My mother was the first person that introduced me to trains. She later told me that she reasoned that "little boys like trains". Little did she know what she did to my young mind. Crawling around on the carpet pushing a little red and yellow locomotive with a string of cars on grey plastic track was my favorite activity between Sesame Street and naps. Seeing the big blue and yellow Alaska Rail Road locomotives at the port of Anchorage trackside was hypnotic. The size, sounds and smells amazed me. Sitting in the kiddie back pack looking over her shoulder as the trains rumbled by are some of my fondest memories.
The first model train set I got for Christmas was from my Grandparents. I watched that silver AT&SF War Bonnet F7 pulling a mixed freight of Tyco cars around their table in that small log house in Palmer, Alaska and it turned me onto the hobby. I saw a miniature representation of the bigger trains I would watch with my parents on family trips from Anchorage to Seward along the Turnagain Arm. I remember that I was upset that I could not get an Alaska Rail Road engine to run on my new train set. After all, I had no frame of reference of what the Santa Fe was.
The excitement I felt when Santa finally delivered that Alaska locomotive to me when I was 8 was beyond description. Little did my parents know that then, in my mind, I was creating my own little modeled world on the kitchen floor. Soon after, I got a book about John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid and then for the first time I understood what model railroading was all about. I flipped through that book until the pages started to fall out. My father and I soon were building a small layout in the spare bedroom. The layout never was finished beyond some bench work and track. I however continued to collect locomotives here and there and the random freight car.
Soon sports, school, and girls took over my life.
Not until after college did I start to get back into the hobby. Mostly looking at magazines and lurking in hobby shops. Not until working for Tony Train's in Vermont did I properly get started in the hobby. Getting my hands on the models again and seeing the rusted cars and locomotives plying the North Woods of Vermont motivated me to start dabbling in weathering.
Five years ago I moved back to Alaska and still I would pick up a random freight car and try to weather it. My first introduction to the Rustbucket Forum two years ago opened my eyes wide open to what it means to weather a model. I was exposed for the first time to using Artist's Oils as a weathering medium. I then started to learn techniques to capture the rust, grime, and dirt I saw on prototype locomotives and freight cars and incorporate that into my own models. The quest to become the best weatherer I can possibly become is an on going process. I am always and forever will be a student in this hobby.
I am humbled and honored to be associated with The Weathering Shop. This group of individuals have been the best teachers, critics, and support anyone could ever have in any hobby or endeavor. I am also proud to call them my friends.