Ignorance of Model Railroad History

YoHo Jun 19, 2013

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  1. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    There is no way we can display that information publicly, unless we allow folks into the control panel. You know well that is not happening. I have not the energy to slog through those pages an compile them. Anyone logged in can certainly view the profiles of new members, or the member roster itself.

    These numbers may indeed correlate, but I and others reading are still waiting to see the connection inferred, as to the hobby waning as well. This you have not done, other than via personal opinion.

    Still waiting for this to translate as proof of the hobby declining. Again, the advent of electronics as a substitute and evolution, for both information and acquisition of supplies. Somehow this does not enter your discussion. It is very much where we are today. For me to supply data is not even needed. I doubt there are many left amongst us unaware of eTailing, eZines, etc.

    If these figures are drawn from the small return via their many surveys, a statistician could possibly find them interesting, but no more. The percent who answer is too small to prove significance. And as I said previously, age does not matter. What counts is that anyone is getting aboard with us. Yes, it would be great to see everyone start young and remain. That simply is not going to happen.

    Thank you for your advice. Let me offer mine- Please choose words and sentence construction carefully, thoughtfully. Then there can be no misunderstanding.

    So are you.

    Still waiting for these from you, beyond outdated magazine numbers of an archaic medium, as related to what is happening in June of 2013.
     
  2. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    The issue with fewer folks in the hobby is less product, and specifically less new product, and at a higher price.
    PRC requires, nay, demands a certain number of units run. If they can't sell them.....
    I know in LS is is becoming a real problem. Specific steam wheel arrangement made 11 years ago listed for $800, now the latest of same wheel arrangement streets at $800.
    Folks are dying off, not much new blood.
    Other manufacturers may or may not be having financial difficulties due to lack of sales (stated that way on purpose).
    It will filter down to other scales.
    The economics of it all causes the PRC to view what they believe our dollar to be worth, and price accordingly.
    Less folks, fewer sales, problems getting stock out of PRC (read: Atlas), dollar value, smart phones, faceplant and video games.
    Doom and gloom? Maybe, maybe not.

    I was in a hobby business for 20 years until I retired 2 years ago. The cost of the goods has literally skyrocketed, some due to importer greed, or stupidity, products that have so many "issues".
    If I was to get into Large Scale today...I wouldn't.
    Then in 3-rail 0, you have the boy genius, where books have to be written and updated regularly to try to keep the outdated stuff running.
    You have dcc manufacturers convinced that LS is the new frontier..when it isn't.
    Very few folks want to deal with anything depending on track for power.
    I'm watching.
    The great internet taxation bill is a joke. A million dollars in sales before you have to comply?
    Leaves out a whole lot of folks who directly impact hobby shops.
    Oh, well.
    Dave
     
  3. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    And yet we have shapeways and 3d printing and a quality of product unheard of in years past. Yes, the landscape has changed, but this notion that manufacturers are drying up is simply not a reality I see. Manufacturers are coming on line. In fact, I found out that a club member in my club has access to a 3d printer. We could buy a design and make our own product right here and now.

    This is only going to become bigger. Never mind that BRazil and others are doing everything they can to be the next PRC.

    Further, you are only looking at the US hobby. We live in a fully global world. How many trainboard members aren't even from the US?


    Which is not to say I don't lament the lack of product geared toward "shake the box" pricing. But all is not lost.
     
  4. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

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    Appears to me that this has become a re-hash of a thread from several weeks ago that was originally about the names/degrees/variation involved from strict prototype to freelancing. Seemed to (and still does) that (and I find the source common) a "craftsman" who asserts that anything anyone does that does meet their definition of "craftsmanship" are in fact not model railroaders - and R-T-R buyers/users - to the outer depths!

    Yes, only these brave souls are saving the hobby from utter ruin and extinction - if only we follow their ideas, their words, can the hobby be saved! So far I have yet to see the R-T-Rers make comments on the stupidity of people who'll spend money and hours "crafting" a particular item when a manufacturer has made a better product with far fewer hours (and often, less money).

