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What has happened in the hobby since RMWeb was launched?


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This is something that I was curious about having learnt that RMweb was 9 years old. I did not feel it was worth confusing things in the original topic by posing this question, but felt it was worth a subject in its own right.

 

The hobby has gone through many changes in the last 9 years whilst RMWeb has been in existence. Here are my thoughts on the major changes, however I suspect others with have their own suggestions.

 

  1. Massive improvement in quality/detail of RTR products
  2. A corollary of that is the reduction in scratch/kit building 
  3. Fewer model shops stocking specialist items. Internet shopping becoming more common
  4. Potential provided by 3d printing
  5. Potential provided by laser cutting
  6. Potential provided by cutting machines (such as the Silhouette)
  7. RMWeb providing inspiration and ideas at a far faster speed than the magazines can cope with.
  8. RMWeb providing virtually instant news on new models/products.
  9. CSB as a finescale suspension system

I am sure there are many more.

 

 

 

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The pace of change has been staggering over the comparatively short time-frame with the 'old guard' massively broadening ranges with longer-lived pre-grouping locos in pretty liveries getting snapped up. This diversity also gives a problem in that staple foods are difficult to find (try and get a 16T mineral or a 20T brake at the moment) as our rate of consumption means less practical choice in bread and butter. Everyone's chasing the short-term spending rather than maintaining stocks. It's cheaper for us to get the postie to deliver than to pay the petrol to get to the model shop, we're less reliant on clubs for learning and for social aspects. We're more clued-up as buyers and despite that increased knowledge, generally speaking, less likely to be creative.

 

Although death knells sound for some kit producers there's new talent bringing creativity to a click, buy and model approach; some will bridge that gap but some will flounder.

 

Some good; some bad but at least we're part of the changes and can make conscious choices.

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I think the biggest change is that when RMWeb began digital referred to the media we used to access the site whereas now digital seems to be how many people model, there has been a massive revolution on the electrics side, control, sound, lights and how we access railway media.

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Since being on rmweb I have made many new friends, had a good moan at times, had loads of help on details that I could not imagined finding by myself, and generally expanded my knowledge on all things running on two rails.

 

Oh and hopefully help a few other with info!

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A corollary of that is the reduction in scratch/kit building 

 

Not true - since I returned to the fold a couple of years ago, and started buying the 'new stuff' from Farish and Dapol, my kit building/bashing has increased to supplement and complete the trains that I run. The mainstream manufacturers will do the common and basic stuff, the smaller outfits, NGS and the like, provide the rarer and more specialist rolling stock that go with them.

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Not true round here and in our club there are many kits being built.

But unless you are going through the specialist societies, I suspect you are uising the Internet more and more to source them.

 

I can remember a time, many years ago (more than I would want to admit) where my local model shop stocked, Wills and Ks kits, Romford wheels, W&H/ABS fittings etc. How many model shops do that nowadays?

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What has happened in the hobby since RMWeb was launched?

 

Many things, some good, some bad, different strokes for different folks.

 

One thing for sure, this last year or two our hobby seems to have gone hellishly expensive. Reasons well argued in other posts.

 

I agree with Andy that the basic staples are getting difficult, not only mineral wagons / brake vans but some loco's also, Black 8, Black 5 (railroad only though it's a superb model for the money - -when available). Still there is, even with supply problems, a superb range of RTR currently available & in stock, many of which could be said to be "staple", some at bargain prices, and not all at the big box shifters either.

 

I've virtually finished big spending these days, but still have lots of things to do to keep my modelling flame alive.

 

The digital era doesn't interest me, though I accept it's the future. I'm no rivet counter and happily run my old stuff with the new. Not for everybody (or perhaps many) is my style of modelling, but it suits me and my skills, keeps me occupied and happy, and I like to see the scale stuff and tech stuff at Wigan exhibition, and that, will do quite nicely for me.

 

Brit15

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Evenin' all,

 

For me it is the use of the internet as a model shop...I source virtually everything from a wide range of manufacturers/retailers and have it delivered to the door. This allows the imagination in terms of potential modelling techniques etc to advance in leaps and bounds...instead of simply visiting and being constrained by one or two outlets as traditionally.

 

Dave 

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I hardly buy anything off the net - Sheffield seems to be the Model Shop capital of the UK and isnt short of other places to buy nearly all those other bits and pieces

And theres me thinknig that Sheffield was the ale captial of the UK!!!!

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The injection moulding improvements started more like 25 years back. That's a separate manufacturing technology that didn't need to wait for digital social networking. Although you shouldn't handle the "hand rails" on the latest offerings, if you want to keep them.

 

Ditto for CSB's going back somewhat into the last century, although all kinds of working suspension helps TE and Pick-up on all levels of models, regardles of "fineness", RTR through to Proto.  And as is often the case with a heavily promoted idea, CSB's also get overly suggested and used in places and ways where they don't work as well as they should. Unmodified in 8 coupled chassis' for example.

 

Andy

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Kits - I would suspect that the halcyon days of whitemetal loco kits has reduced markedly, but t'Interweb has opened up huge possibilities to me for wagon, EMU and other kits, accessories and electrics of which i was mostly unaware when relying just on exhibitions, the model shop and magazines. Consequently, I have bought far more kits etc in the past five years than I have ever done (not that many have been completed yet!). i wonder if that is true of others?

 

DCC - it is sound that drove me to DCC and that available now is so superior to the original chips (and if Hornby's cheapo versions sound reasonable, I suspect growth will be exponential). It is the web that has allowed comparisons of sounds to be heard, and persuaded that final decision about forking out substantial sums.

