Thursday, September 22, 2011
1 of 43
As an author, this doesn’t bother me at all with Kalmbach – the copyright terms of the author agreement are very clear. My designs have been re-published in special booklets offered to new subscribers or shrink-wrapped with regular magazines, in Kalmbach books, etc.
So I thought that perhaps one (or a few) of my model railroad track plans might be featured in the recently-published 43 Track Plans from the Experts. But the intrigue is in guessing which plans might be selected from roughly the last ten years of Model Railroad Planning.
While I was hoping for designs to be included that I believe are a bit more innovative (or at least different), such as the Oahu Railway multi-decker from MRP 2008 or the folding Alameda Belt Line switching layout from MRP 2003, my suspicion was that it would be one or more of the island-style track plans.
Which in the end, it was: the hollow-core-door-sized N scale Katy layout from MRP 2010. Certainly a layout that I and my custom client were happy with, but not breaking a lot of new ground.
The editor(s) added some meaningful comments and found a slightly more useful prototype photo (since I couldn't clear copyrights on the best photos). All in all, I'm happy to have even one plan in the book.
Publishing a book of past plans such as this is a balancing act. While there are some innovative designs, other plans may have been chosen because they come from well-known authors or had great artwork, even if these track plans aren't exactly pioneering in terms of design (or even buildable!).
I also found the tagline on the cover slightly amusing. It reads: "Plans from 4X8 feet to a giant 38X82 feet". But of course, my 30"X80" hollow core door plan is smaller than 4X8. I guess that it's always hard to resist promoting the "sacred sheet" 4X8.
But that's the nature of the publishing business – first, it has to sell! I'm happy to have had a track plan included and I think readers who haven't seen all of the original MRP issues will receive a good exposure to a variety of designs through this book.