It could be said that I have never seen a train I didn’t like. As a result of this, I have played around with a number of different railroads and gauges even. I have finally settled the gauge issue a number of years back. My interestes still seem to roam all over the continental US or at least the west coast and maybe the upper midwest.
Like most modelers, I started to appreciate the scale world when my first issue of Model Railroader arrived at my home. I was in high school at the time. I realized that there was more to this hobby than buying Athearn stuff at the local. This would have been around 1960. Unfortunately, being in high school means that other things have a higher priority in your life. I continued to received the MR and attempted to do some of Jack Work’s simple structures using Bristol Board and using Floquil as a stain. This was my first scratchbuilding effort. It was an exciting thing for me to do something from raw material and not out of a blue box or whatever.
For the next decade or so, I would describe my modeling as start many things and finish nothing. I have attempted to describe this as the era of discovery and expermentation. It sounds better than: “I can’t decide what I want to do”.
Somewhere in the late ’60s, I discovered what I was looking for…..No it wasn’t the Grateful Dead. I met Bob Brown of Fine-Lines fame. He introduced me to Gordon Cannon, Bill Coffey, Lee Klaus and a host of other very talented modelers. The die was cast! I could not go back to “shake the box” anything. I learned out how to work in brass, cut scale wood, cast metal parts using Cerro-Bend and a host of other skills. It was mostly about narrow gauge but it didn’t matter given the opportunity to learn from the masters of that era. Funny thing about this era, the word styrene or plastic never cross anyone’s lips. Now I find myself digging into my large collection of well-seasoned scale lumber to make a simple jig for a styrene model. Imagine that!
I was at a NMRA National convention representing the Gazette along with Bob Brown, the editor. He introduced me to Al Armitage. Al and I started to talk about his favorite medium. In a few short meetings, I became a great fan of Al and his styrene work.
I built a number of styrene freight cars in the 1970s. No thought was given to things like weighting the cars properly. I did use sprung brass 1/4″ AAR trucks and Clouser brass couplers. Gee, they were $3.00 a pair.
To be continued……………………………