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June 2008 - Page 6


MODEliNG FROM THE PROTOTYPE
or more and more model rail roaders, b irthdays are becoming a time to celebrate not yet having to use a walker or, at least, of stil l being alive. The hobby is maturing, and thank goodness, improving with age. My i ntention in editing and co-publishing Railmodel Journal has been to be celiain the magazine also improves with age. This has been the magazine for those who really are "Mod eling from the Prototype" for almost 1 0 years, and the magazine's roots go back over 40 years, so I am going to celebrate I&-'- with a bit of history . . . .

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If you are a modeler who buys a l l your model s unpainted, and preferably as cast-resin kits, you w i l l not be pleased. Back in the day . . . " The Journal" w as the leading magazine in displaying pho..... ;,- tographs of the prototype and l i sting the ..l decal sources so you could build and """'_. _ -.. .. .='"""" p aint and decal to your hearts' content. r.:... 1 001 Model Railroading Ideas, B ut the hobby has changed. Today, if F all 1967 a new freigh t car is produced, you can count on 90 percent or more of the alter nate paint schemes becoming available within a year or two, so there is seldom a need to paint or decal . If you do need something unique to your choice of real rai l roads, chances are that road's historical society has published what you need know.

c ent of nearly any real railroad without even having to repaint a diesel , so in 1 998 we changed the magazine's logo (actually our designer-of-the-day "borrowed" much of the design from another real raiLroad magazine), and we . .::l made "Modeling From The Prototype" :: :: more than just a catch phrase. The "Lay.. I. +!:c- out Tours" m'e now selected to be those that are modeling a specific time and a specific place on a specific railroad. So Railmodel Journal is close to celebrat ing 1 0 years of being the only surviv ing monthly magazine for those that m'e Modeling from the Prototype.


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The year 2008 is my 4 1 '1 year publishing the magazine. I n 1 967 Argus Publishing in Los Angeles was cranking out Popu lar Hot Rodding, Motorcade and Model Car Science magazi nes, and they needed a quat1erIy to fil l in a gap in their news stand distribution. Said gap was fi l led by the quarterly 1 001 Model Railroad Ideas, w hich we later changed to Great World of Model Railroading. T he magazine was designed to appeal to the total newcomer, a;:d!i;'Jilllk:.l- and it appeared in very randomly spaced quarters until the late seventies, when it died.

The hobby has grown and i mproved i n a direction few of us dared dream it could during these 20 years. In the nineties, Railmodel Journal, number 1, June 1989 some of the manufacturers who had expended much time an angst disparaging our "rivet counter" contributors real ized they needed more ac curate information if their products were to have the quality an ever-more-discerni ng audience demanded. Concurrently, there were enough enthusiasts to form the Rail road Prototype Model ers group that now flourishes with more than dozen annual get togethers. And we championed the similar (and often connected) "Friends of the Freight Car," which had its fi rst informal meeting at the Pitts burgh N M RA convention in 1 990. So, guess what? Several manufacturers now deem it wise to attend the Railroad Prototype Modelers events i n person. You see lot of coverage of the RPM meetings on these pages because that standard of modeling is what we stand for (however, much it might not please some potential advertisers). Some of the manufacturers now utilize the expertise of these expelis to ensure that their products are accurate portray- Journal logo, June 1996 a ls of real locomotives and cars. And thanks to better cooperation between the manufacturers and these "rivet counters" and real Railroad Historical Societies, most of today's models are accurate for each of the real rai l roads they represent. Yes, there are sti l l some manufacturers who feel all this resem'ch is a colossal waste of time, but for most of the major manufacturers, you can rely on a proper match for, say, U n ion Pacific Armour Yellow between two or three different brands of models. A few manufacturers m'e even r;j :lt"l;;:r"- fiil courageous enough to offer only loco motives decorated to match a specific prototype- the right locomotive for that paint scheme. A few less m'e willing to offer passenger cars that m'e dead-on correct for the paint and lettering on their exteriors. Fewer makers, yet, are willing to offer freight cars matched only to the roads or o wners that used them. And we cannot police that for you -over time, you learn that you can trust some of the brands, but it's sti l l up you to do the re sem'ch to determine if that freight car or T he first all-modeling-from the-prototype issue and passenger cm' or locomotive really does the current logo, Nov. 1998 match the prototype. A nd so it was, and it gets better each yem. As a now-deceased best friend, master pattern maker Ron Klein stated, "You can produce a model that does not offend the enthusiasts" (and tbe novice won't know or care). I am pleased, indeed, to have been pmi of the R MJ maturing of the hobby.

I resurrected it by convincing a Denver printer that the publishing business might be a useful path to prosperity, and Model Rail roading magazine, with a similar appeal-to-a l l content, was pro duced as a quarterly in the fal l of 1 979, and, later, as a bimonthly, and fi nally as a monthly. Said printer and myself had a falling out that ended my association with the May 1 989 issue. I created Railmodel Journal w ith Golden Bel l Press beginning with the J u ne 1 989 issue. Happily, a group of strictly prototype modelers had coalesced around the magazine during the eighties, and all came aboard. For the first few years ;p---:::tiii I c ontinued in my delusion that the magazine could somehow become number 2 in the trade. When I final ly realized it would take an investment of around a qumier-mil lion of those day's dollm's, I decided it was time to face reality - that wondelful cadre of con tributors had made Railmodel Journal the prototype-based magazine. But too -- ---..... many mticles were aimed at beginners Model Railroading and general HO toy train fans -it was magazine, May 1989 a waste of magazine space and energy. Starting in 1 996 we established a policy that we would no longer feature freelance model railroads. There was enough equipment available that you could model 90 per-

6 RAllMODH JOURNAL J UNE 2008

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