Creating the Layouts - Design and Vision
The TV company were very clear that we could be as creative as we liked with the supplied theme. We wanted to create a "real" railway, but set it in a different and visually appealing setting. Our method was therefore to create a strong back story, so that we could design elements to closely fit into our theme and make a really cohesive layout.
We like the idea of a shunting layout and that led us to think about a small terminus, complete with goods facilities and a private siding or two. Combine this with our given theme of "The Skies the Limit" and we came up with a railway on Mars! Our back story is that following on from the HG Wells War of the Worlds book of the late 1890s, the Victorian engineers captured the alien technology and developed rockets to take them back to Mars. Here they established colonies and our layout depicts what that might look like some 20 years or so after the first colonists arrived... Some of our initial sketches are below.
One thing that's often overlooked is colour and what works best together. Colours can be divided into three groups - Hot, Cold and Neutral. It's usually best to only use colours from one group, so for a conventional layout we would use Cold colours - greens and browns - as these are natural colours, but for Mars we could go a bit further into our imagination. We chose Hot - reds, yellows and a splash of purple. This worked really well and really pops when you see it on TV!