YEAR # 6: The Book is Closed on the Year

My blog has been bumping along for six years now. It has been a journey for me.  Along the way useful information from fellow modelers has been shared.  Prototype data, plans and pictures have been shared.  Modeling projects from my workbench and that of others have appeared in the period posts.

I have enjoyed the experience. It fulfills my desire to communicate with fellow modelers and share interests in the hobby.  Trevor Marshall’s Port Rowan blog interested me in changing my own aspirations to a more managable objective.  His approach was to pick a less complicated railroad theme.  It is a lesson that tends to be ignored by most who build their dream layout.  Most build beyond their ability to maintain or for that matter finish it.  I have become a firm believer in this approach.

My blog started out as a description of how I built my Proto48 railroad.  Well  as longtime followers know, that didn’t happen quite the way I planned.  Building a modest railroad has been a lifelong dream. The dream is still there but a dream without a plan to accomplish the goal.  I am refining my plan and will start on the next generation of development soon.  I have a few more cars to build before I launch the build.  I keep thinking about the Port Rowan story told by Trevor.  It is a lesson in “KISS”.  Keep it simple stupid not the blokes in whiteface and unusual clothes.

My blog ratings have dropped off this year. There were just under 50,000 views during the year.  That is down from 86,000 in 2017 and 88,500 in 2016.  I am wondering why the blog has dimished so much in the past year.  Not sure if the content was lacking or the subject matter was uninteresting or is blogging in general is passe.  I don’t have a clue but I am not discouraged in writing about my journey in this hobby.

If you have any suggestions or comments I would appreciate hearing from you.

STATISTICS:

Visitors: 13, 600

Views: 49,902

Followers: 387

Posts: 33 new posts during the twelve month period

Comments: 232

IN REVIEW:

The past year had a few builds completed. A couple worked on and a new start on a tank car. The Rio Grande 50′ Automobile Boxcar was the most complex of the projects

I rebuilt an ATSF Bx-27 boxcar to improve the paint, lettering and weathering. It was a fun project.

As a result of seeing pictures of a Lee Turner tow truck rebuild, I tried my hand at building my White 3000 truck.

And I tried my hand at an automobile…

There have been lots of beautiful modeling shared by Bruce Blalock, Mike George, Jim Zwernemann, Jimmy Booth, Lee Turner and others. The pretty pictures seem to draw the viewers more than anything. The statistics suggest the modeling projects are declining in popularity. I am trying to provide the “eye candy” as it becomes available.

Jim Zwernemann built with photo by Bruce Blalock

Mike George built the locomotive, bridge and layout in P48

Norm Buckhart’s large P48 layout

Jimmy Booth’s signature weathering was applied to a P-B-L locomotive for a customer.

One of Jim Zwernemann’s fantastic buildings featured on his Proto48 railroad.

 

The coming year will see the continuation of the GATC tank car build.  I hope to finish up a caboose shortly and maybe start some benchwork.

Thanks for your interest in my blog.

Gene

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42 thoughts on “YEAR # 6: The Book is Closed on the Year

  1. Gene

    Here are some photos of Renee’s latest project. It was featured in the summer 2018 Railroad Evangelist Magazine, https://d3ciwvs59ifrt8.cloudfront.net/a83f11e1-a8e8-4ad0-9781-3a71b0a8e613/9955da51-6204-47de-bdae-a4231e119982.pdf pages 6&7. It is a precise model of the L&N depot in Paris TN, now long gone, but she managed to make an accurate model from the insurance floor plan from around the 50s.

    Sincerely

    Ray & Renee Grosser

    1145 Linn Road

    Eubank KY 42567-9579

    (606) 379-6590

    “I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” General William Booth

  2. Gene,
    IIRC, I found your blog via Trevor’s. And like his, even though I model in N Scale, him in S, and you in O, I find much of interest.

    I had no real intention of following either blog as that is not something I normally do, but in both cases, and very few others, I do find them very worthwhile.

    Now I do not know if this is the reason or not, but often while I DO look at EVERY post, unlike this one, I do not often click on the link to bring me to your actual site.

    I DO ‘have’ to go to Trevor’s to read the whole post, while your complete post in contained in the e-mail, so no need to visit unless I need or want to reply, as in this case.

    Either way works for me, but again, perhaps that is a reason for the drop?