    Me, I buy what fits my era/budget. Be it kit or R-T-R, whichever I saw first! And hope to start on my 6th layout soon and the preceeding 5, while probably not "craftsmanlike" didn't send "newbies" or veteran model railroaders fleeing in terror or confusion.

    And despite the blandishments of those who have evolved to a higher plane, going to continue doing so.

    p.s. Some of you gentlemen may wish to continue your crusade under a different name/moniker.
     
  5. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, I hope overall this doesn't just become a rehash. Certainly some of the same topics have been broached, but that's ok. Those topics are interesting.

    I like to have a philosophical discussion and/or a walk down memory lane every now and again.

    In thinking about it, I guess it's kind of interesting that 2 of the people that had the biggest impact on my feelings about this hobby were diametrically opposed and disliked each other. That would be just like me.

    I Aspire to the level of railroad operations and backstory of Tony Koester, but I have no interest in his strict prototype scenery requirements. I prefer to evoke the feeling of a location even if that location doesn't exist. Much like Furlow

    But, on the other hand, unlike Furlow, I prefer to have a trackplan that will function.
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes. It is becoming similar in some ways. And getting rather boring having demands made of me for information, all the while, no reciprocation. So, I'm going to go eat dinner, do some searching for a box of old motorsports newspaper articles which I cannot find. If this declines further, into any bickering or chasing it's tail, we'll probably end up calling it enough.

    Hmmm. Until now, I had not seriously thought about that aspect.
     
  7. lars128

    lars128 TrainBoard Member

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    I like Soeborg very much for the reasons you list. So what it's RTR; I have a 6 month old, a house that I am consistently updating, work, finances, cars, etc., to keep me busy enough. Right now, RTR is probably the difference between be getting back into the hobby vs staying in the armchair. Art Curren did a lot of the same thing and no one was bashing those ideas back in the 90's.

    I also put Mindheim on the short list of someone pushing a philosophy. A quick read of his blog shows that he is very much dedicated to demonstrating that a lot of enjoyment and interest can be had form small switching layouts. Probably one of the reasons I like this so much is that at one time small shelf layouts seemed to be the last resort of something that someone was resigned to if they didn't have enough space to put the Transcon in their basement.
     
  8. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    Just so you fully understand, my main comments were regarding LS....and specifically so stated in the comments.
    I'm done buying (which, many more like me the manufacturers won't sell anything, right?) anything new.
    PRC stuff, dcc ready or installed, has nothing for me. Kadees or McHenry or whatever get yanked anyway.

    In LS, the originator was LGB...made in Western Germany.
    Once the manufacturing went to PRC, most of that die-hard collectors and operators of LGB quit. We had wholesale sellouts of collections. Dropped the bottom right out of the market.
    Won't happen in smaller scales, as it's already made in PRC.

    We had Bowser making US made locomotives....and they have dropped the steam line.
    All those years of trying to encourage newcomers to build a steam kit for the experience...so they would understand insulation, wiring, gear mesh, rivetting valve gear.....and the "old hands" who yelled at me for doing so....and the line is gone.
    All of my Half 0 stuff is US made...all of it.
    Except for 4 Fleishmann cars of 60 years age and one Maerklin 3-rail loco.
    Just because.
    Same in 0.
    You can work on that stuff, it runs, whereas some of this PRC stuff....I cannot recall any Half 0 or 0 engine ever splitting an axle gear, for instance.
    As far as a "higher plane", well, I've got a glimpse of "the promised land", and EZ-Track, dcc, Kadees, and locos you can't work on are not what I care about.
    Yes, what fits my budget....vintage....and country of manufacture, not necessarily in that order.
    Any more it's US, which sort of limits me to "vintage", and then I don't care...kit, r-t-r....take it apart, paint, lube, and off it goes.
    My oldest 2-rail 0 engine is about 1938. My oldest Half-0 is pre-war, upgraded...a 6v Varney Docksider with single wheel pickup, updated to 12v motor and twin wheel pickup...and they both still run just fine.
    Oh, and my idea of "craftsmanship" is....anything other than shake the box.
    Old kit steamers, TruScale or hand laid.....I am not sure how "craftsman" would enter in to snap track on plywood with R-T-R equipment, but maybe.
    Ran into this in the street rod hobby. Guys who spent years ironing out an original body by themselves upstaged by a "turn key" car some guy paid $40-$60K to have somebody build for him.
    Might be "craftsmanship", but certainly not HIS "craftsmanship".
    Dave
     
