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Monday, December 04, 2006

Two more railroad shows

Over the weekend I squeezed in two more model railroad shows. The Marlborough one was OK, but disappointing. The Roslindale one was definitely worth while. Both will repeat in future years, so if you’re interested in model railroads I recommend the latter but not the former.

In Marlborough I attended the National Model Railroad Association HUB Division, New England Model Train Expo, which had a couple of good layouts and a lot of commercial vendors. Mostly it was the same set of products over and over again, from table to table. There was almost nothing that I hadn’t seen elsewhere. There were too many commercial vendors and not enough artistry. Most disappointing was the lack of realistic detail in the layouts: while I don’t expect strict adherence to prototype (a.k.a. “rivet-counting”) in a show like this, I do think that scenery and structures should at least show a little attention to realism. We need the willing suspension of disbelief, as they say in the English classroom. And did I mention that there were too many commercial vendors?

Roslindale was a different story altogether. The Bay State Model Railroad Museum, a merger of the Massachusetts Model Railroad Society and the Bay State Society of Model Engineers, holds an open house several times a year. Packing four layouts into a small space, they are almost the opposite of what I saw in Marlborough, showing attention to detail at every level. The terrain, the scratchbuilt urban structures, the trolleys, and the weathering of all structures and railroad cars were particularly impressive. But so was everything else, really. Check out the links at the right edge of their webpage under Scale Layouts. And go visit them at the next open house, on March 3 and 4.

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