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Long & Winding Road...

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#1 laming


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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:24 PM

Hi All:

This will probably be a long post... and it may not have much news concerning VSC... but at least I thought I'd pitch it out there for your perusal, and perhaps see how you're feeling too. So, here goes...

It doesn't seem like it's been over eight years since I joined the Trainsim.com forums in August of 2002. I joined the 3D Trains forum on August 2nd, 2002. Eight years is a long time for a computer game interest.

Up until a few years ago, I was quite active and always excitedly working on some project. In 2004 I went commercial and have been responsible for getting several products to market, either personal projects, or commissioned projects. For the time being, those products are still available.

Seems I have always had much bigger aspirations and energy bursts than the all-important "sticktoitiveness" (i.e. tenacity) that project completion requires. This is why my MSTS projects folder on my hard drive has WAAAY more route projects thereon than I'll EVER get completed. (Unfortunately, over the course of moving from computer to computer, some very good projects were lost along the way. sad.gif )

The last couple years or so, my "funks" have become more pronounced and more prolonged, and therein lies the main reason for this post.

I'm curious to hear how some of you have sustained your interest in your V scale hobby throughout the years.

In my case, my original hobbiest enthusiasm lasted for almost two years as I ran trains, tinkered, diasected, blew up routes by modifying them... the whole experience! I had fun... learned... and eventually honed the needed skills to where I could build routes and create my own content. Once I went commercial, it was a different set of rules that I had to play by: I had to create my own stuff for use. (ANYTHING used had to be my own, or legally licensed/obtained.) This has certainly been a drain... but "build it myself" thinking is so ingrained in me now that I doubt I'll ever be able to shake it.

My other "problem" is that I like SOOOO many things in the railroading realm. As you have seen over the years we've been here at the VSC forum, I can like anything from Colorado narrow gauge in the 1880's to mid west diesels in the 60's or later! Truly a vast expanse of "interest points" in this hobby.

Now, that's GREAT if one stays within the hobbiest realm of V scale because one can let others do the route work, or content creation, and then enjoy the fruits of labor. Not a thing wrong with that approach. In fact, I think "point and click" is a fantastic advantage of this hobby.

However, I can't seem to do that anymore.

Instead, I always want to create something that hasn't been done or that I find interesting, and so off I go with a new route project... and then one of my other "problems" kick in.

I almost without fail OVERBUILD everything I undertake. IF I chose a nice portion of a prototype railroad, I find myself continuing to lay track until I have so much in place that I'll NEVER get the scenery installed. I've done this over and over. Considering that creating even a small route (twenty miles or so) is essentially like building a MODEL RAILROAD, it's easier to understand why I can't whip out such a small route in a few weeks, or even a couple months. Instead of me remaining focused and a retaining a do-able sized route project, I compound the error by overbuilding it, then I bog down, and the lanquishing begins.

I really admire the way some V scalers approach their hobby and have the tenacity to get things accomplished. I'll mention a few here:

First, there's Paul Charland. Paul has this knack for finding very interesting small prototype routes... and then actually finishing them! Amazing. I really respect his ability to do that. flowers.gif

Another V scaler that I deeply respect is "Rick-Monon". Rick has essentially created the Monon railroad in its entirety. We're talking hundreds of miles of very nicely done route. He's worked on it for years and is continually improving it. Seems he never tires of his beloved Monon and has basically created a living history of the line. Now, how cool is that? cool.gif

Another that has a long-term interest that motivates him to make progress is our own Herb Kelsey. Herb has had a "thing" for the Rio Grande Southern since about '62, I think. Well, with the advent of V scale, once his route building skills progressed to the point that he was able to fly on his own, he is now currently involved in completely rebuilding an earlier route of the RGS in its entirety, and has been for a couple years(?). When Herb is finished, there will be a very creditable V scale version of the Rio Grande Southern that, as is possible with V scale, will be somewhat a living history in virtual form.

I would be THRILLED if I had the ability to pursue such approaches CONSISTANTLY.

As for Rick-Monon's (or Herb's) approach in regards to me: There is my long-time fascination with the Frisco's Fort Smith Subdivision, as well as the old Missouri & North Arkansas. Also, there's my interest in the Colorado Midland. However, again, the scope of any of them is lengthy.

