FOR PUBLICATION IN THE POTOMAC FLYER
DON’T PLAY THAT GAME
BY NICHOLAS KALIS
A strange title for an article in the model railroad press you ask? Not really. It came upon me as I tried a technique I saw in Allen Keller’s third tape on George
Sellios’ Franklin and South Manchester. Some of the great results seen on famous layouts are just not that hard to do for ourselves. In my case, I saw how George gets the great weathered roof appearance on his layout. All Sellios does is dip his paint brush into a mixture of black India ink and rubbing alcohol and then dip it into a bit of Acrylic raw sienna from a tube. All I did is follow George’s directions and apply his mixture to the roofs of my structures. The hardest part of
Sellios’ technique was assembling the few supplies available at any decent art supply store. In fact, doing a roof of one structure took less than two minutes from start to finish. The results were spectacular.
Another example of an easy technique that garners great reviews is to pour a bit of two-part epoxy on the roofs of your structures. Doug
Gurin, of the Layout Design SIG, shared this one with me. Even though this technique takes only a few seconds to apply, the resulting “puddles” are what many viewers remember the most from their visit to your layout.
I point all this out this out because, if we can just isolate some factors stopping people from building their layouts, we just might make a valuable contribution to the Potomac Division’s layout pool. In Keller’s previously mentioned video, even George Sellios tells us some publications have shied from covering his layout because they feel it, might intimidate some readers. I think great modeling such as George’s, instead, inspires most of us. It gets us to reach deep inside ourselves to reach ever better personal achievements in the hobby.
I recently visited Monroe Stewart’s N-scale Hooch Junction layout in his suburban Maryland home. There, Monroe shared this insight with me: he related how people can sometimes read between the lines of articles/editorials from commentators in the modeling press. Monroe holds the National Model Railroad Association’s MMR designation. Stewart frets too many readers of the modeling press, rather than be inspired from what they read and see therein, often come away intimidated. By intimidated, Monroe believes they think their techniques, wallets, and fidelity-to-prototype just wont measure up against the efforts/abilities/results of others. Monroe’s approach is to just do it as the Nike commercial tells us. Worse comes to worse, we may do a terrible job of it and start over again. But our efforts are not wasted, we have become a better modeler as a result. Another approach is that there are no modeling police to fine one for a less than perfect layout.
Try some of the techniques you read about in the hobby press or see demonstrated on a video tape and you just might be surprised at how good you are at it and how good it turns out.
Follow Monroe’s advice, read the modeling press, but don’t let experienced modelers or nit-pickers intimidate you. My particular caveat is that we give the same respect to those folks who get pleasure from replicating a railroad to an exact month and date as does Jack Burgess as we expect from them. Their way is fine too. Remember,. Just do it.