Chris Mears kicked off an interesting discussion over on his blog back in October. Through a series of posts, he has been analyzing his desires with respect to the hobby. It seems to have gone quiet over there, but one post in particular struck a chord with me.
If it is to be placed in a room in our house then it is, essentially, in public display mode all the time. Unlike the typical train show, most of the people who will look at it just aren’t interested in model trains and any sense of validating this work should be in line with the way we display the other work that is around our house from painting…
Trevor Marshall picked up on this in the comments:
I find it interesting that hobbyists generally set different standards for themselves. I think most of us try to make our homes presentable for others – there’s a matter of pride at stake – and yet when it comes to the layout and its environment, many people tend to let that standard slide.
Now, Pembroke is actually, in my opinion, quite a nice environment. The fascia is at least painted, and the cabinets are not some ratty old plastic shelving. However, I have noticed that even model railroad visitors lose interest pretty quickly. In order for me to explain what I’m doing, I have to drag out the guest book and show them photos of the real thing, accompanied by a lot of gesturing and hand-waving.
It is time to up the presentation level to a new standard so that casual and model railroad visitors understand that the big flat surface in front is a river, and that they are looking at a little town. Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, I really need to address the great gaping hole that is supposed to be full of storage cabinets.
So, this winter I am going to gloss over everything with a base layer of scenery and building mockups. I am also going to build those cabinets. There will be no more hand-waving or “never mind the mess over there.”