Plus, experience gained during the Coal Belt project proved the city of Fort Smith to be a major stumbling block in regards to object intensity. (Fort Smith on the Coal Belt steam era route is spread over several tiles, one having 400+ track pieces and only rudimentary road placements.) Even if I could tame the object count monster at Fort Smith and Van Buren, there is simply not enough steam engines available to represent the route for a steam version. However, Gaetan has released an EXCELLENT Frisco diesel and equipment pack! Hmmmm... wink.gif

The Missouri & Arkansas is a fascinating prototype to ME... but once I had the track finished from Seligman to Harrison, I concluded that it would not translate well into V scale. Basically it's long stretches of nothingness through little towns that don't have a lot of rail activity. It's operational highlights would be at the terminals the 1st District (135 miles), Neosho/Joplin to the north, and Harrison, AR to the south.

The Colorado Midland suffers the same malady I've fallen victim to before: Overbuilding. The Colorado City and Colorado Springs tiles are object monsters in track (and some roads) alone and (like Fort Smith) I'm stumped as to how to create the look of a bustling city, yet have a playable route on those tiles when completed.

As for Paul Charland's approach: I don't really have a favorite shortline that could be a worthy V scale candidate.

Then there's freelancing/protolancing. Such an approach can circumvent a lot of stumbling blocks. For example, I can control the amount of track at a location, create any needed interchanges, etc. Basically create an entire railroading world, as was somewhat the case with the Ozark Northern. BUT... all that work to produce a route... and when finished I don't have a route of historic significance. That sort of takes the fun out of freelancing/protolancing for me.

So... this is where I'm at in my "Long & Winding Road" I've traveled in V scale. I'm not completely gutted-out with V scale, for I still have the urge to create routes... I'm just fresh out of ideas as to where to go from here.

How do you V scale long-timers do it? What's your trick to making progress (if slow) and renewing your creative energy to further your project? What criterion do you use to select a project?

Come on... this is my nickel... speak up and share your views!!! Who knows, maybe this old V scale dog can learn a new trick?


An Old V Scaling Friend,

Andre Ming

#2 salopiangrowler



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Posted 04 December 2010 - 07:22 PM


thanks for some wonderful stuff, really you do great work regardless of over build, it give us a few extra miles to clock up tongue.gif

i dont want to turn this into a request thread but a modern day florida east coast would not go amiss wink.gif ok i know its not your era but modern day railroading is kind of teaching old dogs new tricks smile.gif

#3 TheGrindre



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Posted 04 December 2010 - 08:04 PM

Let's get this back on topic...
I don't build routes, you know I'm a content creator but still, it's the same thing... You gotta find something you really love. It's the only way to stay focused.
I, too, have quite a few interests in this hobby but I've put my foot down to create 3 foot narrow gauge models ONLY. I do not except requests for any other gauge although, there are some I'd like to build but, I refuse to be swayed. I will not vary. I build in 3' exclusively.

So, pick your field, pick your love, and stick to it. You have to learn to say no to your fellow modelers and, most importantly, say no you yourself.


#4 gizzmaxx



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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:08 PM

Hi Andre,
My First MSTS route was the P&WV, it started out as a training route and to recapture some child hood memories, but ended up a half decent representation of the line between Rook yard (Greentree / Pittsburgh, PA) and the West Virginia State Line. The idea for my next route, the L&HR came from an article I saw in a magazine in the mid 70's. Like you I prefer to build routes under 100 miles in length to try and keep the project manageable. The original intent of the line was to only model the L&HR between Belvidere, NJ and Maybrook, NY. As I learned more about the line, it's history and connections, I continued to add them to the route. My last major decision was to model two eras of the same route because of the numerous changes that had taken place on the line. This held my interest until this year. With the purchase of a new computer and a half price sale on one of the other simulators, I gave the other simulator a try and liked what I saw. For now my MSTS route building days are over, but working in this new simulator has rejuvenated my interest in route building. The route I'm currently working on in the new simulator was a route I was thinking about creating for MSTS. What does this long winded reply mean? I felt like I had hit a wall with MSTS. I had started a new MSTS route and the very first problem I ran into dealt with switches. I became so frustrated that I began loosing interest in V scale railroading. With this new simulator I feel that wall has been knocked down. Sure I gave up almost 10 years of routes, rolling stock and engines. For me the decision was worth it, your mileage may vary devil.gif

Rich S.

