With track layout determined and measurements taken and with my blueprints for the display sections completed, one last step remained: making design mock-ups. By this, I mean creating artistic interpretations of what I am expecting the final train display to look like, complete with scenery and surrounding environment. Knowing what my project will end up looking like is hugely inspiring and motivational but more importantly, it also gives me an idea of the relationship of elements and how their scale and placement affects the entire display section. Since I’m incorporating a large amount of electronic and mechanical elements into the design, it also gives me a better idea where I will need to modify the top layer of my ‘sandwiches’ to accommodate those individual effects. More than anything else, it gives me a way to express my vision to its ultimate beneficiary (my wife) and get feedback on elements show may or may not like.
Clearly the showcase of the display, the Hogwarts display will encompass areas like the Hogwarts School on a mountain feature / tunnel. I will be creating a partial three dimensional scratch-built rendering of the school but will rely on a painted backdrop to give the illusion of a far larger construction. The same mountain will have smaller features like an animated Whomping Willow, Hagrid’s Cottage, and the Shrieking Shack. Below the Castle will be the Black Lake and the Quidditch Pitch, complete with animated broomstick-riding players. Finally, in the front will be Hogsmeade Station and Village. All buildings will be lit for inside.
London will be the more straightforward of the two, prominently featuring Kings Cross Station and a whimsical and fantastically designed Diagon Alley, constructed using a unique found material. Diagon Alley will also feature two separate animated effects. The sandwich will also features a disappeared 12 Grimmauld Place, in the style of the movies, and certain London landmarks, like Big Ben. While London will have less design components and scenery, this is in keeping with its being the smaller of the two sandwiches. And even with ample unique and magical components, Hogwarts should still be the more imaginative and special of the two.
The Tree Loop pretzel
Finally, there will be the section of track that forms two loops around the Christmas Tree. The loops should allow for a layer of small presents immediately surrounding the tree, giving the illusion of the Hogwarts Express moving between the relatively real world of Harry Potter’s London, a toy world with a mountain range of presents, and the exciting and magical world of Harry Potter. Of course, additional presents would them be placed to the sides or in front of the pretzel and sandwiches, bearing in mind to no block the view!
Now, with my blueprints drawn and mock-ups designed, here is the final prospective vision of what I will soon be building:
Welcome to the Burnesyd Magical Muggle Railway!