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Pete Waterman is guest editor in this months Rail Express Modeller. He doesn't seem to have enjoyed Model Rail Scotland in late February "if this is the way the year is to unfold then we are all in deep trouble"

His perception of a problem seems to be bedded in the difference between "box shifters" and "modellers" and that exhibitions should make clear what field they are focusing on. As a "discerning modeller" he wanted to meet "fellow modellers" who apparently will not attend exhibitions of "toys" or swap meets.

Now I have to admit to be vaguely offended at the description "box shifter" as I fall into the category as one of their customers - does this mean I'm not a "discerning modeller" I wonder? Do discerning modellers never go to swap-meets - if so they are surely missing out as I've seen some very fine models there. Also they tend to be populated by middle aged gentlemen having a good old chin wag (nothing wrong with that) but they can't be discerning modellers either then, can they?

Now , I've been going to Model Rail Scotland every year since 1974 and I was an intermittent visitor before then courtesy of my parents . It is the premier show of the year in Scotland and has actually become a bit of an institution not just with modellers but with the general public too. And surely this is the secret of its success, that it caters for a broad swathe of the public, modellers, and indeed, promotes the hobby to people who are not (yet) modellers at all. It would be a shame if it were just modellers , discerning or not, that turned up. I suspect it wouldn't be economically viable either.

I enjoyed the whole show, as I do every year , and congratulate the AMRSS on the fine job it does organising it. I enjoy looking at all the exhibits - yes from "Wee Jimmy" the Scottish equivalent of Thomas, the more mainstream Perths Almond Bridge, Aithrey Park , Paisley Central (fantastic buses)the tram layout (that I finally got a go on- the benefits of having my wee nephew with me on one of the days) through to watching the intricate shunting on "Ferring"(P4) and Barrowmores "O" Johnstone Road. All excellent- so where should the cut be made Pete ?Ferring and Johnstone road in a small show for "discerning modellers", along with JLTRT, leaving the rest for us customers of "box shifters" ? Who else would you allow in?

You say the time has come for tough decisions so that exhibitions connect with their intended audience. Sorry Pete if it ain't broke don't fix it . Model Rail has successfully connected with its intended audience for many a year, modeller and general public alike under one roof . What you are suggesting is elitism and would lead to a closed shop and the inevitable decline of the hobby .

Russell (available at short notice for pop videos)
 

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At the few club shows I go to here in France, there are no "box shifters", but as the shows get bigger, as the venues get larger, and as I suppose the costs increase, you find "box shifters" being invited - I presume to help cover costs and to offer a service to some of the visitors.

I'd be surprised to see big retailers at smaller shows, and I'd miss them at larger shows.
 

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hi russell,

like yourself my folks used to take me to the model rail exhibition as a kid and thats probably 1 reason why im into model railways still today. the show was always a highlight in the year and something i thoroughly looked forward to going.

i dont class myself as a modeller at all!. i just like to see the trains running and whilst i very much appreciate the time, dedication to accuracy not to mention cost that some folks spend achieving that, i still enjoy immensley goint to see all the exhibits from the hornby layout to the smallest most finely and acurrately represented layout. somethign for everyone to see!. and it all comes under the wide spectrum of the hobby of model railways.

i didnt know that pete w didnt like it, well thats fine. he doesnt need to come back to scotland then!. lots of fascinated faces from young, old and everything in between suggests to me that the paying public did enjoy the show. (im sure there will b a few that didnt) but i completely agree with your thoughts on the matter of him wanting to be elitist. well, the model rail show isnt for him then.- did he only come to sell his book anyways? and from my observations on the 3 days i went, he wasnt selling many books!. the younger generation dont even know who he is anyway, so his "celebrity" status of old isnt helping any more to sell his books!. - maybe thats why he didnt like it!.

anyways, i enjoyed the show and look forward to next years!.
 

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Hello all

Whilst I have no personal knowledge of this years Model Rail show in Scotland and so cannot pass judgement on that part of the discussion, as someone with long experience in putting on model railway exhibitions I thought Pete waterman's views in RE were absolutely spot on. I think every exhibition organiser should read Pete's views - I have to say that I have been saying almost exactly the same for 20 odd years - nice to know someone agrees with me!

