short [ie tight ''radius''] points are the spaced-starved modellers' dream........but have to be used in context with the type of stock in use.....in the prototype, where space is a problem, and tight curves/points are essential,locos and stock are severely limited as choice as well [ My most recent example being the complex Devonport Dockyard Railway??...only 4 wheel locos useable, only short wheelbase or short bogie stock useable, etc].
the ultimate space-saver point in my view was the Peco Streamline small wye point.
The problem is....many folk modelling railways want their cake, and to eat it as well.
They want nice mainline locos, and stock, all finely detailed, with something approaching 'scale' wheel sizes, for appearance sake...yet they haven't really got the space to operate that stock appropriately.....on track and point radii which is suitable, ie what the fancy locos and stock can happily negotiate.
It's all down to that wheel/checkgauge problem.....
short points can be realistic if modified..and in the right [railway] context.
but if reliability of performance of stock through a point is essential, then the larger the radius [for want of a better description] the better...this also enables more appropriate crossing clearances.
[it's a bit like expecting a stretch limo to successfully complete a slalom course, which is a tight squeeze for a SMART car.]
Horses for courses?
If planning a new layout, consideration has to be given to the type of stock one is running.......and whether this sits well with the amount of track one wants to lay.
For nearly a century, modellers have had the same problems of space, and how to best deal with it, or disguise the lack of.
WHen I first got into railway modelling, the then-current advice regarding how to go about building that model railway took into account not just the geometry of the track plan, BUT ALSO the types of stock which would best perform/look good on that trackplan, given the limitations of space and radii.
Hence, a typical, ''starter'' layout, for example, on the then-typical 6 foot by 4 foot baseboard, with what are now, ''set-track'' points and curves, woud also carry the proviso that locos should be small tanks, or 0-6-0 tender locos, [maybe a 'small' diesel...short bo-bo, for example......]....goods stock should be short wheelbase stuff, a brake van being about the limit in wheelbase.....[modern goods wagons being out of place and too long]....and coaching stock wold be advised to be 4 wheel, or 'short' bogie stock.As far as 'prototypes' were concerned, and era..this left the potential modeller well and truly stuck in the realms of pre-grouping, or pre-BR branchlines......which is probably why GWR branches were popular, stock to match...the old autocoach and 0-4-2T or pannier tank, for eg.
most rtr coaching stock of the day was short in prototype length anyway.
So an A4 with mk 1 stock would be totally inappropriate........despite the fact it may be a strongly desired model.
I had the same issue when I built my young son's layout...and oval, basically, without straight sides...in about 1 1/2 metres by 1 metre and a bit....folding too.
No problems with running 0-6-0 tanks..although Bachmann's were less 'forgiving' of the peco setrack turnouts than Hornby's offerings...I found some short coaches, so the platform gaps would remain within reasonable bounds....but.......he found Bachmann Mk1 coaches ..and insisted on a few....all had to be slightly modified to allow greater bogie swing without having the wheels foul the underframe......patforms shaved to suite the much-increased ovehang
I suggested a hornby dmu...the 110[?] the old green one...or was it blue, I forget....particularly because it was a SHORT model, so would not look too askew on the curves, or require the platforms shaving back once more....hence perform more reliably.........BUT NO!
it HAD to be a bachmann 158, just like the one's that run through our local town........
which model looks faintly ridiculous [although it runs reliably].....just advise passengers to remain seated and not use the toilet......they'll fall off the end....oh....and the platforms were shaved yet again....
MIND THE GAP!!
if space is truly a severe handicap......why not learn how to construct one's own points, doing what the real thing did, and use more complex-looking pointwork...ie a bit like 'stacking' ordinary points, on top of each other?
slips, single and double, inside and outside, or in between.....after all...a 'point ' is but a crossing , and a set of blades [the 'point' in reality]........more 'complex' P&C work is simply, fitting crossings and point blades..with bits of rail in between......and on the prototype, surprisingly one was more likley to find 'complex' [read, 'space-saving'] point and crossing work in places like goods yards, loco facilities, industrial sites, etc, than out on the 'main line' so to speak.
Consider the use of points on a curve, to save space, rather than squeeze in a 'short ' point.....
or......reduce the amount of trackage you actually want....''less-is-more??''