"Your sight lines all look great. Any insight as to how you approached them? Your drawings show your detail planning but I'm wondering about your overall philosophy."
Well I'll try to answer this without being too long-winded and off topic!
Firstly, a lot ofthe thinking process I use in my modelling I learnt while studying music at university in which I majored in composition. I was lucky enough to study under John Cousins in my second year, and his lessons will stay with me forever and permeate into many aspects of my life, especially model railroading. For John, music (and all arts) were like life itself - living breathing entities. I remember one lesson in particular when he took the class to one particularly parched piece of ground and slowly poured a bucket of water onto it. We watched as the water slowly chose which paths of cracked ground to take, moving in a slow trickle here and with far more verlocity there, becoming a raging torrent. So I guess translating that, once you have a frame work in place, the work of art more or less writes itself. You still have to shape it, minipulate it, but you have to stay true to its voice, and not force it into something its not.
Well that probably makes no sence at all - I never really did understand what I learned, just that I learned a lot!
The other important aspect I use for any scene (which I also always use when writing music) was creating from the outside in. I have almost mocked up my entire layout. I don't just know where the track is going to go, I know where all the structures are going to go, how high they will be, what kits (in most cases) they will be made from, what slope and height the ground will be at, what type of industries and buildings they will be.
And so it was with this diorama. I first mocked it up on the layout so I could see what structures obscured what parts of the diorama behind, where the leading lines were, and where the diorama would be viewed from. I continued these leading lines into the diorama - the river leading your eye under the stone viaduct, and around the tiered waterfall; the road travelling away from the pier leading your eye over the railway lines, and then under the bridge and curving up the hill to the right (eventually conecting to the raised city area); and the road branching off and following the river curving uphill to the right. I took photos of the mock-up to refer to as necessary.
The next stage was to define the edges of the diorama, and make up a base. I then took this into my studio with the basic heights and the roads in place.
From here the mock-ups started again (along with actual building). There were some buildings I was sure about, but others I didn't know would fit into the scene, or weather they would fight against it and try to turn it into something it wasn't. The three story wooden hotel was one such structure. It just didn't feel right. I kept thinking "who would want to stay in a hotel HERE?" I think the Kibri brewery fit in much better here. I remember putting it in place (after trying lots of different structures) and just thinking "thats it! Thats the one!" That structure then kind of dictated other changes. It was so strong that it immediately became one of the most important structures in the whole scene (and was a complete suprise to boot!)
Well I guess thats it. A very tricky question to answer, but its good to try and understand how you think sometimes. Hope its of some help, or interest.