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Malcolm Furlow G scale layout
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 Posted: Wed Jun 27th, 2012 07:19 pm
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Sullivan
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Yeah, I remember the articles he wrote on the building of the San Juan Central. I even got to see the layout before it was shipped off to MR or whatever. He had it in an upstairs room of his house. It 'sorta' ran. They were really sweating that when I saw it. Still, it was purty to look at.

BTW, his own personal rr was located in an outhouse on his property. I swear it looked like that. It was a rather smallish shed out back and the rr was crammed in it. Memory is a little fuzzy maybe. He had some curves on that arty little layout that no loco in production could manage. But...it was real purty too. 

The main issue with Furlow that some people in Dallas have is how he managed his business relations while becoming a well-heeled god courtesy of the rr press.

I understand that several years ago he even had a run-in with the secret service because he wanted to block access on his mountain to a certain well-known political figure. That maybe urban legend but...

Back to railroads...

Last edited on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 07:21 pm by Sullivan



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 Posted: Wed Jun 27th, 2012 08:18 pm
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mwiz64
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Sheesh... I didn't think model railroading was THAT lucrative.
Oh well, that is the very first I'd ever seen of rugged narrow gauge railroading and that is what has kept my interest all these years. Of course, many of you guys here have taken that to another level which is why I'm so fired up about getting back into it with trains.

Mike



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 Posted: Thu Jun 28th, 2012 05:05 am
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titus
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Furlow had a total of 5 layouts published in Model Railroader:

- Denver & Rio Chama Western (HOn3)
- San Juan Central (HOn3)
- Soda Creek & Southpark (Gn3)
- Children's Medical Center of Dallas layout (Gn3)
- Ferrocarril de Rio Mantanas (Gn3)

The Ferrocarril one is probably what sullivan is refer to as the one in the "outhouse".

Don't sweat being inspired by the photos published of his work. They are amazing. A lot of people trash talk him but whatever. I liked all his articles too.

But take all this photos with a grain of salt. Furlow himself does point out more than once that he really enjoyed the photography aspect of model railroading and as a result tended to just build scenes that were designed around photo opportunities. It's fairly obvious from looking at the track plans that operation was the least of concerns. In the past 10-20 years operation has become more popular and as a result his layouts have been summarized as largely large static displays.

I've personally done a ton of research on building the SJC. Why? Because it's so iconic, I really like it, and I think it'd be fun to build. At the same time my perspective on it is that if I ever were to do it, it would be more for fun and a scenery exercise than a serious attempt at building an operatable model railroad. Also, just for kicks a few months back I re-drew the SJC as a shelf layout. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nHxGxqCa8yY/Tmg1Zn_gIEI/AAAAAAAAAoI/zOiqw_oPl_U/s1600/SJC-Shelf-Scen.jpg

That said, I guarantee that the SJC was probably the most started, least finished project railroad ever published by MR. I see so many forum posts that are like "back in the 80's I started building the SJC..." Honestly, if I could figure out a way to do it with light benchwork where I didn't need to build a whole legs and table structure below it, it could probably be done for around $500 less rolling stock and structures and within the span of a year... Hmmm...

Right, I already have too many projects going. Let's not go there.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 28th, 2012 08:20 am
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Run Down And Poor Lumber Company
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titus,

You nailed it right on the head. !!!  When I started this thread it was not intended to  bash "Furlow' at all. He is the very reason I'm into Narrow Gauge right now.!!! Long before I knew of Bob Brown and the Gazette there was Furlow. And because of him a lot of guys on this site today is modeling narrow gauge. Titus your right a lot of his work  was just for show.!! I have every video and magazine he's ever been in and still till this day he's my all time favorite modeler along with John Olson. When their work stop showing up in Model Railroader I stop buying it. All in all lets cut the guy some slack.!! Because in the big picture of things people will be talking about his work 50 years from now.

So Malcolm where ever you are in New Mexico put down the paint brush !!  And keep us wondering what will you come up with next.

For all of us who love and build Narrow Gauge models & Layouts.

Ronnie D
.:cb:                                   

 



 

Last edited on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 08:26 am by Run Down And Poor Lumber Company



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 Posted: Thu Jun 28th, 2012 12:51 pm
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W C Greene
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In a defense of Sullivan's words, I will just add that if you knew the man personally, you would have a far different opinion. Yes, it is time to forget things and go on. But he screwed so many that his name will not be thought of with loving nostalga by those who knew him best.
Woodie



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 Posted: Thu Jun 28th, 2012 01:26 pm
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Sullivan
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Titus & Ronnie,

I was not bashing his work, only his business ethics.

