• Those famous model railroaders who aren't so famous

  • Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.
Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.

Moderators: 3rdrail, Otto Vondrak, stilson4283

  by Otto Vondrak
I wanted to talk about some of my favorite model railroad figures who you don't really see on a regular basis in the pages of the popular magazines anymore....

Bill Darnaby and the Maumee Route- Bill's model railroad, which appears to me to be a cross between the Big Four and the Nickel Plate, has been around in various forms for at least the last 25 years, the best I can tell. Bill straightforward approaches to operation, car modeling, and layout construction have been well received... I wish we could see more of his layout in photos! I always enjoy Bill's writing style, and I hope Kalmbach continues to favor him for years to come.

Bruce Goehmann and the Midland Electric- Remember this little gem? We first learned about this midwestern traction classic in the July 1980 Model Railroader. Bruce's modeling and approach to traction were well recieved then... is profession as a civil engineer certainly came through in his layout design. We heard from Bruce a few more times in the 1980s... and I think he also authored the O'Dell County Traction series, a very neat project layout that *almost* had me stringing wire on my home layout. Where is Bruce now? Let's revisit traction in the pages of the magazines again, shall we??

David Barrow and the Cat Mountain & Santa Fe- The CMSF came to us in the 1980s as we were learning about a new type of layout that was focused on serving local customers town-by-town with lots of flat switching. The charm of the central Texas prarie lent a specific appeal to this line. I first enjoyed the CMSF for its modeling, simple construction, and the idea of focusing on switching versus through trains. We revisited over the years as he tweaked things on the layout... then David started to delve more into how he designed his layout, and we learned about The Domino. Now David is again reviewing his ideas of layout construction and operation, and I'm still not tired of it. Keep it coming.

Ben King- Geez, if this guy's name does not ring a bell with you, then you were asleep for most of the late 1980s and mid-1990s. But then again, you may have glossed over his articles or not recognized his photos (I dont remember seeing a lot of photos of his layout). Ben was a patient kind of guy... his articles on scratchbuilding were fascinating in a world of window castings and styrene. Not only were his models scratchbuilt, but they were superdetailed as well. Next, Ben would challenge himself (and others) with the quest for a better camera for model photography. Who remembers his articles on modifying 35mm cameras with booms and bellows to compensate for the depth of field and mechanics of a scale world? The resulting photography was amazing... and then we found out that the entire Timber City & Northwestern measured a scant 2' deep and MAYBE was 6' long... unfortunately, Ben King has passed, but he has certainly left an impression on me.

Bill Henerson and The Coal Belt- Bill Henderson, otherwise known as The Brass Hat, has been entertaining us with his well-spun stories and great period photography. Some people may not have liked his story-telling style, but I thought it lent a dimension of character to the line. What ever became of the Coal Belt?

More? Did our heroes of the 1980s fall to the wayside to make way for Model Railroader QuickStartGuide #28?


  by JDFX

You know where this thread will ultimately lead to by the 15th response... That being said, heres some more names that should ring bells....

1.) Jim Six... Poor guy keeps moving around the country, so I don't know if he has a layout, but I have alot of admiration for him and both his writing and modeling styles.. He still models, but not sure about an actual layout....

2.) Al Warren... Was doing the Chicago North Western in HO scale.. Saw a few articles from him, then "POOF"....

3.) Mike Skibbe... Chicago Great Western in N scale... Hes on the CGW list, so keeping tabs with him and his son is no problem, but he hasn't mentioned anything about being approached for another article...

4.) Chuck Hitchcock.. ATSF, was doing the Argentine Division, now is doing the Transfer Yards theme... Again, whats he up to?

5.) Rick Rideout..... L&N.. I know when I asked him in email a year ago about what he was up to, and why nothing in MR, he told me that he was never asked... I assume it still holds true, as we have yet to see something....

6.) Allen McClelland... V&O.. I understand he is building a newer/better V&O... so whats his progress?

there are others, just don't remember them right now, but I agree, MR has really lost sight of what it once was... Deffinately not going to help the hobby in terms of new recruitment...

  by [email protected]
I can name two guys who never recognition outside their own circle:

Donald Wright, Sr and Jimmy Sparkman.