    Anyway, I do very much enjoy seeing all that you share, and I hope to see you continue into the future!

    Thank you for taking the time to share.

    Brian

  3. Gene – I enjoy your blog very much and look forward to each new post. I never know what to expect, but it’s never been disappointing. It has inspired my modeling efforts a lot. Thank you for keeping it up!

  4. Hi Gene,

    While I don’t read every one of your blog posts from start to finish (they come to me as emails), I will continue to take a look at each one and read most of them to the end. I model in HO, but the techniques and models you showcase are relevant for my modeling, and I still build lots of kits (plastic and resin) and prefer them to RTR models because I can usually improve small details and sometimes large ones, based on prototype photos and information. What you do inspires and instructs me, so please keep going in 2018 and 2019!

  5. Gene: If you’re getting 50,000 views from fairly serious modelers, that’s a heck of lot of interest! I’m guessing a lot of the remainder is or was the eye candy & nostalgia crowd–who may be both diminishing in number and vigor at the same time they’re finding a lot more stuff on the web to casually browse through (with the growth of high-candy, low-content sites like Pinterest).

    I unfailingly enjoy what you post–it’s among the very best modeling out there. Thanks and best, –Chris Frissell

  6. Gene:

    Been following the blog since number 1 and have downloaded most of them for reference material. Please keep it going as I will be very interested to see the layout development.

    Am following the GATC tank car with great interest as I recently acquired a Des Plaines shell for possible use in S-Scale. Also have the Red Caboose tank to do one in P48.

    The SSW box car – lead photo – I remember them very well from the mid-50s when the family lived in Jonesboro, ARK which was a crew-change point at the time.

    Finally, a question re: GATC Type 22. Early this year I acquired the Champ decals for the Union Oil blue/orange cars. The only photo I’ve ever seen is the one that Athearn ran in the early 50s when they made the car in HO-Scale. Also got one of those kits for reference and was amazed to discover it’s based on GATC but 36-ft length. The question: have you seen any photos of the UOCX cars in blue and orange?

    Jim Haskell

  7. Again, Gene thank you so much for your blog. Nothing better in O Scale railroading than P48. No blog equals yours. I’ll check out the other blog you mentioned in this post. Ron

  8. Gene,
    I am not a proto 48er but really enjoy seeing your work and admire your dedication to scale. I lost my wife two years ago and it is modelers like you that have kept my work going. I thank you so much for that.

    Sincerely,

    Dick Donaway

  9. Hi Gene,
    I really enjoy your blog and it has inspired me to switch to Proto 48 model railroading. My one suggestion would be to diversify your posts, more on track laying and possibly regauging equipment. I think this would be of interest to the casual modeler as well as P48 modelers. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m being a bit selfish in my suggestion as P48 track standards and the difference between P48 and fine scale have me a bit confused.

    Just my two cents, keep up the good work!

    Thank you,

    Sean Kelly

  10. Congratulation on your 6th year! I would just like to say that I really enjoy the “build” articles so please keep them coming. I actually save the individual posts as Word documents so I can review the builds from start to finish. They have helped me see better ways to solve my own modelling problems and are really appreciated. Thanks.

    Jim Mucka
    Allentown, PA

  11. Great blog. Thanks for taking the time and effort.

    I think hobbiests and others spent more time thes year in front of the tv watching the endless political news at the expense of doing hobby work and blogging.

  12. I have over years tried to keep my railroad simple. So I drew my layout to scale. Then I was sure it would fit my space. This is a small thing but very important. It help me avoid many mistakes. I could go on if you like. Thanks for the nice reviews. Tommy

  13. Gene, looking forward to read more about your modeling. It’s one of the most inspiring sites to developing my own P48 skills. The stories on each car built are closed followed.

