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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi

My first post was a description on coming back to the hobby after many years, and getting some thoughts on where to start.

Well I tried to push this interest a bit further last weekend by attending the local model rail exhibition in Saffron Walden.

Before i go further and to recap my first post, i am looking to renew a hobby that gave me pleasure in my youth, for which i have had no time for since, and to be honest to do something that isn't just stuck in front of a computer screen - ie do something with my hands that is constructive...

To add to this although i used to go to Model Rail Exhibitions when i was a kid with my dad, i wasn't big on the social side of model railways - it was understandable then as i was in my teens, and the idea of hanging out with arran jumper wearing beardy blokes wasn't appealing. Trains (despite some social stigma), sneaking a few illicit beers with your mates, and girls were all ok - although telling girls bout trains was a BIG no no!

So after coming out of the closet so to speak to my wife, sitting her down and explaining that i like model making, and trains, suffering several hours of giggling and the sound of some one going Wooo Wooo, and Chuff Chuff from the other room, she started to come around to the idea i was a bit of a lost cause... she did however insist i buy some top shelf lads mags to act as a diversion when i went to buy some Model Rail magazines in Cambridge the other week, but otherwise she is being really supportive.


So last week whilst she was having a lie in i snuck off to the local exhibition, full of trepidation. I am not a 'club person' to be honest, but i appreciate they are a great resource for information, and having some local contacts is always handy.

It was very interesting from a social observation point of view of watching people walking brazenly through Saffron Walden, and then when they turned into Abbey Lane they started to look over their shoulder and almost scurry in a furtive manner (a sign of shame?) when it was obvious where they were going...


So.. not wanting to stick out i did exactly the same! I scurried like a champion


Paid my dues at the door after exchanging some small talk to the other people in the queue such as 'busy isn't it', 'hope this queue doesn't take too long', and 'Do you think any one saw us coming here?', i took my first step back into a world of trains!

Anyway to cut the long story short, i had a good look around and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the layouts on show. I had been a little worried as reality and what you remember from your youth are often different sides of the coin.

However there was one thing that unfortunately brought the rekindling of my interest to a grinding halt. I was taking a look at a nice oval layout in 4mm Finescale - and about to take the plunge from being a mere spectator and asking questions regarding their hand made track, the inevitable show shy electrical system and their control system etc. etc. when i over heard a conversation between one of the demonstrators and another spectator, who obviously knew each other well, where they basically bitched like a couple of old washer women about other layouts and the individuals displaying them. This went on for some time, and with no regard to any spectators.

Now to be fair the demonstrator was more of a casual participant in the conversation and the vitriol came form the visitor, but it was enough to make my heart sink, and realise that my memories of model rail exhibitions as a youth were correct - great models put together and run by some very talented people, patronised by complete anally retentive b*tches. (there was even a beard involved!)

As i had already taken a circuit of all the demonstration layouts, i left. Honestly i was that saddened that all sense left me and i walked out!

Now i know that you shouldn't judge an entire hobby by one incident such as this but seriously this was less than impressive, and has left me feeling a little concerned about attending other exhibitions in the future (i am a believer that the reality that most people cant build perfect professional level layouts, club events should be supportive nurturing places - call me old fashioned!). And certainly any hope of taking the wife, have at some time (in a few years when she has stopped calling me Ivor, Thomas or the fat controller) have evaporated, as she would have completely joined in an taken the p*ss out of them both!

There was one other minor criticism in that the Saffron Walden Model Railway Club (SWMRC)had a layout called the Un-Named layout and was one of the first layouts i looked at, indeed it was a fine example of 1930's branch line in O scale. However i stood looking at it for nearly 5 minutes in all, and not one person even said hello, or asked if i wanted to ask any questions. If this has been at 4:00 in the afternoon i could understand fatigue setting in (i know i used to help the family business run trade stands at Wargamers conventions!!!) but this was at 10:15 in the morning just after opening...

As this is their show (SWMRC) a little more PR would probably not go amis in helping making the show a success and attract potential club members such as me to their ranks - although to be fair it was already very busy by then...

Anyway - i don't mean to run them down as it seemed a really good turn out for a local show. Well done to all involved!


So - i now feel beleaguered. I was hoping to make some casual 'friends' who were also interested in the hobby, whom i could pick the brains of to help me get going, as i am suffering from the 'blank page' syndrome that affects writers - where to start.

So if you have read all through this mad ranting, what do you dear reader suggest i should do as my next sortie into the getting my self back into a hobby that doesn't mean sitting solely in from of a VDU?

All comments welcome (Unless you are going to start making chuffing noises that is
!!!)

Many thanks
GreenBoy
 

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QUOTE if you have read all through this mad ranting
I have.

QUOTE what do you dear reader suggest i should do as my next sortie into the getting my self back into a hobby that doesn't mean sitting solely in from of a VDU?

