Friday, July 1, 2016

Ruminations on layout building

Last week yet another high profile Canadian modeler passed away suddenly. Dan Kirlin, who was a year younger than I, had a heart attack while mowing his lawn.
Dan was a very talented modeler, who had a hand in my evolving into a prototype modeler, when he helped make and market the huge pile of proper ends, doors, roofs and running boards for modeling Canadian 1937 AAR style boxcars.
One of the things Dan left behind was an idea for building a layout. Which for some reason never really moved forward.
I'm always struck by the number of people who have plans for a layout, but never get it into gear.
My advice;
Just bloody do it!
You're not getting any younger.
You have no idea what tomorrow's going to bring.
In my case, I've decided to push ahead with my layout in a fairly aggressive fashion. I want to get the "heavy" work done within the next couple of years. I'm finding it more difficult to do now, what I used to be able to do fairly easily a couple of years ago.
My long term mobility remains a permanent question, as a result of an accident when I was a teenager. So I push ahead now, knowing that in a few years, flinging plywood sheets onto the table saw won't be an option.
My friend Trevor and I have discussed this many times. And we share a very similar mindset. Neither of our spaces is optimum for what we had hoped to model. But the spaces , if planned properly, will serve our needs quite well. That perfect solution is likely never to be there.
We both know of individuals who held off their layout building, for a variety of obscure reasons and as a result never got to achieve their  dreams.
It's a hobby guys. It's meant to be fun.  And nowhere is it written that you can't have fun now.
Saving for retirement? How much do you really need? And are you going to be in good enough shape to enjoy it the way you think you will.
When Rich Chrysler was dying of pancreatic cancer, he made a point of continuing to work on his layout for as long as he could. And when he finally passed, I had a couple of months of "what's the point?" The point is, I'm here to enjoy life. And building a layout makes me happy. And I know that sharing the layout progress brings pleasure to others as they read about my ups and downs.
If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I won't be spending my last moments saying to myself,"if only I'd..."


Roger Sekera said...

This is not a`dress rehearsal.

Tore Hjellset said...

Well said! This applies to all of us - young and old. The process of building a layout and sharing it with others is a goal in itself.

Anonymous said...

Dan called me the day before he died to discuss projects we had on the go and to catch up on things in general.

One thing he was excited about was that he was in the process of clearing out an area in his basement so that he could put up some walls and start his layout in earnest. Dan said essentially the same things to me on the phone that you write about here Pierre: "I'm not getting any younger" and "I want to build my layout before its too late".

Dan was a kind man and was always willing to share his knowledge and skills.

I will miss him very much.

Steven Lyons

Stephen Gardiner said...

I only met Dan Kirlin a couple of times, but he gave me some invaluable help on my CNR D-1 project. I was also shocked to hear of his sudden passing.

Its a reminder to us all of how short our time is and how quickly it can be taken away. I'm as guilty as many of saying I'll build my layout someday, the only real advantage i've got on many who say it is that I'm in my late 30's, the biggest impediment to me now isn't motivation, its home ownership in my chosen place of residence (stupid Toronto real estate). I'm now looking at options and ideas to build something smaller and more rental apartment friendly, using modular techniques that will allow the layout to hopefully be disassembled and moved if necessary. As the shoe company slogan says, i need to just do it and get started building a couple of modules and working out a track plan for it.

I don't want to be someone who spends their whole life building models of equipment and structures and who never gets to actually build a layout to put them on!