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Tony Koester and his column Locked

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  • Member since
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  • From: Maryland
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 6:21 AM


"All I said was one persons preferences should not be considered the standards for another."

I agree! That has NOTHING to do with what I said! So why did you comment on what I said?



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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 6:24 AM


I object t to the characterization of people who don't aspire to someone else's modelling practices as 'small minded."  Maybe, though, I'm small minded for thinking that...?


That is not what I said. And it is not what Bob said, if I may speak for him.

Again - re-read my orginal post.



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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 6:47 AM

 Nowhere did I say I agree 100% with what Tony writes each month. What I object to is the idea that Tony considers those who don't agree with his opinions to be somehow lesser forms of model railroaders. I don't get that from his writing.


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's


Visit my web site at for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 7:15 AM

IN MY OPINION, and in the opinion of a number of others here:

If you feel that Tony, or anyone in the model press is "PUSHING" their way of modeling on you, than that is YOUR problem of perception. They are not standing in your layout room, making fun of your layout, telling you you "must do it their way" or you are not a "real" model railroader.

What they provide is in a magazine, you can read it or not, you can accept it or not.

You should not put them on a pedestal just because their name is in print. They are you peers, not you superiors, UNLESS you allow yourself to be intimidated by what they write.

They offer the magazine and the information in it for your review and approval or disapproval, not the other way around. You are the customer, you have the power - unless you allow them to have emotional power over you.

NOW - I do feel from time to time somewhat disapointed that MR and other magazines in our hobby do not provide a wider base of OPINIONS on how to approach the hobby - but that in no way makes me feel like I have to do it the way Tony, or anyone does, just because their name and ideas/views are in print.

They are in print BECAUSE they set high personal standards, and met those standards to a degree that others in the hobby repect their achievements - that does not even imply that everyone agrees completely with how they model - it only means they did just that, set high standards and met those standards - and therefore others MAY be interested in learning/knowing about what they did and why.

It is not their responsablity to write every word they print in some mamby pamby, politicaly correct, soft, gentle, "this is just a suggestion" way so as not to intimidate or offend those with low self esteem. It is the job of a writer to use words to convey his own passion and belief in his subject - and again, if that bothers you, that's your problem - not theirs.

If you resent them because they have more or did more, then you are small minded and insecure. If you simply disagree with their modeling style or choices, fine disagree. Set your own standards and do what pleases you.

As I have said, I feel I have high standards for my own modeling, but they are not the same standards as Tony, nor are they the same as many others.

Yes, I have a large layout space, and am working on a layout with miles of track, large curves, complex controls and signals, and designed for prototype operation. That does not mean I think everyone should do as I am doing.

Some of my favorite layouts belonging to friends are nothing like my layout. Some are similar to layouts I have built in the past, some are are layouts I would never build personally. That's WHY I like them.

I have said this before when trying to explain my own chioces, I will say it again now - Why is it so hard for some to understand that others see the hobby completely different from them and have set for themselves different goals?

Personally, I have no interest in just doing what "everyone" else is doing. After 40 years of this I know what intersts me and what does not - I have zero-ed in on what does.

And, I take Tony and the rest of the press for what they are, suggestions offered for my consideration - nothing more, nothing less. I'm not shy or insecure, in model railroading or in life.




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Posted by AltonFan on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:13 AM

Maybe it's because I've been reading Tony Koester since he was an editor over at RMC in the 1970s, but I never got the idea that he was fanatical or arrogant.  In a piece about modeling railorading's eccentricities, he admonished his readers to say, "you may, I wouldn't."  And I was also a bit bothered when he displayed what I thought was excessive sensitivity to criticism by other modelers, or fear of confusing knowlegable viewers of his layout.

It does strike me that Koester is more of a popularizer of other people's ideas than an innovator.  And as far as I remember, he always gave credit where credit is due.

