Where do you get project ideas?

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Where do you get project ideas?

  • Internet searches

    Votes: 30 52.6%
  • Pictures passed along from freinds

    Votes: 14 24.6%
  • Railfanning

    Votes: 29 50.9%
  • Hobby store

    Votes: 5 8.8%
  • Imagination

    Votes: 32 56.1%
  • I don't do projects, just RTR

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Diesel Detail Freak
I'm sitting here, all day, uploading images to my roster shot gallery, and surfing eBay for rolling stock, to match some of the cars I'm uploading. I thought of a good question, "Where do you get your project ideas from?"

I know I get a TON from searching galleries on the internet, but rail fanning plays a good part, because I know stuff out here has a very good chance of being seen on Cajon Pass.


EDIT, we're talking anything, from detailing a train, scenes, buildings, rolling stock, locomotives, scenery, ect... Even if you select "I don't do projects, RTR" you still technically fit "Imagination", for your scenery, ect...
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Most of my inspiration comes from Foaming. A lot comes from seeing what others are doing at my club and on this forum. We have a lot of one-up-man-ship at my club :D

I also get inspiration from the "oh wow, that's cool, I gotta have one" feeling generated by most new product announcements... this is a very expensive and counter productive source. I would advise limiting its influence as much as possible! :)


Armchair Engineer
I get most of my inspiration from the railroad I model. I drive past their yard almost every day and there is always something different going on. Also get a lot of ideas on the net, on this and other forums. Living near Winnipeg I have a choice of three railroads for ideas CN,CP and GWWD(Greater Winnipeg Water District) which is the one I model. Ron


Diesel Detail Freak
Five voters, five who use the internet, cool deal!

So I just bought an SL-SF car on eBay, to do a model of a car posted on MTW. And while uploading I remembered I've wanted to do an 86' boxcar, so I'm bidding on one now. Thus what brought up this topic.


Lazy Daydreamer
Railfanning is a my #1 influence, I've always enjoyed modeling (roughly, at least) what I see in up close and personal, in my own backyard. All but one of the trackside industries on my layout were inspired by stuff I've seen while driving around the Baltimore metro area.


Long Winded Old Fart
Almost all of my projects come from this forum, Model Railroader, RR Model Craftsman & other mags. I don't have any prototype RR's to watch, but, I do have a lot of old buildings to look at around my area. Since I model the modern way I mainly look at the newer buildings in my travels. A lot of my stuff that I model is a combination of different buildings & track plans from over the years.
Are U talking mainly about engines & rolling stock? I have 8--89ft. box cars & 15--89ft flat cars that I haven't even taken out of the box since I bought them at a train show for $3.00 ea. I guess those would be classified as a project as far as weathering & etc.

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Fun Lover
I get ideas from everywhere. I can't stop them from coming. I put imagination as the answer, because it it my imagination that gets the job done and integrates the projects into an outcome.


S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Hey Josh! You missed "all of the above". I find ideas come from many sources and sometimes from several at once. Sometimes something clicks a few days after seeing it on line, or watching a local train, or reading about local history, or........ Then imagination takes over and the brain says, "what if....".


Diesel Detail Freak
I'm noticing I missed a few, maybe its time to start V2 of the poll? I left out modeling magazines, prototype magazines... All of the above would just, check them all!...

grove den

naturally natural trees
First of all: "Railscenery;) fanning".... here I can get the ideas and my imagination start at once ..mostly I make some pictures and than starts the research back home...Also using internet sites etc...
At home I make a design and redesign and changing some thing here and there and make the scene in the way so that it "fits" and it have to look like it is part of the whole layout..if it was there already...


btw: on second place: Like SpaceMouce wrote:
I get ideas from everywhere. I can't stop them from coming


Drum Driver
I found that trying to come up with a plan saves me allot more money!!...I use to go to a hobby shop and dig thru the kits and say, "Man that's cool!..It's huge! I want to build that" And after putting it together, I'd be standing there holding it looking at the layout going, "Where am I gonna put this????" Now I try not to go "shopping" till I have a plan of what I want in one area. I'll be doing say a dock/shipping area, I'll study some pictures or real life area and then with a list and an idea, I head to the store. It helps me skip over the items I think are cool and get only what I need. And not end up with stuff I can't use.
I am constantly looking at things and thinking, "I never saw that on a layout" and after seaching, finding someone who's already done it.(like water puddles...it's been done, I checked...LOL) I pay allot of attention to details and small stuff like, what color rocks are, how weeds grow and where, why that looks good in 1:1 but doesn't on a layout, how can I make that look more real. Because allot of small details add up to one great scene overall! My mind wonders all day about if what I am seeing would fit a layout and if everything I pick up can be used on a layout. (even everyday items that might save some money...LOL)


Fleeing from Al
I get my project ideas just before falling asleep at night. :) Actually, most ideas I have from former layouts, railfanning, and my own strange notions. I get many ideas on how to flesh out my ideas from forums like this and seeing a lot of the great pictures. Some ideas also come from the usual model railroading magazines but much less so knwo than in the past. I hope to be able to make contact with some fellow Alabama modelrs too and steal all their ideas. 8)


All new now!
I've found a fair amount inspiration from other modelers on forums. Scenery-wise, I find myself looking at my surroundings much more closely than I used to. I guess to answer the question, I learn what I want from watching others. This is actually causeing problems for me. I forget to model the real world instead of copying what others have built.


I would say most of my ideas come from memories of places I've seen and also from photos of times past. Now, the how-to's usually come from forums or mags.
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Mingo Assist

re·sus·ci·tat·ing the EL
Thats a good one, I dont really know what to mark, I railfan but also work for em and some things i remember I think would best not be put on a model..if you know what I mean.......hmmm Ide have to say memories
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Just starting my layout ideas come from every where. Most coming from railpictures.net, but alot from the local hobby store/ looks cool I'll squeeze it in somewhere.



Okay, this may sound strange but I use the Library of Congress web site for ideas. The area is called, American memories. I put in an item to search and see what comes up. Lots of great pictures, drawings, documents of historic places in America. I have tons of pictures of steel mills from all eras, foundrys, railroads...etc. I can tell you some tips on using it if anyone is interested

Link :




Running the MC & Buffalo
Usually Childhood memories start me off in a direction and then I search everywhere I can . Internet , library , old photos , movies you name it and I looked at it !!!!!

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