Print vs. Screen

Denny Anspach <danspachmd@...>

For the prototype modeler of steam era freight (and other) cars; a truly vexing subject. I too infinitely prefer to read the printed page (did I say... infinitely?); but …….

Old magazines take up space, and more to the point to someone of my age, I simply can no longer easily handle the sheer weight and bulk (reading Doug Hardings’ comments on the ‘boxes’ of magazines he will be moving gives me sympathetic heart burn).

RMC: Filling up one needed wall is every single Model Craftsman/Railroad Model Craftsman issue since 1933/4 to near the end of the Carstens era. They can be truly a revelation of good reading, as well as a healthy reminder of how very, very good modelers among those preceding us could be; as well as providing plans for an awful lot of truly interesting cars and locomotives. However…..aside from pure recreation, I realize that in real time I rarely access, and I have come around to the hard fact that I would trade them for a high quality CD (difficult to do when no CD is available!).

I currently have resubscribed to RMC, and despite not admiring the policies of the current editor in past endeavors, and being dismayed by a recent editorial kerfluffle with one of Bill Schaumburg’s articles, I currently truly look forward to its monthly arrival , anticipating a good read. I like the production qualities: heavy duty glossy paper and sharp graphics.

MR: Although I did keep my originals from the thirties (thin enough to occupy little shelf space), all MRs otherwise went to the local library foundation (glad to get them!) when the MR CDs became available. Although I continue subscribing to MR, I find distressingly little of relevance to my own current modeling interests, and when I find something of lasting interest, I copy the pages. That the editing does not arise from a well of either recognized or obvious modeling expertise does not help. My favorite author and great modeling role model, Mont Switzer, has found a home at MR, however, a significant contributing reason to continue my subscription. I presently discard these after one year.

I rarely use the MR CD- but…it takes up NO space.

MRH: I do find it interesting, and a full ‘read’, but distressingly inconsistent in its ease of downloading (it now reliably freezes my Macs each and every time) , and reading it on the screen is not my thing while relaxing on the screen porch. The editing seems to be very self-promoting. I am not certain whether this is a product of ego, or simply because of the absence of good material otherwise.

MM: For reasons distressing to me now, but unclear to me then, I did not cotton on to MM until about 2000; and a treasure each and every copy that I have. Several weeks ago, while in a frenzy of housecleaning, my best friend Dr. Bob Church cleaned out all of his old MMs dating right back into the’80s. I diverted them from the re-cycle bin, but only after Bob had gone through and torn out every SP single article/plan/photo, including a number of which he wrote and completely forgot about! They are now weighing down the back of my car (just right for icy roads), awaiting some help to lift them out and carry them upstairs. They promise to provide some good armchair reading, but then……. I will probably spring for the CDs, after selecting out those issues that have some perceived lasting interest.

The late Andy Sperandeo related to me quite a few times how many times he had detected significant errors in MM plans, none of which were ever acknowledged or corrected. Soon after Andy was involuntarily (his words) succeeded at MR as editor, I asked him about any interest in purchasing MM from Bob. The answer was a resounding NO, mentioning only its low subscribership as a fatal flaw.

I do not know how RMC is doing financially (I wish it the very best), and I have doubts -perhaps unfounded- that MM today could survive as it was under the best management. Perhaps RMC combined with the best of MM would be sustainable.

There is not a doubt in this world that inspired MM and RMC editorship (Bob Hundman/Bill Schaumburg) combined shaped and encouraged the rich prototype modeling culture as we now find it, and as it is now expressed. Each did it in their own ways, and I am grateful for each.


Denny S. Anspach MD
Okoboji, IA

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