Compromise vs Freelancing (was: RE: What is Prototype Modeling?)

Frank Valoczy <destron@...>

I think there are a few other factors to consider, too, with regards to
compromise vs freelancing.

Here's a hypothetical to consider.

I have a layout representing Port Huron, MI - the GTW yard with the St
Clair Tunnel leading to hidden staging, the interchange with the C&O and
the C&O boat yard.

I've studied the trackage, and based on my available space, have decided
on X number of tracks in the GTW yard and Y number of tracks in the C&O
yard, both of which are shorter and have fewer tracks than the prototype.
Is this freelancing, or a compromise - but still prototype modelling?

I've studied the structures in the area, decided which to model and which
to omit based on available space. Time also being a factor, I've
subdivided the structures to model into two categories: those that are
distinctive to the location, that define the layout as representing Port
Huron at a specific time, and those that are more generic. So, I decide
that I will scratchbuild as accurately as possible the distinctive
buildings, but use available kits (perhaps modified) to represent the more
generic structures. Am I freelancing because I use some available kits, or
is it prototype modelling because I've scratchbuilt those structures that
make someone familiar with the location say, "Yes, that's Port Huron."?

I model in TT scale, which makes my next point perhaps more of a factor
than those modelling in HO or N, but it may still be applicable: there is
a limited array of locomotives and freight cars available, and limited
time and/or skills which militate against scratchbuilding everything. So,
since I can easily model an SW900 or SW1200 or GP9 in my scale, I decide
to accurately model a GTW GP9 and a C&O SW. The models are as accurate as
possible - but what if the C&O never operated SWs in Port Huron, only BL2,
which is a type unavailable in TT scale and is fairly difficult to
scratchbuild? My C&O SW is an accurate model of a unit that actually
existed - is it freelancing, because Port Huron never saw a C&O SW, or is
it a compromise, but still "prototype modelling", because it is an
accurate model of something that existed in reality?

In my mind, what I've described above, I would call "prototype modelling"
with compromises - I wouldn't call any bit of that freelanced, really.

But, if I build my layout representing the Romulus, Remus & Vulcan
Railroad that exist(s/ed) only in my imagination, even if every piece of
foreign-road rolling stock on the layout is an accurate model, overall I'd
still call that "freelancing". With, perhaps, some elements of prototype
modelling involved.

I would suggest that the deciding factor is intent. In one of the
examples, my intent is to recreate as best as possible the look and feel
of a real place at a given time in history - prototype modelling. In the
other, my intent is to build "a railway", and not an
as-accurate-as-possible representation of a real place at a specific point
in history.

It's akin to the Society for Creative Anachronism, wherein a certain
segment just wants to drink mead and fight with plastic swords, and
another segment wants to make period-specific clothing/armour/whathaveyou
with period-specific methods and materials (you can probably guess which
faction I favour :P ). The intent is what matters.

Prototype modelling requires compromise (unless you have near-unlimited
funds, time and space), in freelancing there is nothing to compromise. So
there's a huge difference between "compromise" and "freelancing".

Frank Valoczy
Vancouver, BC

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