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AMJ

Youth and the hobby

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As others have pointed out, price is a major bottleneck for many younger and low-income modellers. I’m in my ‘30s (young-ish) and currently unemployed for health reasons; even a simple coach purchase requires some careful accounting. It’s the price of the actual locos and rolling stock that’s been the biggest hurdle for me.

 

With the rise of 3D printing, I think there’s a lot of scope for a small company to make cheap modular body components and perhaps put together a simple all-in-one starter kit with pre-painted shell, motor, chassis etc included as an accessible first modelling project for newcomers. The ‘maker’ scene is a great fit for the hobby and could help with affordability.

 

 

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On 20/04/2020 at 22:35, DK123GWR said:

I'm going to say (as a 17 year old) that much of this is probably correct. I had a train set when I was younger (5-ish), with a combination of rolling stock that I had inherited from my Dad and some new stuff that he had bought for me. It all went into the loft for a few years but came down at some point last year. At that point, it was a piece of wood, some track, and a mismatched box of trains. This may be the definition of fun for a five year old, but by the time you get a bit older I think you do need to start developing your layout in order to keep it interesting. I now have a station with two through platforms and a bay platform, each suitable for 4 (5 at a stretch) coaches, with a station building.

 

If most people were to look into this, they would no doubt go straight to the Hornby website and find that a platform which is roughly 1/2 of a carriage long costs £4.25. For 12 carriages (4 on each through platform and the one-sided bay platform) you would be paying 24*£4.25=£102. No one in their right mind would pay that, whatever age they are.

 

The next thing that they will do is google 'how to make an 00 gauge platform'. This is much better, but all of the videos that they will find will still require a trip to the DIY store to buy a large sheet of wood. Wouldn't it be better if there was more focus on what you could do with materials found at home? I know that its possible. My station platforms are sections cut out of large cardboard boxes found lying around in the loft, painted grey with a mixture of the left over white paint for a ceiling and black food colouring (it made any food it was added to taste horrible so this was the best use for it). The building is a free Wordsworth kit glued onto smaller boxes, including cereal boxes. It's a completely improvised (and free) station that needs a bit of smoothing over in places, but I like the overall effect of it. Necesity is the mother of invention, but even if you ask a question on a forum about the best way to make something there will inevitably be a variety of pricey products reccomended. Young people are resourceful but I have no doubt that they will be put off if the 'right' way to do things seems so far beyond their means. 

 

The point you make about weathering powder is also a good one. I would love to start weathering some of my models at some point, but I would also like to do so by buying as little as possible. The problem is: how on earth is anybody with limited modelling experience supposed to know where to start with something like this if nobody else is willing to give them advice beyond 'don't bother'?

 

On the subject of using materials which are already available, cost is not the only reason that young people would want to do this. Many are concious of reducing their consumption of resources, and scratchbuilding from items they already have at home, especially waste products such as packaging, would allow them to develop their layout while minimising the environmental impact.

 

As for wargaming, I agree, Everybody else at school who makes models is in that field, while a few decades ago they would have had a railway.

 

I don't want to agree with the idea that new trains are uninspiring, but I think there is some truth to it. Trains aren't 'cool' now and if there were any other modellers at school there is no way that we would find each other, because we would never want to bring up the fact that we have a model railway. The most obvious reason for this is the rolling stock. This won't get better in the future as far as I'm concerned because while I love the Hitatchi AT300's appearance, it seems that every time a TOC replaces its rolling stock its with a variant of this (800s, 801s, and 802s for LNER; 800s and 802s for GWR; 802s for TPE and Hull Trains; 803s for East Coast Trains; 810s for EMR; and similar units going to Avanti West Coast. I guess that in the steam era, or even the BR diesel era, there was a much greater variaton in the types of rolling stock around than there is now, making the railways more interesting. The only loco-hauled trains which travel along my local railway (GWML in Wiltshire) are EWS/DB's freight trains; everything else is AT-300s and Turbos.

 

The saddest part is that model railways would have so much to offer young people if we could capture their interest and make them feel welcome. A modern model railway provides opportunities for people with interests in art, DT, computer science, physics, even history. Depending on how it is done it can provide transferrable skills such as research, it can allow people to develop skills that they will need if they don't want to hire a tradesperson every time something needs fixing. It can just provide a form of escapism, where you can enter a world either from the past, your imagination, or a combination of the two. Working on a model railway would do wonders for the mental health of many young people by allowing them to focus on something other than the pressures of real life, and something that they have total control over when everything else seems beyond their reach.

