Re: Model building philosophy

Russ Norris

Thanks for sharing your modeling philosophy, Lee.  It got me thinking about all the levels of building models within models.  As a prototype modeler (EBT) , my ultimate goal is to reproduce portions of the prototype in as much detail as I am capable of.  But this is a long term project,  I've been working on my fifth model railroad for more than ten years.  Parts of it are about as complete as they're going to be -- I estimate I am about 75% there.  Within that overall modeling project, there are smaller and smaller models -- building the dual gauge yard, the coal cleaning plant, a brickyard, Orbisonia station, thje EBT roundhouse, turntable and shops, Robertsdale.  Each of these smaller parts of the whole has taken several years to complete, and each is composed of a number of smaller projects, sort of like those Russian dolls inside of dolls inside of dolls.  For example, I needed to cover a pop-up that allows me access to trackage I can't reach from the aisle.  The answer was to build a small model of the town of Mount Union on a section of extruded foam that would fit neatly into the existing scenery and look like it belonged there.  Building that module took more than a year, and it was a really fun project.  But each of the various structures and sub-assemblies was fun too.  I think that what makes model railroading so interesting to me is that complexity.  You are always working on something that is a part of something that in turn is a part of something greater and on ad infinitum.  Before starting a new area of the railroad, I enjoy thinking about it for a while -- what do I need to include, how will I integrate it into the existing model without tearing everything up.  Eventually I have a pretty clear picture in my mind of where it's going to go, how it will fit in with what's around it, what models will I have to kit or scratch build for it, etc.   The end result is something akin to a work of art -- there are so many elements that make up the whole.  At 77 I don't know if I will ever finish the overall model, but it doesn't matter.  It's a long term goal to work toward, and the fun is more in the journey than the destination.

Russ Norris

On Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 8:16 PM Lee Gustafson via Groups.Io <> wrote:
Dave, Nathan & All,

Dave like you I approach model building as a model within a model until the project is complete. Yes, I want to finish the model but I've learned to enjoy each step and what it represents. Sometimes ( more often than I care to admit ) I've had to do a step over to accomplish the sub-assembly to my level of satisfaction. In the process I've learned something or acquired a new skill. Model building is problem solving and skill application. At the end of a model building session even if it didn't go well I try to leave it at a place that I want to come back to the next day or model building session. When the model is finished it may not be perfect ( it isn't, I know where the flaws are ) but I enjoy the completed model and look forward to the next project. I've been building model for 60 plus years so that may have helped me reach this perspective. My current project is the Coeur d'Alene mine that I've been working on for a year. Yes, I've worked on other short term projects but this has been like a good book I'm really enjoying the build. Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts on model building and a project you're working on.

Lee Gustafson

-----Original Message-----
From: Climax <Climax@...>
To: HOn3 <>
Sent: Wed, Apr 17, 2019 11:50 am
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Blackstone future- US production

I have approached even my biggest projects by looking at each step in assembly and completing it then go to the next one.  I don't care if its a Fine Scale Miniatures kit, SSL kit or even a Jordan kit.  Just take it slow and methotical.  There is no race to get things done, this is a hobby and we should enjoy each step.  I just completed a 20 tub pickle tub complex and I did it one pickle at a time.


-----Original Message-----
From: NarrowMinded1
Sent: Apr 17, 2019 12:10 PM
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Blackstone future- US production

Hi Lee,

Thanks for the reply and tips! I've always had high expectations and been really critical of my work when it comes to model trains; guess I'll have to try and change that :-/ You take care as well!


I appreciate how your health ( I had a detached retina ) can impact your model building ability, skill, desires and lead to frustration. Yes, Blackstone products provide a path to HOn3 that did not exist before they entered the market place. Model building can be good therapy if it's approached with simple projects and modest expectations. Scenery, pre-fab easy to build structures and completing small scenes can be satisfying if the project is small and taken at a modest pace. Model building should be enjoyable. Try not to be too hard on yourself and take pleasure in the simple projects. Take care and best wishes.

Lee Gustafson"

Nathan Kline
Tiadaghton Valley Railroad & Coal Co.
McConnellsburg, PA

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