Tuesday, December 18, 2018

What's the Intent?

One of the blogs I read from time to time is Mike Cougill's over at OST Publications.  One of his thoughtful musings published just a few hours ago as of this writing is here:


In it, he asks the question which titles his post.  I mirrored it as the title of this post to start something.  I'm hoping that any other bloggers that read this site from time to time will take up the gauntlet and write their own "What's the Intent" post to answer the question for themselves.  (Jim?  Luke?)  Mike's focus lately has been on modeling cameo scenes as a way of advancing ideas about the artistry of the craft of model railroading.

For me, I can sum it all up in one photo and a short description:


McDonald, Dale M., 1949-2007. World of Motion attraction in EPCOT Center at the Walt Disney World Resort - Orlando, Florida. 1983. Color slide, . State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/101839>, accessed 18 December 2018.

This rather poor image depicts what has been called the "World's First Traffic Jam".  It's a show scene in the now-extinct World of Motion pavilion at EPCOT Center in Orlando, Florida.  This ride-through attraction showed guests a history of transportation through humorous scenes depicting advances in our mobility, and presenting future transportation possibilities.  (I recommend searching out the attraction on Youtube, as there are several decent ride-through videos you can view.  An image search for this attraction may also turn up a great shot of this scene under construction, with the study model built by Imagineers in the foreground.)

No, I'm not replicating this attraction in my garage, but taking cues from Disney's original mission for EPCOT - to Inspire, Educate and Entertain.  This attraction did that and more.  My railroad will do the same but with a much narrower focus.  It will show scenes typical of the 1920s in central Florida.  There will be humorous scenes, at least one of which will be lifted almost directly from the World of Motion.  Distinctive elements like a paper boy on the corner hawking the daily or the remnants of the horse drawn streetcar track will educate and invite any viewers to ask questions.  Creating believable, realistic scenes will also drive me further into enjoyable research.

The trains themselves will be moving elements within a three dimensional artwork, literally framed.  They will "operate" in traditional model railroad fashion, but the operational function serves the purpose of telling the story.  That story is the specific history of the land boom in 1920's Florida and how the railroads played their part in that story.

Personally, my intent is to create a slice of a world that could have been, into which I can visit and observe and interact.  I can admire this creation and relax as a train trundles through this miniature world, or I can take on the role of conductor, planning the moves to get the pickups picked up and setouts set out, then get back home in time for that new radio program.  Maybe I'll pick up the extra from the kid on the corner.  I hear Lindberg is going to try for a trans-Atlantic flight.


  1. This is interesting. I'll have to give it some thought.

  2. A great post Galen, thanks for sharing your rationale. I think there are some similarities between our thinking and I've got some thoughts I'll post on my blog when I get a chance. I like the sound of the EPCOT exhibition. I'll have to look it up.