 

One last note: in case anything that I have said seems harsh, it is not intended in that way. I don't think that the railway modelling community is deliberately patronising to young people. However, while there has been a fast reaction to technological change (widespread adoption of DCC, for instance) I think that the reaction to changes in other areas has been much slower. Or perhaps the reverse has happened. When you started out with model railways, what did you want? Did you want a seemingly infinitely diverse range of specialist, often pricey, paints and dyes for representing everything from water to concrete? Or did you want to buy some trains and some track, and then use things which you have lying around the house to turn it into something special? I think that like many things, there is a certain level of overcomercialisation which has crept in, especially in areas such as scenery, ballasting, and weathering which it should be possible for people to do using, primarily, things that they already have at home (or that they could buy in a supermarket or DIY store if they don't). There is of course a place for high end products where the perfect finish is required for a new exhibition layout, but that is unlikely to be the sort of first layout a young person is interested in building. It would also be nice to see a growing community of layouts builts using cheap, unconventional techniques. While my aforementioned station isn't going to win a lot of (any) contests for the most faithful recreation of a railway station ever seen, it has a certain charm to it. If I tidy up the edges and get around to adding some (free) platform signs, fences (sleepers from old bits of track?) and other finishing touches it has the potential to be far better looking (in my opinion) than the plastic Hornby stations I could have paid upwards of £100 for.

 

One last note (I mean it this time): I have a habit of thinking that I'm about to finish before a thousand more ideas pop into my head. I guess my layout will definitely be one of those that is never finished. Back on topic: there is one other obstacle to young people getting involved that I touched on earlier. Model railways are generally seen as an old man's thing and you would probably face a fair amount of teasing for admitting to owning one. I don't really see how we can solve this as a community. People have talked about the likes of Rod Stewart, Michael Palin, Ricardo Patresi, and a couple of other names I've never heard before higher up in this thread. If young people are to get into modelling, I guess that they need role models. Once upon a time, this was always the father, but this route seems to have faltered in the past few decades. We need to either hope that some social media influencers decide to reveal their secret passion for modelling, or people like me need to pluck up the confidence to put our heads above the paraphet and try to tempt others into modelling. We also need to get girls interested. If Kathy Millatt wasn't a judge on The Great Model Railway Challenge, I doubt that I would be able to think of a woman associated with railway modelling.

 

I think that's a very accurate and fair post, especially coming from someone much younger than most on here. I agree with some of the other points further upthread too, I think that whereas in the past it was all pretty much one hobby, these days there is the "train set" end and the "model railway" end which are getting further and further apart. Take new models, for example - go back to somewhere like the 1989 or 1990 Hornby catalogue, and look at what a new model was, such as the 58 or 91. Then go to the New Hornby Class 91 thread here and look at the discussion around how we need DCC this and DCC that and to allow for x and y and every other combination of lighting and pantograph and coupling and and and ... it's fantastic that we can achieve (and purchase) such things but at the same time it pushes up the cost of the hobby and makes the bar much higher for those on a budget. Yet a manufacturer trying to make cheaper more basic models would get nothing but criticism on here for not being as good as the Bachmann/Hattons/etc version (yes, I'm thinking 66s) despite them being perfectly adequate for a huge swathe of modellers who not only find expensive models out of reach, but also the control equipment needed to run them to their full advantage.

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6 hours ago, JDW said:

Then go to the New Hornby Class 91 thread here and look at the discussion around how we need DCC this and DCC that and to allow for x and y and every other combination of lighting and pantograph and coupling and and and ...

I've just skimmed through that and I am astounded. The best example:

  

On 09/01/2020 at 11:49, Pete the Elaner said:

it won't be able to provide switchable day/night lights or running with 1 end off, which are possible with the Bachmann 90.

I had hoped that the latter had introduced standards which will be adopted on all new models.

What is the point in switchable day/night lights on a model railway? Can you really tell the difference? Does it matter if you can?

I understand the desire for more features, but only the best of the high end models should come with them by default. I have never tried, but I imagine that it would be possible to change the lighting systems and solder in a more advanced decoder if desired. I would have thought that it is better to provide a lower priced model with fewer standard features but room (by which I mean physical space) to make the desired improvements than to price many people out of the market for all but the most basic models. We generally accept that a pristine model which can be weathered by the consumer makes more sense than a pre-weathered one since it is suitable for everybody. Surely this principle can be applied to electronics too.

 

One criticism which I think is legitimate is that if this model has far fewer features than rivals then that should be reflected in the price.

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51 minutes ago, DK123GWR said:

I've just skimmed through that and I am astounded. The best example:

 

What is the point in switchable day/night lights on a model railway? Can you really tell the difference? Does it matter if you can?

I understand the desire for more features, but only the best of the high end models should come with them by default. I have never tried, but I imagine that it would be possible to change the lighting systems and solder in a more advanced decoder if desired. I would have thought that it is better to provide a lower priced model with fewer standard features but room (by which I mean physical space) to make the desired improvements than to price many people out of the market for all but the most basic models.

 

Where did you grab that from? It pre-dates this thread. I am guessing the Hornby 91 thread?

