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Tony Koester and his column Locked

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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

THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO BUILD A MODEL RAILROAD

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

steinjr

 

...

 

 Kyle_Y:

 

What's TT scale?

 

 

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TT_scale

Smile,
Stein

 

Another site if you're interested http://www.ttscale.com/

Enjoy

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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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.

-Crandell

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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.

Dan

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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.

Sheldon

 

    

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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.

                             --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

selector

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...?

-Crandell

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.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 6:21 AM

jmbjmb,

"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?

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by corsair7 on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 4:29 AM

Voltronman

It is so funny how I am labeled a TROLL just because I expressed I did not like him.  Just because I did not jump on this LOVE WAGON with the rest of the people I am the OUTCAST.  Whatever!

I am also free to express my personal opinion and I said I do not care for Tony Koester and I am not a fan.  Had I said I did not care for Monsterrailroad everyone would agree with the statement and it would have been totally fine.

As I said He focuses on all old school and old era stuff and what he writes is of NO interest to me.  I also feel that when a newcomer comes on IF he should be a New Yorker and a modern era guy we would see more of it in the magazine and then I would find it to be more of my personal taste.  Tony Koester to me does come off as a MR KNOWITALL kind of model railroader that is given so much praise for it.  Just look at Novembers MR magazine it is AGAIN just like every month full of steam era layouts and it just gets tiring thats all.  Change the game a little bit MR and get a NEW guy in to contribute.

 

now if I am still labeled as a TROLL for saying this, well fine, so be it.

I don't think you are a troll. I just don't agree with you on Tony Koester. Tony has done alot for this hobby and even though you don't like the fact that he does steam railroading rather than modern era stuff, the fact is that once upon a time the only way to model railroad was to do it with steam. It's something that most of us don't have to do in a age when diesels and diesel electrics dominate the railroad scene.  So what. Tony has done it.

Ehrn you have made it into print like Tony has you can put forth your own concepts and thinking. Until that time arrives, I'll enjoy reading Tony's column even if everything he writes about doesn't always apply to the Hudson and Hartford.

Irv

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 1:37 AM

I have enjoyed reading Tony's columns over the years.  They are well written and he has a great sense of humor and the absurd.  At times I get the feeling that he's just goofing off with trains and he knows it.   Tony conveys that "what, me worry?" kind of joy/ridiculousness with the hobby that I find some how oddly reassuring.

As for influence, Tony has had a remarkable and positive influence on the hobby.  My layout would look a lot different if I hadn't read Mr. Koester's words.  While there were others in the hobby saying the same things at the same time, Tony was very visible and thus had a big influence.  He helped popularize lots a good ideas in terms of layout design, ops etc..His coal fork extension articles in the 1990's were a big influence on me personally.  The flowing trackwork in those yards was great.

Guy

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Posted by steinjr on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 1:19 AM

Kyle_Y

I read it for what it is, an opinion column. I take the thoughts, and suggestions as his, ponder them, keep the ones I like, and move on. Not really a subject I find myself losing sleep over, or keeping a grudge against a guy who does things differently than I.

Amen.

 

Kyle_Y

What's TT scale?

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TT_scale

Smile,
Stein

 

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:56 AM

Right so, Crandell!

Having a different opinion than one of the gurus of model railroading is an unalienable right, voicing it in an undue manner not.

I am sorry that this discussion has got a touch too personal. It should not have, as it is only detrimental to either side. Where would our hobby be, without the variety of views and opinions?

Let us just be a little more respectful!

Enjoy!

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Posted by Kyle_Y on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:11 AM

I read it for what it is, an opinion column. I take the thoughts, and suggestions as his, ponder them, keep the ones I like, and move on. Not really a subject I find myself losing sleep over, or keeping a grudge against a guy who does things differently than I.

 

What's TT scale?

PUGET SOUND LINES

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Posted by selector on Monday, October 11, 2010 11:04 PM

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...?

-Crandell

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Posted by pastorbob on Monday, October 11, 2010 10:46 PM

CNJ831

 rrinker:

 Sir Madog:

I am still trying to figure out, what an old school modeler is supposed to be, and what modern guys do differently. Will someone please help me with that?

 

 Me too. It can;t be technique - like using foam and caulk and so forth, because in a recent article Tony mentioned using caulk for his track.

