Long and winding road – “The Last Great Project” – addendum

Writing the last post must have got my modelling mojo back in order.  I spent an afternoon preparing a new ‘train box’ for club nights, using some US stock and a Kato Rock Island RS2 not appropriate for my layout, and repairing Microtrains couplers on a couple of coaches.  Replacing coupler springs improved my use of English vernacular!

As is often the case, I find other modellers writing about their modelling ‘pilgrimage’ and see parallels.  Mike Cougill, on the OST blog is one of those people who I learn from and their ponderings help me to think through my own modelling.

In a new section of the blog, called ‘Stuck in the middle and blue’, he writes…

Complacency and boredom comes from a lack of new challenges. Let’s face it, doing the same thing over and over doesn’t really satisfy the creative urge, does it? You can changes eras, prototypes and all the rest but still model at the same level of skill, thinking the new themes are what makes the difference. Sometimes they do, sometimes the cycle just repeats itself.

Do you ever wonder why one modeler can spend thirty years working on a modest, simple layout, while another with a huge basement burns through a half-dozen false starts and still isn’t satisfied?

Admittedly, some people find what truly interests them early on. They’re blessed with a clear vision and understanding of what they want and pursue it throughout their time in the craft. Others aren’t so lucky. They drift from this to that, trying to reconcile a wide, disconnected range of interests and never really find a good path to walk……

Part of the issue is thinking the craft is all about stuff and the natural impulse is to keep acquiring more and more, and build bigger, ever more complex layouts. With that mindset, you’re always looking for your personal satisfaction from someplace or something outside….

I don’t know what, how or why but something clicked in my mind. I guess the willingness to walk away from it all freed me from the fad-of-the-month mentality and I started looking at what I really wanted from a layout and the craft itself.

I understood, for the first time really, that I didn’t want the huge layout I thought I did. The whole idea of basement empire and all the compromises that go with it was in direct conflict with what I truly enjoy, which is working toward a higher level of craftsmanship. So, future layouts kept getting smaller and simpler and my desire for greater detail led me from HO to quarter-inch scale, where I could indulge that desire to my heart’s content.

It rings a few bells with me, and is good advice!  I am enjoying building my 12′ set of modules (mostly).  But I am happiest with 4′ of module or layout (with a fiddle yard) and perhaps having several of them.

Finally, Mike Cougill has put up a three short PDF e-books, that, as he says….

Under the Free Guides tab on the menu bar is a downloadable ebook I wrote called Questioning Normal.

It’s a collection of blog posts from the archives, arranged in a more pleasing illustrated format that you may find useful for looking at the craft from a different perspective.

These free guides are posted with this comment….

You can also share it guilt-free without restriction. Enjoy.

So, I’ve included them here, with thanks to Mike Cougill for his generosity….

If you like them, think about buying some of his ‘Missing Conversation’ e-books (PDF, so anyone can read them on their PC.  A blatant advert, but they are all good reading, and above all, give inspiration to one’s hobby.

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About snitchthebudgie

Secretary of the East Surrey N Gauge railway club
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Jon's layout ramblings, Weird and wonderful and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Long and winding road – “The Last Great Project” – addendum

  1. Pingback: Long and winding road – “The Last Great Project” – addendum reblogged  | sed30's Blog

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