 

Why are you astounded? I don't care how many hours have been spent detailing them, they are toys. So why not add play value if it is not really any extra work?

 

So this asks how much extra work does it take? 10 minutes at most for 1 person to design the PCB, applicable to many thousands of models.

PCBs will cost the same according to the size of the board& addming minor features like this will not make it any bigger.

There will be the same number of LEDs so no cost difference there either.

 

Dapol, Bachmann & Hattons have already included this with their 68, 90 & 66 respectively so they must feel that it is worthwhile.

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2 hours ago, DK123GWR said:

I've just skimmed through that and I am astounded. The best example:

  

What is the point in switchable day/night lights on a model railway? Can you really tell the difference? Does it matter if you can?

I understand the desire for more features, but only the best of the high end models should come with them by default. I have never tried, but I imagine that it would be possible to change the lighting systems and solder in a more advanced decoder if desired. I would have thought that it is better to provide a lower priced model with fewer standard features but room (by which I mean physical space) to make the desired improvements than to price many people out of the market for all but the most basic models. We generally accept that a pristine model which can be weathered by the consumer makes more sense than a pre-weathered one since it is suitable for everybody. Surely this principle can be applied to electronics too.

 

One criticism which I think is legitimate is that if this model has far fewer features than rivals then that should be reflected in the price.

 

To clarify, day/night headlights on most stock built from the late 1980s up to the 2000s (such as 90s, 91, 142s, 156s, etc) had light units with a sidelight, headlight and tail light. Only the headlight on one side was lit at a time, one side having the beam set for daytime running (to make it brighter in daylight when viewed from a distance), and the other set to point lower to prevent dazzling oncoming drivers at night, so it is noticeable that one side or the other is lit. The problem is, the more features you add, although the circuit board might not be hard or complex, it then needs more and more switches adding to allow non-DCC users to switch modes or switch tail lights off, and needs 21-pin decoders instead of 8-pin, adding more expense still for DCC users. 

Its a battle that can never really be won. If you produce something more towards the train set end of the market, it'll get panned for not being good or clever enough. If you produce it with everything, there'll be ones who say it's too complicated/expensive and others who complain that the pantograph doesn't bounce quite right or that it's sprung too much/little/at all, all of whom will be told by someone else that the way its been done is better for them. 

The crux of it is, the more you do, the better you make it, the more people will want and expect. Which drives up quality, results in more features, but pushes it into the 'finescale model' end of the hobby, and out of the reach of younger ones, seemingly more so than before, at least within the last few decades. It doesn't feel like all that long ago that I was saving up my pocket money for things like Lima locos (£35-£40), a Lima 156 (£45-£50) or a Bachmann 158 (£50-£55). What hope these days for someone on pocket money - OK, older models are still available, but even the latest releases of those are expensive, £100+ for a Hornby 156 for example. 

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9 hours ago, JDW said:

The crux of it is, the more you do, the better you make it, the more people will want and expect. Which drives up quality, results in more features, but pushes it into the 'finescale model' end of the hobby, and out of the reach of younger ones, seemingly more so than before, at least within the last few decades. It doesn't feel like all that long ago that I was saving up my pocket money for things like Lima locos (£35-£40), a Lima 156 (£45-£50) or a Bachmann 158 (£50-£55). What hope these days for someone on pocket money - OK, older models are still available, but even the latest releases of those are expensive, £100+ for a Hornby 156 for example. 

What date was this? I'm trying to work out whether that is in line with inflation.

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3 minutes ago, DK123GWR said:

What date was this? I'm trying to work out whether that is in line with inflation.

 

That was in the 1990s, just before Lima stopped production. I can't remember exacly when.

£35-£40 was normal but their locos went as low as £19.99 & I remember buying a new 08 for £6.99 in Beatties around this time.

 

The difference will not be in line with inflation.

 

Manufacturers then reacted to modellers wanting better, more detailed models with more features, also making use of the fairly new DCC.

Once one started to offer better models at a higher price, the rest followed.

There was some grumbling about it at the time, but most of the modelling community accepted that better models cost more.

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To a great extent this is none of my business as I don't model OO and in fact I don't model British, but the future of the hobby in the UK does interest me.

 

I really hate to say this, as I'm sure this will stir up some controversy, but let me put down some thoughts.

 

1. We need a basic range of CHEAP models for 'tight budget' newbies - the Hornby RAILROAD range springs to mind

 

2. We need state of the art models to engage with the 'money no object' hi-tech top end of the hobby modellers. Interestingly, although slightly off subject, I understand that American HO modelling has fallen back in the UK as better quality 'top end' UK models have become available over the last 20 years. So a significant number of UK modellers find that hi-spec is a very high priority for them ie they only went American or German or whatever because good quality UK models were simply not available 30/40 years ago

 

So, here is the controversial question ……………..

