What's Right OR Wrong With Model Railroading???

BarstowRick Nov 25, 2018

  1. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    You are probably wondering why in the world is Old Rick, you know the Other Rick, BarstowRick asking such a question? I don't know! I've been asking myself that for sometime now.

    As I was looking over the model railroading images in RailImages, I noted something. See if you don't find this to be true. No matter what each of us have done to make our models of trains look real. Follow me on this, they still look like TOYS.

    My daughter and former wife would say "You boys and your toys" continuing "You sure do like them." Well, yes we do. Think about it. Did they just nail it? Because no matter what I do with my layout, no matter how much detail I put into it, no matter how prototypical I run it, even if I keep my verbiage true to the Rails... the darn thing still looks like a TOY!

    Plastic is to shiny when it should be dull. Locomotives appear to be oversized as they negotiate some of my tighter radius curves. Even then with the widest curves I can manage, they still look anything but the pictures, (I have stuffed away in boxes or hanging on my walls) of the real 1:1 foot scale. Nothing matches the pictures I've taken. Size compression, limited space as in space restrictions Ie, small rooms or apartments, limited budget, can all play havoc with capturing the essence of the Big Boys.

    So what is it we are looking for? Some guys will tell you I just like to run trains and most are doing just that with minimal space and tight radius curves...happy as a...okay...I'm stumped. Happy as what? I'm not sure. Less then five minutes of that and I'm bored and ready to leave but they aren't.

    So if we set out to answer the question: What's right or wrong with model railroading? Let's not make this a personal issue. Nothing will be accomplished if we argue with each other. Each of us has our own niche, interest in different things we want to accomplish within the scope of the hobby. I believe we can keep this constructive and not create havoc for the monsters ...uhh-err...moderators here.

    You can answer the question and put in what it's most meaningful to your or not. So, What is it you want from model railroading? Is it really model railroading or an elevated level of toy trains?

    The rule for home layouts is: You make the rules, you set the standard and you don't build to please anyone else, you build to please yourself.

    What is right or wrong with model railroading?
     
  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Most of us in this hobby have had to adapt to realities of available space, time and income, else we would have quit the hobby. When I was younger, I longed for, and built ever larger layouts until discovering that I spent more time maintaining than running. Today, I'm quite content with a modestly-sized railroad.

    If I have a beef, it's with today's here-today-gone-tomorrow/try-your-luck-with-our-new-product limited runs of most everything.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
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  3. zaulden

    zaulden TrainBoard Member

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    The biggest problem for me with model railroading (and any hobby) is taking it too seriously. I tend toward wanting to make things perfect to the point where I have trouble making imperfect progress.

    I realize lately that making imperfect progress toward a goal is better than never making any progress because you want it perfect.

    Model railroading should give us the freedom to make our own rules to an extent. If I want to say some railroad survived into the modern day that really didn't, what's stopping me?

    In the end, it's all about having a good time and messing around with trains, which are awesome.
     
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  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Well said zaulden! Some years ago I found that my drive for perfection in all things was ruining my enjoyment of this hobby and others. Life is short and I've since relaxed my standards, and have newfound happiness in my pursuits.
     
  5. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    The smaller the scale, the more difficult it is to make the equipment photograph right. Do you pluck your hairs from your head to use as stirrup steps? How do you avoiding damaging painted human hairs?

    So, why do we go with smaller scales? Because fifty car trains look more like real trains than twenty-five car trains or thirteen car trains.

    D'oh!!

    Joni Mitchell wrote a nice lyric in her song Refuge of the Roads: "And we laughed how our perfection would always be denied.". Good advice.

    Laugh, Rick. I double-dog dare you to!
     
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  6. Josta

    Josta TrainBoard Member

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    I tend to agree with Rick. There are rivet counting model railroaders, there are toy train operators that run their trains at breakneck speeds, and many in between the two to varying degrees.

    While I wouldn't actually count rivets I try to make my trains, layout, and operations as close to prototypical as reasonably possible. This is where I find my enjoyment, and they often turn out nicely in photos and videos. I wouldn't want it any other way but that is just me. But to each their own, having fun in this hobby is the number one thing.