Those of you who are in the Philadelphia area know of these two folks. They are members of the East Penn Traction Club and display their modules/layouts at local shows.

Donald is an O scale modeler and his eye for clean traction detailing and modeling will astound and inspire you. Jimmy's 3/4" scale elevated is simply breathtaking, as is the logical and systematic way he approaches it. His 3/4" scale Budd Market-Frankford SEPTA EL car will make you want to leave the smaller scales far behind.

Mike Bartel

  by DSteckler
Vic Rosen - His photography of the CNJ (and other roads) was the most realistic I've ever seen.

  by Otto Vondrak
Jim Six, yes... and I'll raise you a Mike Rose. I want these guys to team up and write a book. Or books. Man. Please.

Vic Roseman, yes. He's been quietly doing great photography quietly since the 1970s. I dont think he has a layout, but boy, we could learn a thing or two from his outdoor-posed compositions. He can write a book too. Please.

Rick Rideout... just famous for Pikestuff, or famous because he has a kick-ass L&N layout? I like him for both accomplishments, but I am thinking of people who have contributed several articles to the model railroad magazines over the years... I think they only did the one story on his L&N?

I like Allen McCelland, Tony Koester and all of them. But they have/had regular serial articles in the magazines... thinking of those guys you see maybe once or twice a year... the guys who do stellar work and yet we dont hear from too often.

Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Tom Curtin
By the way, it's Vic Roseman. I think he's from Brooklyn, and I will add another vote for him. This, for those who may not know, is the guy who mastered extraordinary depth-of-field photography to such a degree that he could take photos with his models positioned on some kind of platform with track, against a "12-inch scale" background such as the old Jersey Central Jersey City Terminal, and have the whole scene blend together so perfectly that it all looks like one prototype scene. When I showed these to an acquaintance more knowledgeable in photography than I am, his only reply was "That's done with a pinhole lens." Well, it probably is, but I'm sure there's more than just that to achieving Roseman's extraordinary results. He should indeed publish a book, or at least a lengthy detailed "How-to" article on acheving these magical results.

By the way, I believe his models are O scale.

  by DSteckler
Lou Bartig - one of the greatest model builders of all time. I've visited him several times and many of his engines that have been displayed in MR over the years are in display cases in his basement. A nice guy, too. He's second only to...

The late Bill Clouser, the finest model builder in the country (apologies to George Selios). Bill specialized in modeling the Illinois Traction/ Illinois Terminal in O scale and his models are some of the most prized in the world. A neighbor of mine has 4 IT cars that Bill built for him and each is a work of art. Bill also modeled steam as well. His layout was rudimentary, really just a backdrop of the St. Louis Car Co. shops against which he took pictures of his models.

The Smithsonian had several of Bill's large scale models on display for several years and the National Museum of Transport in St. Louis also had several models on display. Bill was a bit of an odd duck, as artists tend to be, but he was always glad to show off his models to anyone who had a genuine interest. His monomania served him well.

  by JDFX
Re: Jim Six and Mike Rose...


I wholeheartedly agree.... I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of their "U18B" modeling list last year, and though these two guys modeled two different locomotives, the email list was a blast... The project went smoothly, and with the collaboration between those two, plus a couple others on the list, many questions about the smaller apparatus on the locomotive came to light... (some of which applies to all U-series GE's)

I would love to see a book from them, but honestly, it looks like the email group thing worked great for them, and if you wanted the whole thing, including more photos and other related stuff on a CD Rom, it could've been had for a small fee... (Deffinately comparitive to a Kalmbach paperback book)...

They're in my opinion going together, but down a different road, then the one in which books are the finished product.... I would expect to see more CD Roms coming from these guys in the future as well.... Realize, with books, you need a publisher, an editor, etc, and at times, some items which are important to the author, tend to be deleted by the editor...

