Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Naming My Little Swamp Logger

Naming model railroad layouts can be easy or they can pose a challenge. If you model a prototype railroad that actually exists (or did in the past) naming the line can be relatively simple. HO scale modeler Jim Six is building a branchline of the former New York Central through the Midwest. While researching he discovered the line was actually nicknamed "The Michigan" by the railroaders that worked that section of the NYC. Another outstanding modeler Troels Kirk of Sweden is modeling coastal Maine in the mid-1930's. Troels named his On30 scale work of art "The Coastal Line R.R." His layout concept is from research combining everything he's seen in that area of the eastern U.S. and creating his own world. The name really sets the tone for his model railroad. Without seeing it, you know it's setting is along the rocky coastal waters.

I want my pint-size modular On30 swamp logger's name to convey a feeling of locale as well. After filling a few sheets of scratch paper with brainstormed name ideas and variations of them, I landed on one combination that struck a chord. The name is totally "made-up" but at the same time sounds like it could have been an actual logging railroad. Since for me, that's the main objective to a layout name, I grabbed it as the name for the new pike.

Here's the story behind the name Blackwater & Mosquito Creek Lumber Co. layout.
The moniker comes from a pair of "memories" so to speak from my past and present. The "Blackwater" part of the name comes from the 1975 Classic Rock song from the Doobie Brothers by the same name, always a favorite of mine. And since I work as a DJ for a Classic Rock radio station and play that song, it seemed very appropriate. I did toy with the idea of using a Credence Clearwater Revival song, since John Fogerty's music has that gritty swamp sound, but the titles didn't seem to have the right "ring" to them.

As for the 'mosquito' part, that goes back to a time when I lived on Mosquito Road in Placerville, CA. I also had an logging layout at the time with the Mosquito name. I actually just found a saw blade that I painted back then. (See photo above) That's weird because I finalized the name BEFORE I discovered the saw blade buried in a bin with my old On3 stuff! The Mosquito Creek name also congers-up the mental picture of a dank, dark, steamy swamp filled with millions of the 'man-eating' little buggers. Pity the poor fellow who has to cut timber day-in and day-out in along it's mossy, bug-invested creek banks deep in the backwaters of Louisiana. Plus, now living in Minnesota, it's also appropriate since the unofficial 'state bird' is the mosquito! See, it's all coming together!

So with the name in place, I have created a mental image of what the new swamp logger layout will be like. I love a model railroad that has a distinct mood or feeling to it. I hope the mood of the Blackwater & Mosquito Creek Lumber Co. will seem very obvious when the layout is complete and people are able to see it operate in person at train shows or in photos on-line and in model RR publications.

1 comment:

  1. Great name and great back-story... And great taste in music... :-)