So when he was 2 years old I made him a little city, the size of a large coffee table, using all the stuff from model railroads. Grass, roads, houses, people. I drilled holes and pushed led lights through the bottom and into the insides of the buildings. I even put little monkeys in the trees and playing on the roofs of the buildings. The only thing it didn't have was railroads or trains.
Most toys, kids play with them for a while and stop and move on to something else.
He played on that little city non stop for at least 4 years if not 5. Every morning he got up and sat down next to it and started pushing his cars around it and parking them and lining them up and making vehicle noises.
I have to admit I had a huge amount of fun choosing all the parts and designing and making that little model city.
He's older now so the table lies in a corner much loved and worn and now unused but here it is:
The only computer directly involved in production was used to control the sliding of two pieces of film to produce a "flare" effect late in the sequence.
My kids were poking fun at the rendering glitches in the titles of Star Trek: Next Gen. They explored Netflix a little further to find the original Star Trek, and agreed that it had much better CGI with their starship. No glitches at all! It never occurred to them that they were models.
They had been extremely reluctant to use CGI up to that point, despite many efforts to persuade.
I guess sometimes no matter which tech you choose, it ends up being a double-edged sword in one way or another. Especially in the early '90s.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUwDSd1tSiI here it is
Captain Disallusionment does a video on Back to the Future special effects when he talks about how this was the era before CGI but that used computer controlled cameras to achieve certain special effects.
I was lucky enough to help hand-crank one of its props once, and subsequently watch it take off. The rumble and the noise of the engines were majestic.
A part of the take-off procedure, see https://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/29561/why-do-gr...
But I watch Luke Towan on YouTube every now an then to compensate. :-)
"3. The Early Hackers
The beginnings of the hacker culture as we know it today can be conveniently dated to 1961, the year MIT acquired the first PDP-1. The Signals and Power committee of MIT's Tech Model Railroad Club adopted the machine as their favorite tech-toy and invented programming tools, slang, and an entire surrounding culture that is still recognizably with us today. These early years have been examined in the first part of Steven Levy's book Hackers [Levy] .
MIT's computer culture seems to have been the first to adopt the term `hacker'. The Tech Model Railroad Club's hackers became the nucleus of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the world's leading center of AI research into the early 1980s. Their influence was spread far wider after 1969, the first year of the ARPANET. "
1. Their place in history. Sailing has been around forever, but only recently in the grand scheme of things did land-based travel become quick and convenient. And trains did it. Cars came later. Trains revolutionized both industry and personal mobility.
2. Nostalgia for a time in the past when they were at their peak, before they were partially supplanted by cars. There's something intriguing about a technology we don't use nearly as much anymore but was once able to bear a key part of the burden of making society tick.
3. Cars and trains are both neat machines, but most people own or have access to a car, so there isn't a feeling of mystery or exclusivity around cars. How many people get a chance to drive a train even one time in their life?
4. Where they are used, trains naturally make themselves the center of attention. With cars, they come and go constantly, so the arrival or departure of a car isn't really an event. The arrival or departure of a train is an event, often with a schedule. When they were the dominant form of transportation, in a small town, probably everyone in the entire town knew what time the train arrived. Trains also make a lot of noise (whistles, horns, engines, etc.), so that's another way they're the center of attention.
5. A passenger train is part of the public sphere and is a location where things can happen. So it is its own social setting, like work, school, church, etc. are social settings.
http://tmrc.mit.edu/ (no SSL/TLS available)
It's amazing how in a model, such as this one, the control system has gone from a bunch of mini-computers and relays over the years, to these days, in modern layouts, tiny DDC control modules and very compact hand held DCC controllers. And on top of that a reasonably mature common control protocol defined by the NMRA (https://www.nmra.org/) that's pretty standard world wide.
That’s innately cool to a certain subset of people (including me) also the minutiae and detail required to run a complex rail system safely is again fascinating.
I'm also really curious what the sky is painted onto.
Tongue in cheek, but I do think modelers keep these questions in the back of their mind, about the worth of this thing they put thousands of hours into. You accept that you do it because you love it, whilst recognising that most don't share your passion. Hopefully it goes to a good home after you depart, but finding that home is a big ask for others. Even then, if the value is in the journey/making rather than the destination, will another "passionate" even benefit from the ownership?
they're really not cheap
I never thought about it until my 40th birthday when he presented me with some of the carriages and engines that he had saved even after we had emigrated to Australia (we had sold/burned/threw out most of our possessions for the move).
I am sure those old Fleischmann models are worth a bit nowadays as collectors items, and when he gave them to me, it made me realise how much that hobby meant to him and how much he must have missed it for all those years that he couldn't go to his room and spend time with his trains.
Does anyone want to share how they imagine new cities?