By doing the CD roms, you get EVERYTHING the author wants you to know, you edit it yourself, and theres virtually no overhead... (No Publisher B.S. either)

  by Otto Vondrak
Who is the fellow from the St. Louis area who does those amazing photo shoots for Walther's and others (I think he did a cover shot for MR a few years back- a Santa Fe train at Dearborn Station for the holidays? I think they are brothers?)? I think he's associated with the Midwest Modelers? And while we're talking about it- whatever happened to the Midwest Modeler's group? They had a great layout AND a great modular group. and the photography- wow.

I have mixed feelings about George Selios. I think he is the modern day equal to The Wizard of Monterey, John Allen. But- George's layout perplexes me- everything is heavily weathered and falling down... but he is modeling structures from the 1920's... shouldn't *something* look new? Cracked concrete, broken down wooden structures... certainly not everything in the city of Franklin is that old already? Seems he is weathering from the standpoint of those items existing in 1985 and not 1925!


  by CIOR
I too have wondered what happened to the Midwest group, they had a great modular layout, I believe Ken Patterson was one of them. I believe I saw a few pictures on someones website, but that has been a few years back. (hard to believe if that group is still together, that they don't have a website out there somewhere, or atleast a presence).

I know who you are talking about, the brothers that did many photos in MR in the 90's Matt Kosac? maybe Dave was the other....

Anyway, there are many names out there that will probably never be heard. Model Railroader seems to be stuck, looking only when and where they wish for stuff to print. The early 90's seemed to be the cutoff for when Model Railroader went from good to ok.
I think today, with the internet, you have a less then willing audience on a large scale. More are willing to pay, but few do!

The only way I have kept up with the V&O is via the local NMRA chapters website. There are several shots, but those are almost 2 or 3 years old now (or so I think). From those pictures you can get a good view of the progress, from whatever date they were taken.
I haven't heard anything in MR about the V&O. Tony K has only made minor mention of things in his articles.

  by Otto Vondrak
I think we need to give Tony and Allen a couple of years before they can show off the fruits of their labor. Hey, whatever happened to the third leg of their Appalachian Lines trio? The fellow who modeled the Virginia Midland? I feel like his layout was akin to the Western Maryland of the Chessie System merger- not largely discussed and mostly pushed aside! Did we ever see the VM in print? I think I only ever saw one yellow-and-green WM GP38 on the AM...

Matt Kosic and Ken Patterson were the people I was thinking of. Team them up with Vic Roseman on that photography book we were talking about earlier. Their models and photography keep me in awe- especially when you look at what Vic was doing in the 1970s- he was far ahead of what was "the norm" in the pages of MR- and MR always had great photography!

  by jmp883
A few names there I recognize/remember, a few I've never heard of.....

How about Mike Tylick and Malcolm Furlow. They both had numerous features in the 80's and early 90's but really haven't heard much from either lately. I do believe that Malcolm had a layout feature in MR within the last couple of years, but other than that, not much from either gentleman.

Joe P. :-D
Long Live The EL

  by Otto Vondrak
I see Mr. Tylick at Springfield every year, but I never get a chance to talk to him. I would like to see more work from him- he seems to be a student of Selios...

Malcom Furlow, I can take it or leave it. Malcom is not so much a model railroader as much as he is an artist. Some of his stuff is inspiring... other stuff is of the head-scratching variety.

  by jmp883
I'd agree with that.....the last thing I saw from Malcolm was in MR a few years ago and the centerspread photo was of a very detailed scene, but the whole layout was taken to VERY artistic limits. I'm sure there is nowhere on this planet that is that cluttered, that landscape-challenged, etc.

Joe P :-D
Long Live The EL

  by snowplough
You guys may be right about Furlow overdoing it, but I question whether it would be right (and I'm not saying that you're doing this) to completely separate being a model railroader and being an artist. It seems to me that the best model railroaders are those who have an artist's *touch*, but even more necessary to get anywhere in the direction of realism is to have an artist's *eye* (*viz.* the sort of eye that notices that tree trunks are gray rather than brown, etc.).

I seem to recall that Allen McClelland credits art courses that he took for some of his success with the original V&O.