Saturday, 18 April 2020
1. The UK and Europe in general opens up in June -ish and everything returns to how it was before (unlikely).
2. We open up in June but retain social distancing and there is a ban on groupings of more than 10-20 people for a long period (more likely).
3. Neither of these and we sit in a cycle of lock downs for several months possibly as far as summer 2021 with a further long extensive limit on social grouping (possible).
For health/safety reasons I would generally support any of these. This is a different argument, but how would these affect our thinking as modellers?
2 & 3 would severely impact on both model exhibitions and clubs, not to mention the manufacture of modelling goods. If this were to be the case, do we need to alter our thinking? This is very much a personal question for me, but there are a great number who sit where I am. If it were long term, some traders and shows would not survive, the circuit would remain, but in a very Darwinian fashion: only the rich and the small and fleet of foot would remain. Less shows, smaller crowds, less stuff to buy. It's quite a frightening thought. I'm a serial layout builder who is in a cycle of build/show/publish/dispose. This is a crude explanation, but that is the bones of it, and I can include most of my closer associates into this pattern.
Will there be a shift in thinking away from this? If there are less shows and therefore less opportunity to show, why build multiple layouts - even over a decade? Would the hobby shrink overall due to this hitting the magazines and the producers? Specifically, are we at a turning point where the exhibition layout builder becomes the rare exception?
I'm fully aware that exhibitions are not the bulk of the hobby, despite those in that loop thinking that they are. The hobby is people opening boxes and running things around their lofts - that's where the money is - but we may all morph into something approaching this, box openers and raw scratch builders alike, all retreating into our modelling rooms and lofts. If so the serial layouts are out, unless you have unlimited storage. And what would be the point of me designing a rear-operated exhibition layout if there is no audience? This may be the new norm', and we may have to adapt.