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Hi,

 

I've built / help to build three exhibition layouts over the past 15 years and whilst planning the forth one, it has struck me that I've always prioritized the modelling and the layout over the exhibition side of things, when really they should be developed at the same time. So as part of the planning of the new layout I'm looking at how the layout will be exhibited, but I had a thought about what do the punters at an exhibition want in terms of an exhibition layout?

 

Now, I don't mean in terms of scale, gauge, era or area, I mean in terms of the following:

 

1) Do they want / like Prototypical operation? - I don't mean timetable wise (i.e. continual movement or not), I mean prototypical use of signals and train movements and the correct (or closest as the modeller can get) trains doing the correct things.

 

2) If there is a gap in train movement, how can the audience be kept entertained in the mean time?

 

3) Is additional information useful? How should it be presented and where? 

 

4) Does having operators talking to each other about train movements (not social stuff) spoil the 'illusion'?

 

5) How should additional effects, i.e. lighting, sound and other movement, other than those on trains be used?

 

Now, I know there will be a huge difference between the opinions of the expert modeller and the casual family attendees, but I'm thinking of the 'average' modeller.

 

I also know that this might end up with no shared agreement on anything, but it would be interesting to hear other peoples views on the above points.

 

Simon

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I too have built three exhibition layouts and have helped in the building and operation of numerous others, I also go to a fair few exhibitions as a visitor so to answer your questions (and speaking just for myself, I should add):

 

1. I do want prototypical operation. To me it's the whole point of building a model railway, to be exhibited or otherwise. If there are signals then they should be used properly and trains should obey them, although for a large home layout I built I used Knightwing kits which did not illuminate, but in my mind the trains were still acting upon the aspect I imagined was 'displayed'.

 

2. There will inevitably be gaps in the train movements, there are gaps on the real railway. Some viewers will walk away, some will look at the detail on the layout. The important things is to try and avoid long gaps because something has gone wrong or because the operators have made a mistake.

 

3. I do occasionally read additional information and it can be helpful, but I would keep it brief, to the point and in quite a large font so it can be read easily.

 

4. Having operators discussing the next train movement always seems to me to be rather poor, and often leads to one of those 'gaps' you want to avoid.

 

5. I like digital sound on the trains themselves and I think they enhance the viewing experience, but beyond that I'm not really bothered. Those layouts that feature birdsong or other ambient sounds always seem rather gimmicky to me.

 

Regards,

 

Charlie

 

 

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Simon, it's funny you should ask the question just now, as we had a model railway show at Bronwydd (near Carmarthen and the Gwili Railway) yesterday.

 

We'd been holding an annual exhibition up to 2017 which more or less covered its costs.  In 2017 we made a loss of £50-ish which wasn't a big deal as the club is very friendly and we're happy to go to shows, and to mount shows even if it's a bit of a loss.

 

We had a year off in 2018 and a change of exhibition team.  Yesterday morning in the pouring rain, whilst setting up I was thinking we have plenty of time, what with the rugby and the bad weather we won't see anyone 'til mid-day.  How wrong I was.   Families and other visitors were piling in.   Our new team had dropped newspaper adverts which are no use these days and tapped into Facebook advertising targeting people within 50Km/30 miles of Carmarthen, and I've no doubt we'll be showing a profit this year.  As I understand it we've spent much the same on Fb this year as on newspaper 2017.

 

Now.. what's the point of me rabbiting on about the above?  Clearly we've changed the profile of our audience, and one of the things that struck me was 'if we want to keep these younger families coming back, what do we need to do for them?'  I was also amazed at the number of young girls who were interested as opposed to being dragged along - looks like the GMRC effect for both girls and boys alike.

 

At one stage I had a constructive conversation with the mother of a young lass who was commenting on the lack of child-height layouts, given the make up of the crowd versus the needs of operators and their backs for the 6 hours of the show.

 

One thing I'm feeding back to the team (we may be starting  a new club layout) is whether would could design something from the outset to be normal height for club nights, lower height for shows, and operate seated at shows.   It was very pleasing to have many young visitors pointing their phones and taking pics/video.  We've all known for ever that you need to keep things moving at shows, but if we want to keep today's youngsters interested you need even more things like sound/animation/lights etc. GMRC seems to have piqued the interest of Joe Public which is great but I'm seeing a divergence between what the public might want to see and what we traditionally want to deliver.

