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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone
I don't normally complain, but.....
I am a subscriber for the Model Rail magazine, My opinion is becoming that
Its editorial content is getting tired.
The design needs looking at
and the paper is so thin it is hardly quality.
Should I continue or swap to another? Perhaps others diagree. I have noticed it before.
GH
 

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If you are unhappy with a publication then perhaps it is time to change. I don't think it matters what field it is in there is no excuse for the use of poor paper. (except for reducing costs)

My best advice would be to take a look at other mags and then decide.

Regards
 

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QUOTE and the paper is so thin

I bought Model Rail (for the Pullman articles) and Hornby magazine this month and read them back to back. The contrast in paper quality between the two was very noticeable. I prefer the Hornby and if that's where the 15pence in cover price goes, I think it's worth it.

David
 

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As a subscriber I must admit to being a little dissapointed with the quality of the articles of late like rail express they seem to be going down the road of padding the reviews out too much with less quality modelling articles. I don't model the transition era so I won't subscribe to Hornby magazine but I do buy the odd one simply because they do seem to produce some useful articles on modelling technique

I am probably one of the few people who Don't buy magazines for the reviews but it something i am becoming very aware of especially when in the same week i received the most recent edition of Update (Demu magazine) and i think it was definitely much better than either model rail or rail express
 

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QUOTE (mos-ki-toe @ 25 Apr 2008, 14:31) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Everyone
I don't normally complain, but.....
I am a subscriber for the Model Rail magazine, My opinion is becoming that
Its editorial content is getting tired.
The design needs looking at
and the paper is so thin it is hardly quality.
Should I continue or swap to another? Perhaps others diagree. I have noticed it before.
GH

Interesting comment - I was discussing this with several other MR readers this week. It has had a recent "design upgrade" but none of us felt it was an improvement. It has also changed ownership recently which may explain the lower quality paper and some reduction in proof reading. Did you notice that the March index page was headed February and some of the index page numbers were wrong?

When it first came out it was streets ahead of the others but they have gradually improved and perhaps MR has got a little complacent?

A challenge then for the new editor.
 

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it was my new years reoloution to stop buying so many mags. i got this months model rail as it was chris leigh's last. sort of an end of an era for brittish model rail mags.

I thought generally this months mag was quite good.

I really didnt like the editorial. He spoke of the advances that have been brought about in the industry and gives magazines some of the credit for it. i'm afraid that i hold the major magazines partly responsible for the poor quality of models we had during the 80's and 90's. Poor models went through on the nod rather than actually being reviewed. surely the editors are to blame for this?

Peter
 

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I also thought this months edition was OK, with a reasonable amount of reading. On the other hand , I thought the Pullman edition was poor , and had a good look through this one before buying.

The paper is terrible. True also of Rail magazine- I find the print comes off on my fingers.

The response to the Stansfied email was predictable and did nothing to stimulate the debate on cost and manufacturers. Disappointing but not really suprising from Model Rail.

I do think that the mag has lost its way a bit . It seems uncertain what to do. Should it emulate the success of Hornby mag and concentrate on a particular era . With the demise of MRM maybe there is an opportunity. Interestingly in one of the "What next" comments its saying look out for more on post 1968 British railway subjects. So maybe thats it then . A difficult one as it could alienate what I still think is the bulk who model pre 1968.

QUOTE I really didnt like the editorial. He spoke of the advances that have been brought about in the industry and gives magazines some of the credit for it. i'm afraid that i hold the major magazines partly responsible for the poor quality of models we had during the 80's and 90's. Poor models went through on the nod rather than actually being reviewed. surely the editors are to blame for this?

Peter

Completely agree Peter. Have written before about the "chummy " attitude prevailing amongst model railway editors and manufacturers which means the manufacturers have been hardly challenged in the past. Thankfully this is now changing....but mainly due to the internet

Russell
 

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I am have been a subscriber to MR for about three years now. While this months has been ok, in general I feel it has been in a steady decline for the past 5 or 6 months. Having just won an ebay auction with the first 11 Hornby magazines once they arrive I may consider switching my subscription to them. However, as mos-ki-toe said, it will feel like betraying an old firend.....

Rob
 

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No at the end of the day magazines are there to provide a service (and make money) subscribers do not owe them any loyalty so if they fail to deliver the goods so to speak change if their readership declines then they will have to improve
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I remember Backtrack magazine which was originally printed on high quality paper. I have kept all of these from the late 80's and 90's. I really stopped buying them after the paper got thinner. And I no longer look at it at all. But the readable content seems to carry on. With the latest Model Rail, ok its held back by the paper quality, but the style and images etc are, I think, poor. The images seem too dark. It is no longer driving rather it is following with content.

Its best summed up by...when I was younger, I used to look forward to the monthly Railway Modeller and have kept many from the sixties. Model Rail was the same for some time , but has been replaced by Hornby Magazine, whose content , style and images make a good quality read. My apologies to all at Model Rail if you are reading this but it doesn't mean the magzine is dead in the water.
I do think they have been pushing their luck with certain things. For instance the Hornby 2008 announcements. I received my copy well before 31st December, in fact just like I did the year before. Its almost as though they were the wide boys of the model railway publishing. Some call it the Lad's magazine but I am certainly not that.

I also like reading Pat Hammond's on line magazine.

I have also realised I have been a lurker in chief with Model Rail Forum, something to do with never remembering my password. I might even try adding some of the Icons etc
Graham
 

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As a long term subscriber to MR, I echo many of the above comments;

The photographs are very dark, the paper is VERY poor, it has been poor for a couple of years, but now seems to have got even worse.

