Monday, August 7, 2017

Modeling Monday part 1 - A Farmhouse for Goff Brook

Prototype modeling often includes equal measures of inspiration and frustration. Nothing else in model railroading can compare to taking a real-life scene and "miniaturizing" it in 1:87 scale. All the better if that scene is a(n?) historic scene from the past that's no longer possible. But all too often, we have insufficient information - or space - to really do justice to the scenes we want to replicate.

Case in point: Goff Brook. Fortunately, thanks to John's Wallace's prolific photography from the period (not to mention a few images from Kent Cochrane), I have a fair number of historic photos of the area. And - bonus! - this area hasn't changed all THAT much since the late 1940s (well, if you don't count interstate 91 blowing through the south side of the scene). I can pretty much go down there on my way home from work - or during my lunch break - and see the area I'm modeling. So, other than my model topography having to be a little more hilly than the flat prototype, I'm pretty proud with how the scene is developing (thanks in great part to Bill's efforts). Proud enough, in fact, to show off the effort to John when he was visiting recently.

It never ceases to amaze me how much recall John has of the minutest detail from decades ago. His memory is a primary source of prototype material for this project and has been a true treasure trove of info. But - and I truly mean this in the best possible way - it can sometimes be a little frustrating (for example, click here and scroll down to the caption for the 4th picture :^). In this case, he recognized the Goff Brook area right away (yay!) but then pointed out:
"You know, there was a farmhouse there by the side of the road."
Me: "I don't think it was there in the late 40s - besides I really don't have a lot of room there."
John: "That's too bad, because there was a little dog at that house that always ran out and chased the Valley Local down the tracks. And the house is still there today."
Of course, that sent me back to my files. And of course, he was right - the house was there, right smack dab in the middle of my era. It's shocking how often we can miss what's right in front of us.

You can just make out the back of the house there in the back left of the photo.
But no way is the house still there today - I would have remembered. And if it's not there today, then it won't really be missed on my layout. So the next morning, on my way in to work, I drove by the site - just to check and make sure.

Yup, there it is. Unchanged from 70 years ago. And it looks awfully familiar . . .

Close enough - and I don't even have to scratchbuild! And fortunately, my friend Pete had a built-up one he was able to loan me to see whether it'd actually fit in the scene and how it'd look . . .

John was more right than he even realized - not only was the house there during my era, but it'll fit just fine. And even better, I really think it makes the Goff Brook scene even more interesting.

Compare this photo to the one at the beginning of this post and I think you'll agree that this little farmhouse is a must-have.  I just need to add some trees and more brambles.

Oh, and I have to get an HO scale dog (I have yet to ask John what breed & color it was - you know, for total prototype accuracy). :^)

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