 

Why did Hornby's concept of  DESIGN CLEVER not catch on? Why is it held in such contempt? If a company , not necessarily Hornby, were to produce an accurate but basic (no lights) diesel for £60 and a state of the art version for £140 would that not cover both markets?

 

Why did that concept fail?

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16 minutes ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

To a great extent this is none of my business as I don't model OO and in fact I don't model British, but the future of the hobby in the UK does interest me.

 

Why did Hornby's concept of  DESIGN CLEVER not catch on? Why is it held in such contempt? If a company , not necessarily Hornby, were to produce an accurate but basic (no lights) diesel for £60 and a state of the art version for £140 would that not cover both markets?

 

Why did that concept fail?

 

It is more back to the original topic than the last few posts.

It is a difficult question for a consumer to answer since they will probably only be interested in 1 end of the market.

Maybe Hornby have answered it with their Steampunk range?

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6 minutes ago, Pete the Elaner said:

 

That was in the 1990s, just before Lima stopped production. I can't remember exacly when.

£35-£40 was normal but their locos went as low as £19.99 & I remember buying a new 08 for £6.99 in Beatties around this time.

 

The difference will not be in line with inflation.

 

Manufacturers then reacted to modellers wanting better, more detailed models with more features, also making use of the fairly new DCC.

Once one started to offer better models at a higher price, the rest followed.

There was some grumbling about it at the time, but most of the modelling community accepted that better models cost more.

This means that the RailRoad range is roughly i line with inflation from the Lima models. I would argue that give the way inflation is calculated, with newer technologies added to the basket and older ones taken out they should be slightly below inflation. Railroad provides good coverage of steam, and good for post privatisation diesel. but everything else is non-existent. The second hand market does cater quite well for BR eras though, and I have found that most of my old Lima locomotives are good runners, the only issue is that whereas you can buy a new release whenever you feel like it, you can never guarantee exactly what somebody will be selling second hand. The price of this basic rolling stock is not an issue.

The next level up, including very basic lighting features should probably be cheaper than it is (again, taking into account the fact way inflation is calculated) but that's another topic.

What I really think makes these big ticket items so expensive for young people is actually nothing to do with model railways. It's social media. If you aren't connected online, you will lose socially (always last to hear news, etc.). As much as I hate to say it, young people today need smart phones (I am cringing at writing this). This means that they wouldn't just be putting their money towards a new locomotive. The best way to reduce the apparent cost of rolling stock may be for everybody to buy a Leagoo M12 instead of a bigger brand.

Conversely, social media could easily be use to draw people in, if harnessed correctly. Model railways are perfect for Instagram, and that point is rather self explanatory.

I think that the greater issue is scenery, because small costs repeated several times soon turn into very big costs. The commons sector should grow over the next few years, if all of the XR members actually translate their banners and chants into lifestyle choices (and many of them already have). I hope that model railways will follow this trend and that more suppliers like Wordsworth will spring up, as a greater variety of buildings available to print of will go a long way to resolving that. Furthermore, from the videos that I have seen scratchbuilding and weathering tend to focus on acheiving perfection where the stock on the market falls short of expectations. Almost all use specialist paints and other materials which look very expensive to a young person (considering that they are ultimately a peripheral feature). There was a poster earlier in this topic who uses water colours bought from Wilko, which I think are a much better starting point for the young person who is trying things out for the first time.

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2 hours ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

 

[...]

 

So, here is the controversial question ……………..

 

Why did Hornby's concept of  DESIGN CLEVER not catch on? Why is it held in such contempt? If a company , not necessarily Hornby, were to produce an accurate but basic (no lights) diesel for £60 and a state of the art version for £140 would that not cover both markets?

 

Why did that concept fail?

 

I didn't dare mention Design Clever, I was already on thin ice mentioning working pantographs, I thought mentioning that too might start WW3. 

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Posted (edited)

The belief that fewer young people joining the hobby than 50-60 years ago may well be part of the perceived gap between young people their parents and grandparents or generation gap.

 

Growing up in a working class part of Dublin in the 60s, model railways certainly was not a main stream hobby. Most of my school friends were mainly interested in sports and later girls, I was the only boy in my class who had a long term interest in trains or model railways.

 

Our education was academic rather than technical which contributed to a high level of upward mobility with many of my friends becoming involved in education, the professions and business rather than trades or service industry.

 

I became the only "junior member" when I joined a model railway club as a teenager in the late 60s, the majority of members appear to have been middle aged or older a small group (2-3) younger men in their twenties & thirties tended to be the ground breakers in terms of their modelling and more encouraging of my modelling efforts than the older generation of club members.  

 

There does not appear to have been much demographic change in the club over the past 50 years, probably tied up with the generations of man than the generation gap. A teenager has little time or money for modelling with the pressure of exams and growing up. Even greater pressure in your 20s & 30s pressure of career, family and home. If your lucky it may get easier as you grow older and find  time, space and money for modelling.