The one area that I find really disappointing is the reviews. MR coined the phrase 'If it's a kit we build it, if it's RTR we take it apart!
Well the trouble is, in the past year to 18 months there has been a distinct lack of taking RTR models apart, I used to find it very interesting, especially with a view to DCC decoder installlation, and any problem areas. It is also good to see the quality of the mechanism of products, before parting with the cash.

Also currenlty thinking of switching my sub to Hornby Mag.

Regards
Ashley
 

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The poor quality paper was a decision by EMAP not long before they sold out, and from what I've heard, not exactly welcomed with open arms by the editorial team. Now the magazine division of EMAP has a new owner , I suppose there might be a possibility thinking could change. If we are viewing model railway magazines with a bibliophile's eyes, there's no doubt Hornby Magazine runs MRJ a very respectable second as a piece of bookmaking

One magazine has released Hornby's new years announcements prematurely every year for at least the last 4 - and it isn't Model Rail

As far as emulating MRM , there's a problem. Apparently there is very little in the way of specialist modern image/ Diesel and Electric advertisers. There was comment in a recent BRM that it was the failure to attract adverts that killed MRM , and looking at the final edition which had about 8 pages of adverts, I can believe it. In any case traditional magazine publishing wisdom seems to be that you have to cover all (major) bases to get sufficient volume sales

I don't have a subscription to Model Rail but buy on an issue by issue basis. That said in the last couple of years it does seem to be satronger in content than it was in the past and I find myself buying it a lot more often than in years gone past
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Other magazines may have jumped the gun with 2008, but Model Rail made such a fuss over not releasing the information. I am not sure they proof read much as there are so many silly (and in the case of Heljan not so silly ) mistakes.
The paper is an issue but the style and design is very poor. Its very competetive out there and they need to sharpen their pencil.
Graham
 

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QUOTE Other magazines may have jumped the gun with 2008, but Model Rail made such a fuss over not releasing the information.

Yes its the duplicity of the magazine that gets me. They have this pious attitude of knowing best and being for the enthusiast yet at the sametime are happy to have announcements suppressed so they can announce it first. In the age of the internet an embargo is just absurd. Imagine not getting the football scores on Saturday night because the FA has an arrangement with the Sunday newspapers !

And then there was the coverage itself- little more than a cut and paste job on the press release. Doug here had much more information- but of course could not release it until 01/01/08!!!!

There were interesting snippets in there, like the latest Duchess having fixed pony truck, corridors on the stanier coaches etc- but you would have looked in vain for any information from model rail- despite the fact they attend the press day.

Remember the previous year when Hornby told us all locos would come pre DCC chipped and would run perfectly OK on DC. It took emails to MREmag to get that issue brought up- deafening silence from Model Rail.

Really it is about time we had a magazine that stood up for the model rail consumer -not just pander to the manufacturers on the basis that we've never had it so good. If Model Rail are looking for a new direction- maybe thats it!

Russell
 

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QUOTE (rb277170 @ 28 Apr 2008, 19:02) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Really it is about time we had a magazine that stood up for the model rail consumer -not just pander to the manufacturers on the basis that we've never had it so good. If Model Rail are looking for a new direction- maybe thats it!

Russell
Diffecult to do so when one of your major sources of income is the advertising from the manufactures themselves - what price any magazine without the advertisements ?
 

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Brian's made a very valid point.

The manufacturers dislike the Internet forums because they can't control the content. They believe that they are run by part-time geeks and populated by opinionated computer junkies. I have heard with my own ears one of the big UK bosses slate forums as a worthless fad.

If you see how much is paid over the year in advertising in a glossy magazine, you see how much leverage there is by the manufacturer and possible control of the editorial content. The magazines can't afford to rub the manufacturers up the wrong way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I didn't mention reviews at a cause of concern. In fairness to Model Rail they did mention the rebuilt royal scot's chinmney. Surely the worst offender for reviews is the Railway Modeller. They seem to mention the obvious....Its in blue....I remember this class.... very nice etc.
Graham
 

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QUOTE (Doug @ 29 Apr 2008, 07:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The manufacturers dislike the Internet forums because they can't control the content. They believe that they are run by part-time geeks and populated by opinionated computer junkies. I have heard with my own ears one of the big UK bosses slate forums as a worthless fad.
I only buy OO product if it is a decent model. Usually I find that out on the internet. Nine times out of ten the purchase will be a Bachmann product.
QUOTE (mos-ki-toe @ 29 Apr 2008, 08:33) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Surely the worst offender for reviews is the Railway Modeller. They seem to mention the obvious....Its in blue....I remember this class.... very nice etc.
I only buy a mag when there is some useful content inside. Usually I find that out on the internet. Nine times out of ten it will be Model Rail, although that is biased by MRJ's absence from high street retail premises.

My regular purchase of a railway modelling magazine ceased in the early 1970's, when the extent of the editorial weakness dawned on me. With family living in both continental Europe and the USA I could see the better and still improving product quality in HO, compared to UK OO. The magazines were part of a consensus that all the UK RTR model railway market required were crude toys: real modelling meant making it yourself. It took an enterprising manufacturer to kick off the progress we are now enjoying in UK RTR, the magazines have followed this progress rather than lead it would be my perception.

Confining 'what magazines could do better' to reviewing, there is scope to beat the internet, by consistent reviewing against a standard. Rate each model in categories like dimensional fidelity, detail application, appearance and finish, constructional quality, mechanical performance, provision for DCC. Maintain a 'league table' of progress for the industry and the manufacturer, to assess on a release by release basis where they are moving forward, marking time, slipping backwards. I have yet to meet anyone in selling who didn't like a league table.
 
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