Wednesday, 19 February 2014

You Just Have To Laugh...


As touched on in a previous post, all the trackage, points and ballasting has now been completed on the Fish River section of the layout and with scenery coming along it was time to start placing the intended structures in place and settle on a permanent location for these infrastructures.

A couple of posts have dealt with the Fish River station building and I decided to give it one more makeover before final placement.  Extra detail was added and yet another facing "incarnation" was fitted as well.  This work took place over a weekend in January and following completion with only some glued sections to dry and some paint touch ups...I placed the structure on a box on the kitchen counter to admire, inspect and photograph my handiwork. 

As I took a step away to grab the camera...a gust of wind came through the back door and the inevitable happened...The station disappeared over the side of the breakfast counter like a ship down a slipway at launching...I reached out in vain as it glanced off one of the stools with no real chance of reaching it.  At that moment I would guess the look on my face was akin to just being told I was pregnant...mixed with a "how did that happen" expression.  After what seemed like an eternity of just standing there...the time came where I had to venture around to the other side of the counter and survey the damage first hand.  Without going into detail...destruction was almost total.

And so it was... that the following two weeks of spare time was fully allocated in that split second.  It took around 30 hours to rebuild and refabricate all the "bits" required to reinstate the building to its original glory...

Upon completion of this chances were taken and the unit was placed on the counter next to the stove to take the obligatory chance of wind or other imminent danger here!!!....or so I thought.  This bench is located underneath a glass fronted, wall mounted cupboard that holds my collection of beloved mugs...The ones that are used to supply me with copious cups of tea throughout the day.  Our 11 year old daughter is now quite adept at making superb cups of tea and does generally enjoy "doting" on her dad!  After she had inspected the now finished structure...she decided that a cup of tea was in order to celebrate the "reincarnation" of Fish River Station.....Are you ahead of the story yet?

As Soph gingerly reached over the structure to get a mug from the guessed it... she lost her grip and the
Sydney Rail Network mug buried itself very neatly somewhere between the Ladies Waiting Room and the Booking Office.  It seemed like an eternity that Soph and I just looked at each other until she broke the silence by asking..."Will I get a bung for this?."  Laughter quickly followed.  It must be stated for the record that all passengers and station staff escaped this calamity with only minor scratches and shock...Can't wait to see the departmental report...

And so it was again that the "hoodoo" station was to undergo it's second rebuild within a month and I can't wait to place the structure this weekend before something else happens.  I must admit that the rebuilt/rebuilt chimneys and roof do look a lot better than the previous versions...They do say that you have to build at least three houses before you end up with what you want...

And so I have included a photo of the structure with the facing still to have it's final weathering applied and this will take place in situ so that the layout room lighting is taken into account...I must admit that I like this design of facing and as a consequence we have made a number in kit form for the Laser Rail Bits range.

A couple of finials will also have to be replaced as well to match the originals....again when the station is in situ.

What a month!!!


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Interpretation...And The Hobby...


I have been catching up on some blog reading during the week and there were at least four of my regular sites where "interpretation" of certain layout aspects and building was discussed in some form or another. 

This fact got me thinking as the word interpretation seems to crop up a lot in our hobby for a myriad of reasons and I am certain it has influenced the way I approach or view the hobby following a few days of mulling this over in my mind I thought I would attempt to put my thoughts into writing and at the same time it might give me a better understanding of the phenomena.

I thought of other "artistic" avenues far removed from our hobby where interpretation takes place to attempt a comparison of how it is used and the outcomes it provides and have come up with at least two comparisons

Firstly I examined a "portrait artist" and why it is, that a person would still mix up paint and spend hours if not days and months to achieve a likeness that could be attained in a few seconds via simple and relatively cheap digital camera technology and output to print in a few seconds... indeed if he wanted to embellish or personalise the raw photograph then there is also software available that will allow most things to be achieved with a few clicks of the mouse button.

The sculptor is another example, some still toils for massive amounts of time in clay or bronze to complete a bust that could now be accurately created by computer technology in the form of 3D printing and/or rapid prototyping, all without the need to be judged by some as accurate or not.

It is also interesting how the public perceives or interprets the artist's work.  I have seen many famous portraits that to my eye, display ( possibly through lack of understanding ) very little in common with the subject matter.  Indeed some of these "prized" works seem almost childlike to me. I do try and find the "key" to it all...but sometimes struggle.   The Archibald Portrait competition is a perfect example where some works are derided by some and loved by others...This brings another factor into the equation and that is the link of how the artist views his work versus how the audience then views it....There is an unmistakeable comparison that can be drawn to our hobby here...

I wonder how many artists evaluate and re-evaluate in their minds as to whether they are satisfied with one of their works...or whether they gauge their own success solely on public reaction...and does an artist readily admit that the level of interpretation of the subject of an artwork is actually linked to his or her skill level?  It may be that I am over thinking the point and artists are just like most modellers and "do it for fun" Or maybe they see this "interpretation" as their personal slant on reality.   

Of course creating a model railway cannot be done in a single session via computer technology...Some of us choose to model a prototype location, take a plethora of photographs and triple check all dimensions and try to replicate this in exact and minute detail...while some of us take a different path and create a fictitious location that includes elements of what we enjoy and combine this to provide a landscape to run our trains this approach the sole meaning of "interpretation"?

I then started to wonder how many of us create a layout based solely on our own wants and needs or whether the perception of how the layout will be viewed and evaluated by others influences the decisions we make?.  Do we all strive for perfection and then sometimes offer up the excuse of interpretation in lieu of recognising our overall limitations?.
I am not sure whether the comparisons I have drawn upon to illustrate this post are fair and reasonable...but it was the closest I could come up with for a self explanation.

So what is the point of this post.  Well for me the issue does have some personal significance because I have been wondering whether the issues raised here ( and discussed on other blogs ) played some part in my loss of interest in the hobby last year. Was it a fear of failure? and was that fear a personal fear or the fear of being judged to have failed in the eyes of peers and other modellers.

I may incur a bit of a spray for this next comment...but of all the pastimes that I am involved with in life...this hobby does appear to have a rather judgemental nature. To illustrate that point one only has to take a look at Railpage and other such forums where "interpretation" is sometimes viewed as failure and only perfection ( whatever that is ) is acceptable.

Another point that is not lost on me is that a fair proportion of those "critics" are not currently engaged in building a layout...or are active modellers.  While I am certainly not saying that the ownership of a layout is the sole pre-requisite of being a critic... It is a reality that it is "easier to judge than to be judged"...  I guess we are all guilty of that at some time or another. 

For me going forward is a new found interest, inspiration and approach to my layout based solely on MY needs and wants.  I certainly will continue to push myself, learn new skills and hone others. I will continue to blog regularly and seek input from other modellers...but the emphasis will be on fun as my spare time is as limited as most of us and I will be utilising that time for creating self enjoyment instead of doubt and worrying about..."interpretation"

Have a great week!!!