The Keystone Modeler - Input?


Message: 19
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 12:15:18 -0600


After >2.5 years doing TKM, and alternately having been accused of
causing the end of the printed magazine, the end of the Society, and
sometimes the end of life as we know it, it might be the right time
(once again) for the Committee to ask you what your opinions are on the

1) Are we on the right track with TKM?

TKM has gotten me thinking hard about what I really want in a modeling magazine. TKM is a wonderful idea, and one that may be facilitated by the electronic media--I mean, would it be practical if it were printed? I still get MR but find it to be less useful all the time...just for news mostly. I can't get any other magazines here in Birmingham and I won't subscribe to them all. I stopped doing that a long time ago since little in an omnibus magazine ever pertains to what I am specifically modeling.

I like the focus, the detail provided in each article, the background data provided, and the superb quality of both the modeling and the research that went into it. This is the stuff I am modeling myself (as I slowly get the shop and train room set up).

I can't afford to join all the historical societies and to subscribe to all the magazines I like. I dropped out of that race with the demands of 5 kids and a stay-at-home wife. And PRR is only one of 6 interchange roads I model (it's delivering lots of Sunshine, F&C, and Westerfield gons in freight car color). So TKM is an important source of information and inspiration.

I think the Railmodel Journal articles offerred by skilled and knowledgeable researchers and Ted Culotta's fantastic series in RMC (which I can't get here) are also standard-bearers of the kind of journalism that gets my juices flowing. Diesel detailers seem to have disappeared, but then again, Gordon Cannon doesn't make anything I can really use.

2) Is the new series on "Landscapes of the PRR", with all the
supplementary information on allied subjects (freight houses, geology,
info sources, etc.) of interest? Keep in mind, this was the subject that
people kept asking for...

As a Penn State graduate in geology...I sort of wonder what one could discuss. Most laymen don't have the foggiest notion of geology. And the scope is enormous. Structural geology? Stratigraphy? Coal geology? Glacial geology? Building Railroads in Disected Paleozoic Orogenic Belts? Modeling Thrust Faults with Plaster and Rock Molds?

Freight stations, towers, signals, stone arch modeling (like the skewed arches on the Juniata), pasenger facilities, track, catenary. Those are definitely modelable if out of scope for the STMFC list.

3) What subjects you would like to see better coverage on? Keep in mind
on this one that we are dependent on what subject matter our authors
find interesting, but also that we wouldn't be doing so many gons and
flats if not for all the comments at one point that no one was
furnishing info on those subjects...

Finish the gons and flats, its a nice break from the flood of house car articles. It is manna from heaven for me, of course. I like the blend of steam and diesel motive power, passenger, freight cars, and news/reviews. It is not a one-dimensional magazine.

The hopper fleet is a must. I also would like to see more info on the early TOFC models shown, just for interest.

4) Given all the interest in steam and passenger stuff, should we spend
less time on freight and supporting research for non-equipment subjects?

Try not too. I think a little passenger modeling goes a long way. Almost everybody is modeling freight cars, even passenger guys. The reverse is not neccessarily true (my mill road won't be interchanging passenger cars).

5) Do any of you think about contributing to TKM?

No. I don't have a way right now to do modeling articles and Elden has done all the dang gons<G>. But if I were King I'd try making an on-line magazine along the exact lines...maybe "Mon Valley Modeler" or the like to showcase Union, P&WV, B&LE, P&LE stuff that will never be seen in the big magazines. Catering to modelers interested in building those models. TKM may inspire other works (B&O Modeler is pretty good too).

Keep up the good work, I am delighted with each issue.

Charlie Tapper
Birmingham, Alabama
ex PRRTHS, ex WMHS, ex B&OHS, still in the P&LEHS, hoping for a P&WVTHS...and was even in the SPHS once.

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