 Maybe he meant modeling modern era vs the 40's and 50's. However, it's still the most popular. In Model Railroader int he 50's, people weren't modeling then current railroads, they were modeling turn of the 20th century - remember all those Central Valley car kits, among others? Seems like there's an almost steady 50 year lag - probably corresponding to the average age of model railroaders, many of whom model their youth.

                                  --Randy

 

Randy, that statement is a bit misleading. I was around in the hobby back in the 50's and the great majority of fellas were modeling either the late steam era, or the then current transition era. The bulk of the popular locos and rollingstock kits of the day were also predominantly for those eras, certainly not the turn of the century. Even in the 50's, the percentage of hobbyists modeling pre WWI was less than 15%, at least according to the MR readers' surveys.

Concerning what constitutes "old school modelers", I'd say that title describes hobbyists who were/are skilled in a very wide range of crafts, ones that were essential to really be a model railroader back in the day. They built whatever was necessary for the layout, often ranging from kit locomotives, down through all their buildings, the freight/passenger cars, hand laid the track, and sometimes even built the power packs. Contrast that with an increasing percentage of today's hobbyists who are at a loss if they can't buy whatever they need RTR from Walthers! I think you get the idea.

CNJ831 

Don't always agree with CNJ, but this time I think he is on target with his answer.  At my tender age of 74, I have done all the things he mentioned, many in my younger days, but still do a lot of kit bashing, scenery, track laying with real wood ties, etc.  And since I model Oklahoma in the grain belt on the Santa Fe, I have kitbashed a total of 31 grain elevators over the past few years, mostly starting with the Walthers elevators and going from there.  I am now finished with that project, and my mind and hands want to grab one of the kits off the hobbyshop shelves even now when I walk by, but I curb the urge.

So we all have our weaknesses and strengths, and I like to lean on the strengths I have and fumble with the weaknesses and I enjoy the hobby more than I have a right to.

Good night Tony, wherever you are.

Bob Miller

Bob Miller http://www.atsfmodelrailroads.com/
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Posted by CNJ831 on Monday, October 11, 2010 10:04 PM

rrinker

 Sir Madog:

I am still trying to figure out, what an old school modeler is supposed to be, and what modern guys do differently. Will someone please help me with that?

 

 Me too. It can;t be technique - like using foam and caulk and so forth, because in a recent article Tony mentioned using caulk for his track.

 Maybe he meant modeling modern era vs the 40's and 50's. However, it's still the most popular. In Model Railroader int he 50's, people weren't modeling then current railroads, they were modeling turn of the 20th century - remember all those Central Valley car kits, among others? Seems like there's an almost steady 50 year lag - probably corresponding to the average age of model railroaders, many of whom model their youth.

                                  --Randy

 

Randy, that statement is a bit misleading. I was around in the hobby back in the 50's and the great majority of fellas were modeling either the late steam era, or the then current transition era. The bulk of the popular locos and rollingstock kits of the day were also predominantly for those eras, certainly not the turn of the century. Even in the 50's, the percentage of hobbyists modeling pre WWI was less than 15%, at least according to the MR readers' surveys.

Concerning what constitutes "old school modelers", I'd say that title describes hobbyists who were/are skilled in a very wide range of crafts, ones that were essential to really be a model railroader back in the day. They built whatever was necessary for the layout, often ranging from kit locomotives, down through all their buildings, the freight/passenger cars, hand laid the track, and sometimes even built the power packs. Contrast that with an increasing percentage of today's hobbyists who are at a loss if they can't buy whatever they need RTR from Walthers! I think you get the idea.

CNJ831 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, October 11, 2010 9:28 PM

jmbjmb

So anyone who disagrees with the stated opinion is insecure and small minded?  Or perhaps I should "grow a spine" and NOT express a differing opinion?  Only those who agree can express an opinion?  And who said anyone shouldn't set high standards for themselves?  All I said was one persons preferences should not be considered the standards for another.  If you re-read my posts, you'll see that no where do I consider Tony a "snob."   As I said in an earlier post, I don't agree with everything he says, but his is the first column I read each month.  And no where do I say that Tony says you have to do X, Y, & Z.  What I do take issue with is the 2nd and 3rd level effects where others draw those conclusions and then extend them as a standard for others.

Of course since I have no spine, then I can't express an opinion that differs from the prevailing standard.

I agree..I don't always agree with Tony's thoughts-never did and never will but,I still enjoy his column.

Don't take it to heart..I got smashed and bashed one time because I made anti G&D statements and I was given a good thrashing by e-mail because I said every time I see pictures of  F&SM  I 'm reminded of the Popeye movie. .