    John
     
  7. porkypine52

    porkypine52 TrainBoard Member

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    The main reason I'm still into Model Railroading is something that was published some time ago by the fine folks at Kalmbach Publishing, in MODEL RAILROADING Magazine: MODEL RAILROADING IS FUN! I have been into the Hobby since I was a kid. American Flyer started it all out. (THANKS Mom & Dad) Then went to HO and in the 1970's discovered N-Scale and have never turned back.
    In the 70's I also joined the NATIONAL MODEL RAILROAD ASSOCIATION. Have been a member since then. Just a great group of people. I have been able to see many top-line Model Railroads. I have operated on a bunch of them, helped build a few and generally seen a lot of new/good ideas, put to work on various layouts. I have been to many National NMRA Conventions, most Regional Conventions and a few N-Scale Conventions. The model contests at these Conventions really bring out the builders best. While I don't think I'll ever be building contest winning model, that doesn't stop me from trying.
    I'm building/rebuilding the INDIANA RAILWAY at this time, and getting a lot of help from my local NMRA Division Group. Always listen when somebody has a new idea, while it might be exactly what you want, the idea may work for you in a different way.

    There are some people who have to do every model perfect: They are the Rivet Counters. This is the way they want to model, so be it. I'm more into the Good Enough area. It will NEVER be PERFECT, so deal with it and go on. We aren't dealing with the 12" = 1 foot scale here. These are just models of the prototype. YOU own your layout/models do what you want to do and go on.

    This Hobby will go on for a LONG time, there are enough people. like me, who are happy with our Hobby and will support it for a long time. And I see a younger modeler coming up also. These are the kids who are tired of the game play on the IPad, phone & tablet. They want something to get into to use their imagination, creativity, and skills.
     
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  8. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I actually really like the toy trains from the 60's and 70's. So i sort of collect what grabs my attention and makes me get back that old Roundy Roundy xmas day feeling.

    I also fiddle with a bit of modeling.

    I don't see anything wrong with any of it.
     
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  9. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    This.

    One group getting overlooked are the ones who like the challenge of operations, from solving an Inglenook Puzzle to designing an apartment-sized layout that gives you big time action. They probably don't go for the Toy Train Look, but they probably aren't digging through old pics to reproduce genuine 1973 graffiti either.

    If we all had the same, interests, priorities and space, we'd all build the same railroad. Just imagine how boring that would be!
     
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  10. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    I think the problem in Model Railroading today, if there is one, is that too many advertisers and magazines still publish articles of huge layouts running hordes of articulated brass engines or lashups of 3 or 4 modern 6 axle diesels hauling 50+ car trains, and that the "THIS is real model railroading" air around those types of layouts has clung on too long. A 30 x 80 N scale on a door, an 8 foot HO shelf puzzle, and a 2x4 for N scale roundy round with a spur or two are all just as "real" and frankly, deserve far more focus. Most of us will never have a 2000 square foot basement empire... and that's ok.
     
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  11. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Yes. But, you know, Playboy only ever featured the girl you wished lived next door.

    If they had ever concentrated on the girl who actually lived next door, it wouldn't have been good for sales...

    But, yes. Only the right sized layout is the right size!
     
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  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    LMAO, well played and well said.:p:LOL:... :eek:Okay, just not at everything.

    Wow! You read me like a book. "if there is one" WM183.

    "I don't see anything wrong with any of it," traingeekyboy. Well put. I like!

    Oh, I can play negative Ed and come up with all kinds of complaints but that isn't exactly where I was headed. I can also go into the products we've been promised or the ones that were "Improved." I've had my sucker light blazing across my forehead, time and again. And I hate that I must "Reserve," when what I want to do is "Turnout" (proper use of the word) at the hobby shop and fondle it, test track it and decide for myself, with it up close and personal whether it's worth buying or not.

    So, what is right or wrong with model railroading?

    Or is model railroading a misnomer?

    I have a friend who saw this thread LHAO and called to tell me "It's toy trains and has always been toy trains and I don't care what the cost is, it's still a toy." G.M.:mad::sick::p

    Thanks G.M. that could shut this thread down right there.

    Perfectionist seldom finish anything because it's never good enough, author unknown but makes perfect sense to me. :confused:o_O

    Keep it coming we haven't begun to scracth the surface.:love:;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  13. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah. Welcome to The Internet Age.

    It's our own fault. If C&EI modelers only had the courtesy to still be as happy modifying L&N models as they were fifty years ago...