I didn't find his views elitist just honest and thought provoking. Many years ago I was involved as a trader in IMREX - the big London show put on by the Model Railway Club. For years it struggled because , in my opinion , it didn't know what its market was - general public ? or modeller? The low point was a show in the late 1990s when the trade and the layouts were chosen by two different people. the result was a disaster.

The layouts were all "finescale" with little operation - fantastic for the serious modeller no doubt, but dreadfully boring for the "general public". On the other hand, all the traders were "box shifters" - you couldn't so much as buy a handrail knob!

So if you loved the layouts , you hated the trade and if you loved the trade you hated the layouts - I think that was the last Imrex - point made!

It isn't that "finescale" is better than "toy trains" , it's just that they are different. I am not elitist, and I have everything in my collection from Lone Star and Tri-ang TT to SM32 live Steam and everyting in between - I just know that "chalk and cheese don't mix"
 

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So let's have exhibitions for lovers of chalk, and exhibitions for lovers of cheese!

Let us segregate, then as we all get used to this segregation, let's segregate chalk and cheese down into various layers of acceptability..

Box shifting is something that the famous Mr Waterman would be highly aware of maybe? (i am penniless by the way so please don't sue me and take away my shed that i just treated for damp and am hoping to build a humble yet brilliant N gauge layout in, i bought all the sh*te your company put out in the music industry for years, and am glad to see it go to blummin good use with your extensive 0 gauge layout (not sarcasm i assure you, it's good to see money earnt so poorly, being put to good use!)

He should pay a visit to Meadowlands Model Railway Club, quite the flipside of the coin where money is concerned but twice the passion and interest.

(Disclaimer: Just not happy with this label 'boxshifter' ..when someone's career involved shifting boxes and resulted in a fortune which has been spent on railway modelling, then surely perhaps, going from selling what most people would consider offensive to their ears (although still bought it) to telling modellers what is or is not offensive to their eyes may be a little bit much for the general population

I like exhibitions to be a bit of everything. but above all enjoyable.

Please feel free to tear me to shreds. ....you may commence...

3

2

1

....Now!
 

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Dear oh dear

It seems that most of this seems to stem from a personal dislike of Mr Waterman.

May I venture to suggest this also stems from the great British disease of jealosy - Mr Waterman has been successful, he has tons of money he is able to indulge his hobby - get over it!
 

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QUOTE (paul stapleton @ 7 Apr 2009, 16:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Dear oh dear

It seems that most of this seems to stem from a personal dislike of Mr Waterman.

May I venture to suggest this also stems from the great British disease of jealosy - Mr Waterman has been successful, he has tons of money he is able to indulge his hobby - get over it!

Yep, it's true. I suspect it is pure jealousy, I myself am over it already. On the other flipside, he gave to us Kylie, and for that alone, he is a pure legend


...adding this to bringing us the combination of Kylie Minogue and a huge fantastic layout, is enough for me to forgive any comments that put a pleb like me back in my place.

...a modeller who thanks to this chap missed several years of modelling, thanks to being bent double because of Kylie Minogue!


...I ask you! is this fair!?

...is this just!?
 

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QUOTE (Bromhead @ 7 Apr 2009, 17:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...a modeller who thanks to this chap missed several years of modelling, thanks to being bent double because of Kylie Minogue!


...I ask you! is this fair!?

...is this just!?

Ahh yes but Kylie will be 41 next month (No it doesn't work - nurse the screens)

But seriously I think it is critical that most shows should be aimed across the board as there are so many different aspects of the hobby.

I think Pete probably got it about right.

Regards
 

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Hello Britho

Have you actually read Pete Waterman's editorial? It appears you haven't as as far as I can tell he is advocating the exact opposite of what you just attributed to him.

Or maybe you were too busy thinking about Kylie?
 

