% of Real v Fictional MRRs

MarkInLA May 25, 2013

  1. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    This can be a tough topic, because what we all strive for and attempt to achieve is different. I can see that we all perceive ourselves differently. This hobby and it's definitions are very subjective. I'm a "Prototype-based Freelancer". I model a real short line and it's industries. I have built cars from kits, but for the most part I modify RTR rolling stock and I super-detail all my engines. I have to scratch build or kit-bash all my structures. It takes a long time and progress can be painfully slow. Am I a craftsman, no. Does my line look and operate plausibly, yes. That's all I want.

    I don't want to disparage anyone for finding their own type of enjoyment in this hobby. I've seen some well know model railroaders referenced in this thread. While they may not be "Craftsman" by the definition of some, they have built layouts that come alive in stories and pictures. Pelle Soeborg may not build his buildings one stick at a time, but the level of railroad he has built encourages me to build a more visually plausible line.

    I think it also depends on the group you hang out with. I know several model railroaders who are equipment collectors. Weathering is out of the question and detailing is lost on them. I have a small group I hang out with and we are engine detailers. I would not think of running a stock engine, but I will not criticize another modeler for doing it if it makes them happy.

    And now for the point: I view model railroading as an evolution, or journey. I started as an out-of-the-box kind of guy. They someone showed me something that awoke a new part of my brain and raised my standards. I saw I could do more. I look back at some of my early attempts and I shudder, but at the time it was the best I had ever done and it made me happy. My work has made others happy. Can I do better, yes. I will strive for better with every project, but I try to never criticize what others do, only encourage them to find the niche they enjoy most.
     
  2. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    We've been waiting...

    Except for the part where "NYW&B" states "I'll withdraw from this thread since the depth of subject knowledge here is clearly lacking". And again, using the term "facts"...well I guess us young folk have a little different definition of the term "fact".

    *ME* attacking? I'm not the one looking down on just about every current member of this hobby, nor stating my opinion as fact and then refusing to discuss my opinion after dropping a (completely off-topic, btw) bomb like that. Just because NYW&B uses a passive-aggressive stance/style doesn't mean it isn't a put down....quite the contrary. I have NO DOUBT that I have a place in this hobby, as does everyone that puts forth the effort to excel in this hobby, whatever their strengths happen to be.

    I COMPLETELY agree. No arguments here...what NYW&B is saying is that YOU CANNOT ENJOY THE HOBBY IN THAT MANNER. Essentially, if you're not doing it like he's doing it, then you don't belong. I have great respect for a good many "silver" model railroaders that paved the way, and built magnificent layouts and mentored many generations of model railroaders about their craft and passed their knowledge and creative thinking onto the next generation. NYW&B's attitude doesn't reflect someone that has enriched this hobby in that manner, IMHO. Just a simple elitist view, based on nothing.
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Let's go easy here, folks. The topic is a good one. We don't want to get into editing or locking.

    The rail hobby is broad one. A huge tent, under which are many ways of participating. Nobody needs to do it the way anyone else deems necessary. And if we do not, we are never the lesser of anyone- Nor are we the slightest detriment to the hobby! We all rise to the level of our own enjoyment. That is what a hobby is all about.
     
  4. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    YES! I think what you are saying is how many folks "evolve".

    While not equating *exactly* to what you are saying, I like to think of my modeling like the old "progressive GIF's" we had on web pages back in the days of dial-up. You start with a blob, then a blur, then a mosaic, then a simple form, then some detail appears, then you can identify the subject, then patterns are evident, than wholesale detail appears, then everything becomes very sharp, until finally you have the full-resolution image in front of you.

    You do whatcha can with watcha got. Eventually, you hopefully have a nice looking model or model railroad. (I know it's apparently blasphemy, but I even consider modelers that don't have a layout "model railroaders"....GHASP!!!)
     
  5. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Gosh Doug,

    You've been waiting? I responded in surprise. I think I've been ambushed! Ok with me as long as it's all in fun.

    So you are a model railroader...ghasp? No, that isn't what you said. I think you said, No model railroad but a person can still be a model railroader...right? No model railroad, then how can you be a model railroader? Here I would conjecture... collector's can be and sometimes are model railroaders in there own right. That's bending the definition a bit. More then likely Toy Train enthusiast. Which is where we all start in the evolutionary chain of events. What? What? What did I say?

    Good for you, Doug., glad to see you can agree. let's see some pictures of your work. Nothing like drooling on my key board. Grin!

