Existential crisis. Freelance, Proto Freelance schizophrenia

YoHo Jun 27, 2014

  1. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am following my Intuition, Why box myself into doing one railway? Because doing so is interesting to me? Why one scale? Well, whatever gave you that impression? I have active Modelling projects in HO and N along with American Flyer (currently on display, but someday there will at least be a christmas layout) and some Bachmann G stuff for a Garden Railroad in boxes at Mom's until I have a backyard to put them in.

    I did at one point sell off almost all my N-scale and that was a mistake. I was trying to de-clutter and thought I was done since HO was where my heart and years worth of purchasing was. But ironically, switching to HO has reduced the scope of my N-scale desires since I no longer feel compelled to replace what I had in HO. My N-scale purchases are opportunistic and targeted. My goal is to have an operable and fun N-scale layout based almost entirely on donated and low-cost materials. So far, I'm doing pretty well. If I were willing to switch to transition era, I'd have even more stock to pick from.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It would seem to me that if the railroad is also "made up", it is more toward totally freelanced. Whereas, if you built a BNSF line betwem Philadelphia, PA and NYC, that would be using a prototype railroad, freelanced line. Better fitting the term "proto-freelance.

    But, as there is no legal body stifling our creativity, (yet), in reality the definition is whatever an individual choses.
     
  3. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Again, I get your logic, but when using a portmanteau, I think it remiss to ignore those that popularized it.

    If the Alleghany Midland and Virginian and Ohio are not Protofreelance per your definition (and they wouldn't be by your definition), then you have an inadequate definition since those 2 model railroads invented the term. It didn't exist prior to McClellen and Koester and all the articles in RMC in the 70s.


    There is no legal body Stifiling our creativity, it's true and the english language is nothing if not muddled, but come on, we can't have a conversation if we don't agree on terms and the term Proto-freelance has meant something to people for decades and it's based on articles in RMC and MR over those decades. There is no value in not following that. It just creates confusion. Chaos. That's not the way language works. Being a language Anarchist is not useful...on a forum. :)

    Another famous Proto-freelance layout is Eric Boorman's Utah Belt. Also not a real railroad. In fact, the only Famous MR that is generally considered proto-freelance and is an actual railroad is David Barrow's Cat Mountain and Santa Fe. And in one incarnation, he didn't even have any scenery at all.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2014
  4. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Proto-Freelaned What" Contradiction in terms?

    The model railroad in the video is Freelanced and the train equipment and operations is Prototype. What would you call this layout?

    [video=youtube;d16Np1H0EAo]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d16Np1H0EAo[/video]

    Click on You Tube in the frame to learn more about this layout. Nice...YES!
     
  5. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    I would call that a type of Proto-Freelance...most likely. I have no problem with a big tent. I do have a problem when, as I said, the MR's for which the term was coined get left out of your definition of the term.
    Again, these pictures I'm linking to are the original Proto-Freelance model railroads. They are not "real" railroads, yet they define Proto-freelance. I humbly suggest that any definition you create for the term must include them

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    From my understanding, "Proto-freelance" is developing a freelance road that draws influence and standards from actual railroads and a congruent mix of era-appropriate and locale-appropriate equipment. Versus pure "freelance" that could be a very bizarre and unfamiliar mix of things that wouldn't necessarily be what most would consider a convincing miniature world of trains that really don't represent what is or once was. And versus "prototype", that would be attempting to model an actual railroad or collection of railroads in a relatively specific time and locale. Somewhere there's probably a nice chart that maps it all out. Modeling a specific railroad but with a non-specific location could fall into more than one category, depending on some of the variables mentioned above.
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    This one quoted sentence fits how I see it.
     
  8. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    I can't speak to the V&O, but the AM is set in a prototypical geography. Tony K. has a map that shows where it existed, if it would have been a series if made up locations then he too would have fallen in the freelanced category.
     
  9. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    But how accurate are those locations. I can draw a map too. I could put real life place names on my railroad too. He made it pretty clear that his goal was to achieve the look and feel of West Virginia coal hauling, but not any specific location. I can't remember too many articles if any where he discussed prototype fidelity in any of those towns.

    So I think placing your railroad in the real world is critical to Proto-freelancing, actually modelling those locations with prototype fidelity is not.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2014
  10. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    Exactly. I think you are making your own point there. You pick and choose what you want. If you like the feel of NW Wisconsin, make a line that runs from Green Bay to Escanaba. It could haul lumber, ore and other commodities. It could run through real towns hauling real freight. Do you have to model the towns brick for brick? No. If you wanted to copy a prototype depot, could you? Yes. Could it be a GW (Genesee & Wyoming) subsidiary, or a modern day GBW, or any other line of your choice? Yes, yes, yes.