Larry

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Posted by jmbjmb on Monday, October 11, 2010 9:08 PM

So anyone who disagrees with the stated opinion is insecure and small minded?  Or perhaps I should "grow a spine" and NOT express a differing opinion?  Only those who agree can express an opinion?  And who said anyone shouldn't set high standards for themselves?  All I said was one persons preferences should not be considered the standards for another.  If you re-read my posts, you'll see that no where do I consider Tony a "snob."   As I said in an earlier post, I don't agree with everything he says, but his is the first column I read each month.  And no where do I say that Tony says you have to do X, Y, & Z.  What I do take issue with is the 2nd and 3rd level effects where others draw those conclusions and then extend them as a standard for others.

Of course since I have no spine, then I can't express an opinion that differs from the prevailing standard.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 11, 2010 9:05 PM

Sir Madog

I am still trying to figure out, what an old school modeler is supposed to be, and what modern guys do differently. Will someone please help me with that?

 Me too. It can;t be technique - like using foam and caulk and so forth, because in a recent article Tony mentioned using caulk for his track.

 Maybe he meant modeling modern era vs the 40's and 50's. However, it's still the most popular. In Model Railroader int he 50's, people weren't modeling then current railroads, they were modeling turn of the 20th century - remember all those Central Valley car kits, among others? Seems like there's an almost steady 50 year lag - probably corresponding to the average age of model railroaders, many of whom model their youth.

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 11, 2010 9:01 PM

Maybe it is just my poor knowledge of the English language, but I never found Tony´s column to be patronizing or snobbish - just thought provoking.

I am still trying to figure out, what an old school modeler is supposed to be, and what modern guys do differently. Will someone please help me with that?

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 11, 2010 9:00 PM

 I had plenty of that too when I started out. Luckily my Dad also has some older die-cast Mantua locos that really ran nice, and we bought some AHM/Rivarossi locos that were also smooth. My Tyco Santa Fe F unit, not so much. It didn't get used much, either.

 As for the scales question, I think he's on to something there. TT would be perfect - bigger then N but smaller than HO. Big enough to detail without using a microscope. Big enough to fit decoders in easily. And no special scale rules needed, any old architect's scale or machinist's rule has 1/10" graduations. Not to mention easy to do the math in your heat. Quick what's 145 inches divided by 87.1? Laugh

                       --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, October 11, 2010 6:29 PM

rrinker

...all those cheap Tyco, Life-Like, and Bachmann piece of junk from the 70's ...

 

                                    --Randy

 

 

Hey, I started with Tyco in 1971 and had a lot of fun with it on my first two layouts.  Sure, I moved on to craftsman kits from Central Valley, LaBelle Woodworking, etc plus some scratch building  But it really was Tyco, Atlas, and Model Die Casting that got me going in this hobby.  Even though I'm in S now I still have it all.  And I have fond memories of those early layouts.

As for Tony, how can you get upset with a guy who admits the hobby would have been better off if S and TT were the major scales instead of HO and N?

Enjoy

Paul

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 11, 2010 5:39 PM

 If what Allen McLelland built was "good enough" then I want to be "good enough". He didn't mean shoddy, or poorly made. It is more that hsi streets aren;t detailed down to every crack in the sidewalk and newspapers in th gutters. No pigeon dropping decorating the roof of every structure. Stuff liek that. Detailed, realistic, but not super duper detailed.

I'd like to see ONE isntance where Tony has said or hinted that you are somehow less of a modeler if you don;t have a 20x40 basement with 15 or more miles of track and use TT&TO operations - keep in mind the AM did not use TT&TO.

 I'd also suggest that railroads liek the AM, V&O, and Tony's new NKP didn;t just spring up instnatly because they dropped megabucks on the construction. It took YEARS to get there. There are many issues with today's society - instnat gratification is one of those. Sure you cna have a basement empire tomorrow - if you have the money to pay someoen to make it for you. The restof us work up to it over time.

