Freelance modeling

Kittcar765 Apr 14, 2018

  1. Kittcar765

    Kittcar765 TrainBoard Member

    What do you guys have to say about freelancing. I model a prototype class 1 but am thinking about adding a made up short line that hands over cars to it. Or a freelance leasing agency to add extra power when needed. This would allow me to add different colors of or different models of locos not in my fleet. I find it very interesting and am intrigued of letting my imagination wonder and play a bit. Possibly even to come up with my own paint scheme. Any responses an info on other freelance threads would be more than welcome....Thanks.
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  2. dalebaker

    dalebaker TrainBoard Member

    I’d say go for it. It’s your railroad empire. Besides, there are some pretty famous freelance model railroads out there now and in years past, some built by folks who are highly respected by modelers today.

    So jump in and have fun.

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  3. Rocket Jones

    Rocket Jones TrainBoard Member

    Your universe, your fun. I'd say go for it!
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  4. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    Even today, I'm always amazed about hearing how many shortlines still connect with the Class 1's in just about every state! Even up here in Washington State, there's dozens of shortlines that connect with the BNSF and UP.
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  5. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

    I think proto-freelancing is pretty cool, but the key is to make it look realistic. If you are keeping BNSF, you want your railroad to look as if it can exist in real life next to your other models. That means the paint scheme should be sensible, as well as the locomotive models you choose. Steam might not make sense in a 2000’s era railroad, unless it is an excursion. Just because you are freelancing doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice realism. As an example, you might want to look at Tony Koester’s Allegheny Midland. He wrote a lot about in in the magazines. It’s a good example of realistic track, operations, and scenery on an imagined railroad.
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  6. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    I use the term protolancing as I try to simply get the flavor of the prototype but make it fun for the operator/viewer. So do what makes it interesting to you and avoid being locked into the prototype to the point of not progressing.
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  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Freelancing is my choice for a descriptive word. It is what I have done. And loved it. Your are the CEO of your modeled world. :)
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  8. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    If it's fun, it's worth doing. If you put your little freelance layout in a time warp to the 60's -70's you can use a variety of colored locos as leased units, so simply have the shortline be a connecting line. Nothing like having a Blue and white The ROCK switcher, or a Illinois central orange and white loco, or anything that catches your eye.

    The freedom to run whatever you want on whatever day is always appealing to me. It is what I plan for my european trains. I'm just going to run what I like.
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  9. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Also take aa look at how things run in real life. Pool power, trackage rights and loaner units all combine to make for a decidedly mixed bag.
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  10. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

    Rule One:

    When it comes to your layout, you can do anything you want.

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  11. GeorgeV

    GeorgeV TrainBoard Member

    A freelance shortline that interchanges with a modeled prototype makes sense to me in one critical way. The shortline will not have that much equipment that must be painted and lettered! My railroad is 100% freelance. Nothing against painting and lettering, but I've now done 10 steam locomotives and probably 35 or 40 freight cars. It does take some time, particularly cars with ribs such as hopper cars that require cutting up the full road name into little bits to fit between ribs. There's 3 freshly painted hoppers and 6 data-only hoppers on the workbench now waiting for decals.

    I have recently decided that the Rochester & Richmond is jointly owned by the C&O and the B&O - sort of a Chessie system pre-merger behavior only back in 1950. Running into a string of C&O hoppers and several B&O boxcars at a train show a few months back was the inspiration. If it's freelance I can make up anything...
    George V.
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  12. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

    I made sure I always freelanced. Seemed shut the critics up. Jim

    On30 Critter working #2.jpg
  13. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

