Recently I reread one of Paul Larson’s articles from the late 1960s, July 1967 to be precise. Beyond my professed admiration for his writing and work, it struck me that there is something in these older articles that’s timeless when compared to present day content.

I saw a greater emphasis on timeless themes such as seeking excellence and striving to improve one’s work.

I saw an emphasis on doing the work for its own sake rather than as a means to another end like populating the layout.

I saw a can-do attitude toward the work rather than a go buy stuff approach that’s common today.

Was it a different era then? Yes, of course it was. Larson was of his time and this is reflected in his writing and indeed in the entire magazine. However the themes I mentioned above are not confined to a single era or pursuit.

The thing to understand with my focus on these subjects is that they are central to my worldview. They are also central to my experience with many forms of creative work. Speaking bluntly, model railroading is the exception. Given all the rhetoric about how great this hobby is, it baffles me why so many clamor for and crave shortcuts and results with the least effort possible.

I guess I didn’t get the memo.



  1. gene48

    Interesting perspective on Larson’s articles in RMC.
    He like many of his peers we’re not afraid of making what was needed to create the vision.
    Today, instant gratification is the norm. Buy it rather than build it is the mantra. Time available is a factor as is the declining skill base.
    Large layouts are the holy Grail it seems. It is what the magazines promote to the benefit of their advertisers.

    Keep on building one project at a time.

  2. mike

    Thanks Gene.