 

As you said initially, we tend to build layouts we like and hope others do too when we exhibit.  I'm seriously wondering that if we intend to build a layout for exhibition we need to understand what the audience wants very early on in the design stages (after all when we're back home or in the club we can switch off the gimmicks until such time as we need them again).

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I wonder if the “illusion” paradigm, which puts the audience on one side, and a team of  as-invisible-as-possible operators on the other, is worth challenging.

 

There is no good reason why some operators at least shouldn’t be ‘out front’ and in a position to engage with the visitors. Some layouts do it by using an operator who doesn’t have an overly taxing role, or have a member of the team whose sole job is chatting, but thinking laterally very little automation seems to be used to free-up people to chat.

 

Maybe  that’s because team members like playing trains with a purpose for a day, which is fine, or maybe it’s because exhibitors are stuck in a rut about how layouts ought to work.

 

I mention this because a lot of people, enthusiasts and non alike, like to chat, ask questions etc, whereas the assumption seems to be that they merely want to look at a “stage show”.

 

Even the ‘boxed cameo’, which is in some ways the ultimate illusion, with all its controlled viewing angles,  stage lighting etc, often works best when the stage magician sits out front and gasses with people.

 

 

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I spend waaaaay more time at Exhibitions looking at other peoples layouts than I spend on my own layout, and could spend a long time on a detailed reply. I suspect it is not possible for one layout to appeal to everyone, it will always be a compromise.

 

My answer to the questions.

 

1. Yes, operate realistically as far as possible.

2. Good modelling will always keep me entertained between trains, I appreciate a good believable atmosphere, even if it is 'made up'.

3. I always read the information in the programme, or fixed to the layout, (information sheets attached to the viewer side of the fiddle yard(s) is good - it helps me understand what the layout is about.

4.  Operators talking about the next planned move is fine, social chat not so if it is at the expense of train running.

5. I appreciate good lighting. Sound effects should be subtle. Other animation, if it adds to the scene, is good.

 

To my mind the exhibition as a whole should be able to provide a variety of layouts that excel in one, or more, so that all categories are covered.

 

edit - and I agree with points made by Nearholmer, I always appreciate a layout where someone has the time to field questions about the layout.

  

 

cheers 

Edited by Rivercider
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Obviously, I can only speak for myself with certainty. But I also have a fair idea of what my family (who are not railway enthusaists, but do come with me to exhibitions) like. So, anyway, to answer your questions in order.

 

1. I like to see operation that's prototypical in the sense that it reflects prototype practice in terms of train movements. I'm not so bothered about a timetable whereby all the movements are correct relative to each other, but I do like each individual movement to be what I would expect on the real thing. That includes things like the right locos hauling the right loads and the right kind of shunting movements. I'm less bothered about working signals, but if they do work then the loco movements should correctly take them into account.

 

My family don't care about prototype. They just want to see things moving.

 

2. I don't think there should be any gaps longer than necessary to get one train into the fiddle yard and the next one out of it. The exception is if you have a lot of animations (to use the GMRC term), which can be going on while the trains are static or off-set. A good example of this on the exhibition circuit is Denton Brook. This sort of thing also pleases my family.

 

3. I like info boards to the side of the layout, where appropriate, particularly if they can give me background information on the prototype that the model is based on. But they're not essential. My family won't read them.

 

4. I've never found it off-putting to hear the operators communicating with each other!

5. The only essential thing is that the trains run, and run both well and appropriately. Everything else is a bonus. But lighting can be very useful to help set the scene, and additional non-rail movement can add a lot of interest. Just make it realistic rather than gimmicky. The same applies to sound; no sound is better than bad sound, but good sound is an enhancement.

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Oh, layouts that are bigger on the ‘back stage’ than the stage itself.

 

i was amazed by the Minories layout on show at the GETS at MK recently, which seemed about four times bigger off-stage.

 

if you’re going to have a whopper invisible bit, at least make it fully invisible!

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My own thoughts on the subject. I have been to the Spalding show today where there was lot of good modelling, but why did some layouts stand out? 

 

1) Prototype operation- as someone who is not an expert on railway operation, something that feels right will keep me hooked, the question I tend to ask myself is who would the real railway have built and operated this line? To that end I tend to find most "depot" based layouts with locomotives aimlessly moving around annoying. 

