Friday, April 30, 2010
Model Railroader Magazine Curse?
The Roanoke & Southern: Victim of a curse?
Is there a Model Railroader curse?
That’s what some are wondering now that Jeff Kraker, owner of the Roanoke and Southern, has announced that he will dismantle his layout and start over in O scale. Check it out on Railroad Forums.
The specter of a “curse” was raised because Kraker’s layout was featured on the cover of Model Railroader magazine. It brings to mind the famed Sports Illustrated curse—the one that suggests that any athlete who is on the cover will subsequently suffer some kind of misfortune.
In the case of Model Railroader (or Railroad Model Craftsman or Canadian Railway Modeller, for that matter), the curse means that the modeler who is fortunate enough to have his or her layout featured in the magazine will soon be taking it down.
Like most curses, there is an element of truth to it.
Take the SI curse, for example. Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Eddie Matthews, the first person to ever appear on the cover of that magazine, in 1954, later broke his hand and missed seven games.
And now Jeff Kraker announces that his layout is coming down.
But, also like most curses, there is a more prosaic explanation to the Model Railroader “curse”—something I can attest to, since I am a very part-time editor of Canadian Railway Modeller.
It’s mostly about timing; most layout owners only submit articles when their model railroads are complete (or nearly so). By the time that occurs, after many years of work, the owner may well be ready to move on to a new challenge—like Kraker.
Unrelated to the “curse,” but in the same vein, people sometimes ask why it is that some layouts featured in model railroad magazines have been dismantled by the time an article about them is published.
Again, it’s mostly about timing; owners usually only submit articles when their layouts are done (or nearly so). Since magazines can have lead times of six months to a year (or more), by the time the article appears the layout could have been taken down.
Hmmm . . . since my layout has been featured in Railroad Model Craftsman (twice), in Canadian Railway Modeller several times (on various aspects), and an article about one of my scenery-making methods is slated to appear in Model Railroader this year, I wonder: Will the "curse" apply to the CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Subdivision?
Read more about the "curse" and Doug Tagsold's old Denver & Front Range Western layout.