Sunday, March 18, 2012

From 1983: Do you model railways ?

From the Tail Lamp column of Model Railways magazine, June 1983 written by Cyril Freezer:

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.


John Teal said...

I have to be honest and say I think that far more people open boxes than make models. What is more of a surprise is that many box openers think they are master model makers. Far to many forum posts are complaints that manufacturers are not making model x, even if it is a simple conversion available from model y.

Paul Barrett said...

The same sentiments could, I feel, be expressed at any time during the history of the hobby, past present and future.

I read time and time again that 'proper' modelling (kitbuilding and scratchbuilding) is dying out but I personally feel that there will always be a significant number of people that will want to do more than just open boxes.

Paul - currntly on the lookout for a couple of Cambrian Sharks to build despite Hornby doing a perfectly acceptable RTR version...