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August 1999 - Page 47

S cenes

that is of interest on a particular rai l road. Or maybe a particular building intrigues you. So, how to choose one? There are many factors to consider, none of which by them selves will determine which site to choose. To beg i n with, consider accessibili ty. Is it easy to get to the scene? Can you go back for more data or is it a one-time shot? Has the scene c h anged m u c h over the years? How accessible and pro l i fic i s the data if you have chosen to model the past? Con sider books and historical societies for photo sources of the scene. Remember, text is not usually as i mportant as a photo when trying to achieve perfection i n model ing a proto type scene. I choose to model the Moffat Tunnel dur ing the 1 970s, before the Rio Grande Rail road changed forever the confi guration of the tunnel building in the mid- 1 980s. Sev eral books as well as personal s l i des pro vided the necessary photos. One of the main reasons I chose the Moffat Tunnel was that there were a set of scale plans of the tunnel building (Photo 3). And although the build ing has changed recently, most of it remains intact. S ince the building is the main focal point of the scene, having plans to the bui ld ing was of prime concern. Without plans that scene would not have been chosen. For the Joint Line bridge site, I decided to model the bridge as it e x i st s today. N o p l a n s were available, so I had to draw my own, but the site was very accessible.

T he foreground scenery blends very well into the hand pai nted backdrop.

R esearch and Photog raphy
S o now y o u have chosen a site and a time (year and season) to model. So what's next? Now comes researching the s i te . If you ' ve chosen to model an area that can be seen today, be prepared for some field work. If the area has disappeared, then book research will be necessary. For field work, permission may have to be obtained from the landowner(s) and the railroad. This can be difficult if not i mpossi ble. I t m ay also be al most i mp o s s i b l e to physically get access to the site. These chal lenges may alter your site decision. Be pre pared to visit the site at least twice. You w i l l never g e t all t h e necessary photographs on the first visit. If an Amtrak passenger train travels through the scene you want to model, consider taking a train ride. If possible, visit the area i n at l east two seasons. Fall and winter are good because the fol i age has dis appeared, making the landforms more visi ble. B u i ldings are not obscured w i th leaves, either. Spring and summer are usually easier to schedule a s ite visit (called a vacation), and it is easier to measure and photograph without dodging snowflakes or cold weather. Winter travel to a site can prove dif ficult, A U G U ST 1 999

From the rear, the East Portal building looks very large. The structure is entirely scratchbuilt from styrene sheet and strips and resin castings.

The tail end of a DRGW Coal Liner train passes by the MOW shed just east of the Moffat Tunnel.

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