#5 laming


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Posted 07 December 2010 - 04:43 AM

First off, it's great to be "live" again!!! Thanks for the efforts Marc!

It's also good to see some input, thanks in advance. I just had time to check the site to see if we're back up, and now I'm off to work. So... later tonight I'll fix a cup of hot chocolate... sit back... and read some input from some of you other V scalin' idiots! smile.gif

#6 mdeming



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Posted 07 December 2010 - 06:42 AM

I would suppose that the reason for my sustained interest is due to the fact I have an extremely limited range of railroading I am interested in at all. My railroading interest is in reality low key. I enjoy trains and railroading but it only is surface. As an example I dloaded the Monon route and ran it for several hours than put it down and have not opened it again. It is a well done route from what I have seen of it, but my diminishing interest is due to the fact that is is the Monon and not the Chicago Great Western. MSTS gives me a way to rebuild a long gone railroad, one that is a lot of way was a leading innovator of now common practices. It was computerized in the 50's, was an early advocate of welded rail and was one of the first to use TOFC. Finding out information about an existing railroad can be a daunting task, one of the reasons being that most rail fans take pictures of engines, rolling stock and structures, but for my purposes what I need are pictures that show track work at differing towns. I have track charts etc but often they are not complete, so over the years I find out information and wind up ripping out whole sections of track work and relaying it. I have also a few other projects that never made it very far, such as the EJ&E and the Troy Grove Branch of the C&NW but they will never be completed and I doubt I will ever even open them up again if I still have them.

#7 rfranzosa



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Posted 07 December 2010 - 09:09 AM


The compulsion to overbuild is why I have never even OPENED the RE. I KNOW what would happen to me. rolleyes.gif

Since Gaetan Belanger and Tim Muir got me started with TSM, it has become an obsession. It doesn't seem to matter whether I'm working on payware with Gaetan, or freeware on my own. There always seems to be one more little improvement that I could make to each model.

I'm in the middle of a set for Rick Berg's route (ironically). The Monon had a slew of unique cabooses, partially due to an Indiana law that required 'head end' cabooses on local freights. I have spent countless hours on these cars, and I keep going back, tweaking here, tweaking there.

My wife has a good friend that owns property near Lake Ontario that, until the late 1930s, was the northern terminal of the Lehigh Valley railroad. I've 'promised' to build a route of the area based on old maps and photographs that this woman has provided....

but I can't make myself start!! I'm looking at the route editor like a lemming looking over that cliff. I know if I take that next step, it will be a LONG way down.....


#8 Genma Saotome

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 10:16 AM

How do you V scale long-timers do it? What's your trick to making progress (if slow) and renewing your creative energy to further your project? What criterion do you use to select a project?

For myself, the #1 issue to selecting and maintaining progress it's having a strong personal interest in some aspect of the subject matter. Before getting involved in making the Cal-P (Southern Pacific, central California) I was had no particular interest in the SP... but I did have 30+ years of interest in railroading in and around Oakland... from doing research on a Horse Car line in Alameda in the 1870's to turning out the lights on the Western Pacific in 1981. So when I was approached to lend a hand on the Cal-P, it was a not a hard decision. I'm also interested in other potential routes but none come close to matching the depth of personal interest... and so I wonder, had I taken up one of those instead, would I have stuck with it? I dunno.

I think a second factor comes right out of model railroading: is your personal interest in trains/railroading going to be addressed by your route AND is that personal interest...oh, for lack of a better phrase I'll say: complex enough, to sustain a long term interaction. Perhaps an example will help here... if what you really like is taking roster shots of locomotives your level of interaction with any route is likely to be less complex than say, if your interest is peddler switching busy dodging mainline action while spotting cars. And that interest can be pretty arcane: Some years ago I was included in a private meeting at John Armstrong's house in Maryland (John was one of the great Model Railroad designers and his layout designs were published in the press for many years). Before seeing his layout I asked him what is design objective was for his layout. He answered realistic signaling. IMO whatever your interest is, IMO, has to relate in some deep way in the route you chose as it will have a strong bearing on its development.

