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Great Model Railroads By Allen Keller Vol. # 45


Volume 45 - Bob Lawson's Southern Railway
Bob Lawson's Southern Railway in Kentucky is a vision of small town Appalachia with coal mines, mountains and trees. Bob is an architect, engineer and builder who is known for creating dioramas that tell stories of life in the late 40s and early 50s. These highly detailed scenes are then added to his HO layout making it a great place to sit back and watch the trains roll.

He was fond of the Southern as a youngster and later wound up working as a car designer for the road. He also re-built and operated the Southern Iron and Equipment Company's car shops where he designed many of the SEICO freight cars. So he could be the ultimate nitpicker, but he's not. Bob thinks the overall feel of the railroad is much more important than precise accuracy, and he looks for details that add to the mood of a scene.

Bob says we should share and learn from each other to advance the hobby, and that friendships make the hobby more enjoyable.

The Southern Railway is full of eye-catching scenes based on years of observation, notes and photos. Most of the structures are scratchbuilt.

Bob will show you how to build dioramas to fit the layout, weather cars with oil paints, and build scenery with cloth, Styrofoam and ground foam.

The Southern is a Great Model Railroad because Bob has used his skill as a designer to tell stories with beautifully weathered equipment and structures.


By George Ardwin
This review was an easy one for me. I have been a fan of Bob Lawson's work since the first time I saw his work at an NMRA contest. His execution of layout building is as near to perfection as you can get. This video proves it.

Bob has mastered the art of layout building and is willing to share his expertise with anyone who will listen. It is obvious that his love for the hobby developed at an early age, and continued while he worked at the SOUTHERN RAILROAD as a freight car designer.

He builds a lot of dioramas, and then places them on his layout. If need be, they can be moved to another location on his layout without doing much damage. It's hard to tell where each diorama begins or ends. They all blend into the total scenery.

The video shows several of his techniques. He fully explains the following subjects:

Although not shown in the video, Bob has mastered the art of scratchbuilding structures. He demonstrated this at one of our past meetings. He said that the main thing is to have a general knowledge of the buildings in your time period and how they looked. Many buildings had additions built on that made them even more interesting.

I highly recommend this video, and give it a 10.

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