Confession: I'm an On30 guy. I'm as fond as detailed, meticulously-prototype-y layouts / structures / rolling stock as the next fellow, but when I have a few minutes to do my own modeling, I prefer caricature to portraiture. Hence, On30 and the whimsical freedom that comes with it.
I've very little space and even less time, so I'm keeping my ambition in check and building something pretty small and manageable. I've loved the Model Railroader Video Plus (MRVP) series on a project layout they've called Olympia Logging. David Popp, the host, is cheerful and energetic and seems to have genuinely fallen for On30 (his roots are in N).
The original Olympia plan was a single 78" x 22" shadowbox with a sector plate on one end. I loved how it came out: the polished, museum-quality finish showcased some truly nice modeling. And the simple track plan still allowed for engaging operation using a card-based task system. After wrapping up the first series, David moved the layout from the MR office to his home (welcome to the Dark Side, David) and almost immediately launched a second series featuring an extension with the same dimensions as the first but more modeling space, since the extension module doesn't sacrifice space for a sector plate.
So I'm building a flipped, mirror-image version of Olympia Logging... transposed into a "miner" key (I'll model mining rather than logging). So far, I've built the shadow boxes, complete with curved styrene backdrop. Next up: trackwork and wiring.
Here's where we stand: