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Author Topic: Passenger Car Trends  (Read 10690 times)
Yampa Bob

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« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2008, 11:26:22 PM »

Sheldon

Your last 2 posts gave me a lot of inspiration.  It may take me several posts to sort it all out.  

It is our very nature to want our efforts to be accepted in any activity.  On one hand, I can just claim "Rule Number One" and not worry about it.  On the other hand, I have this fear that some rivet counter may view my layout and roster as not very realistic or prototypical.  My thoughts for now are only general, but I will relate specifics if you will bear with me for a few posts.

Tim has a good point. However in my situation, the first priority is that the locomotives fit the layout, which is small by necessity.  My largest locomotives are 2-8-0 connies and GP40 diesel and I have no desire for anything larger. With that established, the cars must be matched to the locomotives.

I have a very acute sense of "proportion",  it has to have a balanced appearance. Whether it is a framed painting on a wall, or the size of buildings on our ranch, it has to look like it belongs.  I have another observation regarding proportion, but will save it for later. 

You mentioned people with your view are in the minority.  I would be very interested if you would explain your view specifically, as I think it coincides in some respects with my view.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2008, 03:51:31 AM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
pdlethbridge
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« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2008, 06:11:57 PM »

rule number one should have the following added, that it is your way to have fun.
if the hobby wasn't fun, who would be in it? People have different likes, dislikes and skills. They also have different wants and money to fulfill those wants. I, for one, don't have the money to fulfill those wants so I stay on the cheap side, doing what I can with what I have. If someone else doesn't like it, to bad, they can take a long walk off the nearest short pier. I'm enjoying the hobby, if you don't like it that way, too bad. It's my railroad and I'll do it my way.
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Atlantic Central

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« Reply #32 on: June 05, 2008, 07:32:39 AM »

Bob,

The best way for me to explain is a series of statements - each a stand alone idea - but you will see the pattern.

Model scenes are more realistic if they represent the ordinary well, as opposed to any representation of the extra ordinary.

Selective compression is necessary not only because of our sharper curves, but to give the scene photo like perspective and depth of field.

Apparent train length is increased by more shorter cars and scenes that block the whole train of view at any given point - think about how few oportunities there are to see an intire train of any length in the real world.

Are we modeling the individual pieces of equipment or the whole railroad? If the answer is the whole railroad (or our small piece of it) than it is more about visual impression than scale accuracy of each car.

Exact scale models look good up close, but sometimes look out of place if other elements of the scene are compressed - example related directly to passenger car lengths - If you try to model a large passenger station, but you platforms are too short and building too small, the station will look out of proportion. Real passenger terminals of any size dwarf the railroad equipment that operates through them. It takes eight feet of platform to park 8 - 80' passenger cars - most big stations I have been in have platforms easily that long and much longer - how many 8' long model station platforms do you see on layouts? Shorter cars help keep the railroad equipment in proportion to selectively compressed stations.

A 70-75' passenger car, close coupled with working diaphragms, looks very realistic going around a large curve - 36" radius or larger. There is little overhang, the diaphragms stay in a normal relationship to each other and can stay touching, etc.

Larger cars require some sort of gap between the diaphragms and have lots of overhang, very unrealistic to my eye.

Turnout sizes - we often settle for sizes like #5 or #6, or we use #8's if we have lots of room. On the prototype a high speed mainline crossover may well be a #20 or larger! 80' cars squeaking through a #5 crossover looks like a derailment waiting to happen. 70' cars going through a #6 or #8 looks much better and is more believable. So again, shorter cars help hide our selective compressed track elements and make them look better.

Another factor often overlooked is viewing distance - at 3 actual feet from an HO model, I am effectively 261 feet away, how do the things look at the other end of the football field?  How clearly can most of us see details at that distance? In the old days details like grab irons where often oversized and could be seen clearly from a great distance, not always to the benefit of the models overall appearance. Sometimes no detail (or less anyway) is better detail that is poorly proportioned or over emphasized detail. And, does and 80' passenger car really look 80' long from 261' away?

How loud are noises at that distance? This is my big objection to sound in small scales. In addition to being of very poor sound quality, it is way out of proportion to the model in terms of volume and distance in almost all cases with the smaller scales. By the time you get to O scale it gets somewhat better, at G scale it is very effective - but in HO, well its just too squawlky and tinny and too loud - even turned down low.

And then there is operational reliablity - shorter cars are more reliable on our selectively compressed track elements making the trains run better and increasing the "fun" level.