BTW, his personal railroad was the Denver & Rio Chama Western. It was a beautiful little rr and, upon seeing it in person, was obviously built for photography and to show his techniques. The articles in the magazines made it look much bigger.

Titus, your rendition of the San Juan Central is great!. That would make a beautiful and operational little rr.

And BTW, Frary & Hayden got me started in narrow guage. But then I'm more the Maine two-footer guy anyway.



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 Posted: Thu Jun 28th, 2012 02:24 pm
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mwiz64
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If you do a little research you'll find that Malcolm Furlow also did a railroad called the Carbondale Central. I don't know if it was ever in the pages of MR. I think it was but it definitely is featured in the Kalmbach book "6 HO Railroads You Can Build". It's not narrow gauge but it is another fantastic looking railroad... Very gritty looking.

Those were the first model railroads I ever saw that didn't look like Lionel train sets or some a big long train crossing the Shenandoah Valley. Not that either of those are bad. I like that stuff too but ever since seeing those railroads that type of gritty modeling has been etched in my mind. I don't feel bad about it at all. Maybe the old guy was a horses rear in real life but his models were truly inspiring to a young man from SE Michigan. It's much the same for an older man from SE Michigan when he looks at the modeling displayed here at Free Rails.

Mike

Last edited on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 02:27 pm by mwiz64



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 Posted: Thu Jun 28th, 2012 02:35 pm
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Herb Kephart
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James-

I agree with you about Frary & Hayden.

While a cab ride at South Carver sparked my interest in Maine 2 footers, and led to the purchase of many books about the little and not so little (SR&RL RR) lines, I have always been too deeply involved with other model railroading aspects to model the 2 foot scene--now, I wish that some years back-perhaps when I decided to build a layout in the trailer- perhaps even earlier-- I had chucked it all and went to On2. Too late in the day now though.

To me, there are two types of model railroading. One is to try to duplicate the real thing as closely as skills, and other restrictions permit. This doesn't mean "counting rivets". It does mean that the model, and the railroad should be plausible, in the real world. Paladin's emerging layout is a perfect example of this. John Allen's definitely wasn't to my eyes.

The other "extreme" is the Far Tottering and Oyster Creek type of fantasy modeling. To use a word verboten in the model world- cute. This to me is interesting, but can be carried to extremes--see the GnATTERBOX for some examples- I think that I saw a soup dish with wheels under it there some time back. Who ever built it was having fun, and that's why this is a great hobby-- but it didn't do much for me.

And there is a (dislike the term, because it sounds negative) gray area- Toeffelholm's modeling, which he shares here on FreeRails with us (Time for a update on the "history" mein Freund!) A little whimsical, but very plausible.

But more to the subject of MF's modeling. I think that the thing that totally turned me off on what he did was a picture of one of his layouts (don't know which one--and don't care) of a turntable right smack against a vertical 60 foot high--brick, as I recall--wall partway around the periphery. For what was supposed to be an example of prototype modeling--it fell flat on it's face. So what is the difference between this, and the soup dish? One was done for pleasure on the part of the builder (way to go!), the other to see his name in print (way to go??)

Well enough of my opinions  What are yours?


Herb 



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 Posted: Thu Jun 28th, 2012 03:00 pm
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mwiz64
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I saw that turntable against the huge vertical wall yesterday when searching MFs stuff and I remember thinking to myself that it looked stupid. I don't think everything that man did was wonderful. Nor do I worship him in any sort of way. I just found his willingness to model things that weren't necessarily beautiful scenes to be refreshing and interesting. I'm sure he wasn't the first guy to model these things. He was however the first guy I ever saw model things this way. That places his work in a certain spot in my mind that will forever be cherished. Now I suppose if I had bad business dealings with him I might feel differently and to be honest it takes a little of the shine off my memories to know he was that type of person but his work still stands out in my mind... and it probably always will. I hope that simple fact doesn't cause people here to think any less of me.

Mike

Last edited on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 03:02 pm by mwiz64



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 Posted: Fri Jun 29th, 2012 04:03 am
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titus
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It sounds like you guys are describing the article about modeling Sheridan, Colorado in HOn3.

Is this the one?



As I understand it, this was quite a controversial picture/model.

What stands out to me about it, that I like, which I see highly lacking in many model railroads is texture. It represents so many different types of materials, wood and rock and stone and brick, etc., that it feels very interesting and exciting. Prototypical or not, I think a lot more railroads could use more texture. Frary talks about this in his scenery books a bunch. It's something I'd really like to learn more of.

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