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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello

I am thinking of buying a subsription to a model railway magazine for my Dad and wondered if you could please advise on which is the best?

He is only just getting back into model railways now. He had a big one in the loft when we were children but after we moved house he didn't continue it. He's now nearing retirement and wants to build a new one.

Any tips gratefully received.

Thanks.
 

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Model Rail. Best illustrations but a bit light on narrative. Lots of "shows you how" type articles. Editor too big for his boots-has sometimes got annoying views- just don't read editorial!

Railway Modeller . Still the leader. Getting better on illustrations(used to be very staid). Much more narrative and beefier articles. Annoying habit of carrying over articles to the next issue , just as you are getting into them. Reviews basically PR from manufacturers. Also too much narrow guage.

British Railway Modelling. A bit of a mixed bag . Maybe if your dads more into kit building it would be more suitable. Lots of articles on kit construction.

Rail Express. Not really a modelling mag but has good modelling section.Only if your Dads into modern image. Reviews usually more informative and critical than the others, although I thought the one on Heljan 27/26 was looking for faults just to prove how clever they were.

Russell
 

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What about subject matter? One post on the Model Rail 100th edition issue implied that Model Rail is mostly diesel; is that fair?

David
 

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Would have classed that as a sweeping generalization, dwb.

I am struggling to say which mag I would consider "the best".
I think Model Rail is best for its layout features and its "show you how" articles, so perhaps for someone returning after a lot of years away, may be the most useful.

Personally, I still can't stop buying my Railway Modeller either. I like the variation in its adverts and it carries the most comprehensive "What's on" section.

Oh dear! Perhaps that last paragraph puts me in the "grumpy old fashioned fart" section.
 

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My personal preference has to be Railway Modeller and I daresay that's because I like it the best of all of those published. Then again, we all have different tastes. Good Luck in whatever you choose.
 

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Very diffecult one this - they all have advantages & disadvantages. I use to buy most of them every month (as well as most of the Clasic Car/Truck magazines) but it got too expensive.

Now, I do a "Smiths" - have a quick Blimp in each & if there is just one article/review to interest me I'll buy it.

Generally, though I feel RM is now more of a "referance gude" & is only improving & dragging itself int the 21st centrury because of the opposition.

MR gives (me) the impression that it is "the bees knees" & too smug. Don't read it enough to comment on the modern image/diesel bias.

BRM has some very nice articles & if I was a UK modeller (I'm HO european mostly) that would probably be my "subscription" choice.

CM, of course has more content for me, but still not enough to buy it every month.

Just my few pence worth.
 

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Its really down to what interests do you think your dad has?

A bit more info here might help us to make a clear recomendation.

Model Rail does have good prototypical info and has to be the best choice for the modeller who likes their model detail to be perfect and who is more into rolling stock and the technical sides of layout operation. There is a mix of steam, diesel and electric and the mix probably reflects the relative levels of interest in those subjects although recently I have noted that nearly all detailing jobs seem to be on diesel locos. Appeals to younger age group possibly?

Railway Modeller is more for the layout builder and has plenty of info through the year to help and inspire with this and if you like visiting shows then it has to be the one to go for. It also has by far the largest advert section. Appeals to older age group possibly?

British Railway Modelling has more of a vintage feel about it and does seem to focus more of the steam side of things with a lot of features about classic prototypical operations and possibly more biased towards scenery and buildings and infrastructure to any of the others. Appeals to older age group possibly?

Why not buy your dad all 3 for his birthday and then tell him that whichever mag he prefers you will treat him to an annual subscription?


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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I have ben getting BRM, Model Rail, MRM and Rail Express. They each have their good qualities(my opinion)

BRM kits and Layout articles - not much Modern.
MR Shows you how and DCC - some modern.
MRM Modern Image - only out 4 times a year
Rail Express prototype info - mostly modern image

As Gary says get him a few and see which magazine he likes most as it is him who will be reading it.

Alistair
 

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QUOTE Model Rail. Best illustrations but a bit light on narrative.
How does one define "Best"?

A great magazine that has great photos and lots of content. They get all the manufacturers to send all their latest toys their way, but as has been said, light on narrative and I may add that some of the narrative ends up looking quite biased. Advertising clout tends to swing opinion and it is quite evident in many of the top magazines.

I subscribed to MR for a couple of years. When it came to renewing recently, I didn't bother. One gets more content overall from forums and better advice thrown in too. I do miss seeing great layouts, but I don't miss the pages and pages of advertising. Do I go back through all the piles of magazines that I have lying around? No.
 

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QUOTE Would have classed that as a sweeping generalization, dwb.

Yes it was, I felt an in depth analysis was not required so I went for the sweeping generalisation instead.
Thats been my experience of Model Rail. I don't get it often but when I do this is what I've found.

I get RM and CM each month but it's rare that I find anything worth reading in RM. I do read CM in detail but thats no good if your only interested in UK outline. just buy one of each and see what style you like. They all offer something different.
 

