The Dark Age of Quinntopia - when will it end?

Hello fellow modelling enthusiasts of all scales and types!  Obviously, I have not been active on the old blog, or in the hobby for that matter, lately.  As this weekend is sort of the one year anniversary of the 'end of Quinntopia' I thought it might be nice to provide an update on "Quinntopia: The Reboot".

Except there isn't one. Yeah, I really have not made much progress.  I have had ambitions - and a few false starts - of using layout design software to create my next layout, but each time I keep creating the same layout I had before (and / or far larger than I really want) or too minimal and not at interesting enough to get motivated with the carpentry.

So...the dark ages of Quinntopia continue.

But I had a sort of epiphany...what if 'planning software' is my problem?  After all, the original Quinntopia began (and continued to grow) without any software planning (I did go back in and retroactively recreate it in RRTrack just so I could have a plan to work with). This led to a much faster creation to train-running time period, and was far more satisfying than a plan on a computer.

So I may take that approach. But not without any sort of limits - I sort of know what I want after my experiences with the original Quinntopia, so I plan to make a mental list of those things and be disciplined about sticking with them.  Some of those 'best practices' I established in my 'mistakes' post, for example, while it does not need to be mobile, it can't be permanent.  I don't want it so large that it dominates my entire room.  I want as much 'main line' for train running as possible, and finally, its an urban layout, so start with the city and work the tracks in and around the structures.

So here's my strategy: Start with a module that will fundamentally be the city - all the buildings, cars, and lighting that that entails.  From there, configure the tracks as if they were passing through an urban area.

Simple, right? Well, we'll see if simplicity is better motivator for getting a layout back in the world versus thinking about it!

On a more personal note, you may be surprised that the ruler of the kingdom of Quinntopia is a human just like everyone one else and was subject to distractions which kept him from the development of his benevolent dictatorship;  I found myself on the receiving end of one of those 'reduction in force' discussions last Fall.  Yes, I was 're-tooled' or something!   So for much of the quiet period this past year I was out networking and applying for new roles, etc....  The good news is that I am now gainfully employed again with a great, new employer.  The bad news is that the job requires more time and a bit longer commute than I previously had, so precious discretionary hours for hobby-related interests are a bit more difficult to find.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the detailed and fascinating (and somewhat amazing) story of Terry's repair of a Rivarossi Chapelon locomotive that he has been sharing on this blog over the past couple of months.  It was fun to see that story and share Terry's experience. If you have something you'd like to share on my blog, drop me an email at quinntopia at hotmail dot com and we'll see if its something other readers would like to read.

I hope this won't be my last post in awhile but life can be interesting!

Thanks for reading !


  1. Hang in there. Looking forward to new posts when all is settled. I much enjoyed all your skyscraper construction posts - excellent work and very inspirational.

  2. Hi Jerry. Hope it doesn't take you 4 years like it took me to plan my layout!! How about laying modules round the wall, simply laid on top of brackets on the wall. A shelf layout round the rrom, leaving the middle free and open!? Until of course you find something to fill it too!! All the best, John B

  3. Cheer up!!! I spent more that one year just planning. Don't bother, as it also happened to me, doesn't matter if it is the best plan in the world, you will regret some decisions and will want to restart again from scratch. So I think your idea is the best, start the module and let the ideas flow. Be water my friend.... ;)

  4. Know all this too well and been my life for the past 2+ years too. Mostly it is the emotional toll, the lack of mental energy, depression maybe... The distractions of my other project haven't helped, but glad to be feeling my way into it again. Refocusing on H0 and selling my N-scale modules and rolling stock have helped.

    Hang in there and keep playing - back to basics.

  5. Thanks everyone for your encouraging words and empathy! It's a funny thing though, I still love to think about trains, think about a layout, but the actual efffort to get started is either too difficult to too hard to fit into busy schedules!

  6. Hi Jerry, I really liked in your old layout how you combined European and Japanese structures and trains. I've spent loads of time in both places so it really spoke to me. What I'm doing to come up with my next layout is picking two European cities with cool main train stations, simplifying them greatly (obviously) and their networks down to some main, long runs and then tying them together in an urban surrounding. Alternatively I've also looked at public transport maps of major euro cities for inspiration like Munich for example. I took the Hauptbahnhof and the Ostbahnhof, simplified them greatly and then looked at the S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines for some inspiration on how to tie them together. Obviously you can get carried away quickly but it's great for writers block. Anyway, your blog and videos are a wealth of info and I hope you find time and inspiration to start another project again soon! BTW I just picked up an old orange Kato TGV and a EuroStar as well... can't wait to get them into rotation. Dave

  7. Hi Jerry
    First, thanks for sharing videos and blog posts, and your build, they have been terrific. Next, reality does get in the way, but I'm glad you're back to work (gotta "pay to play"). I had a teacher friend who kept his models, glue knives, etc. In a drawer and could build even inside a five minute break between classes. It can be done in small bites and determination. Plan: I think you've hit the right approach. Start with what you love (buildings and lighting) and the rest will fall in place. You might also consider taking your city slightly into the future. It's a natural for high rise life, new lighting technology, and high speed trains. Maybe even some slices of solar panels and wind turbines, and more urban greenery (urban forests and urban agriculture) as your new city grows. I look forward to you sharing more, even your thought process on future plans. All the best, Trainguy9000

  8. Wow long time no see! I know how you feel, my urban layout has been slowly chugging along though. Maybe you can get some ideas on how to or how NOT to plan a layout from here?
    Here's the old gallery https://picasaweb.google.com/107575807634177808838/Trains3

    And I've started to put new pictures and progress here

    I'd love to hear your thoughts!