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BRM June 2014 Issue


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I think it would have been courteous for the whole letter to be forwarded to the layout's builder so perhaps they could change said inaccuracies, the magazine could even make a regular feature of these updates as a means of providing a continuity for those who might not buy the magazine on a regular basis.

 

Hi 298 - if you read Ben Jones post on the page before this one, it appears that did happen and they also had a discussion about its merits, prior to Andrew P posting in this thread.

 

Afternoon all,

I'm only just back into this after a weekend away, so apologies for not responding earlier. I think it's important that some of the points raised on this thread are clarified now. 

 

1) Highland Hiccups: As many of you have already said, and as I pointed out to Andrew P last week before he decided to go public with his thoughts, we felt that Jane Moss's letter was constructive and written in a non-confrontational way intended to help rather than 'score points'. It contains a good deal of useful background information that can help others modelling similar subjects. The magazine, like this forum, is a space for free exchange of ideas, constructive criticism and feedback and we shouldn't seek to censor anyone who has something positive to contribute. In hindsight, perhaps it shouldn't have been made 'Star Letter', but I'm pleased to see that many on here agree with the decision to publish it. And for those who suggest it's been done as a deliberate provocation to shift copies of BRM - I think you're wildly overestimating the influence of those pages. I've never met anyone whose decision to buy was based on the contents of the letters page!

 

 So really the question boils down to a complete difference of opinion of whether the letter was constructive or not. If it had not mentioned Glen Roy but had just mentioned Scottish region modelling, would we be now discussing the letter as being underhandedly undermining the layout in question? I ask this hypothetically as I'd like to believe the best of people and sincerely hope not, given the tone and interesting points raised in the letter itself.

 

When I had an article published in a US magazine, the editor forwarded all correspondence to me- mainly for my own interest, but also to show the standards they get. Most were complimentary but one stood out, the author suggesting I made a trip to the museum to see the loco I'd modelled. The fact that I'd mentioned that I had measured it up, used my own prototype photos in the article, and featured a photo of me driving it in the "about the author" bit wasn't picked up by him.

 

 

Understandably not a nice experience in your case, but that wasn't what was said in this particular letter.

 

It's fine having these "experts" writing in, but will the magazine be authenticating the stated inaccuracies be fore printing any future letters....? It'd be embaressing if one proved to be a hoax.

 

 

If there is an inaccuracy in the letter, by all means write in and rebuke it. That's what the letters page is for, I believed.

 

Once again I have to disagree entirely with your comments.

 

PLUS

 

IT WAS AGREED THAT THE MATTER WOULD BE DROPPED FOR THE SAKE OF R M Web and BRM.

 

YOU ARE A DOG WITH A BONE NOW LET GO OR YOU WILL BE THE ONE BRINGING THE R M Web INTO DISREPUTE.

 

 

There's no need to shout.

 

I initially didn't re-raise the issue but responded to some points I felt were worth clarifying, and particularly above, you will notice, a question as to what exactly about the letter was offensive. I'm happy to let the matter go now as I feel there's nothing more to be said, but it would be nice if Ed above could respond one last time to the question I posed.

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Hi 298 - if you read Ben Jones post on the page before this one, it appears that did happen and they also had a discussion about its merits, prior to Andrew P posting in this thread.

 

 

 So really the question boils down to a complete difference of opinion of whether the letter was constructive or not. If it had not mentioned Glen Roy but had just mentioned Scottish region modelling, would we be now discussing the letter as being underhandedly undermining the layout in question? I ask this hypothetically as I'd like to believe the best of people and sincerely hope not, given the tone and interesting points raised in the letter itself.

 

 

Understandably not a nice experience in your case, but that wasn't what was said in this particular letter.

 

 

If there is an inaccuracy in the letter, by all means write in and rebuke it. That's what the letters page is for, I believed.

 

 

There's no need to shout.

 

I initially didn't re-raise the issue but responded to some points I felt were worth clarifying, and particularly above, you will notice, a question as to what exactly about the letter was offensive. I'm happy to let the matter go now as I feel there's nothing more to be said, but it would be nice if Ed above could respond one last time to the question I posed.

GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT, JUST FOR ONCE.

 

BEN AND I NEVER HAD A DISCUSSION, HE JUST E-MAILED ME HIS TAKE ON IT, THERE WAS NO DISCUSSION.

 

NOW LET IT DROP.

 

Ben and I have moved on and its been forgotten

 

but

 

YOU SEEM TO BE THE ONLY ONE THAT WANTS TO KEEP IT GOING.

 

Are you sure YOUR NOT JANE MOSS?

 

now I have asked nicely.

Edited by Andrew P
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You seem to be reacting quite badly to SAC Martins posts, possibly rather like you did to the letter, and are also continuing the issue just as much. Why not try and ignore both of them and maybe it wont seem so bad. I don't think that anyone on the forum is trying to deliberately put down your modelling or integrity. There are always people who are willing to point out individuals errors and foibles, sometime with nasty intention and sometimes not, but you can never be sure of their motives and usually it's best not to rise to them.

 

HTH.

 

G.  

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It's fine having these "experts" writing in, but will the magazine be authenticating the stated inaccuracies be fore printing any future letters....? It'd be embaressing if one proved to be a hoax.

That is, I think, always going to be a difficult one to resolve for magazine publishers.  It can at times be bad enough on here when someone who claims expertise posts what can, albeit occasionally, only be regarded as absolute rubbish.  Fortunately we're a fairly friendly bunch and being a web forum it is relatively easy to gently massage out the errors with subsequent posts without causing an upset while hopefully putting things right.

 

But printed mags are working to deadlines, the next issue might already be set up leaving little space for an extra letter or three - assuming they arrive in time for the press date - and long running sagas of to & fro debate can develop running over an extended period (as has happened in MRJ on occasion).  So there's not much that can be done about it beyond the courtesy of letting an the author of an article see & comment on such letters before they are published - as you have described.

 

Incidentally there is a way of commenting on perceived errors or adding detail information which takes a positive and 'helpful' line rather than what can a what can be read as a confrontational one.  To do that in a letter, where time can be spent composing it, is far simpler than a forum post where the temptation to hit the 'Post' button can be very strong.  And in my view if someone does adopt a confrontational, or even a blunt or terse, approach in a letter to a magazine they - and others - should not be surprised if it provokes a reaction.

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There are errors and there are errors; the headwear of policemen in the Highlands in the 80's? Come on.

 

If I were to write in after every issue and point out how massively inaccurate Peco track is and name the layouts in question that had used it, I wonder if you would defend my letter? I think not. But Coppers' hat bands? Fair game, apparently.

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Right, bought the mag and read the letter.

My opinion for what it's worth...

1. Most "critical" letters I have read in model railway magazines usually start off on the lines of "nice/brilliant layout, but can I just add these few words of minor criticisms/observations/constructive comments". This letter did not follow this format in any shape whatsoever and can therefore be construed as entirely critical I would have thought and, even, quite rude. It also exhibited I thought a determination to show off an extensive knowledge of the subjects raised - human nature I suppose. Surely "Jane Moss" must have had something nice to say about the layout or was this edited out?

2. For some reason this letter was chosen as letter of the month/star letter or whatever. Big mistake in my opinion, considering the total negativity directed towards the layout, without any positive comments whatsoever about the layout.

3. Who is this expert on all things Scottish railway station colours, busses and police uniforms. Would this person like to put their "head above the parapet" on this forum perhaps and further demonstrate "her" credentials.

4. The letter was signed "Jane Moss by email". Strange considering the headline title of the two page spread is "Reader's Letters" and not "Reader's Emails", but I digress. An email address in my mind is not a proper geographical address. It all just smacks of slipperiness on the part of "Jane" in my mind but, I suppose, we all on here hide behind electronic nom de plums.

 

In a nutshell, the "letter" did not warrant the acreage of space or priority given to it and I am not at all surprised that the layout owner is upset about "Jane's" letter.

 

Apologies to Andy P and RMWeb mods who have asked us to desist but this really is not right at all, considering some of the ongoing input on this thread by someone I will not name. No doubt that person will have the final word, as is usual.

 

Regards,

Edited by Brian D
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This one goes on and on!

 

Over the past 35 years lots of my articles have been published and during that time I have received 8 letters back from editors commenting on my "work". The ones I can remember most vividly were the critical ones. But guess what. The correspondents were generally right and I have never made the mistakes again.

 

Increasingly I ask folks for their honest comments as to aspects of my modelling. Occasionally receive a tactful comment saying maybe I could have done better.

 

In one case the editor published the letter as a question as part of a Q & A session and this helped me to explain how I could do better next time.

 

None of us gets it right all the time. We can all learn from others and occasionally apparent criticsm stings.