  14. Your blog, and particularly your freight car modeling and prototype references, continually are a very important factor in my always improving modeling skills. Your modeling photography always is inspiring. To me, your blog rates as the logical Twenty-Teens continuation of what Hundman (and Longo before him in the 70’s) started in 1980. Thank you for sharing your modeling with us. Al Fickensher in Iowa

  15. Gene
    Although I model H0 I always find your blogs interesting your models are excellent as is the content of yours blogs.
    Paul Doggett England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

  16. Hi Gene
    I find your posts informative and interesting.
    Suggest
    Visiting other P48 layouts and sharing your visuals and commentary about their layouts and features .
    Conversation of locomotives Diesel and Steam to P48.
    More depth to 3D printing processes
    Sound and DDC installs
    Regards
    Jim Lewis

  17. Gene,
    Thanks for doing this blog and the P-48 site, I have read it for, can it really be 6 years already, and it is one of my favorite blogs. Keep it up. I agree with you about the KISS principle. One question are the back issue of the blog archived. It would be fun to look back at some.
    BILL

  18. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. In the O Scale hobby, since not everything is available like in HO, the picture is worth far more than words. It gives modelers the ability to try to make what they see. Good job.

  19. I have enjoyed your efforts to share this past year – all six for that matter!

    Life events have gotten in the way of model railroad progress for me but I still have my dreams.

    Keep up the good work.

  20. Thanks for the kind words, Gene – and I really enjoy your blog. As others have noted, I receive the entire post in my email, so I don’t always click through. I’m not sure if that’s a setting that one can change…
    I’m glad to hear you’re contemplating the next railroad, too: I’ll definitely be following your progress. Something to look forward to in the coming year!
    – Trevor

  21. Gene,
    Thank you for your blog. I typically visit it two to three times a week for updates (no, I don’t subscribe as I try to be a good employee and not visit you site until it’s my lunch time – receiving an email that your site has been update would only result in me blowing off work and visiting your site).
    There are only a handful of sites that I visit regularly and of those sites yours and Trevor’s are the two sites that I visit first & second. Trevor’s approach to an achievable layout is well thought out. Having a small layout that is well developed and detailed versus a railroad empire that may never be finished make good common sense and is appealing to me.
    Your vehicle and railroad equipment builds are what I enjoy most. The time that you invest in developing simple, low-cost jigs that allowing you to make repetitive parts is what I like the most.
    I work for an engineering company and our founder would say: “Complex problems can be broken down into smaller, simpler problems. Solving the smaller problems often help resolve the solution to the large problem.” Your approach to modeling is similar. Quit looking at the whole finished model with all of its challenges and just concentrate on a single element of the model at a time.
    I also enjoy seeing what other talented modelers are doing or what they have done. Keep up the great work and thanks again.
    Mike

    • Mike
      Building something no matter how complex is feasible if it is viewed as a series of parts that go together in a certain way. Each element can be viewed as a model in it’s own right. It takes practice to visualize how to build up a part or model.
      I think you understand the principal. It is a form of engineering without really complex math. I spent 45 years working in engineering intensive organization and was exposed to problem solving.

