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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've read some points about smoke/steam from HO engines being "unrealistic" and "ruining the effect". Same thing with using real water: "It doesn't scale"...

It is true that steam and water don't look the same as the real deal, but what about vehicles, and even worse, people, that don't move? So our trains travel through towns and cities filled with non-moving vehicles and people looking like they were just frozen by some magical spell, but its the steam and real water that ruins the effect? I don't think that makes much sense.

Seems like a major part of this is suspension of disbelief, and I consider it far more difficult to accept frozen people and cars than I do smoke or water at the wrong scale. At least the smoke and water give another layer to the movement and interaction of the scene with the train. Now they are selling moving cars, which is great, but you can still tell up close that they are not real.

If someone chooses not to use steam because its a pain, it gums up the tracks (from what I see modern smoke juice has no effect of gumming up or residue) etc. then fine. But saying it ruins the effect does not seem a valid point to me unless the same person eliminates all the people and cars on the roads, except maybe parked cars. The train would then be traveling through ghost towns, isolated areas, or very late at night when everyone is asleep. And then cities would be out of the question with all the night life etc.

Personally I love the smoke from a steam engine! Yes, I wish someone would figure out how to put out a bunch of it, like from vapes, but I still think it looks beautiful seeing and hearing the synchronized puff and chugs!
 

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I always commend a person to their pleasures, provided they're not immoral, illegal, unhealthy, or fattening, with the last two being highly subjective in nature. Accordingly, if the smoke appeals to you, that's why the smoke generators are included in so many modern steamers. For many of us, it just doesn't pass the test. Same for water careening through a gorge at 200 scale mph. Or tap water sitting glassy-still, but accumulating a fine layer of dust over it due to surface tension. And the odd hair.

Some of us find photography covers the illusion nicely. I can generate smoke using a cloning brush, and while it isn't perfect, it is much better than the curling, swirling, wisps that smoke generators make. Mind you, the sound in HO is very tinny, but that's one thing that I enjoy...as you do your smoke. I know some who claim to be audiophiles who simply cannot abide the sound outputs of anything they have heard in the hobby.

There's room on this hobby bench for a lot of backsides, and the bench doesn't mind in which they they could be described. All are welcome. Some take up a bit more of the bench than others, but it all kinda averages out.

Enjoy your smoke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I’m going to regret this….but if it don’t look like this, it ain’t smoke….. 😁
View attachment 571130
That is just gorgeous!
An Engine putting that out would be lovely indeed! But we’d have to install some high volume extractors in the room!

However, I still hold that the little bit of smoke from a nice BLI engine is still more believable than towns and cities full of frozen people. Maybe I’ll train some Beatles to dress like people and walk around and drive little cars,,,
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I agree. Some smoke is better than no smoke. You expect smoke from a steam engine. I don't think I ever saw one that wasn't belching out some color of smoke. I don't get the mind set of 'all or nothing' when it comes to smoke.

It looks just as unrealistic to see a model steam lokomotive chugging down the track without any smoke as it does with a model lokomotive puffing out a healthy quantity of fake smoke. Give or take.

 

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Steam locomotive smoke is one thing, but if you run ALCO or MLW locomotives, you will need something to make those look more realistic as well, don’t you think? 😁

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Obviously, everyone's tastes and opinions are different, so obviously, this is just my take.

A model railroad is a scale model. Static (motionless) or not doesn't bother me, because figures post in"active" stances, and vehicles positioned as if they were moving, suggests a moment frozen in time, provided that they are detailed and realistic enough not to look fake. In a perfect world, vehicles would have operator / passenger figures in them, but that can be a challenge with some models. But the take-away here is that this doesn't ruin the illusion for me as long as the scale is consistent. Out of scale motion (even a train running unrealistically fast) really does.

Out of scale things, like water, smoke, and sound, on the other hand jar me right out of the miniature world I am trying to create. I could handle the poor sound quality, for example, if the rest of the sound scaled properly, but it doesn't. Vaporized vegetable or mineral oil (model smoke fluid) just doesn't behave live vaporized water, no matter how much of it there is, so it's not just a column issue there. In fact, all three of these item have (to me, anyway), other significant drawbacks that just add to the scale problem.

Again, just my view, and everyone is free to do what makes them happy on their own layout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree. Some smoke is better than no smoke. You expect smoke from a steam engine. I don't think I ever saw one that wasn't belching out some color of smoke. I don't get the mind set of 'all or nothing' when it comes to smoke.

It looks just as unrealistic to see a model steam lokomotive chugging down the track without any smoke as it does with a model lokomotive puffing out a healthy quantity of fake smoke. Give or take.

For sure!
That engine in the video is putting out steam in a synchronized way with the sound. That’s a LOT more realistic than frozen people and cars like something out of a twilight zone episode.
Not knocking the people and cars as I will use them for sure, but it makes zero sense to me to knock the HO steam because it “ruins the illusion” but then there’s the frozen twilight zone town.
 

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If someone complains that they don't use smoke on their layout because it ruins the effect, just ask them why their trees and flags aren't blowing in the breeze, or why the shadows indicate they have multiple suns in their sky. In most cases you could even ask why there is no wildlife (I mean come on, you can't have a proper scene without at least some squirrels) and no insects.

People will nit-pick anything until you point out to them that their own model also has inconsistencies. I say relax and enjoy what you have, those people will soon die from a stress-related heart attack anyway.
 

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If someone complains that they don't use smoke on their layout because it ruins the effect, just ask them why their trees and flags aren't blowing in the breeze, or why the shadows indicate they have multiple suns in their sky. In most cases you could even ask why there is no wildlife (I mean come on, you can't have a proper scene without at least some squirrels) and no insects.

People will nit-pick anything until you point out to them that their own model also has inconsistencies. I say relax and enjoy what you have, those people will soon die from a stress-related heart attack anyway.
Each of us must create an illusion of a kind, and suspend disbelief for what's present and is at odds, and for what's missing. The sound, to me, is a decent stand-in for a scale locomotive underway because is is synchronous and sounds much like what one hears. But, the smoke detracts from the illusion because it is too poor a representation of what really takes place even thought it, too, is synchronized. Also, as a stickler-self-described, steamers don't do much smoking if they're being responsibly fired. They exhaust some particulate matter, but much of what they exhaust is condensate. We only see the condensate, not the steam, because steam is invisible, and what exits the blast pipe, goes through the diffusion process that is afforded by the petitcoat pipe, and then gets mixed with the particulates, is condensed steam....not steam itself. Further, the surrounding air must be of the right temperature and ambient humidity to encourage the condensate to linger long enough to show up in photos, such as that glorious roiling plume shown above. I think some of the O and G scale generators come close, but the smaller scales just don't cut it...for me. Their microdroplets of oil move unlike the smoke chuffed out of a prototypical smoke stack.

We can deal with the multiple suns with correct lighting, and people can't move in scale, just as our toys don't really generate revenue or have tiny widdo fiew boxes in dem. There are no real engineers seated at the throttle. The coal loads don't diminish, or get replenished, and track pans don't really have water in them when people bother to craft them on their layouts. Loads aren't really taken to real clients, there are no dispatchers, no train orders handed up on the hoops, and the clouds don't drop real rain. No wind is passed, nobody has to excuse themselves, there's no real gum dispensers in the stores, and no birds fly or emit sounds on our layouts.

Where do we go from here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If someone complains that they don't use smoke on their layout because it ruins the effect, just ask them why their trees and flags aren't blowing in the breeze, or why the shadows indicate they have multiple suns in their sky. In most cases you could even ask why there is no wildlife (I mean come on, you can't have a proper scene without at least some squirrels) and no insects.

People will nit-pick anything until you point out to them that their own model also has inconsistencies. I say relax and enjoy what you have, those people will soon die from a stress-related heart attack anyway.
Agree 100%.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Each of us must create an illusion of a kind, and suspend disbelief for what's present and is at odds, and for what's missing. The sound, to me, is a decent stand-in for a scale locomotive underway because is is synchronous and sounds much like what one hears. But, the smoke detracts from the illusion because it is too poor a representation of what really takes place even thought it, too, is synchronized. Also, as a stickler-self-described, steamers don't do much smoking if they're being responsibly fired. They exhaust some particulate matter, but much of what they exhaust is condensate. We only see the condensate, not the steam, because steam is invisible, and what exits the blast pipe, goes through the diffusion process that is afforded by the petitcoat pipe, and then gets mixed with the particulates, is condensed steam....not steam itself. Further, the surrounding air must be of the right temperature and ambient humidity to encourage the condensate to linger long enough to show up in photos, such as that glorious roiling plume shown above. I think some of the O and G scale generators come close, but the smaller scales just don't cut it...for me. Their microdroplets of oil move unlike the smoke chuffed out of a prototypical smoke stack.

We can deal with the multiple suns with correct lighting, and people can't move in scale, just as our toys don't really generate revenue or have tiny widdo fiew boxes in dem. There are no real engineers seated at the throttle. The coal loads don't diminish, or get replenished, and track pans don't really have water in them when people bother to craft them on their layouts. Loads aren't really taken to real clients, there are no dispatchers, no train orders handed up on the hoops, and the clouds don't drop real rain. No wind is passed, nobody has to excuse themselves, there's no real gum dispensers in the stores, and no birds fly or emit sounds on our layouts.

