Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

C&N Railroad Project - O Scale Miniatures - A bit of a rant

I guess I'm pretty spoiled at this point with the quality of tabletop gaming miniatures. I have been playing miniature games since the late 70s and I have enjoyed, and taken advantage of, the near continuous increase in variety and quality of miniature offerings through the years whether they are in metal or plastic. Yesterday I spent a chunk of my morning looking for what is available in O Scale to populate the C&N with and quite frankly I expected a whole lot better than what I found. Poor to average sculpting, completely inaccurate proportions, to thin or to thick, complete lack of detail. No wonder so many narrow gauge O gaugers do such heavy modifications to their miniature populations and why layouts are so sparsely populated. If you model a more modern period there are better miniatures available in O scale but the best of what I can find doesn't come close to some of the work being done in the tabletop gaming world.

Now I model a bit of an obscure time frame but if you look at period photographs most of the apparel worn in the 1900 - 1920 period works for at least 10 years prior (and maybe 20) and probably forward through the 1930s. The styles don't seem to have changed significantly during that 50 year time frame and even then changes in fashion were slow to reach the western US.

The station at Ward Colorado. Just in this first photo you can see a wide variety of mens' hats including the classic newsboy, fedoras, bowlers, cowboy, and what looks like montanas as well. Men in jackets and waistcoats, just jackets, just waistcoats but in general everyone is fairly well dressed. I see tall boots and dress shows, knickers and pants. The fireman standing on the far left of the photo (which I believe is Bill Tipps who would move up to engineer) is wearing a bowler, necktie, long sleeved shirt and overalls.

An excursion train on the C&N, probably at Mont Alto. This is a good shot for women and children. Check out all the young boys hanging off the locomotive's running board. All the women have hats, most have white blouses and all have long skirts, mostly plain but a couple of patterns as well. Note the grumpy gentleman seated in the front row near the right side of the photograph, looks like he is the group's curmudgeon.

I still need to model this caboose, it is certainly one of the more interesting ones out there! It must be morning because these three guys are very clean! Three different hat styles, one worker in overalls (with necktie and waistcoat as well), another with sweater and long pants and the third all decked out in bowler, jacket and waistcoat with gloves. I love the attitude these guys give off, ready to get started for the day and happy to be there.

Fortunately there are a couple of bright spots; The Aspen Modeling Company and Knuckleduster Miniatures (one of our own!). I have a couple of horse sculpts from Aspen Modeling so I know they do quality work. Unfortunately the line is not very large right now and there are only a few that will be really useful but its a start. They also ask for suggestions so I sent them some suggestions! The order I made this morning has already been packed and shipped so those might be here by the end of the week. (I pulled the pics from Aspen's website, they are a little small).

I have seen this pair painted up, badly on another website, they look much better here. It really shows how a poor paint job can affect someone's perception of how good a miniature is.
This is one that I ordered. Looking forward to its arrival.
These two pictures really show how a good paint job and really show off a miniature.

Knuckleduster I am already familiar with. I am in on their current Kickstarter and its looking like it should deliver on time or pretty close to it. Knuckleduster has shifted to making 3D renders and then creating the masters from those. As a result their quality has shot way up since going that route. Now their O-scale offerings are from the same 3D renders scaled up to O. I'm fine with that. I do wish they would expand that line beyond just the wild west period. There are a few miniatures in there that are very usable and a bunch that probably aren't. I certainly appreciate the effort though. It would be nice if they would advertise in the railroad hobby magazines and websites and have a chance to really grow that part of their business.

I just painted this guy up for Calamity, obviously in 28mm, it looks like he scaled up just fine to O (1/48th).

Your classic conductor, good for almost an era you care to model in.

I'll probably see if I can convince Knuckleduster to do a little bit more with their line as well!

No comments:

Post a Comment