Realistic Modeling for Toy Trains: A Hi-rail Guide (Classic Toy Trains Books) Review

Realistic Modeling for Toy Trains: A Hi-rail Guide (Classic Toy Trains Books)
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When I first saw Dennis Brennan's photographs of his O-scale modeling, I was stunned. Not only was the photography excellent, the model building at the highest level, but there was an understanding of the art of both that elevated the pictures into that rare realm of the truly special.
Is it that the photos manage to create a mood? Is it that the compositions allow the eye to calmly circle the image? Is it that the lighting is natural, not overdone, but still dramatic? Is it that the balance of emptiness to intricate detail is perfect? I really don't know. The odd thing is that I can recognize a Dennis Brennan photo just as I recognize, for instance, a John Allen photo. There's something distinctive and personal that must be very difficult to achieve since I've only rarely seen it.
Brennan's work is about the ordinary. He teaches us that the ordinary can be inspiring and make a blindingly appealing model railroad. It's the intricate fitting of simple, common elements into a compelling whole. When I see the photos, so easy simply to look at, I'm overwhelmed when I consider trying to reproduce this effect.
But now Brennan has written a book that explains his craft and art. He outlines not only the how-to but also the artistic concepts and logic behind what he's accomplished. I'm not sure any of the rest of us can achieve quite what Brennan has, but I know this book can improve anyone's modeling. I believe this book will be a benchmark of its kind, and will influence many model railroads in the future. I only wish I had a copy when I started out over thirty years ago. The time it would have saved me! There must be forty years of knowledge and experience between these covers.
The weathering information alone is simply amazing and worth the price of the book. Brennan has a knack for faded color and worn texture that's not excessive, which tends to be the norm even among the best modelers. And then there's the track work, the structures, the perfect balance of toy train and resonant realism that's so difficult to master. That clean, everyday, balanced look where the viewer doesn't want to change a thing because it's exactly right as it is.

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The author shows step-by-step how various creative elements of a layout fit together using his Sandy Harbor Terminal Railway. Practical building techniqes and realistic modeling concepts, explain how readers can build a hi-rail toy train layout.

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