News & Reviews News Meet Eric White, editor of Model Railroader

Meet Eric White, editor of Model Railroader

By Eric White | July 10, 2024

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What was your first train set (or locomotive)?

vintage photos of train layouts
Here are a couple of snapshots of one of Eric’s childhood layouts. This one was in the corner of his parents’ basement when the space was being used for more than just trains. Lots of rules about how to build a model railroad have been ignored here, but when you’re a young teen in the pre-internet days, you muddle through as best you can and learn lessons you’ll put to good use in the future. Eric White photo

My dad was a Lionel guy, so at some point in my youth, I got one of those plastic 2-4-2s with a sloped-back tender to run with his trains. When I was a little older, and had been pointing out the discrepancy between the number of rails on Lionel track and the tracks that ran through grandma’s town, Santa brought me a Tyco HO scale set with a pair of F7s. I think I might still have the red 50-foot Santa Fe plug-door boxcar somewhere. The powered F7 and its dummy were lost to the mists of time.

Describe your model railroading philosophy in 6 words.

Find your own “good enough.”

What has been your biggest modeling success?

large model structure on layout
Eric found a photo of this Pennsylvania RR train shed on a Facebook group posting, which enticed him to research it a bit more. He realized that scratchbuilding the large window would be a necessary, but tedious task. However, after editing a story by Alex Marchand, Eric realized he could have the window 3-D printed. Putting his drafting skills to work to learn Sketchup, Eric created the files for the print and sent them off to Shapeways. An article in the September 2015 issue of Model Railroader describes how he built the structure. Model Railroader staff photo

I hope that’s still in my future, but I still like the Washington Avenue train shed building flat I built with the 3-D printed arched window.

What was your biggest modeling mistake?

model train on bridge on model train layout
Eric had this bridge completed and installed on the layout before he found out the end portals of the longer bridge were too short for a pair of double-stack containers. A bridge is one of those models that has to work as well as look good, and this one didn’t work for one of the primary types of traffic the Canadian Canyons was built for. Bill Zuback photo

Did you know there are high-cube containers? I didn’t when I built the through truss bridge for our Canadian Canyons project layout. I had a well car and a pair of stacked containers, and built the bridge portals just high enough to clear the standard-height containers. When Drew Halverson brought some of his high-cube containers for a test run after the bridge was installed, I had to do some careful filing to get at least a stack of standard height plus high-cube containers to fit.

What’s your least favorite modeling task?

Cleaning my airbrush. I don’t want it to get clogged, so I tear down my Pasche Model H after every use (I’ll just flush it during a session using the same brand of paint, but I don’t want funky mixtures to turn to gel inside), and this in turn has kept me shy about using a new double-action airbrush.

What project(s) have you been working on recently?

A local modeler, John Lehnan, is rebuilding his Chicago & North Western Manitowoc-to-Green Bay layout, and I’ve become the bridge supervisor. Right now, I have a 4-foot-long model of the Manitowoc High Bridge on my workbench, then when that’s complete, I’ll go back to the swing bridge in Green Bay over the Fox River. The swing portion is being built from a Diamond Scale turntable truss kit.

What advice would you give to a new hobbyist?

First, have fun. The whole point of a hobby is to get enjoyment from it. Second, recognize everyone was a beginner once. There are lots of skills to learn in this hobby. Give yourself slack to learn and try. All modelers go back to redo things when their skills have improved, and we all see parts of a project we wish we had done better. Maybe someday, I’ll go back and fix the shortcomings in some of my earlier projects. Or I’ll take those lessons and apply them to the next project.

One thought on “Meet Eric White, editor of Model Railroader

  1. I wish I found my “good enough” earlier in life instead of waiting 50 years. Now it is much more fun accepting my results. Thank you for sharing your insights.

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