Like so many modelers these days, I’m in the process of sorting out my stuff. Over the weekend, I went through my magazine collection and ripped, tossed and donated the pile. Anything of interest was ripped out and filed away by category. Issues that survived intact but are not of interest were donated to our library’s book sale, where they will hopefully fetch a few bucks for a good cause.

Most of us hang on to stuff because some day I might need it. Here’s the hard truth: That some day has already come and gone for me. I’ve reached the age where it’s time to admit that a few things simply aren’t going to happen in my life and let those fantasies go and that includes the aspects of the hobby and layout.

I’m not planning another layout. The I&W is the last one and there is truly enough to explore in this theme that it will last me the rest of my days. Recently I’ve realized how shallow my work has been because I’ve held back from truly exploring a subject and until now, have been content to scratch away at the surface of things. For example, with all my emphasis on track, I’ve just begun to understand the process of modeling it. I feel the same about scratchbuilding and especially, scenery. There are depths to these subjects I’ve only now become aware of and started to explore. In the process, I’ve realized the size of the layout is truly irrelevant.

With a modest layout as my choice, going deep with a single aspect of modeling is feasible and provides it’s own satisfaction. I believe strongly that any modeler willing to go beyond the surface of this craft, will enjoy rewards that far exceed the effort involved.



  1. Albion Yard

    I’ve done much the same thing but in taking cuttings have been ruthless in only taking the stuff I ‘know’ I’ll need. The most popular cuttings have in fact been tony koester’s trains of thought pieces. Not because they have prototype or modelling themes as such, but for the way they provoke me to think about what I’m trying to achieve be it soldering two wires together or designing a new layout.

    Those articles actually help me make something, more so than a scale plan of a building or rolling stock.

  2. mike

    Hi Paul,

    I’ve been ruthless with this sorting. I only kept material that speaks to where I want to go from here. Some may say I’ll regret that, thinking my future interests may change. Perhaps, but I doubt it. I realize my time is finite, my interests are clear and there are projects related to the layout I want to accomplish.

    In sum, I’ve reached a point few in this hobby ever get to: I know what I want from it.

    I ask that everyone sign their posts as a courtesy to all.