Tag Archives: Layout Operations

Prototype modeling vs. prototype-based freelancing

No. 45, the westbound KC Local, behind a USRA light Mikado, hustles into Metcalf, Ill., on Tony Koester’s HO tribute to the Nickel Plate Road’s St. Louis Division in 1954. The LCL boxcar behind the rider car looks like a blue-box kit, but its heritage is the last thing on the minds of the local’s crew as they plan their work in town and watch out for superior eastbound trains.

Tony Koester, editor of Kalmbach’s annual Model Railroad Planning and the Trains of Thought columnist and a contributing editor for Model Railroader, responded to an inquiry about his views of modeling a specific prototype vs. using one or more prototypes as the basis for a plausibly freelanced model railroad. Here’s Tony with more.

We keep trying to draw a line in the sand between prototype modeling and any form of freelancing. In my view, that’s both a waste of time and usually based upon faulty assumptions.

Let’s start with prototype modeling. As most of us who have done this to any extent have discovered, we are almost always faced with the choice of not getting much done, often owing to a lack of “complete” information, or the desire to make progress. “Analysis paralysis” is a very real aspect of prototype modeling. Many a grand plan has come to ruin on its shores.

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50th Anniversary Operating Session

Bob Hanmer sent details covering a special operating session on his HO scale Great Northern and Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range layout that serves the mining region. We think you will enjoy this.

Taconite is a hard rock found across the northern parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. It contains about 30% iron, so for most of the 20th century it was considered waste. That is until the war efforts of World War II and the Korean conflict severely depleted the existing reserves of high quality iron that could be fed directly (or with a little beneficiation) into a blast furnace.

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