#9 johnfrum



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Posted 07 December 2010 - 10:27 AM


My own enthusiasm for MSTS waxes and wanes over time -- nothing strange about that.

But I always come back to it, and maybe part of the attraction is that my approach to route building is flexible enough so that I don't ever get bogged down in any particular task.

Firstly: my route will never be "finished" -- the day will never come when I can look at it and say there's nothing more to do. The only goal I have is to enjoy whatever I'm doing at the moment, whether it's running trains, creating an activity, retexturing a piece of rolling stock, laying track, smoothing the jaggies in terrain, or whatever else I might feel like. If I start getting frustrated or tired, I hit "Save" and put it aside.

Although my route is "inspired" by a prototype railway, I realized from the start that it could never be a completely accurate representation. I don't have the information, skills or motivation available to achieve that, and wishing to do so could only lead to frustration. So it's always "good enough for now" and slowly getting better.

I admire people who are always possessed by the spark of inspiration. I'm not one of them. Once in awhile I'll have a very creative day when I add and improve eye candy on my route as fast as I can turn it out. Most of the time though I'm just muddling along making notes about things I see that don't look quite right but I can't put my finger on exactly what's wrong. Then on those rare "creative" days I'll use the notes as a starting point for some truly productive work.

I find that the mood I happen to be in has a lot to do with how the route looks to me. Some days I think it's the most Godawful, toylike collection of crap. At other times the magic just seems to be working and a pleasant haze settles over the rough edges. It's then that all the time I've put into it really pays off.

There have been two developments in the past year that really have re-stimulated my enthusiasm. The first was upgrading my old P4 computer and adequate but old videocard to something a bit more up-to-date: an i7 with a 1.8G graphics processor. The faster computer effectively tripled my frame rates in MSTS, which revitalized operations in the dense eye-candy areas.

The second development is the release of Open Rails to the trainsim community. Although it's still got a ways to go, it promises a vast performance improvement over MSTS, making efficient use of not only my new quad-core but my new GPU as well. In ORTS my trains run as smooth as silk in the areas of densest scenery on my route -- which means that I'll be able to make the scenery even denser and more realistic!

ORTS may be the ultimate solution to taming your "object count monster" Andre. A bustling city may actually end up being possible. To me, the big question mark is how to depict crowds of people. Maybe some young trainsim genius out there will eventually solve that one biggrin.gif .


#10 Genma Saotome

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 12:18 PM

ORTS may be the ultimate solution to taming your "object count monster" Andre. A bustling city may actually end up being possible. To me, the big question mark is how to depict crowds of people. Maybe some young trainsim genius out there will eventually solve that one .

In one section of my Cal-P ORTS renders 8000 primitives* at 30-42 fps (I don't recall the exact number). I'm using a quad code i7-930 and a ATI 5850 video chipset. The display is 1920x1080 and dynamic shadows are on for all objects. So yeah, modern hardware and software will make a huge difference.

* You can use ShapeViewer to get a primitive count for any object -- it's the total number of brown boxes displayed on the Model Hierarchy screen.

#11 grundge69


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Posted 07 December 2010 - 05:05 PM

Yo Andre,

You know us Frisco Folks like our details! I can't say that I over build my routes, but I think with each one they get better and better, sometimes 100% better then the last. Being a Kansas modeler and railroader (I think you might of worked for the SKOL in Winfield? Perhaps? Forgive me if I'm thinking of somebody else.), sometimes those stretches are boring in the V Scale, but a fact of life.

Im working on the Mopac Larned Sub, and oh fricken yay, those long stretches are are causing Cutbank Node problems in several places. I actually might have to release a route with XTracks!

Anyways, everybody get's bored with the game at times. Just take some time away from it, go ride the Harley, spend some time with the little lady, and when your ready, V Scale will still be there.


#12 laming


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Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:54 PM

Home! Done with supper... no hot chocolate yet... but anxious to dig in and see what you all had to say...

