Coffee Table #3 Design


Note: The links on the left side of this page and the other Model CT-3 pages will take you to detailed information about the new coffee table's design and construction.

With the furniture being built by a professional wood sculptor, and the background painting being created by an outstanding Arizona artist, I find myself feeling overwhelmed by their talents. Hopefully, the scenery that I am creating will be worthy of being exhibited in the same room with the works of my collaborators. I feel more comfortable when I am creating the layout's electronics (all of which is hidden from view) and software (which can't be seen at all).

The good news is that I can always tell people that the scenery is unfinished, and that it will look much better next year.

The Era

For you purists, I will state from the outset that I have not attempted to model any particular era. (Sorry about that.) Some things are modern, and some things are from the past. Very little appears weathered, although over time some of it may become weathered. And there will probably be no steam on the layout—just diesels. The reason is very simple. Diesels tend to stay on the track better than steam engines in small layouts with sharp curves.

The Setting

Southwestern United States is the setting—at least that's the intent. This setting is reflected mostly in the rock formations and the background painting. Because there is virtually nothing on the market in the way of ready-made southwestern structures, the architecture may look a bit out of place. But I expect that scratch-built redevelopment efforts will eventually get under way to correct any problems. In the meantime, I will live with what I've got—numerous small buildings that I purchased in the 1970s, and a few that I purchased recently. Some look like they belong in the Swiss Alps, and others look like they belong in the trash, but they will do for the moment.

The Materials

This layout will be constantly on the move (up and down), so there will be a tendency for everything to flex. That is particularly true when the layout has to be lifted out of the table to get at the electronics. Because of the need for the layout to tolerate a certain amount of flexing, the scenery is made out of materials that won't crack or chip. Bottom line—NO PLASTER!

The primary construction material for the terrain is extruded Styrofoam. It is stable, easily shaped, easily glued, easily painted, easily patched, and FREE! There was enough left over from the table's foam model project to build several layouts of this size.

The Results

Here is a sample of what the scenery looks like today—but, as I said before, it will look much better next year. To see how the scenery was constructed, see the Scenery Construction page.

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