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Using Holes to Build a Layout


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I usually build my layouts based on a 70' X 70' full basement or pole barn, but I thought it might be fun to do a layout for a spare room in a house.

I chose a 10' X 15' limit to simulate an average room and set some restrictions.  One of those restrictions was a minimum 3' walkway clearance, but just laying down multiple boards as a base like I would do on a walk-around layout didn't give me the desired results for such a small space.  Also, when using multiple boards that overlay one another, adding ground textures can create irregular looking surfaces.

Instead of laying down different size boards (Rechtecks), I decided to use one 10' X 15' board and adjust the height where the track would lay.  This worked OK, but since the room's small size didn't allow for a hidden fiddle yard behind a backdrop anywhere, I needed to put one below the layout.  I decided to use the hole tool to create an opening for access to a fiddle yard, and I think the results turned out pretty good.

Images 1-4 show the layout so far. I decided to add the room's walls, floor, and green skirting around the layout's edges to give the layout a finished look.

Spare_room_layout.jpg Image 1

Spare_room_layout_1.jpg Image 2Spare_room_layout_2.jpg Image 3Spare_room_layout_3.jpg Image 4

Image 5 shows the base with the height tool used to establish where the track could be placed allowing for the 3' aisles and the room's door.  Without a fiddle yard under the table, this would be enough to get the necessary shape.  Even using multiple panels, to get the curved portion of the base would require using either the height tool or hole tool.

Spare_room_layout_4.jpg Image 5

Since I knew I was going to add a fiddle yard under the main table, I turned off the base and side walls.

Spare_room_layout_5.jpg Image 6

Next, I set to work with the hole tool to remove everything except the area where the track would be placed, including an emergency access hole in the far corner since the track would be farther than 3' from the aisleway at that point.  This can get a little tedious when working on a curved or angled edge, but it's not any worse than using the height tool to get the initial shape.

Spare_room_layout_6.jpg Image 7

Image 7 shows the final result.  You can see the open areas necessary for access to the fiddle yard I would add later.

Spare_room_layout_7.jpg Image 8

In images 9 and 10 I removed the green skirting from behind the fiddle yard to show some detail of how the hole tool allowed me to create an open area to put a fiddle yard in place.

Spare_room_layout_8.jpg Image 9Spare_room_layout_9.jpg Image 10

If you design layouts for others, or you just like to do a little more than build a typical layout, I think this process makes for a good presentation.

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it  was a good idea to use the programs hole function. I have tried to implemet it into my St.Elle's layout at the lower right corner. The result is


Now I must work around the edges --- seems to be fine,

happy new year, regards


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It looks good Henry.  Using the holes was a little awkward for me at first, but after some experimenting with it, it was pretty easy.  I think it has great potential to create a curved or irregular shape in the base without having to use the game's primitives or multiple sections of panels.

I've checked out your St. Elle's layout in the community section.  You've done some great work.

Happy New year.


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