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I am also a long standing attendee at Model Rail, indeed i rue the day when it graduated (?) from the McLellan galleries to the "shed"
It is very easy to be critical of Model Rail, but as the premier show in our small country,I do believe that it caters quite well for the majority - from fine scale to tail chasers enthusiasts to Dad and son.
Mr Waterman clearly has the resources to indulge his hobby to the full whereas the rest of us have to save up and wait a while for what we might want. Perhaps his view is jaundiced because few people purchased his book. I did look closely at the book but found it of little interest - clearly a labour of love for Mr waterman but, I suspect not of much interest to ordinary mortals such as myself.
Please, Mr waterman, attend the shows in the South but do not unfairly criticise ours, without really knowing what you are talking about.
Jim
 

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I want to go to shows where there is a mixture of box shifters and dedicated skilled model railway people and I also want everything in between, including not so good layouts. All these thoughts about separating us into different types and catering for just one specific type is hogwash. To me, it is akin to either the Indian caste system of, heaven forbid, the South African apartheid system. Knowing how the P C brigade are in the UK, I probably wouldn't be able to talk to my best modelling mate because he just runs his stuff out of the box while I try to improve things (sometimes successfully !)

Cant we all be friends together, live and let live etc. ?

p.s. I didn't know P W brought us Ms Minogue. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but then I also do't know if she likes model trains.
 

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If it wasn't for the traders, then either the clubs would not be paid their travelling costs OR the entry fee would be MUCH higher

Model Rail Scotland has a good balance of layouts, exhibitions, and traders
The traders are normally allocated to the perimeter, and I think many other exhibitions could learn from this

However I do think more effort could be made to attract layouts, as people can go to the shops at any other time...
At least Model Rail Scotland is now in the larger hall, a few times it has been in the smaller hall and there were loads of complaints about the lack of layouts
 

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*** Bob, its far, far from Hogwash - its what all the better shows actually DO - that is why they are the better shows. Your problem eventually becomes that the skilled modelers and top layouts you want to meet/see will NOT attend the badly focussed shows anyway!

Segregation into prototype, type of clientelle to attract (modeler or general public and the like) and even the targeting of more serious modeler vs trainset brigade makes perfect sense to me as both a modeler and trader.

I, like you Bob, am a long way from the UK exhibition scene, but even here I find that the skilled modeler often avoids shows which are not clearly focussed.

Our own main annual show is a large one in Perth but is frankly extremely boring, with few layouts of merit and a bunch of traders who simply pile boxes high and pretend that the prices they marked up for the show then specially discounted back to normal are something special.

Many of my hands on modeling clients are totally catholic in the way they enjoy the hobby and encourage all levels of modeler freely, but they couldn't be bothered going for the past several years, as there is little of special merit - its a fund raiser par excellence for AMRA (door revenue over 50k) but bloomin boring in many ways, too crowded and far too many unsupervised kids and B all to interest a skilled hands on modeler.

Its a model train show I suppose, NOT a model railway exhibition.

I find more the focussed events a breath of fresh air in the UK - scalefour shows are a great example - no snotty kids to trip over, traders who specialise in the things I want and layouts with enough skill and difference to warrant spending time looking at. I also enjoyed Nottingham last year, but it was sailing close to the wind in some areas and I think benefited from being close date wise to S4 North so some better layouts were close enough for both shows....

So... I am firmly in Pauls camp in this one.... If I am to spend a day travelling to a show and looking at it, the last thing I want to waste my rare UK visit time on is an unfocussed event - I can see all the red and blue box trains and "average trainsets" I want just by dropping into the local shopes or clubs who have no standards and seem to exist for the purpose of playing trains, not modelling railways.

Shows MUST decide if they are there for the great unwashed or the modeler, and arrange themselves accordingly - as a modeler AND a trader its important to make sure that the show and the clients match.... or time and money spent/invested in being there will not be properly rewarded.

Our own "Focus modeling group" puts on events but we do NOT want the trainset brigade looking for a bargain, kids or parents at a loose end - we promote specifically to modelers who want to meet other modelers who care about how they model - and we spend time teaching and showing, not entertaining kids or mums.... Thats OUR choice, and we have no interest in "average" anything other than showing how to exceed or improve it. Interestingly MANY novices and "average modelers" find they are very welcome and enjoy the event as it embraces anyone who has a willingness to learn to do it better, and discourages the know it alls and smart arses who are very quickly told to sit on their tingue or go play somewhere else.