 

There seem to be young modellers coming through un-deterred by the lack of money, skill or experience, its up to the older modellers to encourage and support rather than discourage their efforts.

 

Interestingly while there has been a lot of discussion on this thread about the digital age and the cost of modelling materials, although the computer is becoming a pull my 10 year old daughter and her friends seem to get far more enjoyment from their own imagination & creativity than expensive bought toys, painting, sculpture and modelling using paper, card and paper mache.

 

Although they are unlikely to become railway modellers' my daughter and a slightly younger friend often ask if they can run a train on my garden railway and have become quite competent operators & have their favourite locomotives. They prefer to operate rather than to simply watch trains go round and round, using the railway to transport their dolls and toy animals to different places in the garden, then stable the train in a siding when it reaches its destination.

 

 

Edited by John M
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For what it's worth, I don't think that on the whole the filtering in of young blood to the hobby is too much different over the last 30 years, but maybe the method of interest is somewhat different.

 

At the core of it, there will always be young boys and girls that find 'big working stuff' fascinating. Go to any airport (in normal circumstances!) and you'll see as many younger folk standing off the edge of the runway fencing watching these wonderful machines take to the sky, and having as much overall interest in the operation as any older age range, I believe the same generally applies to trains etc.

What may be different is one's entry into model railways. Maybe there are less 0-4-0 tank locos and short train of open wagons buzzing round an oval of track on the dining room floor at a scale 180mph, but there are other ways for younger folk to get their train fix these days and further enhance their interest. Now there are fantastic computer and console based train simulators that can be fired up in minutes and require no space to set up, and don't terrify the cat. They're comparatively cheap when you consider one would probably have the platform to operate it regardless, and offer an immersive world in which to grow one's interest and understanding.

Some may say this isn't particularly healthy for the railway modelling hobby, but I disagree. Getting your kicks out of a simulation is perfectly fine, and has many advantages that modelling can't touch, but physically creating a world in miniature, and controlling an actual locomotive, all be it at scale is still unique to what we do. A person's desire to craft and create something will always draw people to the hobby if the interest of the wider railway world is present. Simulation and modelling in my opinion go hand in hand to offer a really credible, fulfilling hobby to young (and old) who show an interest.

And to add, I think culture and acceptability among the young has changed a lot in recent times. I'm only 34, but when I was a 'young' lad at high school, I wouldn't have dreamt to have talked openly about my railway fascination, it wouldn't have done me ANY favours socially, and when a little older and seeking the attention of young ladies, it's something I would go to great lengths to hide. Yet now there seems somewhat of renaissance, and it looks to be a lot more socially acceptable for a young person to express their interest in railways, modelling, and many other previously assumed faux pas interests. Indeed to some young ladies it appears to be somewhat of an attractive feature in a man!  Where these young ladies were when I was 20 years old I'll never know!

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On ‎17‎/‎05‎/‎2020 at 09:49, Foden said:

For what it's worth, I don't think that on the whole the filtering in of young blood to the hobby is too much different over the last 30 years, but maybe the method of interest is somewhat different.

 

At the core of it, there will always be young boys and girls that find 'big working stuff' fascinating. Go to any airport (in normal circumstances!) and you'll see as many younger folk standing off the edge of the runway fencing watching these wonderful machines take to the sky, and having as much overall interest in the operation as any older age range, I believe the same generally applies to trains etc.

What may be different is one's entry into model railways. Maybe there are less 0-4-0 tank locos and short train of open wagons buzzing round an oval of track on the dining room floor at a scale 180mph, but there are other ways for younger folk to get their train fix these days and further enhance their interest. Now there are fantastic computer and console based train simulators that can be fired up in minutes and require no space to set up, and don't terrify the cat. They're comparatively cheap when you consider one would probably have the platform to operate it regardless, and offer an immersive world in which to grow one's interest and understanding.

Some may say this isn't particularly healthy for the railway modelling hobby, but I disagree. Getting your kicks out of a simulation is perfectly fine, and has many advantages that modelling can't touch, but physically creating a world in miniature, and controlling an actual locomotive, all be it at scale is still unique to what we do. A person's desire to craft and create something will always draw people to the hobby if the interest of the wider railway world is present. Simulation and modelling in my opinion go hand in hand to offer a really credible, fulfilling hobby to young (and old) who show an interest.

And to add, I think culture and acceptability among the young has changed a lot in recent times. I'm only 34, but when I was a 'young' lad at high school, I wouldn't have dreamt to have talked openly about my railway fascination, it wouldn't have done me ANY favours socially, and when a little older and seeking the attention of young ladies, it's something I would go to great lengths to hide. Yet now there seems somewhat of renaissance, and it looks to be a lot more socially acceptable for a young person to express their interest in railways, modelling, and many other previously assumed faux pas interests. Indeed to some young ladies it appears to be somewhat of an attractive feature in a man!  Where these young ladies were when I was 20 years old I'll never know!

 

I agree that much of the appeal of model railways is the act of creating something physical. After all, if it wasn't, we'd just be regular railway enthusiasts. Something I've found intriguing is how many non-modellers take an interest in my modelling - I often post my stuff on social media if it's not too specialist. In fact, I'd say in my experience, more women take an interest than men, and it's always people who have other creative pursuits.

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, HonestTom said:

 

 Something I've found intriguing is how many non-modellers take an interest in my modelling - I often post my stuff on social media if it's not too specialist. In fact, I'd say in my experience, more women take an interest than men, and it's always people who have other creative pursuits.

 

I couldn't agree more.

 

Non-modellers (in particular women) take a great interest in my modelling. In contrast, a significant number of modellers take very little interest in my modelling.

 

Why is that? 

 

Because my modelling is very niche - Chinese HO set in 2004. So some/many modellers say 'not British' or 'not pre WW2' or 'not something I know anything about' or something along those lines. Whereas non-modellers just see something creative, they don't care if it's set in China or in 2004 - they just see something creative - full stop!

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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Posted (edited)
On ‎04‎/‎05‎/‎2020 at 09:13, TEAMYAKIMA said:

To a great extent this is none of my business as I don't model OO and in fact I don't model British, but the future of the hobby in the UK does interest me.

 

I really hate to say this, as I'm sure this will stir up some controversy, but let me put down some thoughts.

 

1. We need a basic range of CHEAP models for 'tight budget' newbies - the Hornby RAILROAD range springs to mind

 

2. We need state of the art models to engage with the 'money no object' hi-tech top end of the hobby modellers. Interestingly, although slightly off subject, I understand that American HO modelling has fallen back in the UK as better quality 'top end' UK models have become available over the last 20 years. So a significant number of UK modellers find that hi-spec is a very high priority for them ie they only went American or German or whatever because good quality UK models were simply not available 30/40 years ago

 

So, here is the controversial question ……………..

 

Why did Hornby's concept of  DESIGN CLEVER not catch on? Why is it held in such contempt? If a company , not necessarily Hornby, were to produce an accurate but basic (no lights) diesel for £60 and a state of the art version for £140 would that not cover both markets?

 

Why did that concept fail?

 

Old ground I think .  I still think design clever was a sound concept for the Railroad end of the market , slightly lower detail , good paint job, decent price . That's my end of market. Trouble is they made a dogs dinner of the marketing, perhaps even mentioning it in the first place  and catastrophically applied the concept to some top end models sold at top end prices . Was it the Saint that had moulded cab rails - can't remember now ?  The large GWR tanks too had no proper bearings, moulded smokebox dart.  This just didn't wash with people who were prepared to pay higher prices for good detail . Again it was horses for courses , Hornby just got it terribly muddled.

 

But the concept is sound . There's another thread somewhere about what wagons Bachmann should reintroduce . Frankly if they cost £50-£70 a pop they needn't bother for me (accepting others will pay ). But suppose Hornby introduced a modern hopper to run behind its multi liveried class 66s . Dimensionally accurate, limited moulded detail , good decoration , bring it in at £25-£32( the new mk3s are £31.95 for a price point comparison), then I bet they'd sell by the train load (all puns intended)

 

So I think there are at least two different markets that could have rolling stock specifically designed for them . I think Hornby and Oxford realise this . I think Bachmann do too, but concentrate at the high end .  Hornbys execution of the plan is still too muddled . Now they have Railroad plus , just to further muddy the waters !

Edited by Legend

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On 20/04/2020 at 22:35, DK123GWR said:

The point you make about weathering powder is also a good one. I would love to start weathering some of my models at some point, but I would also like to do so by buying as little as possible. The problem is: how on earth is anybody with limited modelling experience supposed to know where to start with something like this if nobody else is willing to give them advice beyond 'don't bother'?

 

As someone who has written about this and helped loads of people I take exception to the idea that the ONLY answer ever given is "don't bother". There's loads of help out there and lots of people offering it.

 

To pick another of your points about the platforms, just because you couldn't find a YouTube video showing them being made out of cereal packets, doesn't mean that information isn't out there. You could even document your methods on-line or on video to fill the gap.

 

Reading this old chestnut of a thread, there's a lot of picking the worst bits out of anything (a half-remembered article where someone insisted layouts had to be prototypical) and then saying they are referring to the whole hobby. They aren't and anyone who says they are is just trying to do our hobby down. That misery and doom-mongering will drive people our more than the price of a model train. Why would any youngster want to be part of a hobby full of miserable old blokes who spend their time whinging?

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This old chestnut reappears from time to time.

