Monday, September 27, 2010

George Sellios

I want to get back to tinkering with Anti-d20, specifically the skill system which is the "other half" of character generation, and therefore a major topic that's hung on a cliffhanger long enough now.

But before I do, a quick note about model railroading again. I mentioned John Allen as a major figure in the hobby world, a household name amongst folks who are into model railroads and understand the wider world of the hobby. He's not exactly singular, because even in his time, some other model railroaders were making big names for themselves by appearing frequently in the "hallowed" pages of Model Railroader and they were putting out books and otherwise being frequently cited and quoted as the inventors of different techniques: L-girder benchwork, zip texturing, hardshell scenery, etc. Granted, none of them measured up to John in terms of fame or frequency of citation, but guys like Linn Westcott, Bill McLanahan, Malcolm Furlow, Jim Farley, and even younger guys like John Olson started popping up more and more frequently.

I'm not sure if the "era of giants"; the era in which a handful of names could almost develop a cult of personality around their efforts, still exists, but here's a counter example that maybe it does: George Sellios. George is an avid model railroader, and in fact has integrated his livelihood and his hobby into one and the same endeavor. George is the owner of Fine Scale Miniatures, a business that sells high quality kits in HO scale to model railroaders via the internet. And he showcases his kits originals on his large and, by now quite famous, Franklin & South Manchester Railroad, set in the Depression Era Eastern Seaboard. The F&SMRR has developed a bit of a cult following lately, especially amongst those who dabble in urban scenery, as it pretty much sets the bar for that kind of endeavor. While it certainly is reminiscent in many ways of John Allen's own city of "Port" (something that Sellios himself is quick to admit--at least according to his Wikipedia entry. As an aside, I haven't found any other model railroaders other than John Allen who have their own Wikipedia entry.) the F&SM has developed a cult following all its own as a haven for highly detailed vignettes or scenes all over the place, superb structure modelling, strict adherence to a specific theme, and just plain general awesomeness.

While I've always been more a fan of mountain, desert, and other scenes of western railroading, the 1930s is definitely the time period I find the most intriguing, and the idea of coming to roost in a major metropolitan end to the mainline is an attractive one (again, John Allen himself did as much too) so I see the respect that Sellios' work has received as certainly justified. Check out the link below for some pictures. The photography itself isn't that amazing, but the source material is good enough to overcome that limitation. These are fun pictures, and a great example of why I think model railroading is such a cool hobby in the first place.

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