Something completely different
You may have thought that MR chooses its columnists based on how difficult it is to pronounce our last names. Mine isn’t that hard: “Custer,” like the general. The fellow who lives down the road from me and writes MR’s On Operation column, Jerry Dziedzic, has a last name that’s a little more challenging. But it’s really easy once you get the hang of it: “Deed-zik.”
Jerry’s been a good friend for longer than I can remember. He’s a retired chemical engineer and executive who spends his winters with his wife, Laura, as a ski instructor in the Rockies and manages to be a good citizen by being actively involved in the civic affairs of Breckenridge, Colo. Moreover, he’s a qualified steam locomotive engineer at Steamtown in Scranton, Pa. I get tired just thinking about all that responsibility.
But wait – there’s more! As Jerry recently pointed out, I know him best as a “narrowminded purist who adheres to a 1947 target year with rare exceptions” for his HO scale New York, Susquehanna & Western. But even when it comes to modeling, he has his fingers in several pies.
“I’m as fond of building resin kits as anything else in the hobby,” he told me. “I began building cars for friends a couple of years ago after I worked through my personal stash. Imagine the feeling when I crack open a bottle of Scalecoat Penn Central Green for a pair of Greenville pipe gons for Dave Abeles [see photo] or a trio of Paul Tupaczewski’s X58s. Later today, I’ll finish what few details remain on a Pittsburgh & Lake Erie hotcoil car for Jim Homoki.
“But tackling such ‘modern’ projects makes me tentative,” Jerry admits, “because I haven’t accumulated the prototype resources I rely on for my own period. Being provided extensive photo coverage overcomes this. These projects take me down memory lane to my most active railfanning days, now 25 years past, with first-hand recollections of this equipment.”
He concluded our brief chat
by observing that there are many ways to create variety in our hobby and thus avoid burnout. Venturing into a different scale, as I have written about, is refreshing. Others alternate between steam and diesel eras. My neighbor Perry Squier has spent the past year or so scratchbuilding structures for Tom Schmieder’s basementsize HO Delaware, Lackawanna & Western. There is no way that railroad is going to be ready for operation any time soon, let alone have structures on it to identify key locations and functions, without a little help from his friends. Perry’s circa 1923 Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern is sufficiently complete for him to feel comfortable doing something different for a good friend. He’ll enjoy the fruits of his labors when Tom’s DL&W comes online.
Several structures on my railroad, notably the L-shaped depot at Linden, Ind., and the V-shaped depot at Metcalf, Ill., are the works of good friends – Frank Hodina and Randy Laframboise, respectively – who offered to help with nary a hint of arm-twisting on my part. Quite a few freight cars are also the work of friends.
My contributions in this regard
are perhaps remiss, but I did build a large-scale project railroad for a series in MR and followed that up with an O scale project layout. Additionally, several structures from the Allegheny Midland now populate local railroads.
The real point we’re discussing here is to model something of absolutely no personal value to ourselves just for the sheer joy of building the model and knowing that another modeler will share in that enjoyment when it’s complete. A subset of this train of thought is to build a model in another scale, era, gauge, or media and enter it in a National Model Railroad Association contest or display it at a Railroad Prototype Modeler’s conference. Bill Darnaby did that with a beautiful O scale model of an Indiana RR interurban car.
In short, follow the Monty Python mantra: “And now for something completely different.”
THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO CREATE VARIETY IN OUR HOBBY. VENTURING INTO A DIFFERENT SCALE IS REFRESHING. OTHERS ALTERNATE BETWEEN ERAS.