Prototype or Freelance

All
So what way do guys go?
I follow a prototype because it gives me a focus and a clear path to follow.
Hopefully the final result will be a realistic layout that's as much fun to
operate as it is to build. Not every locomotive, car or structure needs to
be a perfect example of the Prototype just reasonable representations.
I think freelance layouts are every bit as acceptable as Prototype layouts.
The best ones have the same kind of focus that ties the overall layout
together just as if following a prototype.
Either Freelance or Prototype the best layouts in my view don't depend on
size, scale, or even levels of realism. They result from a dose of
craftsmanship, an eye for placement and perspective and a certain continuity
or overall theme that pulls you into a time and place and keeps you there.
Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Favinger
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My thinking is...do whatever it is that makes you happy. For one guy, that's making a microcosm of some local setting (or in some cases, distant setting)...for other's it's more fun to invent a totally fabricated world.
I'd tend to fall in the middle. I always preferred modelling one particular railroad (Southern Railway...US variety, not British). But as far as trying to model a specific location...not all that interested. I do prefer that as many of my models and rolling stock be as close to prototype as possible. For example, I would not have a locomotive that was misnumbered, or didn't exist. But I wouldn't go as far as dismiss a good model that represented a GP38-2 just because it doesn't have the paper air filter box.
On my rolling stock, if it's something I have bought, I try to stick with companies that produce models that are pretty close to prototype and use the correct range of numbers. If it's a model I have painted myself, I use a photograph of the nearest available prototype and use decal sets that most closely match the prototype...the numbers are always prototypical.
Example: I have acquired over the years several full sets of MDC/Roundhouse 5-bay Ortner hoppers decorated for Southern Railway. I've also bought a number of single units at various locations when they were a bargain. The numbers in the MDC sets are prototypical numbers, but one set that was released were consecutive (which you rarely ever see in prototype). The other set they released jumped around a little bit more. MDC also produced some that came partly in prototypical southern red-brown paint and partly in a very un-prototypical silver. One set even included a car that never existed to my knowledge...and Ortner anniversary model in blue, with Southern livery.
In actuality, these hoppers on the Southern are not 5-bay models at all, but rather 4-bay...but here again, the extra bay isn't something that I'm not willing to live with.
Southern produced two different series of these hoppers, which they call "Big Reds".
the first series were in the 79000 number series, in Southern Red-brown the second were in the 390000 number series, also in Southern red-brown
all the MDCs in red are 390000's, all the slivers are 79000.
First of all, I take ALL the silvers and repaint them black. They will later be re-decalled with the later Southern stenciling which Southern used when they repainted big reds to black and used the cheaper stensiling methods.
All the rest of my cars, I have painstakingly used a method of scraping numbers off with an X-acto blade, and using Microscale decals to change the numbers to match actual prototype numbers that I have physically seen.
It also happens to work out that the way Southern numbered the real hoppers, all you have to do is change the 3 in the 390000 series to a 7, and totally remove the 6th digit, and they work fine for the 79000 series hoppers and the number fall on the correct panels as they do on the prototype.
I have about 2/3 to 3/4 of my hopper fleet numbered in the 390000 range and the other 1/4 to 1/3 are numbered in the 79000 range. All in all, I have 50 of these hoppers. Originally, I wanted 97 so I could model a scale coal train such as I used to see running through the town I used to live in. Always 5 SD40's/SD40-2's with 97 Big Red hoppers and a remote control car. Most of the time it was 3 SD's on the head end and 2 slaves in the middle with the remote car. I think nowadays they've shortened the trains to about 85 hoppers (rarely use the Southerns, but instead privately owned cars) and usually use only 3 of the higher horsepower newer SD's or GE units.
Reply to
Slingblade
On 11/12/03 11:24 PM, in article rAEsb.298$ snipped-for-privacy@newssvr22.news.prodigy.com, "Bruce Fav> All
Yes. My plan is to freelance, based on a prototypical basis. I will model the Bryan, Palestine & Eastern (my initials), as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Rock Island. All equipment will be painted to RI specs, but with BP&E reporting marks. Think FW&D and C&S to get an idea of the concept.
