Some Thoughts, An Interlude…

I will try and keep this somewhat short and simple. Looking at the work I have been posting on and a couple of projects that are coming up soon, one would get the impression of a change of eras on the layout.

Whether you care or not, there is no such thing in the works.

It was the mid 80’s when I re-entered the world of model railroading. At that time if you wanted a decent steam locomotive you had to spend some serious money.  For those in my price range, I was looking at early Bachmann or IHC/AHM. I did purchase a couple of Bachmann locomotives. Worked OK, but pulling power (traction) was not great.

The real value at that time were the Athearn Blue Box Locomotives. I think at the time a powered loco was about $20.00 and a dummy went for about half that. It also introduced you to the world of super detailing as the level of detail on an Athearn was about nil.

So thats what I bought. My era at that time was the current year. Meaning I was modeling what was happening at that time. Think Eric Brooman’s “Utah Belt”. I bought mainly SD 40-2’s or variants, like tunnel motors. This was also the about the time when Walthers was introducing new cars like their cushioned coil cars. And the intermodal cars that I just recently finished. A great time for kits of modern cars.

Although I was able to purchase and collect the engines, cars and a wide variety of buildings, I really didn’t have room for a layout until our current house. The basement was finished and the layout started about 2000.

And thats about the time that Bachmann started coming out with their Spectrum Line of steam locomotives. Excellent detail and reliability at a great price. Soon followed by Life Like and Athearn.

So where am I going with this? Simple, once great steam was available, I switched from “present day” to the “transition era”. I set my date as 1954 and started rebuilding my loco and freight car fleet for that time frame. Which meant I ended up with a lot of modern equipment sitting in boxes unbuilt and only recently seeing the light of day.

And it’s been a nice change of pace. The modern trains will get some time on the layout where they’ll get a chance to stretch their legs. Plus the photo opportunity’s will be fun. The layout is, I believe, generic enough that I can throw some modern automobiles (yes, collected a bunch of those too) into a scene and have the era feel right.

It’s been nice to have a bunch of stuff to work on without having to go out or for that matter spend any money. Especially with the way everything has been this last year. Additionally I’m taking care of the problem that all modelers seem to have, a giant backlog of kits and never getting around to building them.

And there you have it, not a change of eras, just a change of pace.

Till next time – stay safe and happy modeling …

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