 

2) keeping things moving - thinking about how you would operate the layout at a show and then lots of practice is key here - having a simple control panel that guest operators can quickly learn is essential. On my own layout Molinnis, when things are working well, there is no need to touch/handle any stock and getting the next train moving is simply changing a few points or section switches. 

 

3) additional information - agree with above comments, something simple and in large text is usually worth reading. Stuff about the background to the layout and its setting is more useful than detailed construction  or supplier details. I have considered having a automatic slide show which can contain layout details and also some during construction photos to help explain the layout. One for my next layout perhaps. 

 

4) Operator chat - in my experience this is often social or "how does this work" and is off putting. Having a spare operator to talk to the public is useful. There are some fully-automated layouts, where the operators are then free to talk to the public and start a conversation. When operating, I am often concentrating on the train movement or setting up the next train that I find it difficult to chat at the same time. 

 

5) Effects - does not bother me one way or the other, many sound effects are drowned out by the general hall noise . Day /night lighting can work well, but overscale lights can be an issue.

 

A couple of extra points to your original questions:

 

Worth considering active viewing frontage - some layouts especially terminal layouts have a longish section of main line - someone viewing at that point, can't see the shunting going on in the station, but also has to wait sometime before a train passes by.

 

In choosing a layout, it is worth considering what already appears at your local shows and then doing something a little different if possible. 

 

Hope this is helpful.

 

Regards 

 

Nick 

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1 hour ago, Nearholmer said:

I mention this because a lot of people, enthusiasts and non alike, like to chat, ask questions etc, whereas the assumption seems to be that they merely want to look at a “stage show”.

 

 

That is EXACTLY what I want - to watch a layout being operated without any interaction with the operator(s). And in some cases having someone "out front" usually means they are in the way of viewing the layout, with all the distraction of dreary conversation going on in your ear while you're trying to watch what's happening.

 

Just my thoughts ;)

 

 

Paul

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2 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

I mention this because a lot of people, enthusiasts and non alike, like to chat, ask questions etc, whereas the assumption seems to be that they merely want to look at a “stage show”.

 

1 hour ago, Sprintex said:

That is EXACTLY what I want - to watch a layout being operated without any interaction with the operator(s). And in some cases having someone "out front" usually means they are in the way of viewing the layout, with all the distraction of dreary conversation going on in your ear while you're trying to watch what's happening.

 

This is a very good illustration of the saying that you can't please all of the people all of the time!

 

Mark

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Our layout  BSC Shepcote Lane tippler sidings , whilst only five ft long has people at shows watching for ages , in my opinion it has something that appeals to the public and modellers alike People who have worked in industry can relate to the operation of what they are seeing  , a reminder of where they once worked etc... There is always something going on , whether its locos shunting , wagons being tipped or on the moving on the  traverser , plus the layout is operated from the front so talking to the public who ask questions is easy 

 

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At the risk of offending a number here as well as some exhibitors, I think you need firstly to identify your audience.

 

We here are modellers (whatever that may mean in the detail) and may well have different views to th public at large.  This is important if your audience is largely the general public at a local show.  They will not be interested in prototypical operation and will be more interested in seeing things moving or (less likely) static things that are interesting.  Why are Thomas layouts popular at such shows?  Lots of things moving - hopefully - and lots of colour - red, green, blue engines and orange coaches and brown and grey trucks.  A kaleidoscope of moving colour.  Not for us of course.

 

There is a world of difference between such a show and say Warley and again dare I say it and Expo-whatever show.  It is possible to build a layout that will fit all three agendas but by and large I think that is difficult.

 

A bit like selling a house, I reckon you have around 10 seconds to sell a layout at an exhibition.  If nothing is moving in that time, then there have to be visually interesting things on the layout to capture the interest.  Sometimes no matter what you will be on a loser.  I remember at one exhibition with my French layout I was in the crowd with no obvious link to the layout and overheard two older guys saying "Oh it that foreign rubbish."  They moved on without a second look.  You have to live with that.  I am sure the same has happened with exhibitors with diesel epoch layouts, narrow gauge etc..

 

If you capture them in the 10 seconds you have another 20 seconds to hold and keep that interest.

 

Having people who are approachable (in front preferably) to answer question is a real boon.  Be it that the question is around where they can buy one of your scratch built locos, or be it when is the layout set and why did you chose that.  

 

Operators can discuss what they want provided it does not disturb or distract from what is happening on stage, or mean that a spectator does not get his/her question answered.

 

Personally I would say avoid gimmicks like flashing lights.  I am sure we have all seen the blue flash of an oxy cutter in a workshop (or is it a spot welder?).  But this can rapidly get out of hand and I have seen layouts (more than one) with most if not all of the following - building on fire (flickering fire and smoke) with fire engines in attendance (flashing lights); police car (flashing lights) supposedly chasing the bad guys (suspended animation and imagination);  Road being dug up with flashing cones and various bit of hardware with yellow flashing lights and traffic lights (why does nothing move on green?); Police motorcycles (flashing lights again) pulling over an errant motorist;  Bin lorry - yellow flashers again 

Just because you can does not mean you should.

 

There are other, and to my mind better ways to captivate an audience.

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I’ve a few random thoughts to throw into the pot..!

 

To answer the main questions upfront:

1) Broadly yes, but for me only so it’s ‘believable’, also remember that we all model for different reasons and the operation is important to some while the overall flavour/atmosphere/nostalgia or even the modelling ‘beyond the fence’ is just as if not more important to set the scene.

 

2) It’s always nice to have something to look at in the brief time between trains, but bear in mind people at shows act strangely by nature, they’ll come and go inexplicably, you’ll just line up an amazing train movement only for them to shoot off, others will seemingly stay for hours..!

 

3) Additional info is an ideal thing to pop on the front of your fiddle yard screen if an end-to-end layout, a larger roundy-roundy could use pop up roller banners if you’re keen to easily display info.

 

4) Most of my favourite layouts tend to be operated by people who appear to know what they’re doing and so you never really notice any convos about train planning, things just happen and you’re lost in the scene! I also hate knowing what’s about to enter the layout - I’m a big believer in recreating my early trainspotting days (90s) where you certainly had no internet to give you an idea what was coming, it’s all in the surprise and the patient waiting! 

 

5) Lighting and sound can set the scene but as long as the volume is low enough to only be heard at the layout, we’ve all heard the infamous US level crossing bells and the horrendous DCC sound Bachmann Class 20 from across the exhibition halls..! 

 

Designing a layout for show use also, I’d suggest definitely the thought of how lightweight it is and whether you can physically manhandle and set it up using yourself only, for those occasions when your assistant operator might be busy re-parking the car at a show setup/breakdown or you’re suddenly needing to do some last minute prep at home before a show.

 

Finally, forget most of the above and do what you want! Like many things in life, stuff designed by committee ends up boring, safe and watered down (to quote Kaiser Chiefs “everything is average nowadays” :lol:), my advice is to not get steered away from your gut instinct and just build the layout that’s in your head and chances are as you’ve had 15yrs experience, it’s going to turn out pretty good anyway! 

 

Enjoy and good luck with the next venture Simon! :good:

 

Cheers,

James

 

Edited by James Makin
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16 hours ago, St. Simon said:

Hi,

 

I've built / help to build three exhibition layouts over the past 15 years and whilst planning the forth one, it has struck me that I've always prioritized the modelling and the layout over the exhibition side of things, when really they should be developed at the same time. So as part of the planning of the new layout I'm looking at how the layout will be exhibited, but I had a thought about what do the punters at an exhibition want in terms of an exhibition layout?

 

Simon

 

Simon

 

You pose a very interesting question, one I have spent a lot of time on myself.

 

Why? Because ……………...

 

1. My layout is purely an exhibition layout. It has no home life purpose - as it is 26ft x 10ft and too big to set up at home - so if I don't get exhibition invites it will be 9 years of my life wasted.

 

2. The layout is expensive - 6 operators minimum - and so if it's not popular with visitors I won't get invites.

 

3. The basic railway aspect addresses a very niche market - China in 2004 - and so the number of enthusiasts walking through the door at a show who have an existing interest in the subject is very small indeed. Therefore I decided on a two pronged attack.

 

i) Totally authentic operation (as far as possible) to satisfy me, the few other Chinese railway fans and those enthusiasts who are prepared to 'give it a chance'. 

 

ii) Special features to appeal to the general public - families.

 

So,

 

i) When enthusiasts see my layout at a show they will see things that they have (probably) never seen before - 17 coach passenger trains for example - and hopefully that will inspire them to ask questions of our front of house 'interactor' and they can learn more about a subject they (probably) know very little about.

 

ii) When families see my layout at shows they will be shown the special features (gimmicks to some) that have been included to engage with that sector of the audience. In an ideal situation we will have an interactor at the side of the layout to point out these special features because TBH they are so subtle that unless someone points them out 99% of viewers would miss them, but when they are pointed out the family audience love them. Of course there may not always be a spare operator to interact with the public and so I am experimenting with a more direct approach to point out the special features...……..

 

IMG_20191026_083034.jpg.11b5c85c1cbb0012fa265d9954f1240f.jpg.fcab49ebd86b08cdd39451ed222cd283.jpg

 

 

The secret, for me and my layout at least, is to offer gimmicks for the non-enthusiast market, but to make them subtle enough not to offend the serious enthusiast market.

 

You can judge for yourselves, whether I have succeeded or not in my endeavours, at Warley in two weeks.

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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Andy

 

I hadn't read your post when I wrote mine just now, but basically I agree with everything you wrote.

 

In particular your comments about the established UK enthusiasts who are not interested in overseas modelling.

 

9 hours ago, Andy Hayter said:

 Sometimes no matter what you will be on a loser.  I remember at one exhibition with my French layout I was in the crowd with no obvious link to the layout and overheard two older guys saying "Oh it's that foreign rubbish."  They moved on without a second look. 

 

My favourite personal example of that kind of attitude was when I took an American O gauge layout (one of the first such layouts to be seen at a show) to the big Bristol exhibition in about 1979 and during set up the head of the barrier team said to his assistant,  'There's some people who like this sort of thing I suppose.' That comment has stayed with me ever since and influenced my thinking. I guess what I'm saying is that if I had built a 26ft x 10ft layout BRITISH layout I would naturally attract a larger audience because 99.9% of visitors would already associate with it and 'gimmicks' would not be needed so much. But when exhibiting a niche layout , and in my case a niche layout (Chinese) within an already niche market (foreign) then you need something extra - something to win over the families to compensate for a significant number of enthusiasts who will say 'foreign rubbish' and walk on.

 

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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Having also been at Spalding this year, yes there were a lot of well modelled railways this year.

 

My observations of exhibition layouts.

 

1, Keep things moving, periods of inactivity because that's the prototype, aren't acceptable to joe public. Try and get something going even if you have a failure in normal track running.

2 Flashing lights, LED gimicks, yes have them, but tone the light level down to something realistic. arc lights weren't fitted in indicators..

3 Sound, keep it quiet, so only those stood near the layout can hear it..

4 Hand of God, even for 3 links, is seen by punters as a failure needing intervention..

5 Don't have excessive gimmicks, do have things that, would move or flash in real life but not too many.

6 Don't pack 1930's layout full of cars and lorries, even by the early 50's not many had cars..

7 Try and hide board joints.. I know it's difficult, but at least two layouts I saw at Spalding did a very good job of this, with additional scatter,  buildings, walls hiding the joins.

8  Front layout operators / human interface need to be at one side, not blocking the view.

9 Additional information boards are good, though many won't read them,

10 Many are interested in the fiddle yard, perspex screens are good for visibility and to keep hands off..

11 If country side choose your season, many layouts are very bland neutral. Choosing a season can give a definate overall colour scheme.

 

So what am I trying to do for my Highland railway layout? (N gauge 15ft X 7ft ish L shaped)

 

Running:

At least 4 trains available to run each way.

A shuttle train running up the branch line, but with a reasonable stopping time.

Some shunting of wagons taken off the main line, occuring in the yard. reattached on a later train.

 

Season,

Late spring, early summer, light brightish greens, however I've cheated, to flower my heather early..

 

To hide board joins:

Strategic buildings

Highland Railways boxed in their point rodding, using those covers to hide more board joins.

Purple heather scatter doing the job on the hills..

Cattle grids over joins on roads.

joins hidden in ditches  / behind walls etc..

 

Animations,

A ferry with a car being lifted on, 

Steam, smoke from the distillery with a hint of whisky smell.

