I welcome you to this, the 16th issue of the On30 Annual. I think we can all agree 2020 was a helluva year, but we are still here, albeit a little later than normal. More on that in a minute. But first, how are you? No, really, are you doing okay? It seems that global pandemics can be hard on people’s mental and physical health. Who knew? I sincerely hope that modeling kept you afloat and as it looks like better, more normal days are ahead, we can look back and see some of the positives the experience had for us. Frequent contributor Lee Bishop describes how his life was changed during the lockdown, and how he was able to turn to modeling as a means to occupy his time and thoughts during the uncertainty of early 2020. I think it will be interesting as we are able to talk with one another at train shows and compare notes of this experience we all shared, but did so in relative isolation. I would not surprise me if the consensus is that in terms of our hobby, it was relatively positive.
I know I’ve mentioned before working out of my home has been my normal for years. What wasn’t normal was my and my fellow White River Productions editors’ workload. We found ourselves becoming Facebook Live and Zoom call producers and “personalities” in demand to interact with our readers in different ways and venues. I enjoyed it, as if nothing else, I am entertaining in those sorts of formats. But they take a great deal of time and energy.
At that same time, a project that had been simmering in the background for quite sometime came to a rapid boil. We felt the large scale modeler had been under-served for sometime, and this spring we debuted our new publication, the Garden Trains Annual, with yours truly serving as its editor. Bet ya didn’t know that years ago I was a very serious large scale modeler and have kept my finger on the pulse of that market ever since? The demise of a long-standing periodical in that segment accelerated our timetable, and publisher Kevin EuDaly green-lighted this new annual as I was down in Durango visiting some friends after production of the 2020 HOn3 Annual wrapped up. This meant an all hands on deck effort to make sure that first issue was everything you’d expect from one of our products (and maybe more for large scale folks that don’t know us well). But that did mean its release in March bumped the On30 Annual just a little. I trust the outstanding contents of this issue will ease the slight delay in its release.
So what is on tap for the rest of 2021? Well, train shows for one. It appears the seemingly endless cancellations and postponements are past us, and we can look forward to seeing one another to talk trains in person. Associate Editor George Riley will be at the National Garden Railway Convention in Nashville this summer. I will be at the O Scale National here in Denver in June, and then George and I will meet up for the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Hickory, N.C. I urge you to support any shows in your area, and especially the vendors who display. For some of them, shows were a significant part of their business, so I know they will appreciate your patronage.
I’ll also share another big project that I’ve been working on: The Shay Locomotive – An Illustrated History. The authors of this gigantic tome have spent decades researching these fascinating locomotives, and this book will be a must for your library. I am honored to play a small role in getting this long-awaited publication to railroad enthusiasts.
With that, stay well, stay safe, take care of one another, and build some cool models as we look forward to compiling all the goodies for next year’s On30 Annual!
—Chris Lane, Editor