What era draws your attention the most?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by nkp174, Oct 25, 2008.


What era catches your attention when other people model it?

  1. early-mid 19th century

    1 vote(s)
  2. late 19th century

    9 vote(s)
  3. early 20th century...pre-USRA

    6 vote(s)
  4. WW1-WW2

    30 vote(s)
  5. transition Era

    37 vote(s)
  6. later 20th century

    16 vote(s)
  7. modern

    26 vote(s)
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  1. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    I had an itchy trigger finger and voted prior to actually *reading* nkp's first post. My vote was more for what I'm interested in modeling - 1930's:

    • because it was the last decade that steam was more or less unmolested by the diesel menace :D
    • Cars have that interesting wood - steel transition mix (boxcars alone were all over the map, variety wise) and they're smaller so they work better on model railroads.
    • It allows me to include some fine superpower steam (in this case, N&W A's and most Y's) - especially if I cheat forward a few years. This accommodates my layout-less dad's interests.

    Had I read the first post more thoroughly, I would have replied what Nachoman did (1895 - 1910) for the same reasons (early steam to modern steam transition). Anyone modeling that era has quite a tough, and if successful, impressive row to hoe!

  2. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Good point, but then a passion for military history would need to be present as well, not a common combination.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    After checking your question again, I'd vote for all - well done modelling from any era is interesting. I think that most people though would naturally put more stock in a model that aligns with their own interest(s).

    So for me, the emphasis is "between the wars" - ~1919 (beginnings of CNR) to 1939 (Canada's entry into WW2).

  4. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    All the nicest steam equipment came from the period from about 1910-1945. Give or take :)
  5. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Define "nicest".
  6. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Perhaps instead of nicest I should have said most interesting.
  7. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I'll clarify my answer more:

    A civil war era layout would be interesting, and definitely challenging, but for some reason I am jut not that interested. Perhaps it is because I haven't seen too many good layouts of that era. Or perhaps it is the short train lengths and general knowledge that a layout of that era would be almost impossible to look convincing to me. It would require: Working link and pins, stub switches, rough hewn ties, very light rail... I just don't think it could be reproduced effectively unless it O-scale or larger. Some people like Harold have come close, but even he has realized the challenges of that era.

    anything post 1925 is much easier because of available equipment in all scales. 1890-1915 is gonna require some scratchbuilding and/or kitbashing, and that always impresses me. After that, the modern era is most interesting to me, mainly because of the weathering works I see with graffiti. Modern era modelers have the advantage of duplicating what they see on the rails, Older-eras have to work with black and white photos and much less available resources.

  8. GN.2-6-8-0

    GN.2-6-8-0 Member

    Early 20th century for me :twisted:

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  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I have a string of those same cars, GN. I recall leafing through, I believe it was, A Century of Pullman Cars: The Palace Cars, and was horrified to see that the only cars wooden cars Pullman ever built that length were the Exposition cars...I dropped them in there boxes. In the past couple years, of realized that it is silly for me to reacted that way and I'm looking forward to finishing those gorgeous cars! My favorite plastic passenger cars ever offered in HO. I had previously installed internal walls for two of the three cars. I'll probably pull them behind my atlantic.

    Keen observations, Kevin, on some of the finer details. The L&Ps are difficult on my On3 equipment. Even the Mantua General is an 1870s locomotive...it was an outside frame engine when Anderson took her for a joy ride. I wonder what the overlap is on the Civil War and trains. I had a great interest in both as a kid...and again as an adult. One of my father's friends, Tom Stevens, owned several passenger cars, a large Lionel empire, and was (along with Rich Melvin) the only engineer I've ever saw pull the 765's throttle on a mainline...whom is also a die hard Civil War fanatic. BTS has recently come out with the appriote cars as well.