    In case I forgot. It's "Old Fart's Syndrome" just get it right. LOL

    Truth is these definitions will be bantered around for years to come and there will be those who think they are better then others because they fit a certain criteria. Getting to old to worry about it and you youngsters will have to sort this out and resolve this amongst yourselves.

    Remember issues expressed here may have more to do with the person expressing them then the rest of us. Another way of saying this is, It may be more about you then it is about me? If you read that right then you will also realize that statement will come home to rest on each of us that participates here and that includes (surprise) me as well. Just a interesting look at codependence. Again no offense meant...just something to think about.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2013
  6. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    You can exclude WHOMEVER you want as far as I'm concerned...that's your prerogative. But don't state YOUR opinion about who should or shouldn't be in the hobby of model railroading as indisputable FACT.
    For the record, I was NOT referring to collectors when I made the statement about "no layout". I was talking about the guys (and I know more than a few) that have dozens or hundreds of contest quality pieces of rolling stock and that is their thing...or maybe they don't have room for the dream layout yet, or whatever. But they're still doing modeling that far exceeds what most would consider an above average model railroader. But hey, you go ahead and keep painting me with whatever brush you've decided to use without even reading the entire thread, and I'll just accept that you don't consider me a model railroader...I'll live.

    The definitions of "type of layout" (you remember, the original topic) are a much different topic than "you're only truly a model railroader if...".

    Ha...So, if someone insults me and I respond then it's "thou doth protest too much?" Interesting. Well, when someone insults me and my friends, I generally don't just stand there and take it. That's pretty much how we do things in Texas. To each his own...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2013
  7. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    um....You're mama wears combat boots! :p

    The argument of what makes you a model railroader is a pretty dumb one that has been going on for 60 years. John Armstrong was a model railroader, he had 3 rail trains. Jon Allen was a model railroader, he has a Stegosaurus switcher. Gomez Adams was a model railroader, and he was fictitious!
     
  8. JB Stoker

    JB Stoker TrainBoard Member

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    Yup, this guy is definitely a Model Railroader!
    0.jpg Gomez-s-Train-Wreck-addams-family-5704531-400-300.jpg
     
  9. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yep - DCC at it's finest (Demand Crash Control) :cute:
     
  10. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Getting back, slightly on track.

    I have a few comments

    First and foremost, I'll restate what I said earlier, the layout is the key. If you are building a layout of any kind, then you are a model railroader pure and simple. That's the basic definition in my mind. Now of course you may be arm chair and you may be between layouts or any number of things, but if your goal was/is a layout, you're a model railroader.

    If your goal is just to buy miniature trains, then you are not a model railroader.

    And there's nothing wrong with that, but I don't think our tent has to be that big.

    As for RTR, I don't think using RTR makes you less of a model railroader. In fact, it may very well allow you to get that layout built faster and that's fine. Same with stuff like UniTrack. Now, I'm always going to be more impressed with a layout using snap, flex or handlaid track, but I'm not going to poo poo someone's work, because they made the choice to use their dollars instead of their time on trackwork.

    What has happened is that RTR has enabled the collectors to collect more and that has further affected the attitudes of the manufacturers. Kato comes out with those passenger train sets, because collectors will pay big money to buy them. That's not model railroading unless you're one of the relatively few modelers that actually needs that set.
    Essentially, the plastic manufacturers have now adopted the brass business model and that is not a good thing for the average modeler, because it sees prices go up and a dearth of product in the middle price ranges which used to be the bread and butter of the hobby.

    How many big time HO layouts in the 80s and 90s had tons of Narrowbody Athearn SD40-2s and the various GPs in various states of detail?

    To restate, ready to run doesn't make one not a model railroader, but RTR has caused our vendors to offer less model railroader friendly product. Unless you're a hard core prototyper and have money to burn.
     
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That was a great show. But I cannot help myself, and cringe every time I see the wonderful Lionel demolished. Especially such as that M&St.L Geep on the broken bridge.
     
  12. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

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    Let's see, about a week ago before the fire fight broke out, I was on my way to resplain my idea of proto-freelancing. So I'll start again! My absolute favorite piece of railroad was the Charleston subdivision of Seaboard Air Lines' about 88 miles of basically traffic desert for the road - but Nirvana for a young train fan. This stretch of railroad had a 38 mile long straight streak, not a jog or a jiggle - some humps and sags, but straight as a gun shot. In my train room I can squeeze out a 9 foot something straightaway on one side, slightly less on the other. Hardly prototypical!

    However, even if I didn't want to build a layout - I'd still collect scale replicas of local roads. So while my switching "puzzle" bears no vague resemblance to any location on the East Carolina I do use scale rail and as minimal compression as possible. I may be wrong, but to me what I'm trying to do is proto-freelancing.
     