Trainset and model train people to the left, all you modelers of railways here on the right please :) :)

I do find it amusing how defensive many on MRF are about their own less focussed choices if anyone dares to suggest anything that might show clearly there ARE differences in modeling preferences..... While the more skilled remain silent. Perhaps "tedious rivet denial" is in reality far more prevalent and emotively negative than the counting of them?

Richard
 

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Don't know what the bold Pete said - never read the article that's instigated this debate - but if it's any help Model Rail Scotland inspired me to get cracking at modelling again. _ Yes! I'm a born again modeller. I thought the show was good and this time people spoke! Yes they spoke!

You know that situation where you ask someone about an aspect of a layout and they ignore you, grumble something under their breath and carry on shunting. Well that didn't happen for me this year. I was beginning to think it was me over the years but I have discussed this with other people at various times. and they agree about having similar experiences.

So all in all it has proved a positive experience and I am now busy cleaning all my track and engines having happy thoughts. But no I don't think about Kylie, I find her irritating and talentless. To me her success can be totally atributed to the "Moguls" behind her (forgive the pun) including the bold Pete.

Cheers

Alan
 

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Railex in Aylesbury http://www.rdmrc.nildram.co.uk/railex2009.html that I have managed for the last five years is directly aimed at the modeller, plenty of good quality layouts and specilist traders, we have seen our attendence numbers increase year on year and last year saw a massive 28% increase on the previous year, so I guess we must be doing something people like. Some shows who aim at the general public and support mainly box traders seem to have had a drop in attendence.

It seems to me that the general public will support a more finescale type show while a finescale modeller may not support a more general type show.

It also seems that many shows fail to publise their shows, not even putting entries in the free diary dates in the magizines.

David
 

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I am pretty catholic in my tastes. There is one show I get to every year other commitments permit. It's finescale oriented, in addition to layouts there will be a significant number of 'how to' demonstration stands, and the trade presence matches: all specialist suppliers. I can go to more generalist shows and enjoy those too (just been to Ally Pally for example) although I do have to avert my eyes from the second-hand tat mountains lest there be an outburst of unseemly laughter at the prices. As you may gather, the finescale show is the one that has my heart, and does more for my modelling.
 

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Hmm.

At this point , I have an interest to declare. Not that long ago I along with some others took our club's unfinished project to a show. It's modern image. Being modern image it employs a good deal of RTR - there are no 4mm kits for Type 5 diesels that I know of, barring the Kitmaster/Dapol protype Deltic, and you'd probably need to stick a RTR chassis under that. Try running a modern layout without any 66s, 60, 57s, 47s, or 37s... or without second generation DMUs

We did try to get the kit built units into extended action. Unfortunately we are a work in progress, and this does include the stock - extensive running started to show up the second and third level niggles and the unit that would come off intermittantly at some point in the station throat or round the back got removed. Clearly we have some work to do on various items to deliver 100% reliable running

There has been repeated comment in various places about the crime against the public of not running enough trains frequently enough - we kept stuff moving , at times under adversity, and that meant by the latter stages we were running RTR locos and DMUs

To be quite blunt, I suspect the comments about multicoloured versions of the same loco (66s?? 158s? Turbostars??) and RTR stock are aimed squarely at layouts like ours , of which there seem to have been a number at Model Rail Scotland, or at the inevitable TMD. On repeated reading of the various versions, I do find them difficult to take as implying anything other that the view that most modern image layouts are not wanted by the hobby, and exhibition managers shouldn't book 'em because they are toy trains for the kids and drive away proper modellers. Real modellers don't want to know if its not a kit... Hmm

Well , show me a 4mm kit for a class 66 - or indeed a chassis kit for any Bo-Bo or Co-Co diesel , and then we'll talk about it . We can't even manage a kit for a Blue Pullman. In the absence of such things, the use of RTR is the only approach to modelling the last 40 years. Even in the exalted heights of MRJ we find someone extensively re-engineering the transmission of a Bachmann Deltic, not throwing it away and building a kit (And a pretty stunning piece of re-engineering it was too)

