I added a new page to the website on Monday, aimed at modelers who are stuck in the frustrating cycle of starting a layout, tearing it down because they’re bored, and then starting another one in the belief that this will be the one.¬†Lots of people think this is how things are done in model railroading but left unexamined, this cycle can repeat itself for years and leave one disillusioned with the craft.

I certainly don’t have the final answer and I’m not here to tell anyone how to practice their hobby. All I’ve done is share my own journey and the shift in thinking that drew me out of that cycle. The link to the new page is found at the bottom of the homepage. If people want, I’ll add a link in the menu bar too.

Mill Street Revisited
I received several comments (public and private) about my changes to Mill St. outlined in last week’s post. The consensus is that the scene still doesn’t work.

I could invoke the “it’s my layout and I’ll do what I want” excuse. I’m not going to because that response is designed to shut people up and stop the conversation. The comments I’ve received were thoughtfully expressed and given in good faith. People simply want to understand my intentions and choices.

As I replied to David’s comment on the post, the street is pure fiction. As such I’m making it up as I go and, from the comments received, doing a poor job of it. There is an access road from the main highway at Valley Jct. but it’s located in a different place than my fictional Mill St.

I happen to like the location of Mill St. on the layout, driven as it was by other elements on each side. Relocating it to accurately reflect the road at Valley Jct. would entail a lot of scenery rebuilding. I’m not opposed to that of course, but need to consider the tradeoffs involved and whether they are worth the effort. Nothing we do on a layout is done in isolation. The impact of even minor changes ripple out quite a ways.

However, the location of the street isn’t the problem, it’s my treatment of the transition to the backdrop. Here I admit that I’m not putting in my best efforts and the critiques offered have been ¬†quite accurate.

If you are confused by a creative work, whether it’s a blog post, a piece of music, a painting or a freelanced scene on a layout, it isn’t your fault, it’s the creator’s. What seems perfectly obvious to me isn’t to others because they can’t see things as I do or know what’s going through my mind as I create the work.

In a meager defense, I will say that the photos offered last week show a work still in progress, something I should have clarified more than I did. Still, I’m doing a poor job and saying so publicly. David, Simon, thank you for keeping me accountable.

Ben Brown
By now many of you know of the passing of Ben Brown. I never met Ben in person but we emailed many times during the years I worked for O Scale Trains Magazine and afterward. He didn’t always understand what I was doing with my layout but always found something positive to say. His passing left me deeply saddened. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

The Boxcar
I want to end this post on a positive note. I finally had a day of good weather (sunny, minimal winds and low humidity) that allowed me to apply the primer coat to my PS5344 boxcar. (Lacking a vented spray booth, I always work outdoors.) I procrastinated on this step for a long time because my track record with spraying paint is dismal. I put hours and hours of work into this car that could have been ruined in mere seconds by a poor spray job. Happily, all went well. I don’t have any photos yet because I don’t want to handle the car anymore for at least a week, if not longer.

While the primer is drying I plan to work on lots of styrene practice pieces, take plenty of notes and plan the steps for the rest of the paint and weathering. Yes, there will be photos soon enough.

Regards,
Mike