My latest “Getting Real” column appears in the September issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist. (Probably it’s well-known, but anyone can download any issue of MRH for free, at their site, which is www.mrhmag.com ) For this column, I chose to revisit in more detail a couple of topics I have discussed in earlier posts on this blog: billboards and vehicle license plates, from the point of view that both are important aids in setting the era of your layout. This is in response to the overall goals of the “Getting Real” series, to present ideas and suggestions about approaches to more prototypical modeling.
The billboard part of the article contains more detail than my post last April on “interchangeable billboards” (which you can find at the following link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2015/04/interchangeable-billboards.html ), but explores similar ideas, using additional photos beyond what was in the blog. One example is below, showing one of the best kinds of “time-setting” billboards, an ad for a specific model year of a make of automobile. (You can click on the image to enlarge it.)
The second part of my column was about automobile and truck license plates, again as I have discussed in briefer fashion on this blog. Some of the places I have touched on modeling license plates are my introductory post (at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/04/choosing-and-modeling-era.html ), and then following that, more than a year later, a couple of posts that went into much more detail, first about automobile plates (see it at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/11/vehicle-license-plates-in-ho-scale.html ), and then a separate discussion of truck license plates, then and now differently arranged in California compared to passenger cars, at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/12/vehicle-license-plates-trucks.html . I only mention these earlier posts for those who may be interested in additional information.
Here is a photo I took just for the column, showing a pickup truck plate, and incidentally in the background, another interchangeable billboard. The photo is obviously taken at about the same location in my layout town of Shumala as the photo above, though showing slightly different parts of Chamisal Road as it ducks under the track of the Santa Rosalia Branch above.
Having covered these subjects together, as era-setting aids, and also going into more detail on the billboard side of the topic, I felt the column served some purpose, and have alrady received positive feedback about it, which after all is as much as you can hope for.