  13. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Are you saying that you are forced to bend the track more than prototype to fit the dimensions of you're room? That's still straight up prototype modeling. No Proto-Freelance there.

    Selective compression and accommodating the layout space don't drop you from the prototype ranks...otherwise nobody would be a prototype modeler.


    For the record, on my side, I say I'm proto-freelance light, because I don't really have an interest in recreating actual places with significant detail, that's not the type of model railroad I want to build. I want to build something that evokes a feeling of the location. Now, in the normal parlence, this would be freelance pure and simple, but...I have gone through a lot of effort to put together the realities of my little world on "paper" (computer) so while I may not model to any particular fidelity, my railroad does go to real places on the map, the corporate HQ has an address, there's a Loco Roster that includes units I will never own. There is an internal logic to what locos they buy, why they have what they have, where they are going in the future. Including my own little version of Altoona turning out custom rebuilds that are plausible.
    Operations follow quite vaguely some of the spotting features of DRGW/ATSF and WP in the later quarter of the 20th century including short and expidited trains, a lot more 4axle power than is typical and the like.


    This kind of background is the hallmark of Proto-freelance and so that's what I call myself even if the actual layout tends more towards the freelance than the proto.
     
  14. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

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    Yes ,I agree whole heartedly..It's becoming homogenized into sameness of North American RRing..look and practices ..More and more RTR and built up structures..It's getting less and less of a need to pick up an Exacto knife ,paint brush, hand laid track ..I once thought why not offer lighting in cabooses and about 6 months later there they were..Athearn I believe, with bay windows (or is it wide-vision cupola ?)..More and more buildings will come with lighting..I was thinking a couple days ago, why not offer entire city block sections; say 10 buildings with streets, sidewalks, curbs, lamps, filling station, lighted, working stop lights, and varied styles/eras/ eastern/western in flavor, urban, rural, etc.. priced less than if built individually..like $250.00 ( price of a good loco these days ). We plop this down on benchwork and blend it in with other structures and groundwork ( foam/plaster)...two wires underneath to power...on and off switch for day and night...or DCC to be in sync with fast clock on say, NCE, Digitrax, throttle....I'll bet some day layouts will be completely automated; turn it on, sit back and watch like TV 'til you've had enough!! Ugh !!
     
  15. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Layouts such as this do exist, and have for many years now. Actually, as I think about the concept, I am reminded of Lionel and American Flyer trains some fifty years ago.
     
  16. JPIII

    JPIII TrainBoard Member

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    Geeze....you'z guys sure can get wound up.......but it does show passion for the hobby.

    I'm new to this and have lots of ideas, some of them may even be good ones.

    A "hanging curve" for ya'll to knock out of the park. I call my RR a PHOTO- freelance type. That which I intend to model are not original ideas but based on a bunch of B&W photos from logging railroad's past. Any way I can get it done is good with me. I do look foreword to building all this stuff and those that are track/topograhy dependent are proceeding apace......but the bench time stuff has to wait till there is somewhere to place it. If scratch building is required, so be it as are kits, kit bashing, or from a box......but I do have standards (if not the skills.....yet). My RR is based on those from the past up & down the Columbia River (WA & OR).....a rich vein to mine, me thinks.

    I will proceed as if this is supposed to be fun for an "old timer" with the passion.
     
  17. JB Stoker

    JB Stoker TrainBoard Member

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    @ JPIII : Compared to the hostility and outright meanness over at the MR magazine forums this discussion is like a basket of fluffy kittens.

    [​IMG]

    Who can resist sticking their hand in there? Ya, they scratch, but does it really hurt?
     
  18. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Photo-Freelance I love it. Very descriptive and probably describes a bunch of layouts. Even BarstowRick's is a photo-Freelance, it's just that the photos are memories.

     
  19. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Photo-Freelance? What the hell? Now you guys gone and coined another term to muddy the already less then sparkling water discussion. However, me thinks I have a good idea as to how that works. Photo-freelance: Is the kittens pictured in JB Stoker's post. I'll trade you the kittens for some older cat's.

    Now, before I go on any further I want you to Know Doug and I have settled all differences privately. Now I have a better understanding. But do expect us to poke the bear and know it's all in fun. We's good.

    I sort of made up a list of terms from this Old Fart's Perspective....just for Doug and Yoho. Bunch of ...(What? They won't let me say that here)...confounded youngsters. Someday, they will appreciate being called a kid.

