Model Analysis and Evolution



I had a little spare time tonight so I paged through a list of freight car
models that I made ten years ago.  I'm a compulsive list-maker so it was
enjoyable to look through it, but as I did made some interesting observations
about where I've come int he hobby.  I wonder if you have had the same

Exactly ten years ago I had 153 freight car models.  Of that total, 98 were what
I considered "unfinished".  Of that total of 153, I only have 38 of those models
today--that's a little less than 25%.  Of those 38 models, I have completely
rebuilt and/or repainted 16 of them--almost half--and have plans to
rebuild/repaint two more this year. 

I don't know the total number of models I have today as I'm rebuilding my
current list, but it is in the 150 range, and about 20 of those
are "unfinished".  That's only 13%.  Compare that to 67% unfinished ten years
ago.  Apparently my philosophy of buying and completing models on hand has also

And another thing.  Ten years ago I didn't worry too much if I was using the
correct model for a given prototype, and I didn't install brake gear, or correct
trucks, or uncoupling devices, or other things that today I consider
the fundamentals.  I didn't concern myself with getting the car color right.

The reason for this rapid turnover is pretty obvious: it's you folks.  Your
generosity has helped me get from modeling trains to modeling freight cars, and
now I'm trying to do everything right--or, honestly--better.  Al Buchan was the
first guy that ever told me I was doing things wrong, and he did it in a very
mature way that changed my thinking on the spot.  I had a very
carefully-constructed Sunshine car, but the paint and decals and everything were
all wrong, and he politely pointed it out.  Around 1999 I joined this list, and
I was later strongly influenced by Ted's freight car series in RMC. 

My participation at RPM meets began in 2001 and that helped too.  Have I ever
told you the story when Jack Spencer read the dimensional data on one of my
kitbashed SAL box cars and laughed?  It was way wrong and yeah, it hurt--but I
thank him for it today.  Jack's a friend and I've learned a lot from him over
the years.

I know this message kinda sounds like it's about me, but it's not.  I thought
you might be interested to read some stats on the evolution of a fellow modeler,
and that you have been the driving force behind that evolution.  It leaves me
wondering how we'll evolve ten years from now.

 John Golden
O'Fallon, IL

Ned Carey <nedspam@...>

John Golden Wrote:
The reason for this rapid turnover is pretty obvious: it's you folks. Your
generosity has helped me get from modeling trains to modeling freight cars, and
now I'm trying to do everything right--or, honestly--better.

I agree and would also like to thank this list for its generosity. It has helped me be a much better modeler.

Ned Carey
PS: I avoid "me too" comments but I felt this was important enough to repeat.

Clark Propst

Building and operating a prototype layout has made me into a much more disciplined buyer. Seems most cars I've bought on impulse are now gone or I'm thinking about selling.
My fleet stands at 138 operating models and 5 unbuild kits.

I still have my weak moments. Last summer I bought an IM ATSF WE box car RTR at the National Train Show because it was cheap. I then spent time repainting parts, adding decals, changing some appliances and still the base car of the car is wrong!
Last Naperville I bought one of those Sunshine multi-door D&RGW box cars because it was cool looking. Only to find in my documentation I should have bought the 6' door car…I guess I'll build it anyway…

Thanks for sharing your thoughts John : ))
Clark Propst