 

pricing -it’s never going to be a bog cheap hobby as it requires some models . They never were that cheap.

 

Even in 1980 as an 8 year old , I got given a birthday present of a Hornby class 29. It wasn’t really the one I wanted , but it’s what was affordable. I didn’t moan about the cost.

 

Coming back to the hobby in 98, what I got was Lima . These were £40 a pop. I couldn’t afford as many as I wanted but got up to about 20 ultimately. I didn’t moan , it was what I could afford.

 

2006 onwards. Peak of career with young family. Managed a fleet of about 20 Bachmann and Hornby decent locos. Would have liked more. I didn’t moan , it’s what I could afford sensibly.

 

In other words - manage your expectations ! We’d all like  a gold plated porsche 911....

 

Making modelling cool. You won’t - forget it. As it’s commonly seen as a slightly OCD obsession with recreating a form of transport most people hate in miniature , it’ll never be cool. But that’s fine , it appeals to some , you won’t ever make it a wider spread interest. It’s “ niche” . I have no interest in ballroom dancing and I hate jazz...

 

that’s my 5p worth
 

 

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As another member of what could be termed ‘the younger generation’ (I’m 21) I feel that I might have posted about this before when somebody started a similar topic, but looking at my own experience I can see a few barriers to younger people taking up the hobby, and it’s interesting to think about how these relate to my own experience.

 

As some people have pointed out already, having interested family members helps and my Dad had done some railway modelling when he was younger. He isn’t an active modeller at the moment but I think without his help I wouldn’t have been able to get started properly (although he likes 00 Southern Railway/BR (S) whereas I went into narrow gauge). On the other hand, at primary school I had a friend whose brother had an 00 Hornby  train set (for on-carpet use - no layout) but as far as I could tell neither of them were that in to model (as opposed to real) railways and presumably nobody in their family was much either. When I saw it the train set loco was a non-runner, and I wonder whether my friend and/or his brother might have become more interested in railway modelling if they had been able to get it easily fixed or exchanged/replaced locally, something that is increasingly difficult now there are fewer local model shops. Nowadays they might get sold a DCC set, possibly even harder for an inexperienced person to repair themselves.

 

Another point that’s probably worth mentioning is that initially as a kid I didn’t have model/toy trains as we might understand, I had this system. These are great for kids and obviously serve an older age range than very basic wooden Brio-type trains, but they can’t usually then be developed into a hobby that will interest older children/teens/adults in the way that (for example) an 00 set could. Unlike the 00 set they are also a relatively recent product. Somebody who started with a Hornby or Bachmann Thomas could easily sell off their stock when they outgrew it and then buy something more realistic to run with the track and controller they already had, whereas I was starting from scratch to an extent.

 

Finally, concerns about high RTR prices on one hand, and on the other hand the long-term viability of mass-produced RTR if the number of modellers declines, often seems to get mentioned in these ‘future of the hobby’ discussions. Initially I looked at building an 00 standard gauge light railway but I had already messed about trying to build a cardboard quarry Hunslet in 009 (it got built, it’s massively overscale, it ended up with a triangular section boiler and it is unpowered, sitting on an N gauge wagon chassis - but I loved making it and it still exists today). After visiting an obscure narrow gauge prototype I decided that I would model this in 009 for my first layout and I’ve basically kept doing this - unusual or interesting narrow gauge micro layouts, usually in 009. If I keep doing this I will never contribute substantially to the viability of mainstream RTR (this isn’t supposed to imply that I don’t care about this part of the hobby, it just affects me a lot less than some others). The fact that 009 wasn’t awash with RTR (and also the fact that a degree of freelancing is common in narrow gauge modelling whereas it has largely disappeared elsewhere) was appealing because it meant there was an emphasis on making things for yourself, so it would be almost impossible to end up with a layout looking the same as everyone else’s. Although I usually do freelance industrial layouts (or fictionalised but loosely based on a prototype) it was good to know that I could delve into kit-built prototype modelling without having to compete with a high quality RTR model that I could never afford. This is changing in 009 now and I imagine that if I’d originally started out modelling the Lynton and Barnstaple, for instance, I might now be feeling a bit demoralised by the new RTR models which are of an extremely high quality (particularly compared with what I could build from kits) but are also outside my price range (this situation does not exclusively apply to younger modellers of course). In thinking about this I often wonder whether the original 00 light railway concept would have ended up relying exclusively on repainted Hornby 0-4-0 starter locos. I’ve acquired some new Minitrains 009 locos more recently but even these are very expensive - the appeal of these to me is not the detail level (which isn’t amazing compared to similarly-priced 00 locos) but the fact that they run so much better than the second-hand Egger/Jouef locos I used to rely on in 009. 