    Personally, I find 1870s-1880s steam to be in a class by itself. Not only was the American stuff incredible, but the British stuff was incredible. The peak of the super power era during WW2 was pretty cool...but in a different way. I don't think I can regard the SP Daylights to be any nicer than the Eureka. Both are cool in very different ways. But I certainly can see why many don't care for the "little" stuff.
    For some reason, I think you are expressing excellent taste: 2-6-6-6s, C&O T-1s, Van Swerigan 2-8-4s, and those gorgeous, early C&O 4-8-4s. (way nicer than the 614).
  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Modeler's shying away from a challenge? That's not a very postive approach. Meanwhile, early steam modeler's - 1890 - 1910 - often have to work entirely from black-and-white photos and written descriptions, since color photography didn't come along until the 40's and only a few subjects received the attention of artists interested in rendering accurate railroad images in color.
  11. Relic

    Relic Member

    I voted for transition era, even though I'm likely on the tail end of it,being the early '60's the steamers are gone. But I wasn't sure later 20th century was a right fit either.
    Must be the meds.
  12. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Meds are good. hamr
  13. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    That's why I am more impressed with those that model uncommon eras. Perhaps it is those that model the most challenging that I am most impressed with, if done well, because i know how much work went into it.

  14. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Well I knew what he meant...:mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:
    I think so too:wave:
  15. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Then share your knowledge and wisdom.
  16. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    The poll results interest me. I'm surprised that the bottom 4 categories are so strong and that the transition era isn't higher. The transition era is still the highest, but only slightly. Perhaps this suggests a shift in modeling interests -- or maybe I'm just out-of-touch a little, with what's popular!

    It's encouraging that there are several folks who are modeling the early-20th century (and earlier) as well as recent/modern decades.
  17. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Given that modelers always want their layout to be different and uniquely theirs in some way, the results make a kind of sense. I imagine we will see shifts back and forth away from what is generally most popular if we watch the trends over time.

    For a while, it seemed a lot of people were modeling mining in the Rockies. When that gets too commonplace we have a shift into big city switching facilities, followed by a move towards major industries, and eventually folks will be back to running those simpler outfits in the Rockies again as everyone tries to avoid bunching up with the pack.

    Meanwhile, there will always be the few that are either on the cutting edge or the trailing edge, breaking new ground or keeping up traditions.

    Just my opinion, and I'm probably wrong.
  18. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    There definitely are trends. I wonder how much is driven by a cool new product, how much is from the model magazines, and how much is from an individual modeler (Furlow for example)

    For me, I am a foamer first and a modeler second. I'm far more interest in seeing the real thing than an awesome layout. I definitely love Furlow and John Allen's exaggerations...but I'm probably more influenced by Harry Brunk's UC&N (C&S Clear Creek line in HOn3).

    Certainly various eras have very specific followers...such as the 1970s with people whom first took an interest in the 1970s...or started a major layout in the 1970s and don't want to scrap their roster to update or backdate it. That's partially why the poll was not about what you're modeling, but what catches your eye.

    How many people, either on here or in the hobby, have ever seen a NKP Hudson? (I presume mostly just those whom click the link in my sig) How many had seen a classic 1870s Baldwin 4-4-0 prior to Spectrum's 1:20.3 option? How many had ever seen what a South Park mogul looked like prior to LGB's mis-painted model of the mid-1980s? Yet, I'm sure that almost everyone on here as seen an SD-70, a GP-38-2, or an autorack. Kind of tough to model something you aren't familiar with. Further, even if you'd seen a picture of a South Park mogul, your experience with it is nothing compared to the sights, sounds, and smells of that SD-45. Certainly that impacts where people start in the hobby, and I'd bet that the work in your first few MRs are also quite influential. So, as you find other things of interest, what does it take for you to switch? Do you chase whatever is being done in the magazines...or stay put with where you started.

