I could have called this “Going Home” or “Accepting Reality”. However, the positive note that “Bigger Things” means (at least the connotation of those words is in my mind more positive) is what this needs.
I’ve come to a point with my vision where I simply can not continue to struggle with HO scale modeling. To spite my furious efforts to find something to model, shrinking the scope, playing with location, trying to plan and go narrow gauge to avoid decals…. it just doesn’t work. I’ve stretched it as long as I can, and yesterday I posted on my Facebook page a ‘Notice of Abandonment” for all things HO, with liquidation of kits, cars, structures, parts, etc… to soon follow. When a railroad is abandoned, it often is not just the railroad that dies, but the communities that are served can also die and be abandoned. This is only abandonment in the terms of HO scale.
I sat with my wife who has listened to me talk about what I “might” do in the future, in that ‘some day” down the road when I was ready to move up in scale, along with two other friends this weekend, having the “what are you up to in your modeling” conversation, and each of those three people looked at me and in their own ways, prodded me to not wait, to make a change, to be excited about modeling again, and to do “bigger things”.
We attended the Chicago O-Scale Meet in Lombard over the weekend. As the show wound down on Saturday, we had a fantastic opportunity to spend some time talking with Damin Keenan about his 14″ x 12′ O Scale swishing layout. Damin’s layout is long enough that if you stand at one end, the equipment on the layout is far enough away at the other end, that you have to move to where it is. Additionally, we noticed while talking that the layout really changes character and look if you change sides you are operating it from, so the “front” and the “back” view really affect what you’re seeing. Even changing ends of the layout has a similar effect.
While this layout isn’t massive, it has some cool details. Things like the figures hanging out or a work crew in a parking lot at the right hand side, derails on the tracks, hand thrown turnouts, locomotive sound and lots of operation for a small space in a large scale.
While chatting, my wife commented that a double-depth layout like this could be operated really easily as a 28″x12′, or if built right, it could be ‘opened up’ with two 14″x12′ sections placed end to end to reach 24′. Wow… that’s a fantastic concept.
“I can see the wheels turning”, said my wife at one point about me thinking about a layout in O. But not just O, Proto:48. There are a myriad of places online that explain Proto:48 better than I can (yet) but the gist is the rail is actual scale instead of the slightly too-wide of standard O scale 2 rail.
I spent the second day of the show examining things in the dealer room with a completely new eye. “You’re making the change, right now” was a quote from breakfast that morning and another friend. Ok, but I am a steam guy, a pre-1930 steam guy, I needed to look around and see what was there so I could start to figure out what I want to build.
I managed to find lots of USRA and 1920’s equipment available. By “lots” I mean “enough”, as even a 14″x24′ layout isn’t going to need much equipment. I also found that I could see the details on the equipment, read car numbers, access couplers, without needing even my reading glasses, where in HO I’m mostly in need these days of readers plus multiple magnifiers.
So, HO is abandoned. I’ll be liquidating things, keeping a few pieces for display here and there, but for the most part, like I did 15 years ago when I went to HO from N, I’m out and not going back.
What to model? Remember I said this could have been titled “Going Home”?
Yup…. I figured out how to do it, in Proto:48, and it’ll be really fun.