I’d hoped to report more workbench progress today, but work has been delayed by the timber yard losing my order, and my plastic filler going solid (well, it probably was 10 years old.) So a couple of links from Model Railroad Hobbyist will have to do instead!
Firstly, “Model Railroading and the Suspension of disbelief“ An interesting exploration of models as art and models for operation…..
There has been a lot of arguing discussion lately about the merits of two attitudes, which at the extremes can be summarized as “It must be beautiful even if it has nowhere to go” vs. “I don’t care what it looks like as long as the trains are on time”. Everyone seems to have staked out a spot along that line, and many are vociferous in the defence of their position.
Personally, I am probably closer to the art end, but I feel all approaches are valid and potentially fun. I also have no illusions that either approach is particularly “real”. Ops can not be fully prototypical unless you are getting a paycheck and working in 10 below weather; the most perfect model cannot escape the fact it is 10″ long. To get either, you would have to buy a railroad (I know where there’s one for sale). The prototype is an inspiration which you can follow with any degree of rigor.
The enjoyment of model railroading depends on the suspension of disbelief. A 2 year old pushing wooden cars along router shaped track has no conflict with reality– this is just fun to do. Eventually, a child learns to associate this toy with something in the real world–maybe by train rides, maybe by Thomas on television. She knows she is playing with a toy, but at the same time, she is using her imagination to populate the world with everything that is missing– scenery, freight and people, among other things. As we grow older, the gap between the toy and known reality widens. It becomes more difficult to believe in the world of the toy. One way to reinforce the belief is to make the toy more “realistic”. Put it on a track that may only go in a circle but populates the field of vision with things that do not flatly contradict the imaginary world. Another way is to develop a stronger imagination– to focus not on the visual world, but on the action of the participants. You have already figured out where each path can lead.
There are benefits and disadvantages in both approaches.
After some discussion, he concludes….
Of course, the ideal layout provides both. The most elaborate prairie can grow scenery, or at least the plywood can be painted and the tools picked up. Even ProtoXX track allows the movement of trains, and it only takes a little extra planning to make this movement purposeful, even if that is just to stop for passengers every other time around.
So, what have you done (or plan) to strike a balance between art and ops? What can you not disbelieve?
Worth a read, though this hasn’t generated as much comment as seemed likely!
We often complain about the quality of the models we buy, and the service that we receive from supplier and manufacturers. It’s comforting to know that the USA is little different…
Maybe Your Products Suck
Questioning the quality of today’s models
This is not an apology.
Recently there has been a trend of commentary criticizing the nastier members of our hobby. You know the type: they are grumpy, they are never happy with your scratch-built model, your rivets are off, your colours are incorrect, your models are 1 scale inch too big.
While not representative of the majority, they are a loud turn-off for newcomers to the hobby.
MRH had an editorial discussing just how non-beneficial this is to newer members. One of Rapido’s most recent newsletters responded to scathing criticism that its products are made in China. True Line Train’s website has tongue-in-cheek commentary under the photos of new products that seems to pre-emptively attack would-be attackers.
And watch any video on model railroading and the host will often disclaim himself that whatever technique they’re demonstrating is not the be-all and end-all, but just a method that works for them.
It sounds like everyone is a victim of these rude individuals. Boo hoo.
It turns out that, despite my criticism, I am one of these rowdy fools. Let me explain…..
Read on here. The six pages of comments are interesting. There’s a manufacturer’s response, plus a lot of complaint about Quality Control. Now doesn’t that sound like the UK?