Thursday, April 7, 2016

The cheap and rewarding way...

I often hear people say their other occupations compete with their leisure time spent on model railroading. I must admit I’m actually experiencing such a thing. As a direct result, I’ve got very little time to update my blog. But, I never promised such thing as feeding the blog with new content every week!

While it could be seen a sad tale about my incapacity to realize some big dream, I see it as a blessing. Like many people, I pursue many other hobbies and must make choices. In this respect, I’m always surprised how many people can submerge themselves so deep in their passion, almost to the point of drowning themselves.

The reason why I consider my actual situation a blessing is because the time I spend model railroading is far more rewarding than it used to be only a few months ago. For example, I recently got a nice Intermountain Cotton Belt 50ft double door boxcar which I pre-ordered a year ago. Once the model was taken out of the box and put on rail, there was little value to get from it. Sure it will be weathered and improved at a later date, but basically, I only spent money and time purchasing it (a few hours to locate a seller and make sure the model was the right prototype for the layout). I won’t deny it was fun to track it down, but in the end, I’ve learned very little, didn’t improve my skill and can’t be proud of this model.

On the other hand, a few months ago, I acquired a set of old JM Huber decals for a 3-bay ACF center flow hopper. I had a few options: bash an Athearn Blue Box kit, buy a high-end state-of-the-art brand new model or buy a cheaper Accurail model. Back then, I tried to bash the Athearn car I had (free), but made mistake and replicated the wrong 3-bay prototype. The lettering just didn’t fit on the car. So I was back to square one!

Recently, I revived this project when Jérôme decided to upgrade an old Bachmann 4-Bay ACF hopper from his childhood. He carefully installed Atlas trucks and installed Kadee couplers. I consider he did a fine job in improving the car running qualities and it would be a shame to not do something with it.  Be assured this new project, which is almost completed right now, will be the subject of a post.

And finally, in the ever growing realm of RTR railroading, there is this recent trend to make more down to basics models. The Blue Box approaches is starting to take root again, not out of nostalgia, but for economic reasons and a few well-known manufacturers are starting to offer less detailed models at better prices. Accurail making more useful modern models each year and the recent announcement by Rapido Trains are interesting in this regard. With their new “Prime Movers” locomotive series, they will keep the same level of quality, but all the detailing parts will be yours to install, thus saving labor cost. While it could frustrate a few people, I think most modellers will be more than happy to save a few bucks on models. If this approach helps them to increase their sales and be able to develop more models, I’ll be more than happy for the hobby in general.

Oh! And let’s pray they will do the MLW M420 once for all… That said, I’m back to the benchwork, because it’s well-known that when you complete a kitbash, a commercial release is soon to be announced! Let’s trick fate for once!

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