Making one's own track gives a far more life-like appearance -
the track is where it's needed and moulds into the space rather than the
space awkwardly being reshaped around limited commercial track.
This is true. there is nothing like hand laid track. However it is impossible to throw points round to see what works and what doesn't (which I do miss at ties). Its far harder to debug a pencil drawing, and rather frustrating to start again.
(and no, I wouldn't build standard point work by hand. It completely defeats the strengths of hand laid track).
There's actually quite a lot of modelling in the above plans.
Paekakariki was quite close to being finished - just a few buildings in
the middle of the track and some catenary masts and ballast and it could
be passed off as completed.
At a very basic level yes I guess its not far off finished. However there are still quite a few things to fix track wise before the buildings and catenary go up. The turntable and associated trackage need to be fixed. Both fiddle yards need to be built, which really isn't a trivial matter,
and the station building grew like fungus.....
For me the largest stumbling block is what will I do with it when its finished. How does it get played with.At the end of the day Paekakariki was designed to emphasize locomotive movements. There is no shunting to speak of, just the shuffling of locos back and forward.When I first came up with the idea 6 years ago it seemed like a good one (especially for an exhibition). Now, maybe I've moved on.
(something that does appeal to me is Lance Mindheims idea of an "instant on" layout, about 1/3 of the way down the page here).
The size of the layout for a lone modeler is also rather daunting. I'm now leaning towards a collection of smaller layout bits, or even different scales and prototypes ( the siren sound of 2mm finescale refuses to go away).
So where does this this leave Paekakariki? In the garage packed up, and not far off the point of"make me an offer".