Are there any tools people like to use for this kind of urban dreamscaping? Google My Maps is pretty rudimentary but it's all I know. Games like Sim City don't fit the bill for me because there's too much other stuff going on -- I just want to sketch roads, buildings, transit lines, etc., on top of a map.
Here's some examples:
I have created a couple of absolutely impossible templates..mostly my imaginations of cities from books I have read..not just sci fi but also Victorian fiction. My fav genre is cyberpunk. I also like to imagine cities in space and underwater and Mythology and fairy tale worlds.
It all still feels ‘flat’ ..you know? I wish there was some way I can make my words become three dimensional landscapes and cities. I enjoy doing garden designs and urban homestead concepts on paper because there is a sliver of chance that I can actually convert them to reality.
Have you ever come up with fantasy materials..like imaginary metals and materials with fabulous properties.. like walls that can become fireplaces in winter or underground gardens beneath homes..detachable homes levels.sides of homes that are full scale apiaries etc. sometimes I get carried away but who knows..might be possible some day.
> He told Railway Modeller he worked on the skyscrapers and other scenery while on tour, requesting an extra room for his constructions in his hotels.
> "We would tell them in advance and they were really accommodating, taking out the beds and providing fans to improve air circulation and ventilation," he said.
I can understand taking parts on a tour, but maybe I'm missing something? Assuming Rod's moving from hotel to hotel frequently, how is he going to have the time to do something so massive? And, wouldn't this kind of thing be well-known?
”For example, during a 63-show North American tour in 2007, Stewart relocated his wife Penny Lancaster, the couple's toddler son Alistair, and seven massive traveling cases of model kits and tools to a suite of rooms in Chicago. From this central location, he flew to each night's show. After the performance, a limo would rush him back to the airport where his private jet would be waiting. After a quick flight back to Chicago and a few hours rest, Stewart would be up bright and early and busy at his model railroad workbench. Stewart said he could usually manage a few hours of steady model building each morning before setting aside his tools and spending the remainder of the day with his wife and son.”
Here's the website of the article that OP is referring to.
for reference, we're talking a full crew of 90+ roadies, 14 tractor trailer trucks, 9 tour buses. I figured it cost over $1MM per show day. Yeah I can absolutely see this being a reality for Rod Stewart, as zany as that sounds.
Also factor in that Rod is, uh, old. My experience was with an act in a similar age bracket. They were not playing back-to-back shows. Usually had a least a day break between gigs. They would also fly to the next city, where we we left to the buses. This equals more down time, and hence time to work on trains! Maybe Rod's not like that, but a hunch.
Also - Neil Young is also a big model train enthusiast. I believe is part patent owner on some model train components and also some tie-in to the board of Lionel Trains. Wonder what other rock stars are also huge train nerds!
Pete Waterman (of Stock, Aitken and Waterman record producers - think Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley etc) is a huge enthusiast of the hobby. When he got into the hobby as an adult he was deeply disappointed with the quality of the rolling stock in his preferred scale (O gauge) that it's said he practically rebooted O gauge modelling in the UK by working with manufacturers to improve their products.
Here's a clip I found, have to skip through a bit to see the Sebastian Bach stuff:
(Link is from orpheline's comment here.)
He was just having a room set up with a desk and area to build those smaller components, then would take them home and add them to the layout.
"...like Rod Stewart on the cover of Railway Modeler!"
Can anyone think of other examples of this?
James Hetfield of Metallica is a well-known beekeeper
Tony Bennett is an avid painter
Bryan Adams is an excellent photographer
Paul Newman is in the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame and had an extensive auto racing career
Geena Davis nearly made it to the Olympic archery team
Steve Martin is an excellent banjo player and has won a couple Grammys for it
Bruce Dickinson is a commercial 757 (later 747) pilot (also fenced internationally for England.)
Maynard James Keenan and Sam Neill are both (I believe) renowned winemakers.
Terry Crews is also an avid painter.
Vandals damaged model railway exhibition, Rod made a donation to help restore it.
It also reminds me of a Canadian treasure (possibly NSFW/language)...
It's surprisingly prescient being a rock star with that kind of ... smokey voice...
The detail is simply breathtaking. I particularly loved the boat/old warehouse with the rust and exposed metal.
As a modeller myself it was nice to listen to a reasonably respectful and decent length piece about the hobby.
: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000b4vn (skip to 35 mins)
(For those not familiar with the term: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duplex_locomotive#PRR_class_T1)
Can't tell from what I can see of the city detail in the last photo if that's the same.
His layouts are incredible. I'd love to see them in person.
I'm afraid I have to ask: what's he trying to bury? Hopefully nothing more shameful than he's secretly been a Ruby-on-Rails developer for the last 10 years.
I do not thank this article for informing me of this fact. It is a horrible cover. The world needs more Tom Waits and less Rod Stewart.