    In many ways, all MRRs are freelanced. Why ? Because no matter how much a modeler copies a RR, a RR branch, division, short line, narrow gauge RR, what have you, it 99.44 % of the time will be WAY smaller, shorter, narrower, than the 1:1 scale version anyway. In other words, both that style MRR and a freelanced MRR require a great great deal of imagination in order to satisfy the owner/builder or visitor to the MRR as to the realism of it. The largest model RR in existence is still small, scale-mile-wise, compared to the real thing... Don't get me wrong. I don't mean the non-freelancers in any way are kidding themselves any more than the freelancers. It's just that we have so limited RR space to begin with, that freelanced depiction exists within each, anyway. 67 real feet = 1 Mi. in HO. 30-ish feet is a Mi. in N scale. !! That's 1 (one) mile, leave alone modeling a real, 21 mile branch line or 1,500 Mi. say, New York Central RR !! ...In many ways, we're all freelancers from the get go..So, don't worry about it.. Fuggeddaboudit and do what you feel like doing in order to depict the '1:1 model trains' and their environment...In the end, quality of construction of your RR is the more important consideration here and having fun doing it....M
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  14. SP-Wolf

    SP-Wolf TrainBoard Supporter

    This is exactly my take on model railroading. I am also a protolancer. My layout is 9' X 14'. How in the world could I model any part of the great Southern Pacific-?(As MarkinLA so eloquently stated about distance) I can't. Even one of their branch lines. So, I too, try to capture the flavor of the SP. If someone looks at my layout and says and or thinks -- this is the SP in and around the Ventura/Oxnard area -- I am on the right track (pun intended - LOL).

    Bottom line -- enjoy yourself and build a layout that makes "you" happy.

  15. TonyHammes

    TonyHammes TrainBoard Member

    I have freelanced my own short line on my BN Boise Division layout for the same reasons you are thinking about. It allows me to run ALCOs (which for the most part were retired by the mid eighties with class 1 railroads.

    Below is one of my JSR ALCO C-630s that is leased from GATX. The JSR has a pair of these that run as pool power with the BN on a unit coal train. I also run RS-3s, RS-11s, RSD-4/5s and C-424s. It also has it's own rolling stock. The JSR operates on what was the 1st and 4th subs of the Camas prairie from Orofino yard. The JSR runs a daily transfer to the BN Lewiston yard and a night logger from Headquarters, ID to the Potlatch Mill at Forebay.

    The locomotives are predominately painted in Red/white but a few are patched as they have not hit the paint shop yet.

    The JSR even has an active steam program and runs a Class J 4-8-4 for excursions and special occasions.
    Kittcar765 likes this.
  16. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

    I am probably in the same boat as SP+Wolf. I would like to have modeled either the Northern Pacific or the Milwaukee Road but do to space limitations, I couldn't have done justice to even part of a subdivision of either railroad.

    My freelance railroad, a short line is set right in the area where I live and connects to both the Milwaukee Road and the Northern Pacific. I model the transition era set in 1957 and like TonyHammer I have plenty of Alcos. When I started my layout over 30 years ago, the Atheran locomotives were probably the best bang for the buck but required a lot of work and remotoring to really get them to perform well. When Atlas brought out their line of Alco locomotives with the Kato drive, I scarfed up a dozen of them and custom painted tham along with a lot of rolling stock for my railroad.

    Freelancing gave me the opportunity to do what I wanted to do to give my locomotives a family look, but as I do connet to both of the other railroads, I to try to be as accurate as I can with them.

    Herd of Alcos.jpg

    Here are some of the Alcos.

    I model industries that are in the area I model or industries that could have existed if there was a railroad to service them.

    Freelancing give you a lot of freedom from river counters also.
  17. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    I did the same to bring variety in my Italian style layout.
    A not so much cash stripped local railroad that could not get rolling stock from the state railways, because these were the 70/80s and they still hung close to their own stock from the 20s and 30s .
    So a good excuse to put US ALCOs RDCs and some German stock by doing bargain hunting on ebay as they would have done themselves.

    It is your railroad, but keep in mind it should look as real as the prototype.

    Inviato dal mio BLN-L21 utilizzando Tapatalk
  18. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Supporter

    I've followed a path similar to yours. My freelance Huron Central (totally unrelated to the prototype Huron Central operating in Ontario) gives me a chance to do things the way I see fit, but live interchange with Pere Marquette/C&O, Grand Trunk Western/CN and Detroit and Mackinac/Lake State Railway + eventual takeover of freight service by Huron and Eastern (Scrolling time period) provides some prototype modeling and definitely nails down the locale at the same time.
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