Brian
Reply to
Brian Paul Ehni
=>All =>So what way do guys go? => =>I follow a prototype because it gives me a focus and a clear path to follow. =>Hopefully the final result will be a realistic layout that's as much fun to =>operate as it is to build. Not every locomotive, car or structure needs to =>be a perfect example of the Prototype just reasonable representations. => =>I think freelance layouts are every bit as acceptable as Prototype layouts. =>The best ones have the same kind of focus that ties the overall layout =>together just as if following a prototype.
I have written (and revised many times ) a "history" of my freelance rr, the Central Alberta Railway, wh/ is loosely based on a) a no longer existing branch of the CNR in central Alberta; and b) an preliminary survey over Howse Pass (which was not used.) "Alternative History" if you will. The CNR provides a guide to rolling stock and structures, the alternative history guides the layout planning. I have a historically arranged painting guide for the fictitious Central Alberta Railway. Not that I'm obsessive about it, it just helps me make decisions: structures follow or are adapted to CNR (Can. Northern) prototypes, rolling stock is more or less real world, with the Central Alberta cars and locos conforming to the "history" of the road.
NB: recently, I decided on a 1960 cutoff date - helped me reduce my inventory of someday kits. :-)
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
On Thu, 13 Nov 2003 05:24:39 GMT, "Bruce Favinger" shared this with the world:
Prototype equipment, to the best of my ability. The layout is freelanced, but loosely based on prototype practice.
In my case, the prototype is CNR in the mid 1970s. I am making sure the road numbers are correct for the type of equipment they are on (and ensuring the locomotives are types that CN actually owned), but I'm not modelling specific locomotives to contest (or Andy Harman) level of exactness. I want people's first impression to be "Yup, that looks like CN to me".
Any railroad company structures will be painted in CN's colours, but the architecture may not be an exact match for any building that CN ever had.
A few off-line structures may be modelled after local prototype buildings, but that's only if I feel like it. It's not a primary goal.
Kent
Reply to
Kent Ashton
Hi Bruce,
I am proto-freelancing the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy in late summer/early fall 1969, about 6 months before the merger that created BN. The proto part is based on the 'Q double track mainline between Chicago area and Galesburg, and the railroads practices, paint schemes, motive power, etc. But the freelance part is that I'm not modeling any "specific" location AND I added a fictional branch line, though again, it will be as prototypical as based on Burlington's practices, equipment, etc.
The setting is rural as I live in a small rural municipality on the Illinois River, so if I need to see how something "out in the country" should look, I can just hop in the car and be there in only a couple minutes -- literally.
The layout is called the Illiniwek River Branch, and that is another freelance thing as there is no Illiniwek River, in reality. I thunk it up. In the old house I only had room to model just the branch, but the concept with the double track main feeding the main, and the locale had been established ahead of time. In the current house, I have the entire basement area for the layout, so I can now actually build the main and run it from staging around the other three basement walls, and then return to staging. At one point the fictional branch breaks off the main and meanders around the remaining space in the basement's interior area, serves a couple small towns, and ends at a coal mine.
When I moved into this house over five years ago and acquired all this additional space, I thought about what type of layout did I want to go with. The above scenario worked out so well in the old house that I just decided to keep it in the new house, except now I could add more open space between towns and actually model the double track main. Tbis was a cool concept but if I were doing it over now, I seriously would consider doing something different or just leaving out the main altogether. Why? Well including Burlington's double track main means I need numerous extra run through trains which means I had/have to buy LOTS of engines I wouldn't normally need and TONS of additional rolling stock, including passenger trains and passenger engines. This is cool sounding and I don't regret it, but it sure adds to the cost of creating the layout!
I also wanted to mention that one plan I had considered was to model an actual location on the railroad. I think this would be really cool to pull off and would be a lot of fun, BUT I decided it was too limiting for what I wanted to do and run, so I didn't.
Finally, someday I may move the modeled date up to 1971. This would allow me to add BN equipment as well as GN, NP, etc. for power. I could also model early Amtrak with the funkly looking and colorful collection of passenger cars from all the participating railroads...all together in one train!
