OK between 3 forums and 2 hobby shops I have my answers, yes 15"radius is OK and yes 4% is OK as long as I dont couple 15 cars to my engine! but yesterday sealed to deal, I won on Evil-bay a 0-4-0 gas mechanical for the whoping high price of $13 !!!
I now plan to pick up a 2-6-0 I have been eyeing at the LHS. Now comes the serious planning, I have a track plan (when have you ever
know me not to have a track plan ) and will be selling off a sizable chunk (but never all of it) of my oversized large scale roster to finance this new venture. Due to the very small area I'll be working with, I have to research whether traditional track power or DCC would work best for my limited planned roster. So far traditional is winning just financially, and some research into this "geodesic foam" scenery technic Tom Miller used on his indoor 1/20 layout.
To do this I am abandoning my 4x6 portable large scale layout and will use it as the basis for this layout, the 3' pizza will remain just as it is, a standalone layout. I just can't do what I really want to do in that small an area in large scale, it just doesnt satisfy me. plus everytime I open a copy of the gazette, see a layout or something I really really like, its almost always On30, so I'm going to give it a whirl. The plan:
Based on the Yosemite Valley RR, it will be called the Yosemite Central and will be a more or less modern narrow gauge tourist line going right to the park, well as close as I can make it look. its a very vertical layout, with the top capped my models of the Yosemite lodges, El Capitan and Half Dome, or as best I can render them. Its going to be a compressed viewpoint of course but it should be rather alot more fun compared to the roundy circle I'm currently restricted to.