 

Its a pity that little incidents like this one detract from our hobby as a whole. It's taken on an unjustified life of its own and misses the point that Andy Peters made a jolly good layout. Well done Andy.

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Strange to relate but there is an awful lot more in the June issue of BRM than a single letter with a nice mixture of the older (that very nice L1, and Fen Drove) and the modern (new Bryford) plus the very useful article on Sprat & Winkle couplings.  

Mike, your absolutely right, so how about some post's on the positives of this great edition.

 

Mick Bryford's New Bryford looked so good, having seen it at Stafford and many many moons ago it hasn't lost its charm, some  NO ALL of the pics from Andy are stunning and the colours of today's railways bring a superb layout to life.

 

Fence Houses in 2FS is one I haven't seen pics of before, but I think it was at a show I went to last year, but cant remember which, once again the photography is stunning, Nigel Burkin has captured the whole atmosphere of the Layout, wonderful.

 

I also enjoyed Paul A Lunn's layout planning for Windermere, some nice new ideas.

 

Not read the Spratt and Winkle bit yet.

 

Fen Drove also grabbed my attention, really nice and well planned, Paul Bason's photography has got right down to track level and that makes such a difference, and is best shown to advantage with O Gauge.

 

So yes overall a really good edition and some great features, well done team BRM for that.

Edited by Andrew P
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Yes, completely agree with Mike and Andy about the June BRM.

 

I deliberately skipped the letters section - I got the gist from this thread!

 

Always interesting to see what Paul Lunn comes up with and I particularly liked the atmospheric surroundings of the O gauge "Fen Drove".

 

Jeff

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Is anyone else fed-up with these two-page 'sound-bite' articles which are big on photos but almost lack any text?  Being in my 60's, I was taught to read at an early age and have an attention span of more than a couple of minutes.  If I really try, I can actually read a whole book!  Please, please BRM don't treat us all like idiots,  May we have some 'meaty' articles with pages of text?  Personally, I am getting quite bored with the 'picture book' style.

 

Terry

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Is anyone else fed-up with these two-page 'sound-bite' articles which are big on photos but almost lack any text?  Being in my 60's, I was taught to read at an early age and have an attention span of more than a couple of minutes.  If I really try, I can actually read a whole book!  Please, please BRM don't treat us all like idiots,  May we have some 'meaty' articles with pages of text?  Personally, I am getting quite bored with the 'picture book' style.

 

Terry

I think it's probably a very difficult area for the publishers and their teams.  Photo illustrated 'how to' articles undoubtedly have a big place in the hobby today and the whole magazine production process facilitates it of course, plus I suspect we all like to see good quality illustrations of layouts so that too is going to mean a lot of pictures.  And the situation is greatly advanced from what we knew back in the early 1960s - so there are positive points.

 

The negative side is however probably as much down to the readers as the publishers beca`use many younger readers are not so keen on vast wodges of text and (it is often claimed in the media) haven't got the attention span to cope with it.  I don't know whether or not that is true but the centre ground of model railway publishing - where the mags are competing for readers - mostly follows a similar formula with only BRJ sitting in a different area although it does some heavily illustrated articles nowadays.  So to be honest I seriously doubt if any of the middle ground mags has the nerve (and perhaps not even the material?) to break away from what has become the norm - whether we like it or not.

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It would actually be a lot easier to write a narrative after the event explaining how something is/was done, but there's a fair chance the reader would struggle to interpret it without diagrams or images. It takes longer to do a project and visually record it with explanatory notes so it's nothing to do with treating anyone like idiots, far from it - I'd say most magazines do try to illustrate such practical content.

 

I can read books too but it doesn't stop me looking at pictures. ;)

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Is anyone else fed-up with these two-page 'sound-bite' articles which are big on photos but almost lack any text?  Being in my 60's, I was taught to read at an early age and have an attention span of more than a couple of minutes.  If I really try, I can actually read a whole book!  Please, please BRM don't treat us all like idiots,  May we have some 'meaty' articles with pages of text?  Personally, I am getting quite bored with the 'picture book' style.

 

Terry

 

I wrote somewhere in the region of 2500 words for my article - is that enough? There's only so many things you can write about a layout without it repeating countless other previous layout articles. I tried to be a bit autobiographical.

For example:

I used Peco track/point motors, plywood/softwood for the baseboards, it has DCC control etc.

The list goes on

 

I seriously consider that in the case of layout articles, a picture paints a thousand words - or in the case of Andy Y's excellent pics of New Bryford, far more than that.