 

Help/Opinion - thousands of vaguely like-minded people contributing to hundreds of topics and displaying many different levels of skill, is substantially more inspiring than a few people together in a club or a chat over the model shop counter. It has allowed layouts and models to be seen during construction stages, and allowed many more layouts and concepts to be shared than magazines could ever achieve. It is that impetus, when one feels either slightly shamed by one's own efforts (or progress) that can either drive many of us on to greater things, or perversely make us realise we can never do that well and give up. I would tentatively suggest that the former, not the latter, is dominant.

 

In summary, RMWeb and its ilk, can only have driven the hobby forward and upwards. This, while making their lives a little harder, must have improved potential sales for the mainstream manf's, and greatly encouraged many smaller firms to start or expand. Much is talked about the demise of the local hobby shop, but in my experience starting in the sixties, there were always very few who stocked more than a few basic items (my nearest were W&H in Marylebone, or Kings Cross Models, - Beatties of Southgate were much closer to me and stocked plenty of model trains, boats and planes but little else besides track), and I am not sure that number has changed over the years, given the number of new shops that have started up in the last ten years.

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I have found my shopping habits have changed a lot. I now source most items from the Internet, however often have to buy from several suppliers. I can no longer model on a whim and now have to plan things more carefully. Patience is definitely a virtue, as I can no longer just pop to my local model shop and get what I want. Exhibitions where you can buy such items are few and far between. How many exhibitions do you go to where people stock Romford/Markits products? Lots of RTR and second hand yes, but little to support scratchbuilding. Unfortunately for local retailers there is insufficient demand for them to bother tieing up capital in rare demand items.

 

On the few occassions I do find myself able to purchase these elusive items I tend to buy randomly and far more than I actually need, purely for the convenience.

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But unless you are going through the specialist societies, I suspect you are uising the Internet more and more to source them.

 

I can remember a time, many years ago (more than I would want to admit) where my local model shop stocked, Wills and Ks kits, Romford wheels, W&H/ABS fittings etc. How many model shops do that nowadays?

Not really, I generally know about them through t'internet but they are usually bought at shows, I think I've only bought 1 kit (loco) from a shop in 20+ years building and that was in, I think, 2009. I have in the past bought kits from shops at shows.

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I hardly buy anything off the net - Sheffield seems to be the Model Shop capital of the UK and isnt short of other places to buy nearly all those other bits and pieces

Unfortunately it was a US model shop capital just before I started modelling US.
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Sheffield and it's industry, it's railways always fascinated me and still do, especially the GC, see my photo link below, Sheffield first post !!

 

Yes, a certain Sheffield shop was superb back in the early 80's when I got into US O gauge, Atlas F9's at £15, freight cars a tenner a piece. MG Sharp, superb shop back then. Just before I retired a few years ago I went by car over Woodhead to Rails shop. Cold January day. Ominous grey white clouds looming on the return, and it started snowing, heavily. Woodhead pass is not a nice to be in snow and I was scared of being stranded, lost forever half way between Sheffield & Manchester (it really is that sort of place, worse than Siberia) !!!. Just about made it with a lot of slipping & sliding. Mail order next time !!

 

A little tale about Sheffield,. My dad was a press photographer and just after I was born, went to work for "The Sheffield Telegraph", he said he enjoyed working there, got on well with everyone and wanted us to move there but mum, a 100% Wiganer would not budge, so he moved "back west" to sunny Wigan. I often wondered why some of mums old stainless steel cutlery had engraved upon it "Telegraph Canteen" !!

 

Not been to Sheffield since the Woodhead episode, the city looks clean & green now on Bing maps / Google earth, no "atmosphere" !.

 

Brit15

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2.  A corollary of that is the reduction in scratch/kit building 

 

 

2a. A reduction in modelling time because I spend so too much time on RMweb.

 

Cheers,

Mick

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Still plenty of kitbuilding going on as far as I can see.  The ever widening range of RTR locos has created more demand for kitbuilt locos to run alongside them.  You buy Hornby's fabulous King Arthur for instance, and suddenly realise you need an S15 to go with it.

 

As for Model Shops not selling the scratchbuilders components any more, its as much because they can't get them as it is not wanting to stock them.

 

Cheers, Dave.

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I think the biggest thing in the last 9 years is customers and suppliers/manufacturers are coming closer together. Sometimes for good and occasionally for not so good reasons. Would Dave Jones have been able to set up DJM if these avenues to talk to people were not available? Not so sure.

 

It also brings many varied views and standards together to share in which mostly helps inspire me to do more though occasionally I do want to give up. I remember over a number of weeks Chris Nevards Catcott Burtle developing before this forums eyes and then making a choice to go to a specific exhibition to see it as a result. Again that did not happen before. As yes it lived up to expectation.

 

The other is that I have on occasion been known to talk to people now at exhibitions because somehow I have picked up on they are RMweb members or known a layout would be at a show.

 

Finally I have even found the odd good joke in wheeltappers.

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This is something that I was curious about having learnt that RMweb was 9 years old. I did not feel it was worth confusing things in the original topic by posing this question, but felt it was worth a subject in its own right.

 

The hobby has gone through many changes in the last 9 years whilst RMWeb has been in existence. Here are my thoughts on the major changes, however I suspect others with have their own suggestions.

 

  1. RMWeb providing inspiration and ideas at a far faster speed than the magazines can cope with.

Seems a strange comment? Ideas and inspiration come from many sources. They are not exclusive to RMweb or any other forum, however, the idea that we were all some sort of dreadfully deprived 'cave-modellers' until RMweb came along IS a concept that's peculiar to RMweb. Magazines and forums are surely complementary not mutually exclusive - otherwise, why would a magazine own RMweb? News requires speed and RMweb can certainly beat print to the news but do ideas and inspiration need speed? Surely they need time and care to absorb them, rather than speed?

CHRIS LEIGH

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