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The Truth About Playing With Trains

I am enjoying my return voyage through the land of model railroad whimsy. Those people who do not take exact model duplication with any concern are a fascinating and refreshing group of artists. That’s what it is… an artistic interpretation of an alternate reality. To me it screams, “Why not?”

It’s not about kicking sand in the gears of the scale model fanatic, a.k.a. the rivet counters. The folks (me) who enjoy exactness in scale modeling. It’s a natural backhanded comparison. But I think it is made more as a “in fun” taunt, than a serious put down.

I enjoy both, actually all aspects of model railroading. It’s no different than the hobby of toy train collection (called tinplate) compared to any other type of model (scale or not) enjoyments. It’s really all about enjoying what you like.

It seems to me to be an inherent human trait to enjoy smaller representations of real life size objects. Humans tend to model just about everything. It’s a form of communication that no other animal on earth does. I think cave drawings of people and animals and carved items are the earliest proof of the human trait to model our environment. I note they were simple representations, not true scale drawings. Ha!, just kicking a little more sand…

In a long stretch of the imagination, a cave drawing and a whimsical model train car are related. We make them because we desire and have the ability to do so. It all a form of tangible communication that remains and exists over a period of time. Wow! What a deep thought. I first thought it was just fun to do…

Rule of fun, don’t take anything to seriously that isn’t going to kill you. Serious fun is an oxymoron.

Model railroading is not about perfect scale details. Being serious about perfect scale model railroading is an attitude about a style of model railroading. There is nothing wrong about that. But it is no “better” than any other form of artistic expression and communication.

Most modern humans know a train when they see one. A perfect scale model or a row of cardboard boxes with children playing in them all make me think “a train”.

OK! All serious deep thought rant is over. I don’t really have to justify anything, except to myself I suppose. Just pondering where all this model making may originate. it’s just my view. Kind of a basis of where it’s taking me. I have no desire to make converts. Maybe find a kindred spirit here or there. It’s fun to share.

Will I make the effort to “play” in this realm? At this point I am not sure. I am not committed. Just playing in my mind with the ideas of what could be. I have the skills and the tools. Probably not all the materials but that is no problem.

I once built a large train display. It was dismantled when I started moving around the country. Never to rise again. The last project is a 3/4” scale live steam engine. Unfinished.

It’s about using the time. It’s the one factor that determines all the others. The curse of many interests is a choice is determined by time available. That creates a precedence of activity. I have discovered “retirement” from earning a living has not created more time. It still moves along what now seems a faster pace. I think I have just slowed down a whole lot.

People love the sliver work I am currently doing. That makes me love doing it. Playing with whimsical model trains may be too lonely. I’d love to do it, but I think I would need to share. That’s what the communication does in keeping an activity alive. It’s why I write blogs like this to unseen and imaginary readers.

If I don’t find a way to share this activity with others, I am certain I won’t make the move. That doesn’t mean I am not interested. I am having fun right now imagineering what I could do. Without an audience, there is no performance.

My wife has told me many times this truth about herself. Being an only child requires a lot of imagination. Sometimes you invent people with whom to play and share. We all do that. But real sharing is so much better.

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