David Popp: The Thinking Man's Model Railroader...
I suppose this is somewhat in response to the lengthy thread about Malcolm Furlow...
I'd like to raise a glass to David Popp, MR's editor, and thank him for his work showcasing N scale in particular, and the hobby in general.
I believe his New Haven layout is among the best designed, best executed, and best presented layouts I've seen in a long time. Its quality both in terms of construction and concept, ranks up there with the Reid Brothers Cumberland Valley System, in my opinion. The Naugatuck Valley is completely believable, it's of a modest (and achievable for most of us) size, and is designed with operations in mind, so it looks to be fun to run as well as to look at.
While there are grumblers who say they see this layout too often in the pages of MR. Granted, it has been in there a few times, plus on the MR DVD series, GMR and I believe a few other special editions, I never get tired of it.
I think that's symbolic of how David presents the work more than anything else. He's constantly re-thinking the layout, tweaking and otherwise making improvements, and he presents those ideas in a clear and entertaining fashion.
Think of it. Every time we drift into the train room, we see our own layouts over and over, so David's articles are really articulating what's going through our own minds most of the time. "What if I backdate to steam?" "What if I wanted to extend a branch line?" "How can I add some more operations opportunities?" Always thinking.
I find his articles inspirational, motivating and very well organized. I also appreciate how he handles the delicate issue of scale choice, illustrating with words and projects the benefits of N scale without slipping into the inevitable "scalist" arguments.
So kudos to you, Mr. Popp... For a very professional, yet always interesting approach to the Model Railroader fraternity. Thanks for your contributions.