I'm going to take "sortie" as a rhetorical reference rather than a literal exiting of the house to visit another exhibition or model railway shop. OK time to regroup and decide what it is you want out of the hobby that you're going to spend your valuable leisure time on. What do you remember giving you a "buzz" when you were younger? Saving up to buy a new engine? The looks of a particular group of engines? Building kits or scenery or maybe pulling together various components to create a convincing scene? I guess it's find your "Mojo".

Once you have an idea of what you want to do, think about how you might put it into action. A true railway modeller's first plan will be a model of Crewe, York or wherever in as large a shed as the wife will allow. This of course is the express route to disappointment and then disillusion. Go for something less ambitious and make a rough plan of what's required. Having made the plan, decide what skills / knowledge / experience may be required and if you feel lacking in any particular area, either search the Forum for similar questions (there are quite a few on baseboard construction) or ask a question. Come to think of it, before you think about how to put a plan into action, maybe post what your plan is and ask for comments. I am sure you will get some response.

David
 

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I, too, firmly eschewed model clubs for many years....having been somewhat disillusioned with my own modelling efforts as a school kid, sharing the same school model railway club as the son of one Mike Bryant, modeller extraordinary...who modelled in 2mm scale [is it his layout, Inversnecky and Drambui..that the NRM have in store??]...said son obvioulsy sharing Dad's talent, producing an immaculate card model of a lowmac wagon.....at a time when I struggled to avoid spoiling an Airfix example.....

in the end I ploughed my own lonely furrow....modelling-wise.

Contact with the outside model world was largely through the model press...for years...and I suggest you too, immerse yourself a bit in those glorious pages........

I find exhibitions somewhat unfriendly places too...but I think we have to remember that for many people..especially those exhibiting...this can be a daunting time as one really does set oneself up for critiscm.....and that prospect itself can make folk somewhat reticent to initiate a contact....not everybody has a showman's presence.

Being self-conscious about one's hobby really shows how influenced we are by the media....if one doesn't go for a pint, watch football avidly, and leer at anything female/male and busty, then one is a geek, or oddball, or somesuch.

there have been notable attempts to present modelling as an acceptable hobby..in the US it is considered almost normal, like fishing.......

Perhaps what you are seeing with the missus is a sudden realisation you are not as superficial as was believed...you have an ENTHUSIASM...which is difficult for many to comprehend??

I suspect the hobby in this country really needs to address its image.....yet....from what I've seen, not many modellers give a tinker's cuss for 'image''?

I suggest.....getting a few modelling mags....even maybe building something small?

btw...back in the 80's, I got fired up enough to join the NMRA British region...[US modelling]...attended some quarterly meets..even annual conventions...got involved with the HO modules...even with relatively local groups......made a lot of good, sound friends there..somewhat spread out over the country.....the answer is to DO things...rather than simply talk about it, I found.

however, time passes by, and I tend to be more of an armchair modeller at present...

the important thing is to not exclude the family.....I sent one of my wives on a firing and driving course on the NYMR...now she is even more of an enthusiast than me.....she even blagged a [knowledgeable] footplate ride on City of Truro.....I went and sat in a carriage with my son....
 

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Hi GB,your not alone,I've had similar experences but found that you have to choose your questions very carefully with some mrs.When the correct one is asked most will not stop talking
I have not had it on here,everyone is helpfull and happy,some of the model shop assistants that I've met have been a bit slow in communicating but after a few visits everything is cool,(personally I think its something to do with my appearance) Have you not noticed it in other group activities? I used to take my cars to shows,50s/60s cars,had it there sometimes,got a lecture off an entrant because my 59 zodiac had a disc player fitted! But each to their own,you'll feel welcome here...
Happy railwaying...frame in sunny Padstow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi DWB

Thanks for taking the time to read all that - couldn't believe i wrote it all.

The buzz for me was definitely in the modelling aspect - loved doing the scenery and making models of building from kits - never tried to scratch build one - yet.

the trains give the model a sense of purpose, and it is nice to make them move back and forth, which whiles away some time - a great diversion when the modelling isnt going so well.

My first thought was something like crew - but the available space is likely to require this to be in Z gauge with some severe compromise!


I am thinking an a loop to allow the trains to run without too many shunting movements to start with - and then build on this.

period - hmm difficult - i like both steam and diesels - and perversely i like the idea of an electrified line with full catenary system. I have also seen some great models of London Underground trains - and they appeal also - this is the problem - because i like the model side of things - great models appeal to me (i am not a rivet counter though!)...

I will make some posts as you suggest and ask questions on aspects of what i am thinking of doing

Thanks again for your words of wisdom

GreenBoy
 

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Like in all hobbies, there are some super people and some awful ones. Ying and Yang if you like. Model railway exhibitions are not always the best place to get chatting with operators. If you are disabled, like myself, one cannot even get to see half of the layouts because they are too high! Generally speaking, the operators of a layout at exhibition will be happy to talk if you ask them a question. It is not my experience that they greet all those who look at the layout.

