A new reader asked an interesting question of me, about how to find sources of information for accurately modelling rolling stock for his chosen prototype(s).
It’s a good question, but also a big one. To recommend sources, one needs to know things like the era, the region, and the railways being modelled.
While thinking about this question overnight, I had an idea, which I’m passing to him as a post here, so that others can think on it too:
Why not start your own blog about your railway interests?
This blog has become a form of crowdsourcing for me. (I’ll explain how in a moment). But let’s assume you’re new to blogging, and you’ve started one about your railway interests. What next?
I would post some inquiries on relevant newsgroups. For example, if you’re interested in the Vermont Rail System – specifically, the Green Mountain Railroad – I’d look at groups such as Vermont Railroading, NERails, VRS and Rutland.
Tell the members you’re trying to collect information to help accurately model relevant car types from the GMRC. Give them your blog address so they can follow along.
Then, as the information comes in, add it to your blog. It might be a link to a prototype or modelling website, or a manufacturer. It might be a post about printed sources (books, magazine articles), or a historical society, or a photo collection. Remember, you can always go back to blog posts and edit them, so you can update them by adding more links or more information as it comes to light.
The beauty of this is that as you collect the information, you can organize it all in one spot. What’s more, you can share the info with others.
One of the things that surprised me about writing this blog on Port Rowan is how many people found it (through searches, etc.) and then started contributing answers for my questions. In some cases, they answered questions I didn’t even know I should be asking. This is a form of crowdsourcing: I got the ball rolling by creating the blog, and then people started contributing their knowledge – often with little more than a question from me, and frequently with no effort on my part. (You know who you are: Thank you!)
The result of all this is a shared body of knowledge that I hope others are finding valuable for their own hobby interests. And, more directly, better modelling on my part.
You might find the same thing happens for you…