Take care,
Paul - "The CB&Q Guy"
Reply to
Paul K - The CB&Q Guy
Paul, Though I'm following a prototype I guess I'm really protofreelancing too. I've had to relocate the Trinity River and take a guess at what somethings might have looked like. I'm also adding a pecan polishing industry found on another area railroad. I could get quite a bit more in the space I have but I decided that I would only model three locations with staging.. This may be minimal but it should take about 30 minutes or more to move a wayfreight from staging and back possably longer. Two people could get very busy switching and running extras when the cotton crop comes in with a crowded yard and jam packed sidings. At least when I get that much finished. I will only have four locomotives (just one now and a second being built) and about 50 cars of which I have fourteen. The TM had about 12 locomotives operational during the period I model and owned about 140 cars. So I cut the proposed roster down to about 25% with the extra cars to be marked for other railroads. I've got some guest locomotives and surely will get some more that show up from time to time. Like an SP Mountain or Frisco Decapod that took the wrong turnout somewhere. One of them.......dare I say it.......is even a T&P diesel. Okay I've come clean and admitted it. I have a diesel. I feel much better now. I arrived at my layout size and complexity because I wanted something that could be fully operational in two or three years. This way I could settle down to doing what I like most and that's building structures and rolling stock and running trains. Since 95% of the time I will be the only operator I developed a track plan that I felt would offer enough variety and switching to keep things fun and interesting but not overwhelming. I also wanted something that I could realistically be able to maintain and afford and still be able to get an occasional locomotive or car that I like even if they don't fit in on the layout. I also settled on a railroad close to home. About 50% of the TM ran from about 15 miles from where I live to about 100 miles northeast. I modeled Narrow Gauge for years but after stumbling on some information about old Texas short lines I got curious and started looking for more info. I got rid of most of my Sn3 stuff and built a small HO layout representing the W&MWNW RR that's about 75 miles away from home. Then along came some neat On30 stuff. Being so fond of narrow gauge I jumped right in on that. Then we moved and about that time I discovered the TM. Being able to get out anytime to see the remaining evidence of the railroad and the countryside it ran through fascinated me. Even if the TM is standard gauge the old shortline has much of the same character that drew me towards NG railroads. Many structures that stood along the line are still there in small towns along the way. The old grade is evident in many places. Using topo maps and traces of the old grade I found the spot where the line crossed the Trinity river. From Sanborn maps I found the location of the Terrell freight house and checked on the site. It was still there! After these discoveries I was set on modeling this railroad and digging up all the info I could. Sticking close to home and finding such a neat old railroad that once upon a time almost ran through my backyard has been a wonderful development. Its created a level of enthusiasm towards a layout that not quite reached in the past. Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Favinger
I'm planning on freelancing a pass in the Cascades Mountain Range in Washington St. From a practical perspective, it'll be a representation of Stevens Pass, but it's not so close that it can't be any pass in the range...
Kennedy
Reply to
Kennedy (no longer not on The Haggis!)
I freelance and my Great Eastern modelling is _very_ focused.
Waaaaaay back in the mid 1970s, before I even had a model railway, I wrote the history of the GER from the late 1800's though to 1972, the year I was going to, and did, model. The history enables me to focus my modelling and my purchases so that I don't just impulse buy but buy according to what the GER really needs, A buying plan, something retailers don't like. :-)
The written history made it much easier when I switched from modelling 1972 to modelling 1958. I didn't have to do that much research into what locos, freight and passenger cars the GER would have had in steam days as I already knew.
This has stopped me buying locos and rolling stock because they look nice. I have to ask myself, would this be seen on the GER in 1958? If the answer is "No", then I don't buy it.
Of course, this can backfire, as manufacturers know with their "Limited run" nonsense. Now, if a loco suitable for the GER in 1958 is produced, I have to come up with the cash for several of them PDQ or they're gone.
For example. Today, I wander into the local pusher's store just to pick up a magazine, and there are half a dozen single sheath boxcars and wood sided reefers ideal for the 1958 GER. Of course, I have to pick them up before someone else does. And then what else do I see on the consignment table but two FA2s in CPR maroon and grey? Now of course, at Can$50 a piece, and still in their original boxes, I've got to have those as, with a few extra details, they will easily become two more passenger FA2s for use on the GER's premier passenger train, the Atlantic/Atlantique. The GER paints its passenger equipment almost the same as the same colours as the CPR.
However, the thing is, I'm still focused as I let two, very attractive, FA2s in CNR colours remain on the table.
-- Cheers Roger T.
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of the Great Eastern Railway
Reply to
Roger T.
