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. leon

    leon Member

    1880 to 1920 era is where I like to model.
  2. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Good man! What scale?
  3. leon

    leon Member

    HO and N. I m trying to get something started in the attic but at the present time I am mostly in the repair mode with a lot of armchairing.
  4. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I'm in the preliminary stages of planning and experimenting with construction methods. I know what you mean about "armchairing"! :wave:
  5. Rusty Spike

    Rusty Spike Member

    Modern for me - today, in fact. I think it's because most of my railfanning has been recent and I love to model what's local. My son says it's the same for him.
  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    There certainly are interesting variations in construction over the years. The area I model didn't really look all that different in 1930 as in 1880...aside from the cars and hats. The biggest change was the appearance of the trains.

    There certainly was quite a bit of cool architecture created in the late 19th century.

    Here is a picture of the Lace House in Black Hawk, CO from hauntedcolorado.net
    The same now as in the 19th century. Unfortunately (for everyone not living in the area), Gilpin County legalized gambling and after 100+ years of Central City & Black Hawk being unchanged (and gorgeous), the Casinos arrived and permanently ruined the architecture (but greatly helped the sagging economy).

    It's nice to see turn of the century modeling to now be possible in N scale...with the newer offerings such as Atlas's 2-6-0. I wouldn't want to build an empire around Bachmann's old line.

    Rusty Spike, that is perfectly logical. There is something to be said for modeling your local (after all, most people do!)
  7. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Unfortunately, a lot of folks including model railroading magazine editors profess to be tired of the Colorado Rockies. :rolleyes:
  8. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Well, I'm tired of the D&RGW :mrgreen: After all, 90%+ of the stuff they cover is either Rio Grande or Freelance with all Rio Grande power and mostly Rio Grande rolling stock circa 1950. That is quite trite. Especially the "freelance" stuff which really blends together for me. I'd like to see some genuine frelance that isn't just a D&RGW layout with Rio Gordon & Franklin RR (or whatever) on the tenders. I like how some of the guys one here really customize their otherwise specific locomotives into truly unique power. I guess that is one of the beauties of the 1970s...it's far easier to sell me on a believable freelance railroad.

    As for Colorado being trite: Where are the F&CC layouts? Where are the early D&RG layouts? Maybe if the covered the Montana Southern for a change, instead of the D&RGW, they wouldn't be so board. (for the record, I do always enjoy D&RGW stuff...I'd just like to see more variety).

    I'd love to see a city layout based around 1900 with the awesome architecture of the era. I'd also like to see more costal railroads...any time period.
  9. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I agree with you. I never get tired of the majesty of the Rockies, nor the inventiveness and drive of the early mountain railroad pioneers.

    I was initially going to model the Phantom Canyon and the F&CC, but all the negative comments about the Rockies changed my mind - I decided to go with something truly unique instead.

    Of course, the same argument works for me, as well - I am tired of switching yards, coal railroads eastern freight lines and those endlessly-the-same diesel consists. Seen one, seen 'em all. :rolleyes:
  10. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Good grief, can you imagine having to scrape and paint that gingerbread? THAT would be somewhat time consuming!

    During my K-36 courting period, my free-lancish concept was to assume that the narrow gauge Springfield, Jackson and Pomeroy (later DT&I) remained narrow gauge into the 20th century, with a focus on the difficult climb over Summit Hill between Bainbridge and Waverly, OH.

    I figured that the K27/28/36's were more or less catalog items from Baldwin / Alco, with my heavy Eastern narrow gauge road purchasing the same basic locomotive as the D&RGW. I'd have to man up and re-detail brass engines though.

    Now I got myself thinking about it again (and afterall, the trainset is still in the design phase)...:p

    I'd agree that there is a lot of cloning going on - but the advantage that the Appalacians and Rockies offer model railroads is sinuous track routing - much easier to "sell" in a limited space. The one thing I love about modular model railroads is the room they offer for a steam locomotive to stretch it's legs.

  11. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Yep - I agree. I'm not much for huge consists thundering down endless straights anyway.
  12. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member


    Yep. The Baldwin 2-8-2s were unique. No one other than the D&RGW ever had a K-36. Second hand K-27s ended up in Alaska (due to WW2, I think...I know K-28s did) and on the RGS. The K-27s started off as funky Vuclain compounds with sloped back tenders :eek: Odd ducklings. EBT #12 was 10x prettier when new than the mudhens.

    The Alco 2-8-2s, the K-28s, were not unique. The Oahu Railway and Land Co had 4 of them. The C&S also considered getting some. The other 3' gauge 2-8-2s I can recall were all inside frame. So they'd have been the best bet...especially since several were available after WW2.

