
[ ] 5,000 to 20,000
[ ] 20,000 to 80,000
[ ] over 80,000
2.4 a) Please tell us which historical company and/or "period" you favour. . .
For layouts which are to be based on commercially available rolling stock, (ie; the first 2 or 3 categories above), please tick one or more of the following preferences;
[ ] Great Western
[ ] LMS
[ ] Southern
[ ] LNER
[ ] British Railways (steam)
[ ] British Railways (modern)
[ ] Non-specific British Railway (steam) with a period feel.
(Please feel free to state a preferred period if you like.)
[ ] American (please state preferred Manufacturers' names if known)
[ ] Continental (again state preferred Manufacturers' names if known)
[ ] Other Countries (state preferred Manufacturers' names if known)
[ ] Freelance or other (For example a fantasy layout based on characters from a book -
not necessarily one of the Reverend Awdry's!)
2.4 b) For layouts intended to feature hand-built models, please state country/railway company intended to form basis of model and any period or specific location requirements (eg. "Brecon and Merthyr Railway in S4, 1913 period, somewhere in the Rhymney Valley" or "Turn of the Century Midland Railway in 0 fine, somewhere on the Settle to Carlisle line" or even "I want a model of St Pancras Station just at it would have been on July 1st. 1902; I want to run the right trains, show the people in correct period dress for that season, have the right adverts on the noticeboards and I especially want to feature the Royal Train, King Edward and the person and entourage of Prince Soandso of Suchandsuch when they passed through the station on their way to Balmoral"!
The only limitations are the time/money you have available for research and the time (and therefore the cost), of producing such detailed work. It is possible to model almost anything - whether something will actually make a good model or not is another matter. . .
I would like my model to represent...
Thank you for getting this far! No doubt it took a while but we hope you enjoyed this "armchair exercise". Now just send the completed questionnaire off to us and we'll get back to you. Oh! Please don't forget to add your name and address or we won't be able to!
Thanks again, Andy McMillan