I go along with Wolf's method. For me it's freelance based on a particular time and region. In my case I found my prototype railroad 25 years after I started building models and my current layout, so it was a bit late for me to change. I also like to be creative, so modeling from a blueprint in time would not be a fun thing for me. Then there are all those interesting kits from companies like Sierra West and Fine Scale Miniatures. Gotta have 'em. However, like Wolf, I believe setting a time era are important considerations that will make or break a believable model railroad. In my case I chose the late 1920s simply because I liked the appearance of everything mechanical back then. The cars, trucks and steam driven equipment from that era, even the structures all appeal to me. Here is a link to a page on my website that outlines how I justified freelancing the region and time I chose.
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Reply to
Doug
Hey Doug, Got your email the other day about your locomotives and the new MDC gears along with the thrust washer your using in the 2-8-0's. I'm going to get a new issue MDC 2-8-0 kit and give it a try. I'll have to bash together the superstructure but that shouldn't be too much of a problem as I have plenty of parts and pieces handy. I'm following a prototype as close as I can but not to the point rivet counting. Close enough is OK. As you know I'm modeling the 1920's too and like you just like the look of things during that time and even back to the late 1800's. I settled on the 1920's because almost all of the TMRR's roster of 16 locomotives were operating then. The last two were 2-8-0's built in 1918. I'll need to model only four or five for my layout so I should be able to find the stuff to build that many. The TM was prosperous and well maintained with the outrageous Colonel Ned Green in control during that time. The mood was upbeat. The SP / T&NO got hold of the TM in 1928 and it was down hill from there until the end of operations in 1943. So the period after 1928 was out. Before 1913 Ned Greens penny pinching gazillionaire mother Hetty Green was still alive and though Ned was running the railroad old Hetty cast a shadow on things. After many years of modeling beat up, down and out narrow gauge I wanted to do something different. Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Favinger
Here is a link to a page on my website that outlines how I justified freelancing the region and time I chose.
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Great work, Doug!
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
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Reply to
Bill
Thank you Bill Doug
Reply to
Doug
Bruce, Last week 3 brass Ma & Pa 2-8-0 locomotives went for around $175.00 and they were very nice. Two were PFM United models and one from Akane. These were the prototype for MDC's Old Time 2-8-0s. I bought a few 2 years ago when they were going for $250 -$350 You might want to check into some of the good brass buys happening these days. They would make a better base for you conversions than the MDC units. Food for thought? Doug
Reply to
Doug
Doug, I've been checking Ebay every now and then even though I hate the auction process. I got my TLC kit that way or I should say my wife won it for me because I only bid $50. I got outbid as I always do because I'm just cheap and when a seller says every thing "appears" to be in the box I assume either something is missing or broken. She new that I really wanted some of these old kits so she went and bid on it herself and got it $81. Just as I expected the frame was broken in half, the rods were broken, the motor missing and apparently the same ham fisted modeler assembled the gearbox so naturally it was ruined. Never the less I am happy to have it and as superstructure and tender were complete, unmolested and exactly what I need. That's why I'm hunting for a chassis/mechanism. I was watching a number of auctions and noticed two old PFM V&T 4-6-0's that sold under $200. This is a perfect locomotive for the TM. But right now I want to build a 2-8-0 and a 4-4-0. There is a Frisco 4-4-0 up that would be almost perfect and I might take a shot at it. Basically the only thing it would need is a new paint job and maybe new gears and motor if its not a good runner. Your right about the Ma&Pa 2-8-0's. A few years back they sold on Ebay for more than you could by them for at Caboose Hobbies and other brass dealers but are much more reasonable now. Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Favinger
Roger, If you have been reading some of my posts you know I got my hands on an old TLC kit. In regards to the Bachman 4-6-0 you mentioned in the past that the domes and some other items were too "old west" for the GER. If you run across one of these old TLC kits or just the super structure kit cheap grab it and you will have just about every thing you need in one box to GERarize possibly several of the 4-6-0's and lots of extra parts for other projects. The superstructure and tender take some work but look as good as nice brass or new plastic/diecast models. Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Favinger
"Bruce Favinger"
Thanks for tip off Bruce, I'll have to keep that in mind as it sounds like a good plan of attack.
-- Cheers Roger T.
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of the Great Eastern Railway
Reply to
Roger T.

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