I'd love to do the smell of burning peat fires that I remember, But haven't worked out a safe way of doing that..

A lone piper at the war memorial with quiet sound, interspersed with seagull sounds, the main station is Scaranish, meaning seagull rock..

1 possibly 2 working mechanically radar scanners at the back of the layout, there genuinely was a radar station built on Gott hill behind Scaranish even if the radar wasn't delivered.

I'd love to make the radar on the ferry move too, but it's on the front of a slim mast..

Some lighting of buildings, but it's day time, so subdued and not on all buildings.

 

Information,

I'm looking at rolling text screen info boards , you can get LED picture frames or cheap tablet computers to do the job, just attach them firmly so they don't wander..

 

Transport of the layout,

Since the inherited layout was not originally built for exhibition, it's heavy. So i've built it onto trolleys / stands and roll the layout into position. I will make it clear when the layout goes on tour, that while a step or two can be managed, anything more when I turn up, will mean a vacancy in their exhibition.. 

 

For details of progess in the very slow reconstruction of Tiree so far , see below..

 

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24 minutes ago, Clive Mortimore said:

Hi Simon,

 

Build the layout you want, we exhibit our modelling we are not entertainers. If it is a good layout then people will enjoy seeing it and you will get more invites.

 

Totally agree Clive.

 

An exhibition should be showing the public what the hobby is about, not what they expect to see.

 

Regards,

 

Craig

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17 minutes ago, Clive Mortimore said:

 

Build the layout you want, we exhibit our modelling we are not entertainers. If it is a good layout then people will enjoy seeing it and you will get more invites.

 

Good advice. If you build a layout specifically to exhibit and entertain and appeal to all you'll end up with one packed with flashing lights, animations and trains rushing everywhere. It'll probably have lots of the outrageous, absurd and weird cameos. Consequently it won't be realistic and won't appeal to enthusiastic modellers or railway aficionados, but most of the public will love it.

 

But is that the layout you'd like to have back at home or the clubroom. And is it the way you think the hobby should be portrayed?

 

 

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An interesting Topic and I'd like to add my tuppence worth:

 

1. I definitely want to see realistic movements and reasonably prototypical formations, even if generalised, by that I mean a VAC braked Loco on a VAC braked rake of wagons, doesn't necessarily have to be totally correct for the region but does have to be right for the era.

 

2. Are we going to become a victim of GMRC's success?? In that I mean all the Layouts built by the GMRC teams had numerous 'gimmicks' on them and whilst absolutely fine for the Competition are the General Public (Not current Rail Enthusiasts/Modellers) going to expect these sort of 'gimmicks' / 'Animations' on Layouts at shows??

 

3. Additional Info is always nice to see and sometimes interesting to read, especially if the Layout is a reproduction or based on a specific area.

 

4. Operators talking, meh!! I'm not fussed either way actually, sometimes it's quite funny listening in to the 'banter' going on behind the layout and also can sometimes be a way into a conversation with someone watching your layout.

 

5. See point 2 above.

 

Just my thoughts :D:D:D

 

Regards

 

Neal.

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2 hours ago, Clive Mortimore said:

Build the layout you want, we exhibit our modelling we are not entertainers. If it is a good layout then people will enjoy seeing it and you will get more invites.

 

 

Clive

 

I feel that I both agree and disagree with you.

 

2 hours ago, Clive Mortimore said:

Build the layout you want, we exhibit our modelling we are not entertainers. 

 

I have to say that once we take our layouts to public exhibitions (rather than Scaleforum, ExpoEM, ExpoNG etc) then we should be entertainers - if it's a show advertised in the local paper or with a poster in the local chip shop then it will attract local people who come to be entertained - yes, maybe to be educated as well, but primarily to be entertained.

 

2 hours ago, Clive Mortimore said:

 If it is a good layout then people will enjoy seeing it and you will get more invites.

 

Yes, agreed. But who decides what is a good layout?  Mum and dad and the kids will probably have a different opinion to the average pre-grouping, DCC S4 modeller.

 

If we take our layouts to Expo EM etc then the typical visitor will be different to that at a local show - they will want to see that kitbuilt loco you've built, they will want to discuss how you built it - because they've just bought one on ebay and need some advice. They will be happy for you to stop running the layout for 2/3 minutes whilst you answer their questions - and other visitors will be tolerant because they are modellers too and are probably also interested in your answers.

