It digs in

Last Sunday, Pierre invited us to visit his layout for an operating session. “Dream come true. Yes!”

As we toured the layout it’s impossible to not pause to appreciate the many cameos waiting to be found. Composition is as much of cameo design as a sense of scale or volume. In this case, elements like the switchstand and how the surrounding scene frames it.

I’ve mentioned how the progression of studies, I’ve worked on recently, reinforce this feeling of how, the right scene, for me, is in the range of six to nine inches deep. Over the operating session, it was so enjoyable to observe Matthieu and Will’s train at work, using this siding. The dimension of the scene facilitate a sense of closeness and accessibility that might only be diluted if presented any other way.

When talk of this layout first started to surface it was exciting for the way the theme felt so familiar and good in all the right ways. The familiarity of a branch that exists to support the harvest flashes an instant connection point. This scene is in California but it could just as easily be just east of Mount Stewart or Emerald. I’m a child of an era where it seemed like scenes along the Southern Pacific were popular and I’m a fan of Andy Sperandeo’s San Jacinto District layout too. I won’t keep listing all these points. All this enriches a sense of fascination with what’s going on here.

With Matthieu and Will, clear of Clovis, well on their way to Friant, it’s time for me to get to work. I’ve tried juggling operating and photography before and that’s a race to disappointment—this time I wanted to keep the camera away and instead focus on being present. At this point, however, it’s just too good. “Guys!”, I shout out, “You’ve just got to see this! It’s perfect!”. It really was just so very perfect, watching that mogul leading its solid train of orange reefers through the California countryside. The model is sound-equipped and the sound is just so richly developed. Plus, the throttle is set so you really have to be present in the can and that only further enriches just how good this feels.

“It really digs in.”

“Wow! It sure does”

“I love it.”

So very, very perfect.

Bell ringing, we inch along Tulare, on the way home. My heart is as full as those reefers behind our engine.

Thank you Pierre.


Check out Pierre’s notes on our session here:

Categories: How I think

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