2016-09.4: Eyesight and Modeling Part 1

23 Sep 2016

Average: 4.9 (28 votes)
14:34 - Sept 2016 Act IV - Eyesight and Modeling Part 1: Tools, Tips and Tricks

Model railroader Pat Lawless is more than your typical hobbyist. He’s almost legally blind. Since losing most of his sight in 2003, he’s found affordable specialized tools to help him deal with his limited vision, and has good advice for anyone experiencing similar challenges. Part 1 of 2.  

Part two can be viewed in the October 2016 edition of TrainMasters TV: Watch Part two now.

Model Railroad Hobbyist shield logoView / participate in the discussion thread for this video on the MRH website ...

Own a copy of this video for just $3.49

Bonus: Loco lubrication tips ...

Go to Bonus


Truly inspiational and some useful tips for those of that can see fairly well.

philw2015's picture

I'm 52 and been leagally blind for 5 years now. started in the hobby 2 years ago. this video is such a help. I have some of the tools mentioned but didn't know of others thanks TMTV for this segment keep up the great Videos.

I love Pat's 'adapt and overcome' mindset that allowed him to remain active in the hobby. 

I'd like to know more about the endoscope he's using.  There are several listed on eBay but which specs are good for up close modeling?  (specifically the camera resolution)


Truly an inspration to us all.

Rocket Jones's picture


This video is truly a gift to those of us with sub-par vision. The seriousnes of TMTV is greatly appreciated, thank you.

Pat, you are an inspiration and a testimony of the resiliency of the human spirit.  God bless you and may he give you many more years.

This video is truly a gift to those of us with sub-par vision. The seriousnes of TMTV is greatly appreciated, thank you.

You're welcome. This kind of story is why we call ourselves Model Railroad HOBBYIST (and TMTV is part of the MRH family, so it shares this philosophy). Not only do we want to show fun modeling and great how-tos, but we also want to speak to the realities of being a model railroader in 2016. Dealing with vision challenges is a great example of this sort of helpful piece that's seldom covered.

We're always looking for more such things to cover. TMTV did a piece in its first year on dismantling and starting over. MRH magazine has done articles on using eBay for model railroaders, and on how to protect yourself against loss if disaster strikes and your layout gets destroyed by fire, flood, etc.

We want to always remember, it's about the hobbyist - the people in the hobby - as much as it is about the models. The HOBBYIST in the over-arching family name is no accident (MRH Media: which means Model Railroad Hobbyist Media, of course).

This hobby is amazing in how it can keep everybody involved, and finding a way to enjoy it, no matter the obstacles. 

Tom G.


Pat is an inpiring example of attitude and ingenuity overcoming adversity!  I hereby vow to stop whinging about my mild farsightedness.  

Lots of practical advice I can use in this video, for instance I failed to realize that I could change the focus length of my optivisor with different lenses.  My default 8" focal length is not the best for a lot of work.  Order placed for 14" lense (and optiloupe and light and ...  :-) )


Right-on, Pat!  I can really dig your attitude, and not letting this trouble get the better of you!  As a Type-2 Diabetic, my eyesight has been affected in a large way.  That, plus now at age 60, well, age happens ... beats the alternative ... but it happens to us all eventually.  Thank goodness for 'cheaters' and Opti-Visors.  I agree about the lighting ... use what you need, as not enough light will cause your eyes to tire!  I thoroughly enjoy our hobby, and I'll be damned if I'll let these 'annoyances' keep me from modeling the little figures, making accesories, detailing my Locomotives, and all the other good things this hobby brings!  That's what made this such an interesting video!  It points up the importance of being creative, and never giving up!  Yes sir ... this was a good one, for sure!

wiseconnect's picture

really like this as i am68 yesrs old and had the lens in my eyes replaced do to cataracts then had stroke in my right eye  this  video is very helpful keep u the good work and more videos on this

Very informative serries on eye sight and its relationship to modeling. Much to "look" over. Of all the suggestions one I didn't hear that a doctor recomended to me was useing a blue cutting board and a blue background under your plate glass. Much easer on the eyes offering less strain than any other color. I have a blue cutting pad and blue felt under my plate glass on my work bench and it does make a difference. Of all the obvious things I did not think of is a pair of glasses for my modeling, very much a "light bulb" moment. Thank you for the excellent presentation.