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Book Review
45 Original Track Plans
45 Original Track Plans, from Model Railroader Layout Design and Planning Series
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by: Sean Hadfield [ WINDYSEAN ]

Kalmbach Books gives us a compilation of layout ideas and plans by Bernard Kempinski. From the About the Author, "Bernard Kempinski is a freelance writer who has written more than 40 magazine articles and several books on model railroading, many of them on layout planning. He is an active model railroader and has built many models on commission."

The cover suggests this is part of a series of Model Railroad Books: Layout Design and Planning.

The book is composed of 45 separate layout ideas, in a broad variety of scales, sizes, settings, and eras-- ranging from Alexandria, Virginia, during the U.S. Civil War to Mars in 2100. They are ordered from the smallest switching layout to the largest full-basement layout. Each layout is presented on two pages, with one or more relevant prototype photos or renderings, a half-page discussion of the concept, and a table of details and dimensions.

The scales include the popular Z, N, HO, and O, but also a British OO layout and several narrow gauge (Hon3, Sn30, On30, and O14). Some are suggested in more than one scale. Each layout is mapped on a grid, for use in actual construction and to illustrate the dimensions and how they can apply in your situation. A hypothetical room is shown for illustration of the larger room-sized layouts, where doors and bump-outs could occur, and how they are incorporated in the layout shape.

Additional details are provided for some layouts, such as a coastal gun detail necessary to model Fort Miles in WW II, or an eye-level section to explain forefront details and backdrop height. Some include multiple levels and others have multiple configuration options. There are modular layout plans too.

The write-up for each layout includes concept prototype information and suggestions for construction and operation. It is written in a welcoming, informative style, very pleasant to read. These layouts are conceptual and not overly specific, as each reader is invited to adapt the plans to their available room and their particular interests. As such, there are no step-by-step construction instructions.

This book covers one of my favorite parts of the hobby—the planning, and it’s done very well. Many considerations for each plan are touched on, so that little is overlooked when planning your own railroad.
Highs: This book has so many interesting ideas to consider, so well presented!
Lows: Once a plan is adopted, a separate resource is needed for construction techniques.
Verdict: For gathering layout ideas and what to consider, the experience of Mr. Kempinski is a delight.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 12496
  Suggested Retail: $21.99
  PUBLISHED: Jan 13, 2016

Our Thanks to Kalmbach Publishing Co.!
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About Sean Hadfield (windysean)

I picked up model building and HO-scale model trains from my father. I've been working at it now for more than 45 years, always learning more. Although a self-proclaimed cheapskate, I always modify or add to my builds to make them unique and special (for better or worse, ha ha).

Copyright ©2021 text by Sean Hadfield [ WINDYSEAN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Modelers with little interest in model railroading should find several of these interesting: Warrenton; Fort Miles (US Army coastal artillery site); WWII Sea Side Port; the WWI US Army supply depot at Menil-La-Tour. Prototype photos plus modeling information - how can one go wrong?
JAN 13, 2016 - 07:54 PM

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