 

Cheers,

Mick

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I understand what you are all saying, but I just dont see the point of some of these very short articles.  I have nothing against pictures, I like looking at photos like the next man.  What I don't like are the short articles which seem to rely mainly on those pictures with little text.  Maybe BRM just isn't for me.  Unfortunately, neither is Hornby Magazine or Model Rail as all three appear to be clones of each other.  Oh for something different!  Maybe it's just my age!

 

Terry

Edited by col.stephens
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I've been following this thread with some interest over the last week or so. So, might I make a few observations, please?

 

In order to survive in an increasingly difficult climate, magazines (especially 'main-stream' ones) have to appeal to the widest possible audience. If it's perceived that many articles, particularly 'how to do' ones, are best presented in a pictorial 'step-by-step' style, then that's the way things are going. Using the maxim 'a picture paints a thousand words', then a technique, procedure or method might well be better understood if it's in pictorial rather than written form. I'm now only a contributor to the magazine and am in the process of presenting an article on building a Redcraft Brecon & Merthyr 0-6-0ST in EM gauge, which Ben is going to publish. Hardly mainstream is it? However, at the Editor's suggestion, I'm focusing on the techniques needed for the forming and making of etched brass kits in general. 

 

The following pictures show various techniques in squaring up a set of frames using one eighth steel rods and shadows, the use of rolling bars, forming reverse curves and the easiest way of soldering on handrails and beading. Obviously, these pictures will be complemented by captions (in some cases extended ones), but to have described all the various methods and tools required by word alone would have taken page after page of descriptive writing, and then it might not be understood. 

 

post-18225-0-44554100-1400917808_thumb.jpg

 

post-18225-0-43784400-1400917818_thumb.jpg

 

post-18225-0-40022100-1400917827_thumb.jpg

 

post-18225-0-13927900-1400917836_thumb.jpg

 

I have to say that the rise of pictorial 'step-by-step' articles has been coincidental with the development of digital photography. In the days of film it was severely limiting, especially if one didn't have a darkroom. I did, but there was still the hassle of developing and printing the images before going on to the next stage of construction. Now, take a picture, look at in the back of the camera - good, so carry on. Quite by chance, I found an old RM recently where I'd been allocated four pages in describing some carriage construction. It was principally in written-form, with just a handful of pictures, mostly showing the finished things. Were I to do the same today, I think a 'better' job, at least in an 'educational' sense, would be achieved by a series of pictures. So, whilst I still enjoy a meaty read, I'm certainly not against the use of the visual image as a priority.

 

Since I'm no longer involved at a staff level with BRM I can speak as an observer and I think, in the main, it's got a lot better over the last year or so. As mentioned, my input these days is as a contributor or as the supplier of new product pictures. I no longer take pictures of other folk's layouts, but, judging by the results achieved (in this issue) by Andy York, Nigel Burkin and Paul Bason, then it's just as well because these really are outstanding. Most of the other images are entirely acceptable and show what is required. Long gone are the 'soot and whitewash' days of yore!

 

Whether BRM appeals to everyone is a moot point. I know several friends who've stopped buying it because it no longer provides for their tastes, but then the only model railway magazine they buy (occasionally now) is the MRJ, which illustrates their position perhaps. If it's more widely appealing in its newer guise then, commercially, it'll be more successful, which is surely good. If a few walk away, then that's life. I have to say, compared with an issue I saw two years ago, it's in a different league of competence, professionalism and standards. There certainly is a new commitment there now and a far greater degree of a passion to succeed. I'm personally glad some of the 'red-top' style of 'new' presentation is being phased out (that added nothing in my opinion) and in the new Editor there is a man intent on taking the magazine forward. If this smacks of 'brown nosing', then so be it, but I'm pleased to see folk are prepared to give the magazine a chance. It deserves it.

 

As for the furore caused by 'that letter' and the subsequent polychromatic 'shouting' apparent on this thread. I found it entertaining, but in a similar way I found playground scraps entertaining. Until I broke them up. 

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I think pictures 2 and 3 in particular in your post Tony illustrate that quite a bit of thought goes into a work-in-progress illustration which can immensely help a reader, not to say the difficulties of operating a camera whilst one of your hands is 'doing' something in the images with intelligent use of incidental material which carefully uses (potentially) copyright material.

 

Hopefully readers can recognise the work that goes into creating such illustrations.

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