I’m just finishing a glass of Garrison Brewing’s Hop Yard beer. While online I checked in on model160.com and they are featuring Mike Danneman’s Moffat Route layout. I first saw Mike Danneman’s work in the Walthers N scale catalogues and then later in some articles on modelling Rio Grande equipment in N scale. He’s an excellent modeller and I get the feeling that he really “knows” his prototype and I think that shows most when you look at photos of his layout. This video was on the model160.com website and I wanted to re-post it here to help illustrate what I am trying to say about his work.
Ask anyone about the advantages of N scale and most will reply about how well the scale lends itself to modelling the scene beyond the tracks. An excellent example of modelling the railway in the scene can be seen in those slideshow photographs of Mike’s layout.
I think what appeals to me the most about Mike’s work is how well I feel he understands his prototype. Most of us chose the themes we pursue for our model railways based on some emotional attraction. As we learn to master the art of communicating this vision we learn to identify the details from that vision with ever greater efficiency. When we decide to chose a prototype and to base our model layouts on something from the “real world” we do it best, I feel, when we learn what it is about that prototype scene that really “speaks” to us and then recreate it in a way that captivates others. While I am not a fan of John Allen’s Gorre & Daphetid layout I am a fan of how he was able to build a model railway that really took it’s viewers on an adventure through the rockies. By following along with a G&D train you knew that it knew the only way through that pass and that draws you in. When I watch the pictures of Mike’s N scale Rio Grande it immediately reminds me of what I know of a railroad like the Rio Grande and as far as I am concerned it just is the Rio Grande. To me.
As I gather more details together about the Montague subdivision to support my own model I am want to learn everything about the railway: it’s rolling stock, it’s operations. Most of all though I want to try and figure out what about the scene so appeals to me and then I want to find the way that I can translate those emotions to something tactile and to do it in a way that lets it’s viewers see in those scenes what I see. That’s when this hobby, my favourite hobby, is at it’s greatest and is truly art.