 And the whole idea that model railraoding is an inexpensive hobby - and i know everyone's goign to pop up with things like "well you cna get dirt for free - and make trees out of the weeds you pulled fromt he garden" and all those sort of things, but face it, this hobby is not now nor has EVER been inexpensive. Today you look back and see brass Shays for $20 in the 50's - well friend, $20 in the 50's was a good chunk of change. And current plastic locos are in general better detailed and better running than 50 year old brass. Sure we had a cheap period - all those cheap Tyco, Life-Like, and Bachmann piece of junk from the 70's - which I say did far more harm than good to the hobby as people bought them, ran them til they broke (usually by the next day) and figured if this is what this hobby is all about, I'm done.  I suppose this makes me some sort of elitist - well, I am not wealthy. I cannot just go plunk down whatever cash on somethign I want. I have to plan carefully how I spend my money, expecially in frivolous things like hobbies. I buy carefully, only what I need to fit my plan. I buy cheaply, using eBay and train shows. Still, there's no way I could be where I'm at if I didn;t at least have a decent job. It's a choice - I like model railroading, so that's where I spend whatever 'leftover' money I have. There are other less expensive choices, this is the one I made. It's always about choices. No one is saying you're not a model railroader because your layout is a 4x8. I don't know too many people with huge 30x5 basement empires, but none of the ones I do think I'm less of a modeler because my layout is only 9x15, or that someone with a 4x8 isn't actually in the hobby. I find with only very few exceptions, model railroaders are genuinely nice people who help each other, not ridicule the beginner for making a 4x8 with green grass paper. We all started in palces like that, and over time, being dedicated to this hobby, improved our skills and general life situation to make bigger and better things.

 The one thing that bugs me most, goes along with what Sheldon and others said previously - I just fail to understand why anyone would not always try to better themselves, and put forth less than their best effort at anything. Trying your best doesn't mean perfect the first time out. I don't mean in just your hobby, I mean in general at work, at school, whatever. It's become a vice rather than a virtue these days.

                                    --Randy

 


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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, October 11, 2010 5:30 PM

jmbjmb,

You missed the point - the point is "high personal standards for themselves" - not "demanding" that everyone else do the same.

I have a personal set of standards and goals I have set for my modeling, I have considerable experiance and a proven track record working with my hands, with model trains and in other trades/crafts.

If asked, I will discuss my standards and goals and explain why they are important to ME.

Any such statements about those standards and goals will no doubt reflect my belief in their value.

That does not imply that I expect everyone else to agree or to strive for those same standards/goals.

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.

Tony's job is to be a commentator on the hobby and the various directions it takes as it evolves. That job is going to be influenced by his personal choices. His opinion would be of no value if it was not based on personal knowledge and experiance.

I respectfully suggest you CAREFULLY  re-read my previous post - I did not hold Tony or his views up on a pedestal - quite the opposite, I stated how and why I repect his opinion as a peer in this hobby.

As for specific standards, mine are very much out of the norm. Things I consider very important are of no importance to many modelers today. Many things considered "cutting edge" today by most are of no interest to me. Example  - I don't like/want sound in HO or smaller scales - Tony loves it.

And I repeat, why are those who set high goals and standards FOR THEMSELVES seen as being snobs? It is the downfall of our culture to be sure.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by jmbjmb on Monday, October 11, 2010 4:20 PM

TA462

 ATLANTIC CENTRAL:

I have noted before, in similar conversations on here, how anyone who sets high standards for themselves is often seen by some as bring a snob, or as expecting everyone to follow those standards. What has happened to our culture that has made achievement and excellence dirty words?

Sheldon

 

I couldn't agree more.  I set a very high standard for myself and I don't agree with the close enough or good enough attitude some people have.  You can ALWAYS do better.  I probably got that from building model cars, restoring real cars and entering shows.   I very rarely comment on threads like that because I usually come across as a snob or worse, lol.  

I find these somewhat interesting, in that Allen McClelland, who is highly regarded by most, promoted a "good enough" philosophy for the actual modeling in order to complete the railroad to a reasonable level and operate it.  Likewise, it often seems Tony follows a "good enough" philosophy in the actual modeling (note, no where do I say "poor quality"; his "good enough" is actually very good).   As best I can tell from his written work, the "high standards" are in fact operational goal rather than modeling standards. 

I'm making this point becuase a "high standard" that one must have X scale miles of railroad, running TT&TO operations, with N operators is not a standard.  It is a preference.  And should not be promoted as a minimum standard.  That is what I think the issue people have.  MR, & Tony by  his writings, are promoting a size, cost, and complexity standard that is simply un realistic for most people.  It has created the impression that if you don't have a zillion square feet of railroad, they you aren't a "real" model railroader.   Suppose I wrote that high standards mean every structure must be board by board; every rivet proper for a specific prototype and if you didn't do that, then you weren't a real model railroader.  It would generate the same reaction. 