Sheldon
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 10:24:03 AM by Atlantic Central » Logged
Yampa Bob

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« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2008, 12:26:52 AM »

Sheldon.

That all makes sense.

There is one thing that prevents a proper prospective. We can scale down the track, although compressed, we can scale down the cars, and use buildings and scenery to keep things in proportion.

However, we can't scale down our bodies to match the layout.  If my layout is 3' high, and I'm standing,  I am viewing the scene at a scale distance of about  250 feet, as from the top of a 20 story building.  If I bring my sight level down to 3', and one foot away, that's 87 feet just to the edge, and 435' to the other side.

I hope to have my final layout 12' long, so if I view it from one end,  it's almost 1/4 mile to the other end.  Now this may sound silly, but I have actually put my nose right down to the edge of the layout to visualize the proportions, it doesn't work. The only way I could get the proper perspective is to be scale size myself, about 3/4" tall.   Then if I looked down a line of 4 Overtons behind a Connie, it would be 1/8 mile to the caboose, and look about right.

Does any of this make sense?  Well, it drives me nuts. LOL   I took some low angle macro pictures with my digital camera, that gives me a better overall view of the perspective. But to be accurate, the lens would have to be about one inch from the train and pointing down the line.

Your first comment is the most important to us  We are attempting to represent a 160 acre ranch style homestead, initially on a 4 X 8 layout. The layout should be 30' X 30' for scale, so we're scrunching it.  Scenery will be sparse, buildings and trees will be a little smaller than scale so that nothing overwhelms or dominates the scene. 
« Last Edit: June 06, 2008, 01:04:14 AM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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Atlantic Central

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« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2008, 07:36:17 AM »

Bob,

Obviously you get it!

Now for another twist - many modelers, who may or maynot understand or agree with what we are saying, have little interest in this aspect of the hobby.

One group is collectors, and even if they build a layout, it is only a backdrop for their model collection.

Another group are operators and for them scenery is again just a backdrop to add a little more realism to their live action board game of rail barron.

Tha't what's great about this hobby, its impossible to do it wrong and impossible to do it perfect.

Sheldon
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Guilford Guy


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« Reply #35 on: June 06, 2008, 07:58:01 PM »

I am a bit of an operator, but most of all I enjoy scenery, creating something that resembles the outside world. I am more of an arm chair modeler, due to space constraints, and mostly do superdetailing or similar projects.
Yay, I  just spent my last 2 pennies!
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Alex

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« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2008, 12:39:48 AM »

I have had many hobbies in my 66 years and they all had to satisfy my needs to be a collector ; to be creative and to satisfy my interest in things mechanical .There is nothing more mechanical than a steam engine .To watch a steam engine moving cars in a yard or thundering across the open prairie with a string of a hundred cars never leaves your memory.When I had to give up my hobby of collecting and restoring antique outboard motors ( I had 70 ) the logical step was to model railways.I collect ,I create and I satisfy my interest in things mechanical.
Boy do I wish I could afford a real live steamer. Smiley
Don
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2008, 01:00:46 AM »

Don,
Me too.  We have a private road that goes around the entire ranch, would make a great railroad.  There are a couple of 3% grades that might be sticky.

Yesterday I received a 4 car set of 50' Overlands, they really look great behind a Connie.  I also received a set of Overtons, after a six month backorder. I was so impressed with them I ordered another set.

My roster is now complete, after 1-1/2 years of researching and finding the elusive cars.  It was very frustrating, I'm glad I don't have to go through that again. 

I think Sheldon's last comment says it all for me, so I'll quote him in bold.

"It's impossible to do it wrong and impossible to do it perfect."

From now on, if someone says I'm wrong, I will tie them to my "ugly" Code 100 tracks and run over them with my "non-prototypical" trains.

Thanks Sheldon, Paul and others who reminded me there is only one "right way" for me, and that is "my way". 

« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 08:26:20 PM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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Pacific Northern


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« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2008, 05:59:56 PM »


Yesterday I received a 4 car set of 50' Overlands, they really look great behind a Connie.  I also received a set of Overtons, after a six month backorder. I was so impressed with them I ordered another set.



Yampa Bob

Have you had time to run your 50' set sufficiently to be able to judge its running capability.

Another thread I recently read concerned MDC/Roundhouse coach sets needing truck replacement, otherwise derailments galore.

Unfortunately it was unclear as to which set the poster was referring to.

It may have been the Hariman 60' set or the recently 50' re-released coach
 sets.

Would you recommend your 50' Overland coach set to others?
.