First, an explanation... buy "overbuilding"... I'm referring to non-released route projects on my hard drive. Also, by "overbuilding" I mean I get carried away and lay waaaay too much track. So much, that it would be difficult to EVER get it "good enough" and full of scenic items. Frankly, in regards to my released commercial routes: I think there's lots of room for scenic improvement on all of them. However, when it comes to a commerical endeavor, one has to find a point to say "this will have to do" and quit. Like has been mentioned, I can fully understand how a route is truly never "finished".

So... I tend to "overbuild" more track and railroad infra-structure than I can chew up scenically. Does that make sense?

Anyway... off to some replies...


You're welcome. Everyone of my released projects started off with fun and excitement. It was the plodding onward until finished enough to be released that was the booger!

In a nutshell, Rick said:

"You gotta find something you really love."

I'm hearin' 'ya, bro! cool.gif Hold that thought...


While I'm at it: You've done a wonderful job on your routes you've released.

As for trying a new simulator direction: I really tried. I did my best to lay aside preconceived notions and tried the current "alternative". There were several things I couldn't get past. I felt that if I was going to have to go the significant effort to learn a new sim system, as well as learn new modeling programs in order to create stuff I wanted, it would have to be a sim that truly impressed me and basically blew me away. Unfortunately, I wasn't blown away. Pretty: Yes. But I couldn't get past some of the nagging things. Even now, though, I follow along in the appropriate forum to see how things are progressing. If they keep chipping away at it, the downsides could eventually be fixed, and they could have a nice package that would be more tempting. So, for me, the thought of a massive switch in sims has the reverse effect. That is, whereas you were engergized with new found enthusiasm... it would simply overwhelm me to the point of dropping out altogether.

Thanks for your candor and sharing of your experiences, Rich. It is appreciated!


Whoa... that is one of my problems: I have allowed myself to indulge in whatever MSTS railroading interest is "hot" for the moment! Typically, it results in a burst of enthusiasm, followed by laying too much track... then: "Poof"... I flame out. dry.gif

I have sensed the need to focus on a dependable "interest" (interests?), and your thoughts validate that feeling. Thanks for your input!


We route builders are a twisted, demented sort. wacko.gif Avoid RE if at ALL possible!!! biggrin.gif
Besides, you've got to work with Gaetan to keep getting some more good stuff to market!!

Dave said:

"For myself, the #1 issue to selecting and maintaining progress it's having a strong personal interest in some aspect of the subject matter."

Now THAT sounds familar! Haven't I read something like that very recently? wink.gif Like I said... hold that thought!


Having enjoyed your pics and posts over the years, seems to me you have definitely found your place in the MSTS hobby. It's a place that you're very comfortable with and (in my humble opinion) you approach MSTS as it should be approached: A fun hobby.

I do like the fact that your personal pet-project, the C-A, is based on prototype, but you're willing to be flexible as needed. I utilized that approach for my little StLNA route, and enjoyed the creating of it for quite a spell. It was the self-imposed pressure to "get it out the door" that took from the experience. Mea culpa.

What I am also gleaning from your input is that: Interest "waxes and wanes". Good point. One that I tend to lost sight of. Perhaps in the future I can remind myself that it does do so, and not let it bum me so when it is "waning". Besides, IF there are no self-imposed pressures to perform and "git'r done"... then what's the big deal, eh? (Had to throw that "eh" in for your sake!)

Thanks for taking the time to articulate your MSTS experiences!

Dave again:

Ah yes, ORTS. I really have high hopes for that effort. I will likely comment more on that later, too!


Yup, I loaned out to the SKOL on several occasions and to several subdivisions, including Winnfield. I enjoyed those times.

Our appreciation for select mid-western railroads are very similar. As you are aware of, I too, have a real "thing" for the Frisco, along with the Midland Valley, as well as the Missouri Pacific. In addition, I appreciate the Rock Island, and even the KCS. We speak the same language in some ways!

Appears to me that your personal interests in your projects have helped sustained modeling energy to the point that you completed several of your projects. I'm sure, like John mentioned, your energy waxed and waned... but I suspect that "personal interest" would rekindle the urge more often than not, and completed routes are the result.