  9. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    I don't think that it is, in the 1980's and 1990's, MR had the craftsman articles, yet they had so many project railroads from a HO traction line to a N scale room sized BN mainline that covered many basics, and even craftsman modeling in the same series. They would show you how to ballast the track and how to model a catenary and how to make a trolley run on it in easy to follow articles. While I never modeled a traction line, I have thought about how it would be fun some day to make a model of a Pacific Electric steeplecab and run it on a switching puzzle with a live catenary. Today, Model Railroader would never think of such an article since it is not ready to run, and that is the sad thing. The big UP Salt Lake Line railroad that they build used unitrack and Walthers buildings built to the instructions, it was a glorified add for what you can do with items off of the shelf. I want to see more articles on kitbashing a curved warehouse in MR, showing little tips, or an article on casting your odd shaped windows, or even how to scratch build a modern, concrete warehouse with nothing but styrene and commercial doors and windows. A true model railroad magazine MUST be written to where a 12 year old can read and understand it, yet must hold the attention of a modeler that just won a ribbon at a NMRA convention. Today, MR is written for a 12 year old with a 40 year old's wallet.
     
  10. lars128

    lars128 TrainBoard Member

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    Yea, there are video games, but we (as someone who was also 9 in December 1990) also had plenty of exposure to N64, Playstation, etc. I personally had no interest in video games. I, too am the only person in my group of friends and fraternity that was a railfan but when looking at the bigger picture I know there are plenty of train people out there.

    This thread is capturing a lot of things I have been thinking about lately. I think I'm going to have start my own thread and see who bites on some of my thoughts.
     
  11. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    been there....I remember standing next to my dad's 1940 Ford Coupe and someone made a comment about the engine being old and not a crate engine. When I pointed out that the engine was used for a magazine series and that it ran very well, I was told that it was junk for being built in the 1940's and that hot rodding was about keeping up with the Jones. Funny, I thought that hot rodding was about making something different and building it smarter than the factory did... My dad's flathead has an oiling system that actually send oil through a filter before it goes to any part. To my knowledge, there are TWO flatheads running around with that oiling system...and dad built both.
     
  12. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    my kid asks to run trains on my layout, she has many video games and even her own tablet. The future is what you make it. Now if I can only get her to like sprint cars and Indycars...
     
  13. PaulBeinert

    PaulBeinert TrainBoard Supporter

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    Being a Newbie (in the hobby for about 18 months) I got a subscription to MR which will be allowed to expire.
    Most of the information that I need and desire can be found right here on Trainboard.

    All of my locomotives and rolling stock are RTR (except for adding decoders).
    I am totally freelancing as I don't know enough to want to do anything else.
    I am just starting on scenicing and am amazed at the skills of some of the members here.
    I am currently 6 months into a 6 week scratch build of a totally freelanced train station.
    My 4 year od grandson has his own cab on our layout.

    Enjoy the hobby! Cause that is what I am doing
     
  14. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    guess that wraps up the MR debate, why pay for what you can get for free on the Trainboard?
     
