I had somebody I know email me offline to say how much he enjoyed seeing the movie of my Maine two-foot layout, which I recently posted to this blog.
He’s a fan of narrow gauge and while he made a point of saying he enjoys what I’m doing with the CNR Port Rowan branch, he really wishes more people would take up the challenge of modelling the Maine two-footers in O or S scales, as I once did.
In my response, I noted that the key phrase in my previous posting is “on those rare days that it worked well”.
The unfortunate reality is that those days were rare indeed. I won’t go into the details here but the upshot is, I took up the challenge and – after seven years of trying to model a convincing Maine two-footer – I found the exercise so frustrating that it was ruining the hobby for me.
I kept trying to make it work because I loved the look of narrow gauge in general, and Maine two-footers in particular. I also enjoyed the larger size of O scale. But eventually, I got tired of fighting to push that rock up the hill. Others may do better with On2: More power to them!
I’m having better luck with S scale.
That’s not to say that my layout is perfect – like any layout, it requires maintenance. For example, this week I’m dealing with a bit of expansion which has closed the gap between the main track and the sector plate. I’ll need to file back the rails a bit, or create a set of sliding rails so I can adjust the approach to the sector plate to suit the season. I also have one turnout that’s giving me a bit of grief: I need to adjust the points so they do a better job of mating with the stock rails.
But these are small, isolated issues.
It’s a rare day indeed when the layout does not work well, and that’s an important difference. I’m still challenging myself – just as I did in On2 – but with S, I achieve enough successes that I’m also having fun.
And that’s important because this is a hobby – and that means it must, first and foremost, be enjoyable. It’s meant to provide a welcome diversion from the stresses in the rest of one’s life – not become another source of stress and frustration.
That doesn’t mean the hobby has to be easy, but it shouldn’t actually seem like your trains are actively fighting you.