Saturday, 4 November 2017

Saturday Ramble

Haven't done one of these for a while.
The Art of the Compromise is basically done, there are just a couple of detail bits to do. But then what next? This is a bit of a weird one: most of the layouts I build are loosely for exhibition - this isn't. Most are built with an end game target - this hasn't been. The only reason that it's been built at all was to see if the fourteen year old me was right and that it was buildable despite the first 1.5 attempts failing. Yes it can be done provided you tweek a couple of things and reduce some building sizes. The 'what now' is probably common to all modellers for once we've built something, what does it do? Despite appearances I'll bet that the percentage of modellers that actually take a layout to a show is relatively tiny, although if you peruse the mags it looks like that number is huge. The reality is that the exhibitors and mags are in a bubble and there is a vast swathe of the great unwashed modellers out there who build home layouts, the odd kit or two and the much derided box-opener/collectors.

The AotC has one show in the spring - local and essentially for a mate. It's low pressure. I still have to build a couple more low trestles for this event. Low because it'll work better and because the overriding ethos for the AotC was to stick to things which were available in, and of a style of the late 70s and early 80s to match the 1978 plan. In other words before the 1995 turn of the Iain Rice driven high layout presentation which I've generally grown to hate - I've just spent a few days gricing a couple of lines in Cornwall and was frustrated by high walls and overgrown linesides with  reduced photo angles. I don't really want to play the same game at exhibitions. No I'm not a helicopter, but yes I do want to see your modelling.

Do I then do the show in the spring and scrap the AotC for parts? Job done. Or do I do something that I've not done before and extend it? Logically the later, I'm very contrary about doing shows anyway, but there is the showman element in me that likes to occasionally wave my bits around in public view. I could spend a long while detailing stock and locos, but I fear my heart won't be in it. I'm in that rut where anything else seems pointless once the basic idea has been achieved. At the moment it sits along the wall as a glorified 16.5mm gauge test track.

Quite neatly, blogger informs me that this is my one thousandth post on here. Well who'd have thought it?


  1. "The reality is that the exhibitors and mags are in a bubble and there is a vast swathe of the great unwashed modellers out there who build home layouts" - You'll be surprised to know that we know this but there are some good reqasons why the situation persists.

    1) People building layouts for exhibitions generally work to very high standards because people will be looking at their modelling. This means that under the cruel lens of the camera, the results look OK. Not perfect (a well known P4 layout only spotted the dodgy painting of the back of their signals in the photos), but good enough to survive being shown larger than life size.

    2) Finding exhibition layouts is easier than home ones. Home layouts do appear in mags, but obviously they are only found if the owner sends photos in.

    3) People expect to read about exhibition layouts. They say, "Have you covered XYZ?" because they have heard of it.

    4) It's very difficult to take an average layout that gives a lot of pleasure to it's owner and present this pleasure on the page. I've blogged about this in the past and no-one came up with any solutions.

    5) One of the best examples of looking outside the bubble is a Poll thread on RMweb covering the Oxofrd Dean Goods ( The result, which was then formed the BRM review was that the loco isn't prefect but lots of people consider it value for money. It is a nice loco that looks good on their layout. This is backed up by the sales of the model which appear to be pretty good. Contrast this with the many pages of moans about the detail deficiencies shown by the model. There's a definite disparity between those huffing and puffing and "average" modellers who just want something to run on the layout.

    6) Does this matter? In classic car mags you read about nicely restored vehicles, not those rotting away in sheds or scraping through the MOT each year with rust bubbles on the wheelarches. The best selling mags are full of E-Types and other cars most of us won't own in a lifetime. Why should model railways be any different?

    Anyway, congrats on the 1000th post. Always a milestone!

  2. Doesn't matter in the slightest. My point was that I and the 'bubblers' tend to have an end game be it exhibition, magazine article or both. This is a bit of a lone animal, being designed for neither, but seems to have turned into a bit of long term fun - a bit like your Edgeworth, but two years longer and for no public consumption save here. This is a bit of a departure for me having only built for shows in the last 20 years.

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  4. Although I find the prospect of an exhibition appearance a useful stimulus to getting things finished (or at least nearly so), sometimes I wish I hadn't accepted an was very much that way with my Dave Brewer Challenge entry this year; the thought that I wanted to get it finished in time for the show being very much in conflict with a desire to be doing something (anything) else. Andrew's asked me to bring it along to Lancing, so I will really need to build a train to display on it...I've got enough Peco N-6.5 wagon kits to equip a small railway, never mind a 14 inch long static diorama.
    I also need to get a bit further along with the APA Box Inglenook in 009 in time for Lancing although at least I've got enough rolling stock for that.
    So why the hell did I build a Grandt Line kit for a battery electric last night? In 0n30?
    Enjoying the new book...