    Here da-list:

    Prototype: A time and place selected by a modeler to replicate the train equipment, buildings, automobiles, people in proper dress and other misc. items. No deviations from the prototype 1X1 foot scale, allowed. Commonly referred to as Nuts and Bolts counters.

    Freelance: A fictional train layout with anything and everything else built to specifications as desired by the modeler.

    Proto-Freelance: The trains are as prototypical as can be but not necessarily set to a specific time and place. Trains will most likely be run and or operated prototypically. The cities might be named after family members and/or totally fictional locations. Loads of fun to operate on with friends invited over for operations night.

    Protolance: A term used to muddy the waters and confuse old Rick. Not recognized by his spell checker. And challenged by YoHo as being current and correct. I don't think he Rick coined it, don't blame him.

    Photo-Freelance: A photographer who shoots anything he or she wants and publishes them on You Tube. Any reflection on Rick, is strictly a coincidence.

    Model Railroader: A rather vague and all encompassing term. Usually revealed in someone that models a railroad with some desire to recreate memories of the railroads he or she saw as a kid. Most likely reads everything he or she can get there hands on and purchases only the best stuff available. Wires his or her layout with DPDT and Cab A and Cab B powerhouses. May have recently switched over to DCC. Calls track switches "Turnouts". Sigh!

    Toy Train Enthusiast: Someone who has no interest in the prototype and wants to run trains, any train and on a fictional layout. He or she wires the transformer directly to the track, no control panel and wouldn't understand what a DPDT is...anyway. Most likely you will find older Lionel and American flyer trains moving about the layout. All trains operating on a roundy round layout.

    Model Railroad Craftsman: He or she can pick-up an old brick at a train station, destined to be condemned and before you know it his train station on his layout has little scale bricks made out of what else....you guessed it. Here you will find someone who can pretty much pick-up materials at the LHS, bang out a model and or thoroughly scratch build anything from a locomotive to the passenger cars tied in behind it. Usually but not always a prototype type person.

    Railroad Modeler: Models trains prototypically and operates trains on a layout that may indeed represent real places. The railroad may be free-lanced in that it could be a fictional bridge route which sees a diversity of proto-trains operating over it. As represented by the train equipment he or she purchased. Ie., Western Pacific, Union Pacific, D&RGW and the Santa Fe.

    Rail Fan: One who can be found watching the real deal, 1X1 foot scale trains running by at various "Hot Spots". Keeps up with todays trains as well as short lines and those tourist railroads running Private Varnish or retired passenger equipment. Doesn't know the real language of the rails but is good at making up their own. LOL

    Little Tin God: Anyone that holds themselves out as God's gift to anything but in keeping with the topic at hand... to model railroading. Sees his or herself as superior to anybody else. I can assure you that wouldn't be Rick?

    Disclaimer: Yes, there are deviations and variants to what I've described. And NO, this isn't conclusive in that things defined here are absolute.

    Who's Rick? Hi, I'm Rick. Oh gosh...I'm talking about myself in third person. Just like old K.P. Harrier, on another website. Incidentally, someone that is respected by this TB participant.

    ME? What do I consider myself to be? Bremner, you might find this helpful. Go back to Model Railroader, I basically described myself. Railroad Modeler...to a point as in the Proto side of Proto-Freelance, with freelance describing the kind of layout I'm building. You won't mind if I get back to my Proto-Freelanced layout and run my Prototype (well as close as I can get) Model Trains. I said with a big grin!

    On another note: Yes, as YoHo said, I enjoy Photo-Freelancing. A different hobby but it comes in handy when photographing my cluster.... of a train layout. Good call YoHo. I can't poke the bear in you this time. Don't hold your breath. LOL

    That should stir up the old hornet's nest, muddy the waters, horse everything up and bring out the Model Railroad Zombies and NMRA Ninja's. Errr...didn't I use one or two of those descriptive and/or colloquial phrases earlier in this thread? Yep, I think I did. Grin!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2013
  20. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    JB Stoker,

    Your handle is new to me and in case I missed it the first time welcome to TB.

    Most of us here on TB have participated in various threads to a point we feel we know each other fairly well.... as friends. Having communicated and razzed each other, bantering about at times and poking the bear...so to speak. So we get along pretty well and when there are problems we aren't afraid to confront each other and if it get's to difficult we settle it privately. Did anyone clean up the last brawl and blood in the parking lot? Truth is it never gets that serious. Mostly because we as TB participants aren't here to argue with each other but to have some fun.

    Good to have you on board and keep bringing back pictures of those kittens. I'd love to see them grow up into adult cat's.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2013

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