Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The state of the art 30 years ago


As many of you are aware, over the past few years I have been digitizing my photo collection*. With that mostly done except for maintenance as I acquire new images, I have continued the process by doing the same with drawings and magazine articles. It has made finding articles a simple process. 

As I have been scanning, I have found some long forgotten articles and also some other treasures. This product notification from Mainline Modeler, November 1988 struck many chords. The most visceral was that it reminded me of the late Richard Hendrickson, the founder (along with his wife Sandra) of WestRail. Richard was a mentor and source of inspiration to me, as well as countless others. I thought that this post would be a fitting tip of the cap to that legacy.

However, it also serves as a marker or yardstick of where we were 30 years ago. Westerfield, Storzek/Des Plaines, and Funaro & Camerlengo were just beginning to sprout, Sunshine was several years in the future, and plastic models were Athearn, MDC/Roundhouse, and the mix of nicer offerings from Front Range, Ramax, E & B Valley (predecessor of Eastern Car Works), et al. Like his modeling, Richard's WestRail venture took the available tools of the day to make something out of nothing. Interestingly, I built one of his WestRail flat car kits last year** (pictured above). It was as enjoyable as anything else I have built recently and it fits in with my love of kit and resin bashing projects. Thanks for the memories and inspiration, Richard (and Sandra)! We are where we are today because of the efforts of you and others back then... we were able to climb on the shoulders of giants.

*I have presented a clinic about the software that I use to manage all of these digital files. It has proven to be nothing short of a miracle for me. The clinic presentation may be accessed via this link. While there is certainly a lot lacking by not seeing it live, there is enough in the file to give an idea of the software, Adobe Lightroom. To facilitate the quick scanning of magazine articles, I am using a Canon imageFORMULA P-215II document scanner. It scans both sides of the pages at the same time.

**that model and others of the AAR 50-ton design flat car were profiled in Prototype Railroad Modeling, Volume Four.

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