After I came back from SteinWAHN 2012 LEGO show I knew I need to start collecting the LEGO modular building sets. They are very life like. Building them should give me some experience to be able to a create my own buildings. Even at SteinWAHN most of the time you could tell which building is official LEGO set and which one is MOC. The level of detail in the offical modular buildings are amazing. Lot of times people use the original design and just extend the buildings with additional wings.
Unfortunately some building sets are already discontinued. As a start I went with the "Pet Shop". It has two separate 16 studs width parts. It was fun building, both inside and outside are very detailed. The modular aspect got me also thinking about my whole train city design. What if I could make everything modular? The idea is that I add an additional technic brick layer on the bottom of each module. Unfortunately this means I can't use baseplates or I have to glue them on top of the technic bricks. Also more pricey, but also has many advantages. It's easier to build or rearrange. For me this is important because I don't have enough space for a permanent layout in my apartment. I will probably have to take it apart and rebuild many times. Also the additional technic brick space is perfect for hidding wires and adding track features like RFID detector or train decoupler.
I started experimenting with different scenarios. Above you can see an example where the pavement is also split up into modules. This would be probably an overkill. But the general concept seems to work. You can also see my track bed example based on JKyle's solution. I'm still missing a lot of bricks for a final solution. If things go right I should be able to buy a large number of green plates on Bricklink.
Here you can see more tests with train track modules. We will see how it will turn out on a bigger layout. The pictures also shows my remote train switching unit using power function motor. I will post a separate blog entry when it's ready.