That is all many of us are saying, that a personal preference is being promoted as the minimum get in and if you don't meet this minimum, then go bass fishing or something.   (Note, I am a bass fisherman and have the same feelings about how pro fishing has created a feeling in many that you must have a $50K boat to be a "reel" (sic) fisherman.)

  • Member since
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, October 10, 2010 7:52 PM

Bob,

My feelings about Tony and his columns are similar to yours, while I don't always agree, I do respect him, his views and his experiance, even if his experiance is only a little longer/broader than my own.

I have noted before, in similar conversations on here, how anyone who sets high standards for themselves is often seen by some as being a snob, or as expecting everyone to follow those standards. What has happened to our culture that has made achievement and excellence dirty words?

And, Tony does challenge us to do better, and to better define what better is. My definition and his are not the same, but I still have great respect for the work he has done in the hobby.

I have never met him personally, but have corresponded with him by E-mail on several occasions. Once, in fact, to offer him my solution to a problem he was having. His response was friendly and positive and he was completely open to my ideas - which happened to be slighly out of the "main stream".

I read his column every month, not with bated breath, but as part of my normal "absorbing" of each new issue. Sometimes it is good, sometimes I agree, sometimes not so much so. Since I am not a person easily impressed by "celebrity", I see his column as opinion and information, offered up for my review and possable benifit - nothing more, nothing less.

Tony, thank you for your thoughts.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by pastorbob on Sunday, October 10, 2010 7:18 PM

Since I posted the item to begin with, let me say at one time I too thought Tony got a little over the top.  But after all these years, I realized he was simply setting a watermark to shoot at.  He caused me to do a little better than I might have.  There were times I wanted to take the easy way out on a project, but Tony's attitude caused me to re-examine and rethink, and in most cases for the better.

I have been around him several times at NMRA functions and found his dry humor refreshing.  Bottom line, he caused me to raise the bar on my own layout(s) and they were better for it.  One thing some seem to have forgotten, you are under no compulsion to follow his advice.  There is no law that will come to your door and confiscate your layout  because you didn't follow his advice.  No one will repossess your layout and throw you in jail.  One person said they hated all the paperwork.  So do I to some degree, but I have used the desktop on my dispatcher's desk to replace a lot of paper work, and I wouldn't be without the car cards, waybills, etc.  So I choose to thank him for the challenge he gave me over the years.  You of course are not compelled to do anything he suggests.

I do find it small of people to complain about the standards Tony has set when they are either too lazy or just don't care to follow them.  But there are a lot of modelers I know who are also willing to use his ideas and thoughts that fit a need or our layouts.  Thus again, I thank Tony.

Bob

Bob Miller http://www.atsfmodelrailroads.com/
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Posted by Electriccharlie on Sunday, October 10, 2010 12:18 PM

I have never met Mr.K , however, I find his column to be infinitly arrogant in this respect. He assumes that there are certain minimum standards that must be met for the reader to be a 'modeler'.

I shudder at the thought of having to have paperwork to properly run my train. I never visited his former lay-out but the fact that it no longer exists does not make it the watermark that all of us poor un-washed should aspire to.I think his column has contributed more than most to the mental truama suffered by many model railroaders who must now hide their non-conforming ,out of era, or  inacurate to prototype lay-outs for fear of ...what? That a rivit counter will critisize it.

I am sure that the column has advanced the hobby,but at what cost to the underlying point,enjoyment ?

 

  • Member since
    April 2001
  • From: US
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Posted by CNJ831 on Sunday, October 10, 2010 11:00 AM

I lean toward the opinion slant posted by CSX as well. I've met and talked with Tony on a couple of occasions and found him to be a really nice guy. Likewise, I certainly admire his modeling knowledge and abilities. However, while his column years back often offered some really valuable insight into various approaches and aspects of hands-on modeling and layout design, in recent years it has come to take on too much of a flavor of "this month's varied and irrelevant thoughts of Tony K" as the column contains little, if anything, of practical value. Nice reading for the armchair folks, perhaps, but really space that would have been better off devoted to some modeling topic. I really don't care about how Tony feels regarding the trains and Christmases of his youth, or whether two fellas have opposing views on the subject of staging yards (which plenty of people do!). I think that MR has shrunk to far too few pages these days to be devoting space to simply someone's reminisces.

CNJ831  

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