I'm also left with the strong impression on rereading the piece (it started as a blog posting) that Pete is suggesting the hobby needs to axe the large shows like Model Rail Scotland , Warley and Ally Pally. The comments on venues, costs, seem to be suggesting that "if you need to get a large gate through the door to pay for the venue so you need layouts with RTR and traders selling it, then go somewhere smaller and cheaper, you won't need the gate, axe the RTR side , exclude the general public and focus exclusively on the needs of the self-styled "serious modeller" ". In other words, the only road forward for exhibitions is that represented by Scaleforum and ExpoEM, and that is what all shows bar the local church hall should be.

I really don't think this is a viable way "forward", or that the hobby would be well served trying it

With the very greatest respect to Pete Waterman, I think he is speaking very much from the perspective of a 7mm kit manufacturer in a scale which has until recently been virtually devoid of RTR . "No RTR please , its beyond the pale/not what the hobby is about" makes no sense in 4mm

There is this delusion that there is something out there called "the great unwashed" or "the kids" or "the families" who make up the bulk of the gate at many shows, and that they are not really part of the hobby. The reality is that 80-90% of the gate at almost all shows are people already in the hobby to some degree , so we are in practice talking about excluding a large slice of the hobby - a substantial proprtion say of the members of this forum .I have an awkward suspicion that I might be viewed as part of "the great unwashed" whom shows shouldn't bother catering for - even though in other contexts folk might see me as dangerously finescale.

In short, while the ideas might seem to make sense within the parameters of 7mm finescale (and there is not much non-finescale 7mm) , they won't hold water in terms of the hobby as a whole
 

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Spot on Ravenser!


I wouldn't class myself as one of the great unwashed (as i wash regularly, but that is my business.)

Our club will be exhibiting next year alongside more established clubs with finescale and other absolutely fantastic layouts, but i suspect that if modellers of the same mind on this subject, who come across as elitist fascists (this my opinion, feel free to tear me to shreds over it) were to see our clubs layouts, the kids layouts and the adults, i wonder if they might surcome to nausea and start vomiting!

I am certain that railway modelling and everyone involved in the hobby reflects greatly most elements of society, which in this day and age is a bit more close knit. The future of railway modelling and exhibiting is bright i think and if elitist fascists want to look down their nose then.. well, that is their right to do so i suppose, reflects poorly on them, but they generally have thick skins and deep pockets, so let them alienate themselves if it makes them happy? ...while the rest of the world carries on making models, buying and running rtr merchandise and enjoying the hobby.
 

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Sorry, that's it for me - I thought we ere having an intelligent discussion about the future of exhibitions.

I think the last email which talks of fascists brings the whole concept of these forums into disrepute - it seems that some in our hobby have huge chips on their shoulders very sad.
 

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One critical factor that I perhaps didn't make entirely clear is that it isn't even about the standard of modelling . The only route to a production Deltic in 4mm starts with a blue box (unless you want an inferior result and start with second hand Lima). There is no other way of having the loco : you have to work with a RTR model. Even in top level P4. The same applies to classes 66 and 60: if you want a 66, to any standard in 4mm , you start by buying a blue box (unless you're mad enough to buy a Limby reissue 66). For a 60, you get a red box

Same goes for classes 170, 158, 153

Now try modelling the contemporary scene without requiring any of those. You won't get far

So from where I sit, the argument that seeing blue and red boxes , and their contents , will mean that modellers won't go to the show makes no sense - unless you are arguing that real modellers don't want to see anything after 1968. And I certainly don't think Pete Waterman believes that at all - there are plenty of diesel kits in the JLRT range.

I hope that the club project will be finished to a decently high standard and it will certainly require quite a lot of modelling , even quite a bit of scratchbuilding. Shake the box it aint. I wouldn't call it toy trains as opposed to railway modelling. But substantial doses of stuff that originally came out of blue and red boxes are a critical component.

I just don't think Pete Waterman's argument actually works in a 4mm context - and 4mm is the majority, perhaps the substantial majority, of the hobby
 
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