Animation adds the hustle and bustle of
daily life to the layout. The simplest (and easiest) form of animation
built on a turntable is very effective, especially when the revolving surface
doesn't appear to move as in the case of the mirrored surface of the old
rink project. The mowing and
tricycle projects are also rather effective since
these turntables blend in, almost invisibly, with the surrounding area.
The barn yard project uses lichen to hide
a gap between the turntable and the adjacent area. So to convey the
feeling of everyday activity, these 4 projects are good examples of how to easily
add movement and life to your layout. But don't despair if you
are new to this hobby or just don't have the time to make your own project.
Several toy train companies manufacture affordable, well done animated
items. The Lionel Playtime Playground is just fantastic! The K-Line company offers a
Figure with Sledgehammer Construction Scene animated accessory that I am very fond, too. So consider animation on your
layout, and remember to use low rpm, low voltage gearhead motors, about 4-8 rpm, to
directly drive the turntables for these projects that you make yourself. It is always
surprising how these simple revolving objects do so much for a layout.
The smaller turntable projects cost about $4 (not including the figures)
to make. The jumping rope animation was done with a solenoid which is basically an electric magnet. This project cost about $1.50 without the figure. The boy flying a plane project is a homemade version of the K-Line animated item that uses simple revolving motion. The Video Page has clips of all the animation. Check the elephant animation to see both water and motion in a homemade project. Check the Santa's on Wheels page to see how to easily animate automobiles.