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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2008, 08:23:41 PM »

As I mentioned in another thread, I am always hesitant to recommend any company's products on a public forum. However, I don't mind commenting on the running performance. Please don't consider this a review, just my personal observations.

I didn't weigh the cars, they felt a bit light but I don't add weight unless it's absolutely necessary.  I ran them at varied speed for 30 minutes, then full throttle in reverse while I ate lunch.  Very smooth, with no oscillations or derails.

This thread is mostly about the current trend to longer cars.  After seeing this set on the layout, I am convinced that 50' is the maximum length for my 18" curves.  My wife is even more critical, she said they looked "just right" behind the Connie.

I'm satisfied with them, they are solid runners. However, I like the 34' Overtons better as they are "Bumble Bee" colors and make the layout appear larger.

So what's next?  I'm chopping a couple 1921 Harrimans a friend gave me to 46' for my Yampa Valley Mail setup.  Check out my threads "Yampa Valley Railroad" and "120 Years of Progress" later this week for pictures.   
« Last Edit: June 08, 2008, 08:54:30 PM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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glennk28

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« Reply #40 on: June 08, 2008, 08:47:03 PM »

Overall in the hobby the trend is to more prototypically accurate models.  In passenger cars this means they're getting away from "generic" cars, which may not be of any specific prototype, nor of the correct length.  We are seeing not only specific cars, put cars that are specific for those in particular trains. 

Back in the forties and fifties "shorties" were 60 foot cars.  Really looked bad. Athearn came up with a "compromise length" of about 70 ft that looked better, but still are not scale length.  ConCor, Rivarossi, and Bachmann went with full scale length cars that look better. Most may be modeled on specific cars but get popular paint jobs.  Many have modified truck pivots and other tricks to look better on model curves.

Walthers and a few others are modeling cars for specific trains--a bit pricey, but beautiful. 

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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2008, 06:51:34 PM »

It pays to check small shops that are off the beaten path. I found a bunch of old MDC passenger car kits in Southern Pacific, Rio Grande and Santa Fe.     

I'm happier than Bugs Bunny in a carrot patch.   Cheesy

 
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #42 on: June 12, 2008, 08:18:05 PM »

Earlier in this thread I said that perhaps smaller cars are not in demand. I'm going to retract that statement.  I was momentarily caught up in the very trap being set by the magazines, as mentioned by Sheldon and Gene.

I just talked to my favorite sales person at Caboose Hobbies.  They are ordering all the 34' Overtons, 50' Overlands, and vintage locos they can get.  They are going off the shelves faster than they can get them in.  They have tremendous buying power, call it "clout" if you will.  Model railroading is big in Denver, and the vast majority of newcomers are setting up small layouts.

Who sets the trends today?  Not the consumers, they just fall in the trap of peer pressure and what is available.  Clothing, cars, you name it.  We are bombarded by TV and magazine ads telling us "what we want".  Trends are set on Madison Avenue.

I'm not knocking those that want everything scale and prototypical. I am fascinated by those huge layouts and long trains.  I hope they will continue to find what they want to build their railroad empire. 

Of course longer cars are "in demand".  Modelers want cars, and most of them don't even know what a car is supposed to look like on their layout. Few modelers care about the history of trains. 

I now have all the smaller cars I need, probably too many.  I saw this "trend" coming a year ago, and began buying up everything I could find.
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SteamGene

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« Reply #43 on: June 13, 2008, 08:59:38 AM »

Bob,
You've matched your layout to your cars and motive power.  That's as it should be.  I'm afraid there are too many people trying to run equipment that is just too big for their layout.  A 4x8 is, after all, a 4x8.  MR shows one can make a beautiful layout in that space - but a modern double stack with three modern diesels on the point is going to overwhelm the track.  Likewise trying to run the new Olympia Hi - same deal. 
Let us not forget that most buildings are not to size - but much smaller than in reality.  My two coal tipples dominate their surroundings, but my DuPont plant probably really couldn't produce toothpaste tubes! 
Gene
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2008, 11:44:28 AM »

Perhaps someday I can make room for a larger layout, then will I want the longer cars?  Probably not, I'll just add on some more shorter ones.

Coal trains usually consist of 100+ cars.  I presently only have 15.  Oh my, better buy some more cars while I can afford them.

We have the same problem with buildings.  We found a great looking red barn, but it's huge, compared to our layout that is.  Lately we've been browsing toy stores, found some buildings, horses and farm equipment a little smaller than HO, a lot cheaper too.  A little paint and weathering they'll be fine.

As a rule of thumb, we figure a scale ratio of 1:100 is about right.
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