 

If this last bit has been a bit too much waffle from me I think the overall point is that a newcomer on limited finances can be discouraged by high-quality, expensive RTR equipment; they can’t afford it but also (like most people) they can’t better it by scratch or kit building. I think even with increasing 009 RTR, the nature of the prototype means that in narrow gauge modelling there will always be room to find a niche and do my own thing though.

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I think there a lot of older modellers who really don't want the hobby to become more popular.

 

Younger people mean change.

 

 

 

 

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A lot of people (well men) return to the hobby or start for the first time in late middle age, or when they retire. 

 

Perhaps the marketing people should be thinking about how to lower that age. 

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On 04/05/2020 at 09:13, TEAMYAKIMA said:

To a great extent this is none of my business as I don't model OO and in fact I don't model British, but the future of the hobby in the UK does interest me.

 

I really hate to say this, as I'm sure this will stir up some controversy, but let me put down some thoughts.

 

1. We need a basic range of CHEAP models for 'tight budget' newbies - the Hornby RAILROAD range springs to mind

 

2. We need state of the art models to engage with the 'money no object' hi-tech top end of the hobby modellers. Interestingly, although slightly off subject, I understand that American HO modelling has fallen back in the UK as better quality 'top end' UK models have become available over the last 20 years. So a significant number of UK modellers find that hi-spec is a very high priority for them ie they only went American or German or whatever because good quality UK models were simply not available 30/40 years ago

 

So, here is the controversial question ……………..

 

Why did Hornby's concept of  DESIGN CLEVER not catch on? Why is it held in such contempt? If a company , not necessarily Hornby, were to produce an accurate but basic (no lights) diesel for £60 and a state of the art version for £140 would that not cover both markets?

 

Why did that concept fail?

 

Because Design Clever was not one thing or another. It wasn't really a cheap alternative as the prices weren't much lower than full fat products, but seemed to be more of a cost cutting exercise. Lower standards which had disappeared in the 1970s and 1980s were starting to reappear such as moulded handrails, basic valve gear/motion, more basic paint jobs, etc. 

 

Too basic for those of us that want fully detailed models and the subjects were probably too niche for those that just want cheap basic models.

 

Hopefully as a concept it has been kicked into the long grass never to reappear. By all means make basic models and highly detailed models in separate ranges, but not some "half way house" that doesn't suit either market.

 

As an example this is the GWR Star. Personally I don't think it's to a high enough standard to be in the £150 plus price range. But too expensive for those on a budget. Knock about £50 off and it's fine. That's closer to it's value IMHO.

 

 

https://www.hattons.co.uk/60201/hornby_r3166_star_class_4_6_0_4018_knight_of_the_grand_cross_in_gwr_green/stockdetail.aspx

 

 

https://www.hattons.co.uk/513725/hornby_r3864_class_4000_star_4_6_0_4003_lode_star_in_gwr_green/stockdetail.aspx

 

 

Release a "better" model to the standards of other recent models such as the LMS Princess and those that want more accurate models will be happier. Just as long as they avoid the basic errors such as number of bogie wheel spokes.

 

 

 

Jason

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28 minutes ago, Lantavian said:

Hypothesis: The hobby attracts too many old men with entrenched ideas on race, women, etc that young people find repulsive. 

 

For example

 

image.png.d2395afad246774a2a8042903066122e.png

On the one hand, I can see the connection between model making and propensity to engage in DIY (each develops skills and increases the availablity of materials that can help with the other). On the other hand... Let's just say that the hyposthesis is a strong one in case going any further derails this discussion.

 

5 hours ago, 009 micro modeller said:

When I saw it the train set loco was a non-runner, and I wonder whether my friend and/or his brother might have become more interested in railway modelling if they had been able to get it easily fixed or exchanged/replaced locally, something that is increasingly difficult now there are fewer local model shops. Nowadays they might get sold a DCC set, possibly even harder for an inexperienced person to repair themselves.

Would you say that more detailed instructions could help with this, or would it require something else, such as more focus on DT in schools?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Lantavian said:

Hypothesis: The hobby attracts too many old men with entrenched ideas on race, women, etc that young people find repulsive. 

 

For example

 

image.png.d2395afad246774a2a8042903066122e.png

Hypothesis - Saying “hypothesis “before all your comments doesn’t mean you can be as rude as you like.
 

But I’ll give it a go - 

 

Hypothesis - you are ageist and judge people based on your own prejudice and assumptions which are not based on any verifiable facts.

 

 

Edited by rob D2

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22 minutes ago, rob D2 said:

Hypothesis - Saying “hypothesis “before all your comments doesn’t mean you can be as rude as you like.
 

But I’ll give it a go - 

 

Hypothesis - you are ageist and judge people based on your own prejudice and assumptions which are not based on any verifiable facts.

 

 

 

https://qz.com/983016/the-data-are-in-young-people-are-definitely-less-racist-than-old-people/

image.png.99e8a54f77bb333204dc83cb432be83f.png

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