Railway magazines are a good place to start in order to get a handle on what is on the market these days.

Most railway modellers tend to choose subjects from their memory. Here are some of the questions you will have to answer.

Standard gauge or narrow gauge?
what era?
what scale?
what will be your interest? landscape, lots of tracks, etc

Once you start to get some concept of your needs, it may be worth visiting a model railway club. These vary from the excellent to awful too. Forums are excellent for advice and this one seems to be very polite and friendly. Others, (like New Railway Modellers) are more like the wild west.

Another good forum is RM web.

The most important thing is not to start buying stuff until you have a real plan.

regards
John
 

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You should come to our show in October in peacehaven in east sussex. We always have a great day! everyone is so friendly and helpful and we all chat to the visitors and quite a few people even let you have a go!! I do if some one wants a go!! This year we will be much bigger than before!! I hope you can come and have some of your dissapointment disapated. If you need any help with anything incidently just ask !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nikki
 

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Advice often repeated in these columns is to start with something small and simple. It is too easy to think big and then get disillusioned when you realise that the task is beyond you.

As for your wife's attitutude, just point out that operating a model railway ("playing with the train set" is not the way to put it) is much better than going to the pub on your own or chasing other women.

Sorry about your experiences at the show but you get that sort of person in any human activity. Why did you leave? You should have stayed and got your money's worth. I've always found operators at exhibitions to be very friendly and helpful. Perhaps they don't want to be too forward and pushy but would respond if asked a question.

Good luck with the project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Frame69 - I went to the Saffron Walden Model Shop after the show to take a look around - and the shop was heaving but the two women there were both very helpful - i will definitely be going back some time soon.

Padstow - fantastic part of the world - are you one of Rick Steins minions or one of the 5% who dont work for him?
 

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QUOTE ...football...
's funny several people mentioned that. I found it quite hard to concentrate on composing my reply because I had the Five Live commentary of the MU on in another room and the end of the match was a bit frantic. I don't take that much interest in football but ....

David
 

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QUOTE (frame69 @ 25 Feb 2009, 08:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>go for a pint, watch football avidly, and leer at anything female and busty,

You can do the above aswell as modelling,maybe not the football thing.


You could involve the football if you incorporated a Subbuteo game into your layout.

Seriously though you're not alone. I know exactly where you are coming from. I got back into model rail maybe six seven years ago and tended to model on my own. I found this forum to be a great help when I discovered it as it introduced me to people who were like minded. I didn't really like the local clubs as they tend to have all the issues that accompany group dynamics. I want a hobby to relax and enjoy, not so I can get into a pissing contest with some idiot with a misplaced superiority complex. In all honesty I prefer this forum to any club.

I like going to shows to see the layouts but I don't really like the crowds. Some of the people come over with the smug superior atitude but most are quite nice. If someone comes over as arogant I just walk off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
To everyone else who replied - thanks

I am now reverting to the old fashioned pencil and paper and am scribbling down some ideas...

I will venture forth to another exhibition some time i have no doubt - but i may lurk here for a while if that's ok - and of course ask some seriously dumb questions, once i have worked out what i want to ask.

football and beer are not big with me, and my wife has a 'Vote for Lorraina Bobbit' T-Shirt - so that's not a problem either.


going to keep my first plan small as all the advice - what do you think about Kings Cross?
Although a bit bigger that i think sensible for a first layout i like Camelot Junction which i found on the web... great loft layout with a fair bit of modelling to keep things interested - so something like this on a smaller scale...

Maddkitten QUOTE and quite a few people even let you have a go!! I do if some one wants a go that's what i call friendly!!


Pilotfriend - lots of good questions there - i am going to give them some serious thought...

Again to every one - thanks for all your advice.

Dave
 

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I am a chef but not for rick,I've carried out some maintainence work for him,the last job I did was welding his crab boiler on a scorching hot bank holiday weekend and im still waiting to get paid

Padstow - fantastic part of the world - are you one of Rick Steins minions or one of the 5% who dont work for him?
 

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When we have SL at exhibitions we try to communicate well with the public - one of the reasons it operates itself automatically, so the public see an ever changing stream of trains trundling through.

One things have settled down the operator tends to stand on the public side, available to talk & to distribute lollies to those who have spotted all of the infamous SL Penguins.

Now, time to bitch ;

Why ;
does it often take six people to operate an 8' long plank with one movement every 10 minutes.
do people hold long conversations with each other in front of, & obstructing layouts (& trade stands come to think of it).
do people leave their transport obstructing other people when they have finished unloading.
do people think they have the right to touch layouts & sometime remove clumps of scenery.

& as for backpacks.............
 

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Hi Greenboy and may I firstly say welcome to the hobby and to the MRF in particular.

Being overseas I unfortunately don't have the opportunity to either visit exhibitions or join a club so this forum is my only link with like-minded people. I have, however, had similar experiences with other clubs overseas and can wholly empathise with the experience you had at Saffron Walden. Incidentally I once worked in SW building the new sewage treatment plant but that was about 35 years ago.

Getting back to the subject, and while not excusing the behaviour of some of the exhibitors/visitors you encountered, I can appreciate their reticense in making the first move when their experience has probably been the simple, but dismissive response of "I'm only looking". Based on this forum, it appears to me that most modellers are more than happy to discuss/show off their achievements. All it takes is someone to show an interest. Beware though, you could end up on the receiving end of a highly technical diatribe for the next 2 hours.

Being a firm believer in "if at first you don't succeed" etc. my advice would be, as others have suggested, to read up on the subject so that you can, at least, ask intelligent questions and understand the answers you get. If you can get your layout ideas onto paper, take them along with you and if you see a layout that is slightly similar to your intended model, talk to the modeller concerned and get his advice on what you can/cannot achieve in the space you have available and any technical issues which may need to be overcome. Once the ice is broken I'm sure you will receive some very helpful and friendly advice. The odds are also that if they they can't help you, they will know someone who can.

In conclusion, don't give up visiting exhibitions just on the basis of one bad experience.

Good luck with your modelling and if you need any help or advice don't be afraid to ask here. We don't bite (probably because most of us are too old to do so without risk of breaking our dentures) and are only too willing to help a newcomer to the hobby.
 

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Hi Greenboy

I like you made a comeback to this hobby after a layoff of 50 years last September. I too went to a show here in Melbourne to gain information to help get started again. I like you found that some people on some stands were not too interested in talking, so I moved on and eventually found a Layout"Midsummer Norton" that was being run by about 6 guys. I got talking to one of them who introduced me to another one and soon I was picking their brains and they were only to pleased to help a novice. After about 20 minutes I was given an invitation to join the "Friday Night Crew" at one of their houses to help run a large layout that needs at least 5 people if not 7 to run it properly.
I have learnt heaps in my fortnightly 'Running Nights" and I could'nt be more pleased with the help they have all given me (even though its a DC layout in "OO" Gauge and mine is "N" Gauge DCC) Along with the help from this Forum, both from the members direct and the Search facility you should be Ok, its the friendliest forum I've ever used, never heard or seen any bitching, just plain good advice.
So in conclusion stick in there, and with help from this forum, you like me will soon start to learn that friendly help is here now.

Chin up
Spottydog
 

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QUOTE (GreenBoy @ 24 Feb 2009, 20:54) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So if you have read all through this mad ranting,

Idid, believe me I did and found myself agreeing with large parts of it.

QUOTE (alastairq @ 24 Feb 2009, 21:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>you have an ENTHUSIASM...which is difficult for many to comprehend??

Very very true - a lot of my work colleagues think I'm strange because I don't possess an Xbox 360, but then again would I want to spend the somes they spend on the games?

Mind you it could be worse - it could have been an ology!

QUOTE (frame69 @ 24 Feb 2009, 21:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>leer at anything female and busty,
You can do the above as well as modelling,

You can even sometimes do it at exhibitions

QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 25 Feb 2009, 11:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Why ;
does it often take six people to operate an 8' long plank with one movement every 10 minutes.
do people hold long conversations with each other in front of, & obstructing layouts (& trade stands come to think of it).
do people leave their transport obstructing other people when they have finished unloading.
do people think they have the right to touch layouts & sometime remove clumps of scenery.

& as for backpacks.............

Ah yes some of my favourite rants in there - so I won't add to them.

Regards
 

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QUOTE Very very true - a lot of my work colleagues think I'm strange because I don't possess an Xbox 360, but then again would I want to spend the somes they spend on the games?

we/my son has one.....he has developed an acute enthusiasm for Lord of the Rings wargaming as a result...without the 'gaming' bit........which has progressed through LOTR wargames for our PC...and into teh real world, via Games Workshops LOTR warriors.....he now has an army...somewhat favours the evil side...achieving via the Xbox game, everything that Tolkien failed to envisage, ie a world where Sauron actually won!

It amazes me how he combines the virtual world with the real world, via imagination.....the PC and Xbox have assimilated themselves into the playscene.....yet do not dominate it.

In the meantime, Dad has an ever-increasing painting order......some of those GAmes Workshops figures are quite gory as well...

Imagine a few dozen Uruk-Hai waiting on the platform at Waterloo?
 

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QUOTE Imagine a few dozen Uruk-Hai waiting on the platform at Waterloo?

The trains might run on time?


David
 
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