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Making Freelance Models - Pros & Cons
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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 02:06 pm
51st Post

Joined: Thu Mar 5th, 2009
Location: Connecticut USA
Posts: 41
Sorry, I cannot resist another word or two on the topic.  :old dude:

A number of large railroads made locomotives, to their design, in their shops.

Also, when it came time to rebuild or repair a locomotive,
many more railroads would make their own modifications to the locomotives,
they bought from other railroads and from locomotive builders.

Since we have our own railroads, we too, can make or modify,
the locomotives and rolling stock we own, any way we want.
We are simply following prototypical practice, just on a smaller scale.

Second point:
How realistically functional our productions appear, depends on a number of factors.

Some of us know a lot about how a steam loco functions,
and can make rational designs and modifications of our own.  Hooray for us.

On the other hand, some of us modelers like to make whimsical designs,
which would never even stay on the rails, if produced in full scale.

But so what?
This is our hobby and we are making our models for our own enjoyment.
Yes, what the whimsical guys make will bother the knowledgeable modelers a bit,
but again, so what?

We are making our whimsical thingees for our own amusement and enjoyment,
not for anyone else.  It's a hobby, remember?  So a big Hooray for whimsical modelers.

There is another group of modelers, who make their own designs and modifications,
trying to make a realistic locomotive, but get it all wrong because of lack of knowledge.

This type of model can bother knowledgeable guys,
because we see it is wrong, and it is not meant to be whimsical.
'Tis neither fish nor foul, it is just wrong.

But once again, So What?
The modeler made it and he is happy with it.

Personally, I may very gently ask him delicate questions about it,
like why does that steam pipe come out of the head light?

If done nicely one can encourage the builder to make his model closer to reality.
But should we interfere with his fun?  Why burst his bubble?

That is a question that is hard to answer, kind of like telling a guy,
his fly is open, when he is speaking in front of a group of men and women.
I do not know the answer to this one.

I saw a model where the guy put floats onto an airplane that never had floats in reality.
The idea was OK, but the floats he used were way too small.
It was obvious he used whatever floats he could find, out of ignorance or sloth.

I did not say anything when I saw it, but it still bothers me today.
Well that is my problem and I have to live with disturbing things like that.

But, it is his hobby, and all I can say is, I would never say anything about it,
unless he asked me personally for my opinion. 
So it is live and let live, I guess.

In effect, all we can say about what a model should be like,
is how we personally feel our own models should be.

In a hobby we really cannot tell anyone about what he should be doing.
It is, after all, just a personal hobby.


"I am not a grouch. It is just that I am right and everybody else is wrong."
J. Pierpont Feathersbottom, Esq.
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 Posted: Tue Feb 11th, 2020 03:14 pm
52nd Post

Joined: Tue Dec 9th, 2008
Location: Keighley, United Kingdom
Posts: 67
It seems sometime since a 'freelancer' had a say.

Well I have gone down that route.

This came about due to an interest more in the technology of the railways,
than a desire to reproduce in miniature that which someone else had designed.

I like designing my own things.
So far this has been with trams, rail-cars and multiple units.

My latest effort is a wireless tram,
ie. it uses a ground supply represent in a model by a centre third rail.

Then there are the bodies.

Some time ago I became interested in old printed tinplate trains,
and wondered about converting an inkjet printer to print on tinplate.

Obviously the penny dropped when I realised,
that the obvious DIY substitute for tinplate was card!

This lead me towards various ideas,
including the purchase of a Camelot Silhouette Plotter/Card cutter.

Simple models with no window cut outs are often just as quickly hand cut,
and as I have not made up any for a while my first efforts returning to the concept,
are shown in this video.

One chassis with two bodies of different scales.

Simple 00 scale freelance wireless tram body, all printed.

Enjoy David

One day I might finish something................. find out if I do at my own paid for site (under construction)
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 Posted: Sun Feb 16th, 2020 01:33 pm
53rd Post

Joined: Tue Jan 24th, 2006
Location: Warba, Minnesota USA
Posts: 1831
Wow, dust this one off I see...
The rivet counters been trying to hide this one again eh...  ;)

Back in the day,
the shops of the DM&IR had what everyone in railroading considered,
to be the best locomotive mechanics in the world.

They were constantly rebuilding inferior equipment for use in iron-ore service.
When things were slow they leased these units to other railroads,
including just to name a few, the GN and the NP,
who would become of course BN to BNSF.

I have personally talked to a few engineers for the BN,
who were former GN and NP engineers.

The SD9 which was used heavily by both those major roads,
was modified by the shops in Proctor of the DM&IR.

These were then called SD M's for Mesabi...
Those engineers said that 2 of these could outpull 3 factory SD9's.

True Story!!

Getting old aint for Sissies!!! ;)
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 Posted: Sun Feb 16th, 2020 02:13 pm
54th Post

Joined: Tue Nov 13th, 2018
Location: Vienna, Austria
Posts: 376

Like this story....

Thanks for sharing!

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 Posted: Sat Aug 1st, 2020 09:14 pm
55th Post
John Teall

Joined: Sat Aug 1st, 2020
Location: Reno, Nevada USA
Posts: 15
for me it's all about imagineering something that could actually be built in our real world,
that doesn't have to be something, anything, that actually already has been.

this is not, for me anyway, limited to the kind of real life kit-bashing and improvising,
that was actually, frequently, and commonly done in historical industrial applications,
where budgetting for the transportation aspect of their operation was limited,
but it also, is a way of concept illustration in physical 3D.

just as i have always approached "art" as concept illustration,
this is also the way i thing of model building and operating.

(wahiba's post above is real close to the kind of thing)

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 Posted: Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 11:46 pm
56th Post
Norm Reese

Joined: Mon Nov 30th, 2020
Posts: 1
What about "What if" railroads?

My own plan revolves around the question:
What if Sam Insull had seen the promise of Michigan's Upper Peninsula,
and extended the CNS&M north of Milwaukee to haul iron and copper out of the U.P. mines.

The modeling opportunities are endless.
Car ferries from Mackinac, iron ore docks on Lake Superior with an ore boat, big mine structures,
narrow gauge shuttle railroads from the mines to Torch Lake or interchange with the North Shore.

The distances would require high voltage AC instead of 600 Volts,
so pans would be used instead of poles.

Of course, I haven't laid an inch of track yet.....

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 Posted: Thu Dec 3rd, 2020 10:25 am
57th Post

Joined: Tue Nov 13th, 2018
Location: Vienna, Austria
Posts: 376
Norm Reese wrote:  
What about "What if" railroads?

Why not?

Too few fictitious railroads in todays modeling world... 

I always drool over old magazines with private lines.

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 Posted: Fri Dec 4th, 2020 02:39 pm
58th Post
Ken C

Joined: Tue Jun 16th, 2015
Location:  Calgary, Alberta Canada
Posts: 995
With rolling stock from 8 countries,
and motive power from 5 (so far).

My railway is loosely based on the Kaslo & Slocan Rly.
and some of there projected expansion plans.

Added interchange with the WP&Y and the ARy&C,
gives me an excuse to run anything which I come across of interest.


Ken Clark

Kaslo & Slocan Railway
International Navigation & Trading Co
Kootenay Railway & Navigation Co.
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 Posted: Fri Dec 4th, 2020 03:47 pm
59th Post

Joined: Wed Apr 13th, 2011
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 2047
Ultimately it is your railroad,
and if it doesn't violate basic physical or mechanical laws,
I don't see a problem with it.

Creativity is GREAT !


Junk is something you throw away three weeks before you need it.
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