When I started out in model railroading, I thought that the hobby was about the equipment: the newest release, the best built kit, the coolest scenery and the search for the next model.
As my participation in the hobby developed, I attended train shows, visited layouts, worked on projects, scheduled work parties on our layouts, prepared for conventions, held open houses and joined organizations. I formed friendships which were based on our shared interests, but extended to cover the kinds of things in our lives that affect, and are affected by, our interest in trains.
Over time, those friendships have become a larger part of my hobby. At some point, it dawned on me that the hobby is not primarily about the trains, but the people.
Not every OS2R modeler knows everybody else in the Scale. We are famously independent, and the small size of our community means that the population density for Two-Rail O Scalers is pretty low. But within five minutes of meeting another OS2R modeler, we will be sharing information about the models we have worked on, the layout successes and frustrations we have had and – most likely – the guys in the scale we both know. Shared interests and shared interactions define a community. It’s a small world, and comforting in times of change and uncertainty.
Like everybody else in our hobby, I am hungry for train shows to come back. But is the loss because we miss the best place to find itty bitty parts? A bit. But mostly, we miss our buds. The shows will be back, but during our time of social distancing, O Scalers are putting together Facebook pages and online groups to keep each other up to speed on their work and lives. O Scale Central™ and its forum, scale-wide product and service guide and introductory OS2R materials are taking off, being viewed 5,000 times in the first month. Lots of good stuff is happening in OS2R.
These things tell us that the OS2R community – the people who model in 1:48 – is alive and well, that we like each other and want to work projects, learn from each other and spend time together. That is pretty neat, especially in the painful time we have been through this past year: we are alive and well and pushing forward.
How do we apply these good feelings? We have lots of potential for OS2R time in the basement. Use it! When you accomplish something – or when you have a challenge – reach out to your buddies, check up on them and tell them about what you have done. Reach out to other friends and acquaintances. Do “show and tell”, even if that is online right now. We will eventually be meeting in person again, but why wait?
Check out the numerous online opportunities to stay in touch with the community, check out news and developments, build your skills and meet people. O Scale Central’s™ first online program is March 6th. To attend, you will receive an email Zoom invitation and instructions tomorrow, Tuesday March 2nd. That is all you will need to attend and participate. Click on the link on Saturday at 3pm EST and you’ll be admitted to the online meeting. Don’t find an online program to your liking? Reach out to your OS2R buddies – even if they number only two or three – and start one.
Get plugged into O Scale Central™. New to the Scale? There are multiple places to get started and resources to help you: https://oscalecentral.com/. Got a question or problem? There is forum for that: https://oscaleforum.com/. Can’t find the product or service you are looking for? The scale-wide O Scale Product Guide™ will steer you right: https://oscaleinfo.com/WP/os2r-product-guide/. It is all one-click and free. No charges, no subscription, no premium option.
And finally, become an active member in O Scale Kings. The Forum’s “Members Only” side of the O Scale Forum is a great place to talk about the OSK. Participate in online programs and new activities at local, regional and national levels. We are doing great things to serve the OS2R Community and to be a home for it.
Moral: don’t give up on your models, but don’t let them get in the way of your friendships.
Check us out. Sign up: oscalekings.org/WP/. Become part of the OS2R Community. Build your place in that community. You will be glad you did. Thanks.
Sidebar: O Scale Kings: why the dorky name? We get that question. Here is the story. There was a time in the 1950s when 1:48/O Scale was marketed as the “King of Scales” because it was the biggest and oldest of the popular scales. There was a time when O was the most popular scale. The scale had noble lineage. So when John Smith founded a scale-wide promotional organization, he played on that slogan. So we are not boasting about ourselves as Kings, but about the nobility of OS2R. And by the way: O Scale is still the best scale to model in, hands down and going away!