 

So we come back to horses for courses

 

ExpoEM etc - the market is 99.9% fellow modellers

 

Local show - 90% local people who know little of the niceties of our hobby

 

Big, regional, national show - an unknown mix but big, expensive layouts (like mine) have to attract/keep a good crowd otherwise we won't get invites and (for me) that means special features - or what some might call gimmicks.

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7 minutes ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

 

 

Clive

 

I feel that I both agree and disagree with you.

 

 

I have to say that once we take our layouts to public exhibitions (rather than Scaleforum, ExpoEM, ExpoNG etc) then we should be entertainers - if it's a show advertised in the local paper or with a poster in the local chip shop then it will attract local people who come to be entertained - yes, maybe to be educated as well, but primarily to be entertained.

 

 

Yes, agreed. But who decides what is a good layout?  Mum and dad and the kids will probably have a different opinion to the average pre-grouping, DCC S4 modeller.

 

If we take our layouts to Expo EM etc then the typical visitor will be different to that at a local show - they will want to see that kitbuilt loco you've built, they will want to discuss how you built it - because they've just bought one on ebay and need some advice. They will be happy for you to stop running the layout for 2/3 minutes whilst you answer their questions - and other visitors will be tolerant because they are modellers too and are probably also interested in your answers.

 

So we come back to horses for courses

 

ExpoEM etc - the market is 99.9% fellow modellers

 

Local show - 90% local people who know little of the niceties of our hobby

 

Big, regional, national show - an unknown mix but big, expensive layouts (like mine) have to attract/keep a good crowd otherwise we won't get invites and (for me) that means special features - or what some might call gimmicks.

I am a modeler, I display what I do. I am not an entertainer, I cannot sing, dance, tell jokes, play a musical instrument, act or recite poetry.  

 

If you went to an exhibition displaying 12th century Ming china would you expect to be entertained. How about wandering around an art gallery, you might enjoy seeing the paintings and sculptures but would you expect the artist to paint a painting that would appeal to the "general public" or one that shows their talent and interest?

 

If an exhibition manager is willing to invite my layout to an exhibition, then I am willing to participate in the exhibition. I do interact with the public, and if I am working on a demonstration stand I will hand interested people my models so they can have a better look.

 

I did try to get an Equity card but was refused as being called a clown by Mrs M did not qualify me as a professional.

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I go to an exhibition to be awed by the modelling.  And to see things I could not ordinarily see in real life.

 

That immediately knocks out toy train couplers, ridiculously sharp curves, out of the box gaudy painted RTR, and on-off speeds. It also knocks out "modern image", 'cos I would see that by just travelling about my daily business.

 

So awesome scenes of railways long gone, represented and operated realistically (and totally hands off) are worth my time to stay and watch, to perhaps learn some history . . . .and perchance to dream.

 

Tim

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1 hour ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

. . . .  if it's a show advertised in the local paper or with a poster in the local chip shop then it will attract local people who come to be entertained - yes, maybe to be educated as well, but primarily to be entertained.

 

 

Is that really the case (that those attending expect to be entertained) and if so then what sort of percentage is it of those paying to walk through the doors? I don't think that is the case for all. I'd suggest that many who are enticed to visit a model railway exhibition (from seeing an advert) are expecting to see and enjoy examples of crafted model railways rather than to be entertained. Posters/adverts for model railway exhibitions don't usually promote the entertainment value of non railway related gimmicks, crass animations, flashing lights, etc., to be seen on the layouts.

 

However, I suspect that type of 'entertainment' expectation is possibly increasing because of the GMRC programme on TV. And is that something railway modellers welcome? Maybe some re-education and re-alignment of entertainment expectation is required. There is probably a place for both approaches but there needs to be clarity of expectation. 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Hitchin Junction said:

 It also knocks out "modern image", 'cos I would see that by just travelling about my daily business.

 

 

Hmm, that sounds rather narrow minded. Do you travel about your business and experience railways in all regions of the UK and countries of the world?  I'm sure there are some that you don't 'ordinarily see in real life' and such layouts often demonstrate the awesome modelling you crave. And, of course, 'modern image' has been around for over fifty years making it part of a historic period and probably for longer than most have travelled on business. 

 

 

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