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March 28, 2011

#878: Model Rail

Model Rail

[[Two characters are standing in a basement, the support beams bare.]]

Enthusiast: I want to build a perfect HO-scale (~1

  1. model train layout of my town.

Realist: In your basement? Bad idea. Never make a layout of the area you’re in.

Enthusiast: Why not?

Realist: Because it’d include a little 10" replica of your house.

Enthusiast: So? That’d be cool! I’d make tiny replicas of my rooms, my furniture–

Realist: –And your train layout?

((Break free of the traditional panel system. The following appear in magnification circles, going beyond an original large diagram. Each is labeled with a length scale arrow.))

[[The characters are looking at an HO-scale model railroad, with prominent mountains and a town nestled in the valley.]]

<– 18m –>

[[Zoomed in on the first model house.]]

<– 21cm –>

[[Zoomed in on the second house. There is a gnat sitting on the model.]]

<– 2.4mm –>

[[Zoomed in on the third house. A strand of spiderweb crosses the model, labeled.]]

Spider web

<– 28μm –>

[[Zoomed in on the fourth house. A cold virus is sitting on the model, which is distinctly composed of tiny dots.]]

Cold virus.

<– 320nm –>

[[Zoomed in on the fifth house. The entire diorama is composed of large spheres. It appears Dalton’s billiard ball model is correct in the comic universe.]]

<– 37Å –>

((A final comment, and normal panels resume.))

The Matryoshka Limit: It is impossible to nest more than six HO layouts.

[[The two are standing together once again.]]

Enthusiast: My God.

Realist: Yeah. It’s the second rule of model train layouts: No nesting.

Enthusiast: … what’s the first rule?

Realist: “Do


talk about model train layouts.” That rule was actually voted in by our friends and families.

Enthusiast: Philistines.

{{Title text: I don’t know what’s more telling–the number of pages in the Wikipedia talk page argument over whether the 1

87.0857143 scale is called “HO” or “H0”, or the fact that within minutes of first hearing of it I had developed an extremely strong opinion on the issue.}}