Why we build matters far more than what we build.

Like others perhaps, all I actually want from this work is a meaningful experience around model trains. An experience that leaves me feeling enriched, not frustrated. An experience that is sustainable and reflects my reality and values, not someone else’s idea of what a hobby should be. 

What’s meaningful for me will not be the same for you. I find model building far more interesting than the traditional layout/operations centric approach. My creative joy is found at the workbench or in photographing my work. Every time I solve a problem or understand a technique that evaded me, I feel like I’ve grown and that the time was well spent. Isn’t that what a hobby or craft should bring to your life? 

Where to go from here?
I’ve been soul searching these past weeks. I’ve cleaned out my magazine collection except for Mainline Modeler and The Model Railway Journal. I managed to reduce three file drawers of old material down to one that is the most relevant to my interests. When I finally sorted through the last of it, I felt lighter (truly). It was time to let it all go and I won’t miss any of it because the material didn’t reflect the values I want to build my work around. I kept my reference library of books on the prototype but pared down all the rest. 

The layout is safe and I’ll share future developments in due course. Suffice to say for now, that a shift in direction is underway. All of this is a positive change that reflects a newfound freedom to model on my own terms, regardless of where the general hobby is going, or whether others think I’m an idiot for caring about the work to the degree I do. 

Over many years, I’ve come to understand what I truly enjoy about this craft. Developing my skills as a modeler is what I enjoy the most. Yes, it’s good to see the models perform well in a nicely detailed setting but that goal isn’t nearly as important to me as it used to be. As I stated above, I believe all most of us want from this activity is a satisfying experience around model trains. There are many ways to have that experience and my encouragement to each of you is to find the way that fits you best. More to come later but for now, enjoy the photo below.