Jump to content

Please use M,M&M only for topics that do not fit within other forum areas. All topics posted here await admin team approval to ensure they don't belong elsewhere.

My RMWeb Journey - a love letter of sorts

Recommended Posts

The thread re-visiting early days of joining RMWeb (2007 for me) has coincided with some thoughts I've been having lately about what next for 'me and the hobby', and how far I've come since joining.


My first layout (as an adult) was the now seemingly crude Westbrook, which was a good learning curve and more importantly, a place to properly run the stock I had accumulated. It served its purpose well, but was rather flimsily constructed and not particularly realistic. 




In 2008 I started work on Ring Road, a much more thought out and considered layout, though it was originally going to be a model of HS2 - this was later dropped in favour of a 4 track section of the WCML. Ring Road was my first proper attempt at modelling the modern world from observation, and marked a step change in my approach to modelling. Research took as long as construction, and I developed a much better artistic approach to creating a scene. 




Ring Road was a joy to operate, but was extremely heavy and cumbersome, filling most of my dining room when set up. Given these drawbacks, in 2011 I set about recycling Ring Road into a new layout, Cross Street. 


Cross Street was a step up again, smaller, though still annoyingly heavy, I was aiming for a much higher level of realism, and an indulgence in my interest in architecture. My approach to the layout ironically foreshadowed my change in career, as without realising it, I was going through the proper design stages for professional model making - research, design, sketch models, then final model. The layout was a very enjoyable building experience, and I was really pleased with the finished model - to me it captured exactly the scene I had chosen, and was a vast improvement again from Ring Road. 




After a couple of evening classes, I started to get interested in 3D printing, and in late 2012 I unexpectedly found a new outlet for my modeling creativity with a now expansive fleet of on track plant and maintenance vehicles - and a (very) small business selling the prints through Shapeways. (Further releases are on hold for now until the ATM bogies are available again.)




All of which brings me up to date, and how things have changed! Some will already be aware that in 2013 I decided to leave my career in bookselling and become a processional modelmaker. For the next few years, I am studying at university, gaining all the skills (and contacts) I will need to work in one of the many industries the profession serves. This has had several big impacts on my railway modelling - firstly I no longer have the disposable income to indulge my interests as before, but more importantly, I now spend every day making models, so my desire to do so as a hobby has dramatically wilted! (I wonder if this is the same with all professions - do gynecologists have non-existent sex lives?)


The model making I do now is very different from anything in the model railway world - my focus is architecture, but I'm also learning about film props, set design, animation, product models, sculpting and digital modeling. I'm lucky in that I get to gain experience working on the largest movies that will hit the box office the following summer, build models for the biggest architectural practice in the world, learn from Oscar winning animators, and have access to state of the art equipment and excellent tuition. 










...And so, my hobby is now my day-job, which had lead me to wonder where to take my interest in model railways next. My tentative plans for a replacement layout to Cross Street (Hunter's Lane) is on hold until I have graduated (It needs a steady income to fund it, and I plan to move house then too, so a dedicated railway room will be on my shopping list!), and Cross Street is generally looked at affectionately in its cupboard occasionally but rarely run. And this has been nagging me lately - what next?


I suppose in one way I already know the answer to my musings - the future of my hobby will be whatever it turns out to be, and I can see my eventual retirement will be a busy layout building one like my Dad's. I'd like to keep my hand in though, so have been thinking about either recycling or selling Cross Street into another, smaller layout (though does anyone ever really recoup their costs selling a layout?). I've also thought about shrinking my collection of locos and rolling stock down, but this is really just because I feel a weird pang of guilt them sitting there not being used!


It will probably be quite some time before I have the time and motivation to build something on the scale of Ring Road or Cross Street again, and dioramas and shunting planks don't appeal to me as I like to watch trains rolling by, and while a few more 3D prints will no doubt appear later in the year, I almost feel as though I am moving on, saying goodbye, and so want to find a small way of keeping a part of all this alive. What this will be, I am not yet sure.


I suppose that is what railway modelling is, in its basic form - an attempt to recapture something from the past. Usually our own past, an era we remember fondly, or keeping something of our childhood alive. I find myself in that place right now, I entered the world of modelmaking though model railways, and 7 years after RMWeb kicked it off in earnest, it is now my future career.


So, all in all, Thanks RMWeb, Andy, and all who have been along for the ride so far. I may not post as much these days, but I am most definitely making models - every single day.



Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Good move David, your skills should certainly translate well :)

I worked making model trains for a year and yes it does hit the personal modelling as you do it all day, and hopefully enjoy it ;) , so you tend to want to do something different in the free time. Film work is especially fun though not exactly secure work, we did a fair bit of casting for Braveheart (that bloke that gets an arrow in his bum has me to thank), Rob Roy, First Knight, Cutthroat Island (including some custom modifications to the sword pommels that the props guys kept in the film for an in joke) and Fifth Element. Working with the props guys and model makers who created the masters was great fun but the hours are long and unpredictable as they tend to need things yesterday.

I think your observation of hobbies turning into jobs is true as I found interest in volunteering on full size preserved and miniature rlys has become less as it's too much like the day job and all it's paperwork and procedure. My modelling is still railways though it tends to be quite different to what I do at work.

I hope you have immense fun and model railways can be still fun if not so frequent parts of your free time. Good luck :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I briefly considered architecture as I had the opportunity on my art and design foundation course but blindly specialised in transport and product design.


Got part way through the course and reverted to graphic design.


I regret not doing an architecture project when I had chance.

Link to post
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...