I recently discussed my doubts about modeling Henri-Bourassa boulevard overpass. This picture shot last week end shows very well the scene I'm modelling on the layout. You can see the overpass is a very faint black dot in the background. I feel it's better to keep thing simple and this photo prooves me right.
At this point in my modeller's life, I think we over estimate the value of 2D planning. Or, should I say, you need to understand it well to better see their pitfall. Their best force is for planning the layout trackage and relation to industries and general room geometry. I was re-reading some stuff written by Tom Johnson (INRAIL) and Mike Confalone (Allagash) and I came to some realisation. These guys come up with the best scenery and operation pattern you could wish but they do very minimal planning. Not that I'm saying this is a way to go for everybody, but rather it helps them to "model the scenes" in 3D instead of wasting their time trying to figure out in 2D.
I recently and relentlessly advocated the necessity to mock up our ideas in this hobby. I must say my best scenes have been loosely planned on paper and truly expanded in real 3D life. You can't bring the best out a geometric situation looking at it in 2D. You often see stuff in real life that can't be seen if you stay with your bird eye view. Confalone's and Johnson's scenes were built from the operator's perspective. They can't go wrong. The only real thing that needs planning is operation-related (siding lengths, drilling tracks, turnouts arrangements). Failure to do so is a sure way to get bored and annoyed fast!
I've been recently working again on my second version of my small Quebec South Shore shelf layout. The original one was designed when I slapped a bunch of structures, pieces of track and rolling stock together and felt the general proportion was appealing. Yesterday, I caught myself again wasting my life doodling useless stuff on paper and on computer. At some point, I freaked out at my own idiocy and decided to slap together random structures until I got a large and visually interesting grain elevator and feedmill.
Now, I only wish I'll be able to start rebuilding this project as soon as possible. It was a real mine of experience for the actual Hedley-Junction layout. When working solely in 2D, it is very dangerous to fell in the trap of overselective compression and trying to stuff too much things that will eventually make the scene coherence crumble.