Thanks for your input and I think you've said something that ties in with a couple other thoughts that keep bobbing to the surface.


Looking to you, the longtime MSTS hobbiest, I see recurring themes in your MSTS efforts: "Personal interest"... "something you really love"... don't sweat the "waxing and waning", etc.

As I've mentioned before on these pages, in the past (even now?) I have let the "commercial" aspect of MSTS detract from my hobby aspect, to my detriment. I want to be just a "hobbiest"... and if something gets done to the point it can be shared: Do so. BUT... no "pressure" to build it. That "commercial" mentality hasn't been easy for me to break. Like building my own MSTS models and such, it is very ingrained in me now.

I really thought it would be easy to just "follow my interests" and enjoy route building. However, without really trying I have created some route projects that (subconsciously) were aimed more at "can I sell this?", rather than "this is neat... I really like this".

Case in point: I was convinced that my "diesel" route to "piddle with" would be the C&O in the Thurmond, WV area. Was intending to build a small segment (Thurmond and the Minden Branch) and then... release it. If more got finished, sell the upgrades, too. Well, this is all well and good if I had previously had a long-term and sufficient PERSONAL interest in such a project. BUT... being truthful with myself: No, there was not a personal interest. Instead, I suspect that I thought it was small enough in scope that I could possibly get it finished and out the door before I lost interest in it.

IMHO, that is NOT the way to enjoy one's "hobby", eh? rolleyes.gif

This and other stalled route "projects" have caused me to step back and scratch my head and ask the questions I'm asking you guys, as well as some of the self-discovery disclosures. To wit: This ain't the way to enjoy this HOBBY.

Business? That's different... but I would prefer to leave the business side of it behind, in regards to the business aspect being the MOTIVATION for working on a route project. It ain't sufficient. Routes are too much work, too labor intensive... and the returns are WAAAY below the amount of work and sweat put into them. (Regardless of the sim!)

No, I need to create and work on a route because it is something I HAVE A PERSONAL, GENIUNE interest in. No other reason is going to be sufficient at this point that I've reached in my long & winding road.

Using this criteria: PREVIOUS LONG TERM PERSONAL INTEREST... I think it will be easier for this dense idiot smile.gif to figure out where he needs to invest his MSTS hobby-time over the long haul.

Good grief!! I've typed novel!!! Sheesh! rolleyes.gif

Welp, all for now. I'll keep checking in to see if more input is forthcoming.

Thanks again to all that have taken the time thus far to share your experiences and what turns your crank in the V scale hobby!

#13 Frisco2


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Posted 07 December 2010 - 08:38 PM


As for me, I do go through stages where my projects sit on the back burners from time to time I personally would like for once to really super detail a route.

Ive been studying the Railworks Stuff, what I like about it is the near realism of the Trees, Underbrush, Grass, and weather changes.

I was glad to have discovered Sketch-up It certainly changed my outlook about MSTS I was able to produce many buildings that I needed. Instead of settling for what was offered out there I now have what wanted in the first place.

I also followed your example, I purchased my first digital camera which was a nice addition it allowed me to expand on my modeling techniques, plus it allowed me and my kids to spend time together outdoors.

I fill like that Open Rails is going to be the answer for MSTS I like what see there.


#14 mdeming



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Posted 08 December 2010 - 06:34 AM

As to your comment about the business end of your work. It reminded me of what my Daughter in Law said. She is a professional photographer, and is doing extremely well at it. A very talanted woman, anyway on Facebook not too long ago she said, "Business shmisment, I just want to take pictures." I would suppose you could relate to that.

#15 rfranzosa



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Posted 08 December 2010 - 08:09 AM

QUOTE(laming @ Dec 7 2010, 6:35 PM) View Post

Case in point: I was convinced that my "diesel" route to "piddle with" would be the C&O in the Thurmond, WV area. Was intending to build a small segment (Thurmond and the Minden Branch) and then... release it. If more got finished, sell the upgrades, too. Well, this is all well and good if I had previously had a long-term and sufficient PERSONAL interest in such a project. BUT... being truthful with myself: No, there was not a personal interest. Instead, I suspect that I thought it was small enough in scope that I could possibly get it finished and out the door before I lost interest in it.

