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Hi, "nostalgia ain't what it used to be" (sorry, couldn't help myself
).
I went through my 'first phase' of model railways in the late '60s-early 70s, from this distance in time one of the first articles in Railway Modeller that often pops back into my minds-eye was an article - possibly a 'railway of the month' - with Pen Tor Road station from the Dartmoor scene at Pendon as the opening photo.
I was interested in lots of the other usual early teen stuff so although I did have my train set in the attic (we were too poor for a loft...) my buying of RM's and MRC's was intermittent and inevitably I was lured away, my only excuse is the standard "I was young and didn't know any better" (!).
I have since re-acquired some of those earlier magazines and indeed the emphasis then was very much on the 'how to' aspect, even in the layout articles, there was a depth to them that doesn't sit right with modern publishing concepts perhaps.
If you can get to some of the shows you can usually rummage through piles of older mags and not spend too much on them, I have seen some copies of MRJ's (just as one example) going for what seem to me very silly prices on ebay when, when I was last able to get to the NEC Warley show about three years ago, the Wild Swan stand was selling what seemed to be freshly reprinted early editions for the original cover price!
I don't know if it's down to the recent-ish changes in editors, but both RM and MR (to be fair Model Rail at least was doing a regular simple step-by-step thing, but lacking any great depth) do now seem to be doing more extensive 'back to basics' articles recently rather than the 'this is what I did, but not how I did it' type that were frustrating for me to read when I started looking at railway modelling again only a few years back.
Some of the technology has changed radically in the last decade, but many of the basics are exactly the same and the encouragement to really 'have a go' does seem to have been lacking until recently comparing the different eras. Perhaps the reality of forums like this one and how 'hands-on' a lot of the topics are has permeated through to those editors?

Sorry for all the waffle

Regards.
 
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