    Re-detailing things really eliminates what I don't care for...because then they take on the character of their new owners just as every F&CC 2-8-0 an 4-6-0 took on the character of their new owners.

    btw, mountain man, I'd probably model F&CC if I couldn't model the South Park or the Colorado Central. I intend to add the Portland, a few VGM gondolas, a few boxcars, caboose #3 and a couple passenger cars to my fleet. A Bachmann forney would make a nice staring point for Golden Circle #51 :twisted:
  13. Relic

    Relic Member

    Ok, now I have the urge to expand on my original,simplistic answer.I don't "play with" my trains much,for me it's the modeling,making scenes that are as real looking as I can make them with the limited resourses available to me{see "poverty is....."}I run the trains once in a while to keep up on maintainance but that's about it,meby when the scenery is done.
    I'm old enough to remember steam,spent a lot of time playing arount the station/freight shed,putting pennies on the track,climbing on cars in the siding,stuff like that.And my father worked on he section here till the mid sixties.
    I guess I've chosen the era I did as much for the autos and buildings of that time as for the actual railway part.
    Popularity has nothing to do with anything,I'm having the devils own time finding autos from the early '60s,I have one '61 Chev.Guess all my lpp will have to hang on to their '50s iron{few folks here had new cars anyway}
    Any questions?
  14. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    That's an interesting reason. Cool.
  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I'll second that since we are moving into our own reasons for modelling the era we do... Not actually having experienced them, it nevertheless seems to me that the 1920s and 30s were transformative years. For me, the interesting points are:
    • the beginning of the change from a rural to urban population
    • transition from manual labour (horses and men) to machines ("modern" steam shovels, trucks, tractors)
    • people's worlds expanding from regional to national/international through better roads, public transit, air and sea travel
    • the rise of modern institutions (at all levels) that we can recognize today, from stores to international organizations ("Hollywood" is a 1920s "phenom", beginnings of United Nations-like organizations, Canadian Tire was founded in 1922 ;))
    • the influence and rise of technology (aviation, automobiles, telephones, electricity, radio, beginnings of TV and colour photography, etc, etc)

    The fact that the art deco/streamlining scheme is available in the world of locomotives is the icing on the cake! ;) :D

  16. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Beginnings of TV? :confused: Try the 40's for that one. Meanwhile, don't forget The Great Depression of the 30's.
  17. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I regard the 1936 Berlin Olympics as the birth of the TV era. Yet, that wasn't the first broadcast...and radio was still king (and still is for me...I watch 9hrs of tv per week from September to the start of February...none in between)

    The great depression was good for the C&S. There was an upswing of traffic which had the road even considering the purchase of mallets.

    Art Deco and Streamlining certainly are wonderful draws to the era. IMO, the 1930s streamliners were way better than the later streamliners: the '38 Century, the '38 Broadway, the 4-4-2 powered Hiawatha, the Daylight...wow.
  18. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I didn't forget the Depression, I just didn't put it on my list...! ;)

    The technology that made early television possible was developed in the 1920s. The US had at least three commercial broadcasts up and running in the late 1920s - Washington, D.C., NYC, and Schenectady, NY.

    NBC began regular broadcasts beginning with the opening of the 1939 World's Fair in NYC. CBS had beat them by 8 years, beginning in 1931. In the UK, BBC went on the air in 1932.

    Admittedly, the audience was small and urban, but it was the beginning of TV as we know it today.

    Now in Canada, we had to wait a bit longer - CBC did not start into TV until 1952.

  19. iis612

    iis612 Member

    When I decide to get back into model railroading, I had thought about the diversity of the transition era, and it's impact on modern society. That led me to think of modeling something that was way beyond my means, ability, space available, and time.
    About 15 years ago I worked for CSX. I thought of drawing on that, as that is what I knew. However, an odd thing occured. I started looking at the roots of CSX, digging backwards through time, if you will. I looked at all of the mergers, buy-outs, expansions, and abandonments that formed the modern CSX. I have researched the timeline all the way back to the 19th century, at least for my particular region of choice. (The region is based on where I grew up, and worked)
    My research led me to become attached to a prototype that should have no personal meaning to me, but yet it does.
    I am only 35 years old. In my life I have seen, and ridden on a few steam locomotives. But, those memories held no sway in my choice of era.
    I picked my era based on fascination, and an odd sense of nostalgia for a time that I do not know, at least not more than what the history books and TV have shown me. It was based on a world crisis, and the miracles the railroads in the US performed day in, and day out, to help defend the world. An era so profound that it transformed American people, and industry. WWII, may it never be repeated in any way.

  20. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    The Berlin Olympics were filmed, not televised. Television was developed in it's infancy during WWII as a guidance system for missiles and unmanned bombers such as the Aphrodite aircraft. The picture quality was extremely poor, being just adequate targeting purposes - certainly no where near the standard needed for broadcast purposes.

    As for the Great Depression being "good" for much of anything, my parents lived through it, as did my grandparents. My father joined the military in 1939 so that he could eat regularly, receive regular pay, and have a guaranteed place to sleep, and he was fortunate to be accepted. I have never before heard the world "good" applied to the Depression by anyone.

    One of the reasons some historians believe FDR wanted America in WWII was to lift America out of the Depression, something wars are good at doing.

    As modelers, we tend to ignore real history in favor of our own particular "pretend" version.
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