I follow a number of modeling blogs that may be of interest if you like fine modeling. Here’s a selection.

Llangunllo is the layout of Geoff Forster from the UK. It’s a single scene layout fed on both ends via multi-track sector plates. The focus is a small country stop set some distance away from the village it serves. This modest sized layout is a wonderful example of excellent modeling and thoughtful design.

Geoff recently wrote about a course correction he made after realizing the layout had drifted away from the original premise. He considered what was happening and why, then took steps to get back on track before it was too late. You can read the post via this direct link.

I do enjoy Geoff’s work. We share the same views about the craft and I’m so pleased he finds the time to read this blog.

Also from the UK, Jim Wright-Smith is building an ambitious P4 (4mm finescale) layout based on Birmingham England’s New Street station. This large project is the polar opposite of Llangunllo in terms of the traffic and Jim has captured the gritty urban atmosphere and density wonderfully. Of course, I was immediately drawn to the handlaid P4 trackwork and stunning is the word that comes most readily to mind.

The stellar craftsmanship also extends to the structures and rolling stock. I also appreciate Jim’s view that the craft is a journey rather than a destination. The Workbench page on Jim’s site is worth exploring, as is the rest of it.

I’m developing a great interest and appreciation for the British exhibition layout concept and one of the finest of these is a privately owned 009 (4mm scale narrow gauge using 9mm track, roughly like HOn30 here) layout called County Gate by John de Fraysinnet.

County Gate is larger than my layout in size and was built for the exhibition circuit. It’s an impressive layout crafted to exacting standards. As with many such layouts, it’s a self-contained presentation with its own lighting system, automated DCC operations and impressive signage and interpretive display materials that help viewers understand what they are looking at.

I’ve spent many enjoyable hours reading John’s blog and website and find this aspect of the overseas hobby intriguing to say the least. And while you’re on the site, do be certain to click on the Cliffhanger link near the lower left on the home page. I guarantee you’ve never seen a layout like it.

Not to ignore the homeland, The Shortline Modelers is a west coast based site run by Shawn Branstetter. Shawn brings a graphic designer’s eye to his modeling and this site is full of excellent modeling, useful techniques and other good stuff to explore. I’m happy to give the site a shout-out as the more exposure given to fine modeling, the better in my view.

I realize that overseas and finescale modeling isn’t to everyone’s taste and that’s fine. However, there’s a great deal we can learn from fellow modelers around the world, if we can get over our provincial bias. I’ve found that the more I expose myself to excellence in modeling, regardless of the subject matter, the more inspired I feel towards my own work. As a certain well-known Canadian from Toronto says: “Enjoy if you visit.”

Regards,
Mike