IMHO, that is NOT the way to enjoy one's "hobby", eh? rolleyes.gif

You can add my Central Vermont set to that list. All it has done is spawn a number of New England related projects. There really is no end.

That's precisely why I haven't jumped to RW. When I look at the amount of time I had to invest to
MSTS to get to a minimal level of proficiency....

I just don't have the time.....

#16 billmoyer



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Posted 08 December 2010 - 10:29 AM


I have not built a route, or any equipment, for MSTS. I have completed projects (a few of those I started) in other mediums. I agree with the comments everyone has posted here. Bottom line, you have to have a personal interest, even in a commercial project, to maintain the motivation!

I think you may have found the answer but don't recognize it. Put the commercial side of your interest in a desk drawer and lock it! Then work on the Colorado Midland or Coal Belt for Andre! Do it for yourself!!!! No deadlines or expectations from "customers". Just Andre working when the motivation hits.

Your friends here are not going away. We are not here just to buy your projects. We are here for YOU! Tell us what you are doing, when you WANT to. Knowing your abilities, we can enjoy your efforts vicariously. Then, IF/WHEN you finish a project, to your satisfaction, look in that drawer and decide whether or not you want to release it. DON'T LET US DRIVE YOU!! DO IT FOR ANDRE!!


#17 laming


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Posted 08 December 2010 - 03:40 PM

Thanks for more input, fella's! Let's see what'cha said...


No argument from me: Railworks is indeed pretty.

I also agree that Open Rails is going to offer a lot, including the ability to bring our MSTS stuff along for a while to boot. I really need to do some homework to see what I need to install in order to run OR... "someday".


Yup, I can relate to that. I would like to build nice routes, that's my basic "want to do". The other baggage I've introduced into that simple goal seems have interfered. rolleyes.gif

However, I'm a' gonna' get a handle on it... one way or t'other.


Sooo... you're saying you can relate to how things snowball and get out of hand, huh? blink.gif


Thanks for the encouragement and kind words. That's about the nicest thing I've been told in quite a while. I will say that I enjoy talking train-related stuff here, particularly routes, when enthused and in a talky (typy?) mood. Lots of fun to kick back with friends and shoot the bull in such a manner. (Why, as you know, I even enjoy talking non-train stuff here!)

However, I do have some reservation about me excitedly going on (posting) about whatever route I'm having fun with at the time for fear of "carrot dangling". I have tried to be upfront the past year or so by often reminding that I don't seem to have the "push" to bring commercial route content to market at this point. But I still worry about my posts about some project I'm working on appearing to be "carrot dangling".

It would be nice if we V scalers could sort of think in terms of model railroaders: When we see pics of other people's models/layouts, we know we can't get a copy of it, so we enjoy it for what it is. However, the nature (and a very strong PLUS) of V scale is that we CAN share and pass around our work. So, it IS natural to think that something depicted here or elsewhere in the V scale world, will eventually be available.

Of course, I INTEND to share anything I finish... but inwardly (for me) that can sort of run counter to the idea of enjoying this as a hobby first, and then other considerations second.

Like I said... I'll get it sorted.


Bill mentioned the Coal Belt and the Colorado Midland. He's very perceptive. Those two routes are indeed personal favorites.

I have liked the CM since the early 90's. Has to be one of my all-time favorite std. gauge steam railroads.

The Coal Belt... well... I've been fascinated with the my regional railroad scene since I first moved to this area in 1969. I have SOOOO many good memories of (and experiences on) the lines in this area. For example, did you know that I used to ride Frisco Baldwin VO1000's switching Fort Smith as early as 1970? Or that the Frisco guys begin to teach me how to work the ground and switch about the same time? The Fort Smith Hostler at the time, Winston Harvey, took me under his kind wing and let me trail him around like a pup... teaching me about engines and showing me running techniques. We would go from engine to engine... in and out of the roundhouse... hook up power... power test... the whole enchilada. Further, the roundhouse guys took me in too, and showed me what was involved turning wheels, would let me go under the engines in the pits and show me stuff... why, I begin to learn how to run engines and handle trains on the Central Branch of the Frisco! It's all this and much, much more.

