Book Review
HOn3 Annual 2018
HOn3 Annual 2018
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

HOn3 Annual 2018 by White River Productions is "The How-To Guide For HO Narrow Gauge Railroading" for 2019. This 114 glossy page softcover is packed with excellent photography and detailed text, presenting some of the hobby's most exceptional model railroads. It is ISBN 9781932804478.

I don't know what it is about narrow gauge that draws such inspiration and excellence. I know of standard gauge and modern layouts that are phenomenal in detail, accuracy and authenticity. Jack Burgess' recreation of the Yosemite Valley Railroad in HO and the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club both come to mind. However, it seems the majority of complete scale railroads or intricately detailed layouts are narrow gauge.

The methods and techniques and skills presented within this book are appropriate for every class of modeling.

Let's enjoy a selection of the genre here.

Many of the authors presented in this book are acclaimed model railroaders. Many or recognized experts and researcher in their subject. Some are even model designers and developers. Through 114 pages they bring us 17 layout tours or exceptional "how-to" demonstrations. The editor's commentary concerning legacy and mortality is, by his own admission, somewhat morbid and yet it is something all hobbyists should consider. The passing of Jim Vail last year has a lot of modelers contemplating the inevitable.

Beyond that, this annual is full of examples of the zenith of model railroading. This annual contents are:
    When We Die • by Chris Lane — Narrow-minded notes: thoughts on our legacy.

    1. Into the San Juans • by Kevin Kussow — Recreating 1890s Colorado.

    2. East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad Hoppers Nos. 47 and 48 • by Brad Slone — Brief hopper history and rolling stock drawings.

    3. Bash Prefab HOn3 Point Turnouts into a 3-Way Stub Turnout • by Bob Brendle

    4. Building Better Gons • by Stan Rhine — The venerable Rio Grande gon examined.

    5. You’ve Got (Model) Mail! • by Sam Swanson — Special delivery of an obvious and overlooked detail.

    6. It’s The Little Things • by Duane Richardson — Contest judge shares tricks for better models.

    7. Creede Diorama… Made In Austria • by Peter Metzker — Modeling the Rockies in the Alps.

    8. Building the East Broad Top’s Orbisonia Station • by Russ Norris — Who needs a kit?

    9. Modern Operating Practices • by Mike May — Integrating operations on the HOn3 White Pass.

    10. Narrow Gauge Modeling in 3D • by Johnny Graybeal and William T. Miller — A 2018 update.

    11. Ferrocarril de Isla • by John Ehresmann — Modeling an island railway.

    12. Red Mountain Livery Stable • by L. Todd Leftwich — Research and scratchbuilding recreate the past.

    13. Near Sighted Narrow Gaugers • by Duncan Harvey — Developments on the portable layout.

    14. From Mine to Market • by Johnny Graybeal — Mining and hopper cars on the ET&WNC.

    15. The Caboose Project Layout • by Chris Lane — Building the HOn3 Bear Creek Railway, part 1.

    16. The Circle Tour, Part 4 • by George Riley, Esq. — Taking the siding.

    17. Destination: Roan Mountain • by Geoff Stunkard — Modeling the ET&WNC at the Carter Museum.

    HOn3 Product Spotlight • by HOn3 staff — New releases for 2018-2019.

Those chapters present a feast of inspiration and technical guidance. Whether one prefers to build kits, scratchbuild or kitbash, you can learn useful skills through these articles. It is easy to visualize the art of scenery, color play, weathering, and overall creativity. It is hard to pick a favorite although Destination: Roan Mountain is very close to me; I crewed tourist trains on the three restored miles of the legendary Tweetsie, have touched the layout, and acquainted with several of the modelers mentioned in the article. (I even have an N scale switching layout built by one of them.)

Another chapter presents the burgeoning selection of kits available for specific narrow gauge railroads.

The authors have their own styles and yet all of the articles are engaging, easy to read, and enjoyable. Their passion for their chapter subjects and the narrow gauge genre is obvious.

Photographs, Artwork, Graphics
The only black-and-white photos in this book are source material of prototypes. Every image of a model is full color. The photography is exceptional from detail shots to vistas of layouts.

Artwork includes color or black-and-white line art of rolling stock and structures, i.e., a 1903 car builder's schematic of a gondola end sill. Scaled to HO, an ET&WNC hopper is presented through eight engineering views. Mike May's chapter about modeling operations on his White Pass layout clearance forms, a track schematic, and his dispatcher office. Those are but a sampling of what else you will find int his book.

Graphics include:

1. Signal Aspects and Indications
2. Bear Creek Ry. trackplan

Even without text this book is well worth having on your shelf.

White River Productions HOn3 Annual 2018 is an exceptional annual for model railroaders. It features and excellent range of modeling subjects. Even modelers who have no interest in trains can learn valuable ideas about scenery, weathering, and structural modeling. With a gallery of high-quality photographs and art supporting the excellent text, I think any modeler will benefit from this book.

This annual is an exceptional value for the price and I heartily recommend it.
Highs: High-quality photographs and excellent text. Excellent range of chapter subjects.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: Even modelers who have no interest in trains can learn valuable ideas about scenery, weathering, and structural modeling. I think any modeler will benefit from this book.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 9781932804478
  PUBLISHED: Feb 09, 2019

Our Thanks to White River Productions!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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