1. Serial micros. The Farthing layouts are planned as a series of separate micro-layouts that each depict a small section of the same junction station. In this way, I can explore my interest in mainline stations in a limited space. So far one layout shows the bay platform, another shows the goods depot while a third layout will portray a section of the goods yard.
2 . Into the scene. The design of the layouts is intended to force on-lookers to view the layout up close and at eye-level height, thereby placing him or her 'inside' the scene. Experiments to achieve this include turning the layouts back to front of what one might intuitively do (eg looking out from a goods depot rather than into it), and designing the layouts as cut-aways rather than complete scenes. Placing 'see-through' structures (eg a canopy) at the very front of layouts is another attempt at achieving this effect.
3. Trying for atmosphere. The layouts have a focus on atmosphere rather than high accuracy and tend to follow a 'less is more' approach. That's not a judgement on other approaches to modelling, this one just happens to suit my interests best. It also helps to pull a discrete veil over my limited metal working skills!
4. The human dimension. Hardware is great, but railways are also a lot about people. In my view, there is still some un-exploited potential in the way we use figures on layouts, and we owe a lot to the railway staff and their communities. I therefore like to adapt and backdate figures, and use them to help set the period and as protagonists in layout presentation. All within reason of course: You won't catch me talking to them!
5. Time warp. If you can't expand on space, expand on time. Because each layout is independent, they can be set at different times. While all the layouts are set in Edwardian days, they show different years, allowing for variation in stock and liveries from layout to layout. Just to add to the scope, I also do occasional out-of-period running sessions. This is good fun, provides variation and allows some of my back-of-the-drawer stock to stretch it' legs. This video tries to capture some of that fun.
That's about it then. Best not to take it too seriously, at the end of the day it's all mostly an excuse for a bit of laid back modelling :-)