      Gene

  22. DEAR GENE, I AM GOING TO DO SOMETHING THAT I SELDOM DO AND THAT IS MAKE A COMMENT TO A BLOG. CONCERNING THE DROP IN NUMBERS FOR YOUR BLOG, I AM NOT A COMPUTER PERSON BUT I DO LIKE YOUR BLOG. I AM IN P48, AND I FIRST BECAME INTERESTED IN P48 WHEN I SAW PHOTOS OF IT MANY YEARS AGO, SO MANY YEARS AGO THAT I DO NOT REALLY REMEMBER THE YEAR BUT MORE THAN LIKELY IT WAS IN THE LATE 60S OR SO.
    I LOVE SCRATCH BUILDING FREIGHT CARS AND BUILDINGS IN O SCALE AND HO SCALE. SOMETIMES I WILL USE PLANS SOME TIMES JUST A PHOTO OR A SINGLE PENCIL DRAWING. MOST OF THE TIMES I JUST BUILD WHAT I SEE IN MY MIND. I HAVE ALSO BEEN MODIFYING AND REBUILDING HO AND O SCALE BRASS LOCOMOTIVES SINCE 1965, MOSTLY UNION PACIFIC LOCOMOTIVES. I ALSO DID CUSTOM PAINTING OF LOCOMOTIVES IN THE SAME SCALES. SOME PEOPLE PAID ME TO DO IT FOR THEM BUT I NEVER LIKED THAT. MOST OF THE MODELS THAT I PAINTED WERE FOR FRIENDS IN EUROPE AND JAPAN AND I STILL PAINT FOR THEM. THE FIRST P48 LOCOMOTIVE THAT I DID WAS IN 2010-2013. IT WAS A USH UP 2-8-0. I TOOK IT DOWN TO A BARE SHELL AND STARTED OVER AGAIN. BUT WHEN I WAS DOING IT SOMETHING JUST WAS NOT RIGHT. THINGS JUST DID NOT SEEM TO FIT THE WAY THEY SHOULD. WHEN I TOOK IT TO THE O SCALE WEST MEET IN 2012, I SAW MY PROBLEM, THE RUNNING BOARDS WHERE A SCALE THREE INCHES TO LOW. I WENT BACK HOME AND IN ORDER TO CORRECT IT I HAD TO TAKE IT COMPLETELY APART AGAIN AND START OVER. SO A YEAR LATER IT WAS DONE. I STILL WAS NOT HAPPY WITH IT AS THE FRAME WAS THE USH FRAME. SO I STARTED TO BUILD A NEW FRAME FOR IT, BUT SHORTLY AFTER I STARTED, MY WIFE OF 47 YEARS PASSED AWAY AND I LOST INTEREST IN IT AND SOLD THE MODEL SHORTLY THERE AFTER. IT WAS NUMBERED UP 6072.
    IT SEEMS LIKE I HAVE STRAYED FROM WHAT I WANTED TO SAY IN THE BEGINNING. THE NUMBERS FOR YOUR BLOG MAY BE DOWN BECAUSE I FEEL THAT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO MODEL IN P48 AND EVEN STANDARD O SCALE ARE GETTING FEWER IN NUMBER. MOST OF US ARE A LITTLE OLDER (I AM 74) AND THE YOUNGER MODELERS JUST DO NOT SEEM TO HAVE THE DESIRE TO BUILD SOMETHING ON THEIR OWN. YOU SEE IT WHEN YOU VISIT HOBBY SHOPS. THERE ARE VERY FEW THAT CARRY SCRATCH BUILDING SUPPLIES AND DETAIL CASTINGS. ADD TO THAT THE VERY DETAILED MODELS THAT ARE SHOWN ON YOUR BLOG CAN INTIMIDATE A GREAT MANY NEW AND OLDER MODELERS NOT TO MENTION THE WORK AND PLANNING AND COST THAT GO INTO THESE MODELS. I THINK WE SCARE MANY MODELERS AWAY. YES, THEY SAY THAT THEY ARE GREAT MODELS AND THEY LOOK FANTASTIC BUT I THINK MANY MODELERS FEEL THAT THEY COULD NEVER BUILD ANY THING LIKE IT THEMSELVES SO THEY LOSE INTEREST IN EVEN TRYING.
    I HAVE BEEN DOING MY MODELING SINCE I WAS 16 YEARS OLD AND WORKING WITH BRASS SINCE I WAS 21 AND AFTER A VISIT TO JIM ZWERNEMANN AND BRUCE BLALOCK I FEEL LIKE THE MODELING THAT I AM DOING OR HAVE DONE IS NOT EVEN THIRD RATE.
    I LIKE YOUR BLOG AND WISH I KNEW MORE MODELERS. I GO TO THE O SCALE WEST MEET WHEN EVER I CAN AND ENJOY IT VERY MUCH. I KNOW I KIND OF WANDER AROUND ON THIS COMMENT BUT LIKE I SAID IN THE BEGINNING I AM NOT A COMPUTER PERSON OR A BLOGGER OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. TAKE CARE AND I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOUR ARTICLES. ANDY

  23. Hi Gene,
    Like others have said, your blog fills a need in modeling through your adept skills and ability to convey the process to readers. Do not be alarmed at declining page visits, as it reflects the trend throughout the hobby. That of less interest in actual building.
    Each time I visit I learn a valuable tip or technique, which is greatly appreciated. Please carry on.

  24. Although I do not model in Proto48 I have enjoyed your blog for several years and have learned new tips and tricks from time to time. I was a member of the original Slim Gauge Guild that start around 1968. I scratch built several bridges (trestles) that were in articles in MR, Dec. 1970. Made a lot of friends and learned many things from the members. Keep up the great blog you have started. Cheers!!! John

    • John
      I remember visiting the Guild in the 1970s. It was a magnificent undertaking. It was a railroad to scale of it’s surrounding.
      Thank you for your comments.

      Gene

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