Where do we go from here?
My point has not been to say that anything diminishes from this hobby, or to harp on realism. The frozen people and cars, multiple suns, etc. are not an issue for me, nor for anyone else I would say. That's all fine; we each build our layouts as we choose.

My point has been that saying smoke diminishes from the realism while using frozen people and stationary cars, (and multiple suns, no wind) is not a logical argument. Not saying that choosing not to use smoke is bad: do what you want. But I am saying that claiming smoke ruins the effect because it doesn't scale while being fine with frozen figures etc. doesn't add up. Even the minuscule smoke from an HO steam engine is far more realistic than towns of people frozen in one position while the engine moves along.

Again, someone choosing not to use smoke because of whatever, I understand. I just can't understand how smoke, synchronized with sound, can be said to ruin the effect while towns of frozen people doesn't.
 

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There is an advantage to electric lokomotives not having to worry about whether or not they should be smoking. As for what others here are smoking...:LOL::ROFLMAO::LOL:
 

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For sure!
That engine in the video is putting out steam in a synchronized way with the sound. That’s a LOT more realistic than frozen people and cars like something out of a twilight zone episode.
Not knocking the people and cars as I will use them for sure, but it makes zero sense to me to knock the HO steam because it “ruins the illusion” but then there’s the frozen twilight zone town.
If you say so. Having lots of experience with real steam locomotives, that doesn't look synchronized to me, nor realistic in any meaningful way. But again, it's a matter of opinion.

The frozen twilight zone town makes more sense to me than anemic wisps of something that isn't nearly thick enough and doesn't behave like actual steam.

You'll never sell me on it.
 

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Each of us must create an illusion of a kind, and suspend disbelief for what's present and is at odds, and for what's missing. The sound, to me, is a decent stand-in for a scale locomotive underway because is is synchronous and sounds much like what one hears. But, the smoke detracts from the illusion because it is too poor a representation of what really takes place even thought it, too, is synchronized. Also, as a stickler-self-described, steamers don't do much smoking if they're being responsibly fired. They exhaust some particulate matter, but much of what they exhaust is condensate. We only see the condensate, not the steam, because steam is invisible, and what exits the blast pipe, goes through the diffusion process that is afforded by the petitcoat pipe, and then gets mixed with the particulates, is condensed steam....not steam itself. Further, the surrounding air must be of the right temperature and ambient humidity to encourage the condensate to linger long enough to show up in photos, such as that glorious roiling plume shown above. I think some of the O and G scale generators come close, but the smaller scales just don't cut it...for me. Their microdroplets of oil move unlike the smoke chuffed out of a prototypical smoke stack.

We can deal with the multiple suns with correct lighting, and people can't move in scale, just as our toys don't really generate revenue or have tiny widdo fiew boxes in dem. There are no real engineers seated at the throttle. The coal loads don't diminish, or get replenished, and track pans don't really have water in them when people bother to craft them on their layouts. Loads aren't really taken to real clients, there are no dispatchers, no train orders handed up on the hoops, and the clouds don't drop real rain. No wind is passed, nobody has to excuse themselves, there's no real gum dispensers in the stores, and no birds fly or emit sounds on our layouts.

Where do we go from here?
Heck, you're right... we can't come anywhere near realism, so why even try?

Obviously (I hope), this is a sarcastic reply.
 

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My point has not been to say that anything diminishes from this hobby, or to harp on realism. The frozen people and cars, multiple suns, etc. are not an issue for me, nor for anyone else I would say. That's all fine; we each build our layouts as we choose.

My point has been that saying smoke diminishes from the realism while using frozen people and stationary cars, (and multiple suns, no wind) is not a logical argument. Not saying that choosing not to use smoke is bad: do what you want. But I am saying that claiming smoke ruins the effect because it doesn't scale while being fine with frozen figures etc. doesn't add up. Even the minuscule smoke from an HO steam engine is far more realistic than towns of people frozen in one position while the engine moves along.

Again, someone choosing not to use smoke because of whatever, I understand. I just can't understand how smoke, synchronized with sound, can be said to ruin the effect while towns of frozen people doesn't.
I think there is a point to be made here: lack of motion in everything except trains vs. Issues with scale appearance is comparing apples and oranges. There is no inconsistency there, at all. Taking the leap that "poor scale appearance = lack of realism, therefore bad" misses the point of the argument, and is an exercise in twisting the perception to fit your argument. Complete realism in miniature scale is impossible (although I don't know of an insect large enough to show up in 1/87 scale); our point is that there is no way my brain can reconcile out of scale objects without screaming "TOY!"; the static elements diminish realism without shattering the illusion of reality and therefore do not have the same effect.

Again, my perception. Disagree if you wish, but don't call it logically inconsistent. You're creating the inconsistency in an attempt to bolster your position.
 
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