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QUOTE One gets more content overall from forums and better advice thrown in too

The type of advice requested on forums is entirely different to the type of advice sought by magazine readers. A lot of the advice sought on forums is commercial advice of the type needed when things go wrong or are not 100% and forums definitely have their place when it comes to this. There are a lot of prototypical questions asked by Model Rail readers that I know I could not answer and I doubt many of the Model Rail Forum members could either.

And do forums genuinely offer more content?

They offer a lot of opinion and debate however do you count opinion and debate as "content"?

If by content you mean well researched editorials, extensive "how to" type articles, a wide range of regular reviews of products covering all gauges and eras, features on layouts and interviews with their builders, and so on, then do forums genuinely offer this?

For any website to offer this would require that website to invest in 3 or 4 full time professional writers as a minimum. And would website members be willing to pay say £5 a month to permit this to happen?

I doubt it somehow.

I personally have great respect for the journalists of model railway magazines who are paid professionals who also happen to be at the top of the tree when it comes to knowledge and abilities and who also happen to have good presentational skills. They can also be controversial at times. The £30-£40 that you pay for an annual subscription to a magazine is well worth it in my view for the entertainment value if nothing else. After all you pay more than this for 1 night out at a restaurant.

Its going to be a very long time before websites replace magazines.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 14 Jan 2007, 12:02) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Its going to be a very long time before websites replace magazines.

Got to agree with you there Gary, although I find personally, the more I use website/internet the less I read the magazines - is this the same for others ?

Still, the internet will never completly replace the written (hard copy) word in the same way as cash will never be redundant (not in our lifetmes anyway.)
 

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>the more I use website/internet the less I read the magazines - is this the same for others ?
That's certainly the case for me. The 100th issue of Model Rail is the first magazine I have bought for a couple of years.

In terms of reader's questions, the turn around time on writing in to a magazine is glacial compared to asking a question on a forum such as this. You've got more chance of being answered here as well.

In defence of the written word, I am probably more likely to buy railway books now than magazines. When I am looking for information, a book is more likely to have the depth of information I want rather a magazine.

If model railway magazines disappeared tomorrow would I be any worse off? No. I guess the advertisers might be but maybe it would give them the impetus to get a decent website going and get them posted in the links section of forums like this and others.

David
 

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I think mags must change- possibly more to the BRM Annual style.

Once you eagerly sought out the Railway Modeller for details of new programs. If it wasn't in the March news then for sure one of the retailer advertisers had it on their page. Now , of course , we know instantly what the manufacturers programs are.

I find feedback on models much more useful on sites like this than in reviews by the likes of Model Rail or Railway Modeller. You will quickly find out what innacuracies there are, restrictions in timeframe etc, on here than in the railway mags- The Class26/27 being an example.

Lastly , while people should always be respectful of what they are saying , you do tend to get a more honest feedback on models on websites. Running qualities seldom mentioned on mags but feature strongly on the web. Basically if its duff or theres a duff batch out there we will find it out through these pages. Manufacturers beware!

Russell
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hello

Gosh I just logged on to see if anyone had replied to my post, expected there to be one or maybe two, and couldn't believe how many replies there were!
This must be a popular forum, I will recommend it to him too.

Someone asked for some background info on what my Dad was interested in. Well I have to confess I don't really know much, but to give you an idea, he is age nearly 64, starting again from scratch having not done it for about 25 years, and last year when he wanted us to start buying him bits I am sure he said 0 guage. Does that make sense?

The idea to get him a subscription was because he did a small favour for me recently and I asked my Mum what I could get him as a thank-you and she suggested getting him a magazine, she said he always looks at them in the shop but never actually buys them (they are both quite careful with money!), but that got me thinking that with a birthday coming up a subscription might be a nice idea (particularly as I always get really stuck for ideas for him and bought him railway bits last birthday).

Thanks for the advice.

Jo
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 13 Jan 2007, 16:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Only if you like things American


I have to disagree.

The sheer standard of modelling is far higher than 95% of the layouts we see in uk mags.

The articles are often interesting and informative and its the only mag i know if that actually gets you thinking about what they are saying.

Model rail is the best of a bad bunch in the UK.

Railway modeller i only buy if i have a long journey and nothing to read or if there is a particular article i want. but as someone said earlier, its a Peco newsletter. there are too many GWR branchlines (having said that windrush in this months is especially nice and i was luckey enough to attend the club as it was being finished.

BRM i quite like but i always get to the end thinking i want more of this. The BRM annual is excellent. thats what i want 12 months of the year not just for christmas.

"do forums genuinely offer more content?
They offer a lot of opinion and debate however do you count opinion and debate as "content"?
If by content you mean well researched editorials, extensive "how to" type articles, a wide range of regular reviews of products covering all gauges and eras, features on layouts and interviews with their builders, and so on, then do forums genuinely offer this?"

I do my best and have written a couple but it needs us all to do that. its one of the things that i think makes this forum better than others. we are usually constructive here.

Peter
 
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