    I originally started with a total freelance layout, then I decided to do a proto-freelance concept, connecting two shortlines that share opposite ends of an old NP line. As I got going on it, I found one of the shortlines had everything I wanted and needed, so I ended up going the straight up proto route. It worked well for me because I build engines and I've gotten to custom build, detail and paint every engine on the line. It works for me and I don't want to push that concept on anyone, because if it doesn't work for you, you will hate it.

    We can debate the definitions of modeling styles, but YoHo, what do you want? Reverse engineer the concept, start with your desired outcome and fill in the blanks until it makes sense for you. So what are your definitives?

    What must you have?

    What do you want to avoid at all costs?
     
  11. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Point taken.



    Interesting aside since you mentioned modelling to short lines as one.

    I did once have a concept of modelling a combined PNWR and CORP as one railroad from Portland to Weed California. Then Genessee & Wyoming went and bought Rail America and made my Proto-freelance concept a prototype concept...sorta. :)


    I get hung up on Proto-freelance, because it's a term of art. It actually means something to model railroaders based on extensive and specific use in the pages of RMC and MR. People misuse it based on that a lot. Even Ken above has a different sense of the meaning than that of the guy who first used it. Does it affect anyone's enjoyment at all? No. But I like it when we all are typing the same language.
     
  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    A whole lot to do over a whole lot of nothing.

    This isn't the first time we've played kick the can with "What is it?"

    Nor is this a new discussion. :frustrated: And, if you think you are coining a new phrase...already been done.

    My equipment and operations will be a prototype as I can make it. However, it is impossible to recreate actual locations so my layout will simply be snap shots of locations that aren't even close to each other. I call it a freelanced layout with semi-prototype equipment operating on it.

    Remember we don't play trains we run a railroad. Grin! Even if they are all toys to begin with and the layout runs around in circles. Did I mention, with trains chasing their tales? :teeth:
     
  13. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    There is a kind of "sliding scale" of prototype fidelity. Some have tried to create as close to a perfect replica of a place and time as posible, some have just created completely fictional locations. I think in the end, most of us end up combining elements of the real thing with pieces of imagination.
     
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    To sum this all up: ----- it! Let's just go run our trains as we wish, and have fun. (Oh noooo! There's that three letter word again!) Yup. Fun. That most important factor for any hobby to exist in our lives, which is lost far too many times, by far too many people. Those who wish to define or guide how I do it, can be shown the door in various uncomfortable ways.
     
  15. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    So you've never read a magazine article or Magazine editorial and had it influence your modeling? Ever?

    Of course it's all just to have fun. Just as discussing my existential crisis and the history and meaning of Model Railroader lingo ought to be fun for those doing it.
    Don't harsh my groove Man. Don't just shut me down with your just have fun mantra!


    And Rick,
    I will be remembering you said this next time we discuss turnouts versus switches. Do you know where you petard is? because you just got hoisted by it.

    Just have fun man, turnout, switch. Doesn't matter just have fun.

    Why aren't you having fun? Why do you want to talk about what things mean? That's not fun! Go have fun right now! ::teeth:

    AL_MF_Propaganda_POSTER572_0-414x640.jpg
    Go have fun RIGHT NOW or the Secret NMRA Ninja's will steal your layout from you in the middle of the NIGHT!
     
  16. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

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    Well, THIS just got weird...........
     
  17. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Al

    Specifically

    ;)
     
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Huh? Of course. By my choosing, and in my own way. Not because I had to, nor following anyone else's presets.

    Again, huh? OK. Maybe I should have said go be miserable and have a crisis? Let's all suffer and derive zero enjoyment! Yup. That's it!
     
  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    You've got that right!
     
  20. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Just having a little fun with the topic.

    I feel like "Just have fun" is code for, no need to have this conversation. At least that's how I perceive it. But I want to have this conversation. This is fun. So...
    We're a community of like minded model railroaders. To be a community we all need to be somewhat on the same page. That is a fundamental requirement of conversation.

    You can't really be your own individual flower with language and expect to have good communication.

    Proto-freelance is a term that for better or worse came out of Koester's Editorship of RMC. Do you need to use the term as he used it? Absolutely not at all no way no how. Is it productive to use the term differently? Not really, because the derived term has meaning at all because he established it and used it repeatedly for 40 some years now.

    That's why I keep harping on it. Do you need to use the term this way? No, but by maintaining your own definition, you render the term meaningless.

    Proto-Freelance: The method of model railroading popularized by McClellen and Koester. A Freelanced railroad with strong prototype roots in location, operation and roster.

    It's just a word, it doesn't matter, but I like it when the words I use are all understood. And I feel like, if the term was defined and well used in RMC and MR for multiple decades, then that definition takes some amount of precedence. right? I mean, if I were to talk about Zip Texturing, I would hope we could all agree on what that means right? And, we'd all agree that Linn Westcott can be credited with the term and nobody would be up in arms about it right? Is this not the same?

    I mean for sure I'm getting a little preachy here, that's why I tried to make it silly, but much like Rick gets on about Turnout vs. Switch, this term is one that sets me off.

    So it is.
     

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