Friday, June 7, 2013

Some thoughts from the past

Several years ago I wrote an article that has appeared on the web in a few places that I would like to include here. It speaks about the influence every day life has on my modeling as well as the relationship we as modelers share in our thought process. Included are some of my most recent endeavors but I won't be focusing on them and include them merely as eye candy as one reads this rant. So here are my thoughts as viewed only part way in the course of my journey into the hobby of 1/87 scale modeling.

So what is it that intrigues us so much about rust and decay? What is the attraction and why do we model it?
   To do my Christmas shopping today (yes, it’s Dec. 24th) I rode into Rockland . On the way there is a garage that seems to have a knack for hot rodding as there is always some spiffy rig out front. Today there was a restored Ford Vicky and a ‘65 Chevy Malibu all decked out in good taste. Around back there is 8 to 10 old wrecks in varying stages of decay. The first word that came to mind was “potential”. Perhaps because I had just seen the nice rehabs out front or because I thought of what I might want to do to them (a ‘40 Ford coupe stood out) So is it the potential in those rusting bodies that is the allure?  I envision what those cars might have been like when they were in their prime. What made the dark stain on the backseat of the ‘49 Woody? Maybe it was Sally spilling her grape juice on the long vacation drive to the northern lake. And what put the splintered dent in the bed of the old flatbed? I picture workmen loading materials before the days of the forklift truck.  I also see the uniformed driver lunching on the running board enjoying his waxed paper wrapped sandwich and insulated tin of coffee.

   I often look at the beams of my barn that was built in the early 1800’s. The adz marks on the beams show the final cuts of the woodworker squaring the timber. Did he know that almost two centuries later I would be thinking of him? The terribly weathered original cedar shake siding loses a few shakes every windstorm to leave showing the tiny cut nails that held them on. We that work on houses often leave something to indicate our presence there. I mark my name and the date on the back side of planks that will never be seen until a future someone tears them from their place. And I have found coins and postal markings from envelopes under thresholds marking the dates that the doors were hung. Always, I am reminded that there was a person much like me that put them there, or drove those nails for the siding.

   These aren’t just rusting machines and old dilapidated structures. They represent personal experience. The family car, the truck driven daily to make the driver his wages and the barn that the farmer milked his cows in, can even today be related to real people. I almost hate to see the rusty old car turned back into a viable means of transportation. In today’s state of neglect, it says so much more about how long it’s been around and what it’s been through.

   And why do we want to model these old things that have seen better days? Are we making the concession to the real world that we must accept all that is in it? Or is this the way we would like the world to be? I haven’t made my mind up on this one. I often feel it’s the way it was before these things took a down turn that we would most like to see. And that modeling them in their present condition is our tribute to what they were and what they represented to the folks of the time.

I suppose I should give some information about these models shown starting with the first photo of the Mack R model that is pulling the lowboy. The load is the Cat No. 12 grader from Norscot as is the Trail King lowboy and the Mack is from Athearn. All have been stripped and repainted, the lowboy has a new wood deck and the Mack has a shortened chassis with a bunch of extras added. The red IH KB12 is one of those cheap Imex pieces with a change to the windshield area and the location of the headlamps along with the additions of fuel tanks, wheels, mud flaps and a fifth wheel.

Well thanks for taking the time to put up with another of my long winded rants on the subject of modeling in miniature. Please take the time to tell all your loved ones how much they mean to you today.

1 comment:

Rob Pav said...

Thanks for the "Rant".
Never thought of it that way. I am presently rwiring a house that was flooded with 5 feet of water from Hurricane Sandy. Removing the old wiring when the house was built. Never thinking of the person that it there. Did the man think it would have to be ripped out because of a flood. Doubt it. The homes were not meant to be flooded.
Hopefully in a hundred years, a person thinks of me.