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Club v Stand alone

5771 Views 47 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  neil_s_wood
Is it worth belonging to a model railway club? Let the debate begin…..

Have you found the 'Club clique' extremely hard to break into?
I do wonder, as sometimes encountered, the 'old club members' who don't want newbie's or aren't to pleased to pass on their skills etc.
While the overall picture is one of gaining vast expertise from those who have been club members for many years, in reality often it is found that your efforts are scorned upon as being 'below club standards' etc.
You can often be placed under pressure to give up your weekends to help out with layout operations and use your car as a vehicle for club use in transporting layouts and members to from exhibitions etc.

As a 'stand alone' modeller one can gain information, expert advice and even watch demonstrations etc.
Magazines, books, videos/DVDs and the internet all offer a wealth of help guidance and knowledge.

What a stand alone doesn't have is first hand one to one debates, but even this is now taken care of via forums like this one!

So, is club life worth the hassle??
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I suppose when you join a club it's a bit like any other random group of people that you might encounter. You will get some that you get on with and some you don't. I found with Railway Clubs that some members are a bit obsessive and overly focussed on their own particular area of interest and make the assumption that every one else is too. This can be a bit off putting when you feel ignorant that you don't know what a GWR 20T brake van bogies should be like. But lets face it why should you.
The whole point with a club is that you should be sharing knowledge but like any other group of people you will get egotists who want to dominate it and try to get it to march to their tune. The question is, is dealing with them really worth it for the knowledge you will get out of it?
QUOTE The conclusion I have come to is that, for me at least, the use of internet forums and visits to exhibitions / layouts fits the bill for me.

I think that sums it up for a lot of people. Unless you are retired or rich you do not have the free time to commit to a club. With a forum such as this you can participate while you are at home or at work when things go quiet. But for people like me with full time employment and children, spare time is a luxury which I normally want to devote to my layout rather than spend time arguing with someone over how many rivets should be on the side of a Class 31!
QUOTE Actually there is a DEMU project being organised via their forum to build an exhibition layout

This could be the way things will go. As people have less and less available free time, instead of going to a meeting to discuss a potential layout they could co-ordinate it through the medium of a forum such as this. However you are all going to have to make stuff but a considerable amount of that could be done at home and as was said previously this could be done at exhibitions.

Shame we couldn't do that here as our members live in California at one end and Australia at the other. I suppose if a lot of people lived in one area they could give it a go though.
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QUOTE You don't need the words model rail club to imply anorak in this game. Just mention to someone that you are into railway modelling and the implications are a cross between Dwayne Dibley and Roy Cropper.

I get the exact same, and I get it from my wife, her family and my work mates. I don't see why we get the "anorak" stigma when it's ok to be interested in cars or trucks or golf or whatever.
Theres one guy at work I sit next to who is in the Aussie equivalent of the Territorial army when he occasionally brings up the anorak thing, I say to him "hey, your in your thirties and still playing in the mud at soldiers, I'm in my forties and my hobby involves woodwork, electronics, art, computer technology who's the big kid?"

I don't really see why we get it but it's pretty universal. I even seen a dig at model railways on Red Dwarf on TV. The worst thing is I don't see how we could change this.
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QUOTE as I still attend a school the piss taking is more widespread especially when we are working on the railway and we have something running if I got a penny for everytime i heard "Make it Crash" and "make it go faster

I usually tell them how much it's going to cost them and tell them to come back with the money first. Sometimes shuts them up. Usually the parents remove them when they hear this.
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