  15. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    And......you get to argue, real-time, with the authors!
    Dave
     
  16. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    There was a whole series in some mag once on milling the back of the block out for a full pressure, non-bypass filter.
    I have three Flatheads....two Merc 255's, in a 50 PU and a 50 Tudor, the other...well, 8BA style, Merc crank, 3-ring pistons, 130 over, Isky Cam, Offy heads and inlet, 4bbl Holley...275 cubes I think I calculated.
    Ported and relieved.
    We'd go to shows, see the bowties under the bonnet, mention we gave up bow ties as a kid, and walk past while they stewed.
    Anybody can crate an engine compartment. Takes skill (craftsmanship?) to build and run a Flattie as a daily driver.
    Dave
     
  17. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Dave, that article series was written by the late Frank Oddo and was in Street Rodder magazine....

    go to page 15 of this PDF and count how many times my last name is in here.....a lot of the pictures are of my dad's hands....
    https://californiabills.com/pdfs/fordflathead_sample.pdf
     
  18. Flashwave

    Flashwave TrainBoard Member

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    From a very limited segment of the hobby, from Indiana. We as a state are known for closet Model Railroaders, there are a lot of people that, if you didn't see them in a Hobby shop, you didn't know they were into this stuff. I ran into an old neightber six years older than me. When he was in High Shcool, he was the kind of guy who was taking things apart, putting them together, and blowing them up at 3am. And there he is with his Girlfriend trying to travk down another Kato INRD SD90.

    Here;s the trend I see talking to people who stop by the Naptown. Are they as into trains at 13 as they were at 8? No. But, they were at 26, here they are after, or in since a lot of Unis have MRR clubs now, Purdue comes to mind) they were hard into trains when they were kids. When they got older, the N64s got them away from trains. But then they come back after they grow up and get on their own. The Naptown and White RIver has a lot of Father Son dous that joined us a few months to a year ago. Most of them joined for the sons, not the fathers. I suspect, a few of them will probably dissappear in a fe years. The fathers might still haunt, but the kids will move on... for a while. And maybe they won't come back, maybe they'll be in some other state for College. they'll find a nice girl,c hase her a while, but most of them, if not all of them, will probably return to a club, or a basement. If they have the room
     
  19. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Paul,
    I think you've got it exactly right. You're doing a hobby the way that brings you pleasure, and therefore it's enjoyable, not a chore. When/if you participate in shows or displays, that enthusiasm shows, and that, as much as anything, helps keep the hobby alive.
     
  20. NYW&B

    NYW&B Guest

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    I went back 4 pages and I don't see Boxcab offering any numbers, or statistics. -NYW&B

    There is no way we can display that information publicly, unless we allow folks into the control panel. I have not the energy to slog through those pages an compile them. -Boxcab

    Then you are actually not in possession of presentable statistics that would disprove my statements, as YoHo claimed. OK.

    That MR's circulation numbers enjoyed continuous annual growth up until right around the time it changed editorial content from craftsman-oriented to mostly buy-it RTR content, then readership abruptly starts declining by leaps and bounds, is in direct correlation. -NYW&B

    These numbers may indeed correlate, but I and others reading are still waiting to see the connection inferred, as to the hobby waning as well. This you have not done, other than via personal opinion. -Boxcab

    As I indicated initially, the decline reflects reader dissatisfaction with a change in editorial content AND the graying/dying off of the older readership that would be anticipated as the turn of the century approached, one not being replaced by new, younger individuals for years before. A distinct, abrupt, decline clearly begins half a decade before changes in MR occur, just at a time when those hobbyists active in the 50's begin dropping out of the hobby, or dying off. Here are links to the plotted MR stats:

    http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h182/CNJ831/MRreadersAgescopy_zpsd09b9fb2.jpg

    http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h182/CNJ831/MRcopies_zps4ec0a56c.jpg

    Note that an extrapolation of the average age plot figures 1970 to 1995 would imply an average age of 60 years today, very realistic for a hobby that saw its peak public interest in the 50's. Incidentally, the MR editorials accompanying their reader reviews addressing the age figures (along with other data present) claimed each was based of a large reader survey (i.e. statistically significant numbers). Now, of course, opponents can claim to associate the decline with anything, even little green men abducting readers, but logic dictates a correlation between the circulation and the obvious aging factor + editorial changes. Certainly, early on in the decline it is too soon for internet forums to have played a major roll in the mid 90's, most larger forums not really get rolling until less than a decade ago. Even then, the majority weren't yet of enough quality to replace MR, MRC, et al as reliable information sources.

    NYW&B
     
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