S12 switching a Pennsy box near the mill on the I&W

From the track to the overgrown weeds reclaiming the one time mill area, all were informed choices in an effort to recreate the images of railroading I grew up with.

As a child, my experience of full-size railroading was up close and personal. With the tracks running mere feet from my house, I saw trains in a way many people will never experience. Growing up, I was unaware of the big picture of how railroads operated, however, I was keenly aware of how detailed and interesting the small picture could be.

Those experiences, and the visual images behind them, guide my path through the hobby to this day. Those memories are why I spend so much time adding the details to my track, scenery and, maybe someday, the rolling stock. Details that most people just gloss over without a second notice. In miniature, I want to see the same images, motion and level of detail I saw growing up around trains as a child.

To that end, I spent time last week working on the area south of Mill Street. I finally added the ┬ácoloring to the new section of Mill Street between the tracks and backdrop. (Was it really late August since I worked on it last?) I’ve started adding the various weeds and other groundcover and over the weekend, picked up some new scenery materials to try out. I’m in no rush to move this work along. I’ll go down for an hour or so after dinner, peck away at the area and then come back up to spend the evening with Susan.

What I’m doing with the layout, this blog, my books, my photography and, in the past, my artwork, is saying to others: Hey, this is interesting, look at this. Look at this pattern, I wonder how it was formed. Look at this texture, look at these details, isn’t that cool? How did that come to be; how does it work? In essence, I’m saying this is important to me, check it out. You might find it’s important too. Not in the same way but in a way you might come to appreciate for your own interests.

NS siding track

This is my memory of track: up close where all the details are plain to see. If they’re not present in model form, it simply doesn’t look like track to my eyes.

Of course my experiences aren’t going to be the same as yours. We each have something that drives our involvement with this craft and although two people can find inspiration from the same source, they’re unlikely to be inspired in exactly the same way.

What I’ve discovered is how satisfying the craft is when you finally choose where to focus your time and efforts. Having such focus frees you to concentrate on the aspects that truly bring enjoyment and satisfaction instead of wasting time and resources on those that don’t bring either. I do appreciate how some people feel they can’t make such choices because everything is equally interesting. The word for that is collector.

My layout is small because I made that choice. The track is handlaid to exacting standards of fidelity because I made that choice. The groundcover techniques and other scenery aspects are all choices, each freely made. Herein is the key I think; making informed choices instead of compulsive compromises because that’s how it is supposed to be according to the expert of the month magazine article. Regardless of what others think, or how it’s supposed to be done, I practice the craft and make the choices I do because it brings me the satisfaction I want. That’s the only form of good enough I’ll acknowledge.