Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Building A Critter = FUN!

I have to admit, working on my scratch-built On30 Diesel "critter" locomotive is very enjoyable - dare I say, even...FUN?!?!?!?

Discovering a single vintage photo during a Google search has provided the inspiration to create a very plausible representation of a 30-ton narrow gauge Diesel switcher. What make? What model number? When was it manufactured? You know what? It really doesn't matter. What matters is the 'fun factor' and it has shown me the whole On30 portable, modular layout "exercise" needs to be fun. No pressure, no prototype, no exacting dimensions...just fun.

Using the styrene sheets and a few different structural shapes in styrene I have on hand and that single black and white Internet image, I am creating this little locomotive purely by feel and looks and thinking what could be plausible if it was an actual locomotive built by some long-defunct manufacture in the 1940's, design solely to toll away year after year in the muggy, damp swamps hauling logs, supplies and workers.

Now, mind you I have my O-scale rule firmly in hand to check dimensions and keep things "real" and with-in scale, but for the most part the "critter" is coming together straight from my imagination, and it's actually looking pretty cool. I'm sure the rivet counters would pop an artery, but so what? I'm having fun.

It all is part of an effort on my part to free-up my creativity in the realm of model railroading, which has gotten pretty stuffy the past many months. With the "Swamp Logger" layout concept, I may or may not actually get to build the whole designed modular layout, but so what if I don't? The layout is getting my creative juices flowing once again, which I hope helps my creativity to loosen-up in other areas of my life, such as my photography, my art, music and my radio gig.

I was getting bogged down with my HO scale standard-gauge layout, trying so hard to make each and every loco, car, structure, palm tree a perfect representation of the Big Island of Hawaii, even though the last flanged wheel on rail to roll in revenue service was in the late 1940s. And even though my "what if" layout concept for continuing the legacy of the Hawaii Consolidated Railway is pure conjecture, I have been putting loads of pressure on myself to "get it right!" And with that, I somewhere along the (right-of) way lost my joy and creative freedom.

I'm not going to drop that Hawaiian HO layout for a new On30 swamp pike, but following the possible move to a different home, I will rethink the concept as I rebuild and assemble saved segments of the current layout. Maybe I'll begin to take more artistic license and work some "fun" into the plan.

So back to the work table to finish that cool swamp logger "Critter."  And like they say at the Outback Steakhouse..."No Rules, Just Right!"

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