    Products targeted at a tiny market are wonderful. But you do have to look for those few customers wherever in the world they may be. And you can't be price competitive making product to collect dust on shelves.

    I fear our hobby shops are victims of our own picky ways. But I do miss them too.
     
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  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I believe that's true. To some extent they did spoil us as me have more namesake products available to us today then we've ever had. Namesake=Choices of road names. That can't be all bad.
     
  15. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Back in February, I knew next to nothing about railroads. I still know very little, but I enjoy reading about them and watching various TV shows about trains. Now I'm building a smallish layout using an improbable track plan. I've worried quite a few times whether I was doing things right or realistic, or how things should operate, but I've decided that it doesn't matter in the end. It's just a way for me to model something and get away from the stress of working and everyday problems.

    As for rivet counting - I just bought a Virginia Rails F40PH just to repaint into Via Rail colours. It's really not the same model, with a bunch of physical differences between the two locomotives. But I want to try repainting and weathering a locomotive, and I have some Kato Via Rail passenger cars already. If I can make that paint look really good, it will be perfect for my layout!
     
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  16. trainman-ho

    trainman-ho TrainBoard Member

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    They say that the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys!!

    A friend got into Four wheal stuff....like Rallies, hill climbs and such. Eventually his 4X4 had cost him around 75 Grand. He called it his "TOY", mostly because it was no longer streetable and only used on weekends.

    I don't mind someone saying that I play with trains because I like model trains. If I could I would like to play with REAL
    trains!!

    But I am in no position to do that, or spend tens of thousands of dollars on something like a truck that is only used on weekends!!

    What I like about modelling: Manual dexterity skills, Electrical skills, researching for info, LEARNING about history and the changes that have taken place, and the sharing that goes on between model railroaders.

    Most of that can be attributed to many other activities that adults are involved in.

    Jim
     
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  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    There is a place where rivet counting counts. A steam repair place in the Sierra's, James Town, CA., made a video of how they took apart a locomotive counting every rivet that came off of it. Also counting every rivet when putting it back together to assure they all got put back in. Leave one out and you could have a serious problem/leak. I'm not a rivet coounter in that sense of the word. I do like seeing on a model, the appropriate number of rivets replicating the 1:1 foot scale. 100% accurate might be stretching it to far.
     
  18. trainman-ho

    trainman-ho TrainBoard Member

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    Actually, I kinda went all around the question, which is/are 2 questions!

    What's wrong with model railroading.....NOTHING if taken in moderation!!!

    What's right about model railroading......that depends on the individual involved.

    And we should remember that model railroading is not MANDATORY, it is a hobby, just like photography, stamp collecting, and many other activities.

    Jim
     
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  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have this same problem. We are supposed to be doing this for diversion from real life, fun, relaxation, etc. Becoming so wrapped up in it all, too many of us are missing out in the pure pleasure of it all. :(
     
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  20. Eilif

    Eilif TrainBoard Member

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    Not to get too "meta" about it, but I think that what's right (possibly what's best) about model railroading is the multitude of ways it can be enjoyed under the big tent that is the hobby. You've got folks running a couple loops filled with toy trains and accessories from Lionel or Life-Like, and you've got folks super-ultra-detailing their way into equipment and layouts that when photographed appears to be the real thing, and everything in between. By and large it's a fantastic mix of good people having alot of fun.

    I'm a "tabletop" sort of hobbyist. If from 4 feet away it looks good I'm happy. I want to evoke the "feel' of realism for myself with nice scenery and generally era-appropriate (though my era covers 30 years) bargain-priced rolling stock, often with moderate weathering. However, I'm not interested in rivet counting, super-detailing or expensive models.

    There are two things that I see as "wrong" with the hobby.
    -First, is the tendency of a certain cadre of folks to talk-down to those who aren't doing it the way they they perceive as best or who are enjoying what they see as sub-par models. Still, I think those folks are definitely in the minority and that sort are present in any hobby so it's not specific to model railroading.

    -Second is the slowness with which the hobby has embraced recent generations use of technology both to encourage their involvement and lower the cost-of entry. This is especially evident in DCC control systems, though I think this is slowly changing for the better as companies begin to introduce more products (and slowly make them more user friendly) that utilize smart phones and rely less on expensive hardware. This is a "wrong" that I think will be righted over the next decade.
     
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