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Monday, November 07, 2011

Module Spotlight ~ New Series!

A new series that will feature an in depth look at each module of the Southern California Traction Clubs (SCTC) HO scale modular layout.

My reasons for this are twofold. First, the SCTC modular layout is always a favorite at the train shows. So I thought I would share it with yous guys who don't live in our displaying area. Secondly, I'm an itchin' to build some modules for the SCTC layout. So I'm studying the intricacies of the clubs modules that mine would fit in with. So I might as well share that information with you guys.

The Southern California Traction Club
One of the outstanding features of the SCTC modular layout is that all the modules are designed to blend seamlessly from one module to the next. Some modular clubs claim that they never set up their layout the same way twice. Which is fine for variety. But what happens is that they end up with a mix and match look. Such as an authentic SoCal citrus packing scene situated next to a module featuring Dracula's castle with dragons. The SCTC on the other hand sets up their modules the same way every time. It is in essence a portable permanent layout. The modules are set up in a rectangle shape. Each side of the rectangle is "zoned". That is, we basically have the City side, Suburban side, Industrial side, and Country side of the layout. The individual modules are detailed according to what side they are situated in. And it is these modules that I thought I would showcase here.

The SCTC layout is themed as Anytown USA set about mid 20th century. And despite the layouts custom look, practically all of the models are built from kits with occasional kitbashing where needed. Very little in the way of scratch building. I don't know if its a club policy to use only commercially available kits (I'm sure its not, its more about practicality), but it goes a long way with promoting the hobby. When visitors see the level of authenticity achieved with just store bought models, well the hobby feels more accessible to them and they leave fired up about building their own layouts at home.

The track and overhead on the other hand are a different matter. They are very custom built. The track less so than the overhead. But the truth is, Traction Modeling is not for the entry level modeler. The beginner needs to cut his teeth and be comfortable with two rail railroading before adding the additional pain-in-the-aspirations of building and maintaining overhead. Fortunately, with the rise of the internet we have many resources available to aid us in building traction layouts. Websites such as Trolleyville, web groups such as HO Traction Modeling, HO Electric Traction Modeling, and Interurbans. Various blogs such as this one and organizations such as East Penn Traction Club, and of course, The Southern California Traction Club are each doing their part to advance this fascinating facet of the hobby.

So if you ever wondered what goes into building traction modules then stay tuned as I examine, analyze, and discuss each module and then hopefully build some of my own modules. Yes sir! Build some of my own traction modules!


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