Sunday, March 18, 2012
From 1983: Do you model railways ?
Do you model railways ?
No, this is not a silly questions, for it is perfectly easy to produce quite a good layout anything more constructive then opening the correct boxes and link a lot of sectional track together on a baseboard that someone else has built to your requirements. Nor is this an altogether recent phenomenon. If you can get hold of a copy of Gilbert Thomas' Paddington to Seagood, you can read how this was done in the old days using Bassett-Lowke models.
Of course, it is a lot easier, and cheaper to do so in 1983. Furthermore, every item is a far better model of its prototype, but I do think it is time we grasped the fact that, although this is an important part of our hobby, and that, perhaps we don't always realise the full potential of the system, opening boxes is not modelmaking.
There are two special features of modelmaking that must never be forgotten. The first is the satisfaction one gets from creating a model, though in all honesty, I must stress that this depends on your possessing the necessary skill and the correct temperament to build the model in the first instance.
The second is more subtle. The modelmaker is independent. He and he alone (well, she in rather too few cases), decides what will be built, and sets the level of accuracy of the layout. Kits can be used, boxes will probably be opened, though the chances are that each item will be given some sort of special treatment. Certain models which are not commercially available are produced, either by massive reconstruction, or from that most versatile material "scratch". Above all, the modelmaker can specify prototype and period to suit himself.