My Ramblings

My thoughts and views on model railroading

Be for warned, I not going to be politically correct. It's my web site and I can say what I want with in the rights of the first amendment.

Prototype - vs - Free Lancing

There is one forum I belong to that is geared more toward the prototype. A question was asked about Prototype-vs-Free-lancing. One members comment totally flabbergasted me. Here's his statement:

"On the other hand plausible freelancing is probably more difficult to pull off effectively, for there are no books, no websites, no historical societies, and no photos. That's a helluva handicap, so my hat does go off to those brave folks who try it, and the very few who can truly pull it off. One really needs a good working knowledge of civil engineering and general railway practice, followed by an excellent sense of plausible conjecture strictly kept within the limits of those disciplines."

First I need to explain my definition of "prototype" and "free lance". Webster's dictionary defines "prototype" as "An original type, form, or instance that is a model on which later stages are based or judged. So I like to say that I follow a 12" to the foot scale. If I build a model engine in 1:87 or 1:48 that's never been built before and the 1:1 builds a replica of that model, does it mean I have built a prototype? It get's confusing so we'll just forget the subject.

I looked up "free lance" and I'm defiantly not the 3rd explanation of that term, mercenary. Perhaps the second explanation fits better. "one who remains uncommitted to a party and proceeds as an independent". Sounds political to me.

Back to the subject of the modeler above. "there are no books", apparently he's missed out on all the fine books published on the many railroads and railroad practices out there. I know I have a good size library on the north east railroads. That's because I wanted to free lance an eastern road and needed to know what motive power, rolling stock and structures looked like. "No websites", apparently he's never googled or binged model railroad before. There's at least 240 million sites. He must be a blind modeler. "No historical sites", 99.5 million sites. "No photo's", every railroad book I have has pictures in it, all the web sites have pictures in it, all the historical site's have pictures on their web sites. The only handicap I see here is "info overload". I don't know about you but I don't need a civil engineer degree, I've got all the 1:1 railroad info and all the model scale info to help in that department. I think if you read the railroad books and look at the pictures you'll get a good idea of "general railway practice" and won't need a civil engineering degree. BTW, there are many free lance model railroads out there that have pulled off just what this modeler said couldn't be done. I think a person like that needs to take off the blinders and see the whole picture.

That's it for now until I find another rant to talk about.

Walthers Rotary Dumper

I bought one at a local hobby shop recently (2012). It sat around for a while as I was contemplating weather I should build it or put it on E-bay to make a bit of money. It still had the shrink wrapper on it. Had in my mind to build this and build a small display with a working rotary dumper. So I finally got the kit out and cut off the shrink wrap and proceeded to a glue it together. The instructions stated that it could either be built for wood chip cars or unit-train coal gondolas. Read this last sentence again and remember it.

As I got near the end of assembly I discovered that what I had originally wanted to do was not going to work. Reason? Well it was designed to be used with only the afore mentioned cars. Plus due to it's design, making it actually dump coal would not work because of the design to make the grippers work. So I plan on finishing it with a motor to make it rotate and possibly put it up for sale.

So what am I going to do. Simple build another one and modify it to work like I want it to. I've got my eye on one on E-bay. Stay tuned. More to come.

Buying glued up kits

I purchased two items, one a structure the other a piece of rolling stock. Both are/were kits. The structure was completely finished. The rolling piece of stock had been started and never finished. What these two pieces they have in common is how they were glued together. They looked like a kid that was learning to put a plastic kits together for the first time and wasn't shown the proper use of glue and how much. I now understand why so many called modelers want to buy ready to run out of the box. I guess I'll never understand the poeple who try but don't have the "knack".

Changing Interests within the Model Railroad Hobby

I've finally came to the realization that I can't do it all. I've parred down many projects I wanted to do beside model railroading and in model railroading hobby itself. I'd still like to work in O scale and On30, but also HO and HOn3. What to do? Since I have much more HO than O or On30 I've decided I'm going to concentrate on building that so called "dream layout" we all talk about. I haven't decided if I should sell the small amount of O and On30 stuff I have or hang on to it. So for now I'm hanging on to it.

Same goes for the live steam 4 truck Shay I want to build. I've come to the realization that such a project also takes an inordinate amount of time. So again it'll be put into moth balls for now.

I'll be working on preparing another project I started recently to post to the web site shortly. The new home page will reflect these changes.

I've also found two forums that I've been pretty active on and have posted some of my work. Time to write it up and post it here on my web site.