I think Koester is an excellent editor, and that RMC's quality visibly declined after his departure, and still hasn't fully recovered.  OTOH, I can't say that I was impressed with Koester's book on operations, which in my opinion, is a lot less accessible than Bruce Chubbs's.

And just because a writer works in a different scale or era doesn't mean a reader can't learn from him.


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Posted by selector on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:32 AM

Sheldon, you posted:

"BUT, the insecure, small minded people among us would rather I (or Tony) not voice our goals and standards as it makes them uncomfortable - even if we never said or implied that they should do the same. They assume that just because we voice our preferences, that we are somehow expecting/demanding them from everyone - nonsense! Grow a spine and be comfortable with your own chices in life."

In other words, it reads like this to me: "If people state that they don't share Tony's or my opinions about our approach to modelling, as Tony and I describe them, they must be insecure and small minded."  In yet other words, "If people disagree with me disagreeing with either them or with Tony, they must be simple minded and insecure." Or, more concisely: "I can do it, but not they."

Literacy is my business. And value-laden words like spineless, simple minded, and insecure don't really have a useful place in discussions about our hobby when comparing methods or approaches between discernible populations.  They raise false distinctions and polarize what follows in the way of discussion.

Please, from now on, just disagree without being disagreeable.


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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:50 AM







What's TT scale?



TableTop scale - in the US, 1:120 sale. 120" (10 feet) on prototype is 1" in model.



Another site if you're interested



If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by vsmith on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:15 PM


I'm worried this may be the direction this thread is taking... downhill and fast LOL  ;-)

OK I have read TK is past issues, I havent read this months column so i have no clue as to who the 2 other folks are, frankly I dont care but I find all the smoke and fury being whipped up here is rather fun to read though. I have adhered to a philosophy that I have found to be completely true and that is


...meaning if YOU are happy with the results, the results meet or exceed your expectaions and you are enjoying those results using your layout, than THAT is ALL that matters.PERIOD

TKs approach reflects a proto heavy approach to MRing and thats fine for what he and others who adhere to that approach enjoy doing, but MRing encompasses a very large audience whom dont all want to be doing the same thing. For myself I have always enjoyed the modeling process more than the actual operations aspect, frankly I find operations to be extremly boring, and as such dont use any such organized system on my layout, am I missing anything, to some they will say hell yes, to them I say, I'm not you.

Where I get my knickers in a bunch is when someone starts insisting that there is only a certain "correct" way to model a railroad, a "correct "way to do scenery, or a "correct" way to operate, sayz who? not me. Its like what is the "correct" way to do scenery, foam with zip texture, foam with plaster cloth cap, or traditional cardboard framing with crumpled newspaper and a plaster strip covering? the "correct" answer is: none of the above, its what works best for you under the conditions and constrictions you are working with. On my layout traditional plaster scenery would be far too heavy so I'm using foam/zip texture, which I'ms sure some tight crotched types could find a dozen things about it they dont like, too bad, I'm very pleased with the results, shouldnt that be all that matters?

TK's articles to me are interesting and always full of something usefull information wise even though have never really ever considered doing my layout in a similar proto heavy manner, why should I ?  Tony's layout is TONY's layout, all he's doing is conveying things the way HE did it, doesnt mean you HAVE to follow it too, thank you but I'll read up, take whats valuable to me, and leave the rest for others to utilize if they wish, but I really dont like this notion that there is only one way to do it right, there are many ways, and the one that works best for you is the only "correct" way to do it.

So only have room for a 4x8 Plywood Pacific?, Just do it!, have a spare warehouse and a zillion dollars to model the entire Union Pacific?, wheeeee! went can I come over? Want DCC? go for it, traditional block control DC?, hey have at it!, Want to model a 3 mile section of the PRR on July 7th 1942 at 3pm, go baby go! Want to model a nuclear powered tourist line running thru the middle of  Jurassic Park?, hell yeah baby go for it! Model railroading should be fun above ALL ELSE, Just do it, and dont worry about pleasing others, you are your only critic. and Have fun.

   Have fun with your trains

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