So, to say that these regional roads, the Frisco in particular, were "favorites" would definitely be a safe call. wink.gif

Yes, the Coal Belt region is a favorite. However, at the core of my interest in the steam-era Coal Belt region you'll find one railroad in particular, already mentioned several times: The diesel era Frisco. Yup, the Frisco has been a dependable interest since those early years I mentioned above. The steam-era Coal Belt route project is merely an adjunct to this basic interest in the Frisco diesel era.

So why haven't I modeled it? That is, why haven't I worked on a route for the diesel-era Frisco?

Well, over the years, I would have hankerin's to do so in some form or another... but there was always a major obstacle: There wasn't a congruent selection of quipment available. There were Frisco-lettered pieces here and there built upon generic models... but nothing truly "Frisco".

Well... that's all changed now. Just a month or so ago, Gaetan released his first geniune "Frisco" pack, and the models are really, really nice. Below you'll see just one pic of some of the Geeps included in Gaetan's pack. (Picture by Rod McLaughlin aka "August1929", taken on his modified A&O Sub.) Note: Be sure to expand the pic by clicking to view it full size. Because of Gaetan, for the first time EVER, I have a really good start on a great looking Frisco roster.

It only took the first "work in progress" pic sent to me by Gaetan to realize the potential this pack was going to have to me personally. I mean, I could actually model the Frisco... and have an stunning engine/equipment pack to get started with!!!

So, yes, it is very possible that the Frisco could be my "CGW" or "RGS" or "New Haven"... you get the idea. I know I would really like to have a nice route of this region I live in back when it was really something. I was able to see just a bit of of the last of the interesting railroading years for this region... just barely missing the truly grand diesel years. (Passenger service, defunct railroads, etc.) It would be really great to ever so slowly bring it back to life in V scale.


It would be a long term... REALLY LONG TERM... project. I would want to include the locations that were very special to me (still are), as well as representing (not comprehensively so) other lines that were in adjunct to the Frisco. So, it's eventual size would be big. (160 route miles or so.)

However, as a "hobby"... what should it matter, right?

Upside would be that many of the busy city-scape structures could also be used in my other pet project: The CM.

I will have to say that, since my original thinking along the line of this thread, I have explored the possibilty of taking the Coal Belt route... and renewing some effort on it, mainly in the realm of getting the markers in place for the entire projected size. At this point, the Frisco markers have reached Fayettville, AR. That's approximately half way to the northern terminal I would want to model.

You see... I think I can take this route and...

...dear me... I've typed another novel!!!

Okay... I'll hold that thought and share more with you later! Got church tonight, so I need to head off to other things.

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#18 Genma Saotome

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 04:07 PM

QUOTE(laming @ Dec 8 2010, 2:21 PM) View Post

I really need to do some homework to see what I need to install in order to run OR... "someday".

(1) Use this link to go to a Microsoft page, hit the download button, when it's finished downloading, double-click the file to install it. It's just some standard Microsoft software that makes Open Rails work.

(2) Use this link to download the Open Rails zip file. When it's done downloading, open the zip and extract the contents to a directory of your choice (e.g., \OpenRails). Double click on Open_Rails.exe to run the game (or make a shortcut for your screen and click on that).

Not much homework at all.

Send me a PM if you have any trouble.

#19 S. Weaver

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 08:46 PM

'Just enjoy looking over your shoulder. I've enjoyed the Coal Belt in AE and in RL. And your CM is special. There's nothing wrong with tinkering and talking. I personally haven't run MSTS for months, since I have some other projects going. But it's always comfortable to drop in here and pull up a chair and listen.

#20 laming


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Posted 08 December 2010 - 09:23 PM

Dave: Thanks!


It is really good to "see" you stop by. Hope all is well with you and Ann. How has your year been with the RR? I think our business is picking up slightly. Past couple weeks I've been training one of our Conductors to become qualified as a engineer... once you get a trainee going and you don't have to monitor them so closely... it gets BOOOORing to spend the day sitting on the other side of the cab and just riding.

Anyrate... stop by often!