    Engineer used to be the #1 thing that boys wanted to be when they grew up. What is the break point? The end of the steam era. The general public's interest was dramatically reduced. Still, there are those whom still were/are interested...and go about recreating those experiences...chanson d'enfance. For me, that image of youth is getting up every Saturday as my father worked on the NKP 765, his Pullman lounge car, or his NYC 2600 coach. Naturally, I have drawings of and plans to build that lounge car...even though I don't have any interest in any other cars from the Commodore Vanderbilt. I wouldn't have an interest in trains if it wasn't for the 765...and I can relate with John Allen's scene of lynching the diesel salesman.

    I abandoned HOn3 due to the size and the appearance of locomotive running gear. Yet, Sn3 might be a better fit for me than On3. I've certainly been tempted by it...but I am established in On3. Further, the On30 locomotives have made it cheaper and easier to build 1880s On3 equipment. I know that my prototype is perfect for me...the scale is the only doubts I have that it is perfect for me. How many others are out there that sit at this point, and jump because of a new product which makes a different scale/prototype/era irresistible? I'd probably switch if a new Spectrum line in Sn3 was released which would allow me to model the South Park with no more effort than I currently must put into it.

    Is On30 a trend or a new frontier? Sure, it has been around, but its popularity is new. Further, it has provided enough of a market for MMI to bring out diecast and RTR On3. This has led to commercial On3 flex track and turnouts. The principle advantage to On30 was (and is) that you didn't have to hand lay the track...and On3 now benefits from this (btw, the new On3 2-8-0s from Accucraft can handle 24" curves). Certainly, On30 has its place long term, but it might again lose out to On3 for modeling mainline 3' gauge trains as HOn30 loses to HOn3. Maybe On30 will continue to grow (I view the cumulative growth of On30 & On3 as being good for On3)...or maybe it will lose ground to some new trend. (all I care is that Bachmann keeps turning out the driver sets and convertible locomotives...how about 37" drivers next?...how about a Mason Bogie?!?!?!)

    I better stop...I think I'm rambling and this is getting long.

    Perhaps a better thread would be: Have you switched your primary modeling focus? Have you: changed scales, changed eras, or changed prototypes since you ended the hobby? Why? Have you thought about this? If so, what has kept you were you are if you haven't switched. Is there an era you'd prefer to see more modelers actively engaged in it?
  19. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    I've given some thought to this (popularity of particular eras / models and why) but haven't analyzed it to the same granularity that you have voiced well here. What seems most obvious to me is era, in two flavors:

    • Modern for the reasons nkp stated - it's here now.
    • Equal or outpacing that seems to be the era about 30-50 years prior to any given date. Late steam and early diesel fit this well today. I attributed this to the romance of the "simpler" times past, the research that piles up over time, and the fact that since it isn't here now, accuracy has some wiggle room (intentionally or not).

    30 years ago (when I was a teen) there seemed to be a lot more steam models out, and certainly a lot wider selection in brass - a fair subset of which were models of older engines. Brass models, by there limited runs, don't have to appeal to a wide audience so can serve a more diverse audience.

    As far as modeling, I started in HO because that's what dad built our first train set with in the early 70's. My "era" is nebulously steam due to being exposed to dozens of my father's steam-related books as I was growing up, from foamer to sappy to technical. My father also helped form the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad, and put my brother and I to work on and a running steam locomotive. Seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling a live steam locomotive stays with you your entire life (and made it obvious to a youngster that steam was the superior motive power).

    How could I model a diesel era after that?

  20. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Interesting comments above. I think there's a whole new "diesel generation" out there who are totally fascinated by diesels but not too interested in steam. I base this on other threads and a few observations at train shows, etc. This is because there are few steam engines in operation, especially in my area.

    I'm also more fascinated by the real thing than by models. My fascination with the real thing fuels and motivates my modeling interest. As and when I see the real thing, I'm anxious to get back to my layout to mimmick & recreate it! I can see how someone might be into real trains and not modeling (but not vice-versa).

    I'm also a steam buff, thanks for my Dad's influence. If you've ever seen a real steam engine, the experience is unforgetable -- diesels are neat, but don't hold a candle to the fascination of a puffing, pulsating steam engine!

    Just rambling into a few other related thread topics!

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