1/05 MR Cover Image

I was surprised that MR chose to have the adult man working the train throttle w/ the young boy, presumably his son, looking on as a spectator.

I was under the impression that the primary objective of the "World's Greatest Hobby" recruiting campaign was to entice younger participants to become model railroad enthusiasts. Given that model railroading is competing with SONY Playstation, X-Box, and etc. whose main focus is to create direct interaction w/ the 2D video screen via a hand held joy stick, I would think MR should be placing the train throttle in the child's hand so as to create the same image of interacting with the 3D models in front of you.

3D certainly surpasses the impact of 2D. However, and I fear this to be true, MR may need to simulate train wrecks and hideous collisions w/ carnage to overcome the inherent violence of these video games.

IMHO, the target group needs to be either the age group who are not yet old enough to play video games, or the kids who have not yet played video games. I don't think there's any chance that MR can convert video gamers to model railroading. Hence, the campaign needs to rely heavily on visual images [model train related posters, magazine covers, and actual trains [Thomas, etc.] to gain the attention and the enthusiasm of the toddlers. Flood the kindergarten classes and the elementary schools with fun, family like images involving model trains. Create a child level MR magazine like Sports Ilustrated did for children. Place that magazine in school libraries. That's the target group, but the images and the content must place the child in control w/ the parents assuming the spectator role.

Food for thought ... only

Reply to
Matt & Kathleen Brennan
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I was more surprised to see the kid leaning, quite obviously, on the finished scenery....

This is a common thread, about getting kids interested in the hobby, personally, I have always found that model railroading isn't a kids hobby, and trying to lure kids into it is just banging you head against a brick wall. I have a sign at the entrance to my layout room that reads:

"Children: Please take your parents with you when you leave"

As part of a large, local layout tour every year, that is marketed more to the general public than to modelers, I find, very consistently, that people bring their kids out to "see the trains", and before too long, the kids are board with them, and tugging at their parents arms to get going, getting the parents out is another story.

Model railroading as it is practiced today, for the most part, is beyond what kids (younger ones anyway) are capable of, or interested in.

Model railroading will never be able to compete with the video game generation. I still feel the best way to keep the hobby going, is to expose kids to real trains first, the modeling will develop as a natural interest afterward....

Just a thought....

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Er, uh, like missile launching flatcars and boxcars that explode?

Maybe UP will be happy to create a new Scud Buster diseasel paint job and collect royalties on it. And I can almost see for myself the attraction of a Nickel Plate Berksire mounting a 25mm chain gun next to the sand dome, and a 30mm gatling on the tender, mowing down the flat faced zombies aboard the Polar Express.

Reply to
Steve Caple

Port_Kelsey wrote: >>> I was more surprised to see the kid leaning, quite obviously, on the finished scenery....

Great observation. I missed that completely.

I have seen similar scenarios. I am willing to bet that most of these kids have not been introduced to a home layout. Either these parents saw this event as another option before, or after, they walked around the local mall, or they have trains at home and their children are not included.

I do think there's room for video games, model railroading, motorized vehicles, model rocketry, and motorized planes. My experiences place kids in every category w/ some crossover, but not a lot. They latch onto an interest [a hobby] in the same way they gravitate to a specific sport, a specific academic subject, or a topic within an academic subject. It's a combination of exposure and their personality. We could discuss influences on personality and character traits on our way to a doctoral thesis. Instead, I'll limit my opinion to exposure and suggest that this is the way to generate interest in a hobby.

Younger kids will try just about anything before settling on the activity that most appeals to them. Exposure is the key.

Reply to
Matt & Kathleen Brennan

Probably because MR doesn't really believe that the hobby, in all its grandeur, can be fully embraced by minors, who are not the ones who buy MR in the first place. After all, look at all of the coverage that's given to layouts and who own them... mostly retired guys, who have the time and the money to recreate their dreams. So, while MR supports the concept of TWGH, and how it can be a family thing, that doesn't change their marketing strategy.

Frank Eva DCC Models

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DCC Models

Matt & Kathleen...Sorry, but the WGH campaign is most definitely NOT now, nor ever has been, aimed at directly recruiting children or teens into the hobby. The published WGH manifesto clear states that the target audience is men in the

40's to 50's age bracket. The hope is that there would be a trickle-down effect that would expose the children/grandchildren of these individuals to the world of trains. So...the cover of the January '05 MR is true to the WGH's ideas on the matter.

Looking at this plan in a less flattering light one gets the feeling that the real objective is to involve as many new persons who are at or near their peak earning years, so as to sell more model trains rather than actually securing the future of the hobby. Regardless of their actual aim(s), so far the program seems to have been a dismal failure. Perhaps this is the reason for us seeing the sudden appearance (three years into the program) of the WGH travelling train show (first installment next weekend in NJ) and the inovative new Kalmbach book/DVD on building that first layout.


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JBortle wrote: >>> The published WGH manifesto clear states that the target audience is men in the 40's to 50's age bracket.

Thanks for the clarification. In that case, their cover is dead on. I was mistaken. For some reason, I thought the campaign was directly targeting the recruitment of youngsters. The trickle down approach has merit if that is their plan. Though I don't think indirect recruitment is the best method.

I certainly don't blame them for seeking maximum profit. That makes perfect sense. And, there's no doubt that profit has furthered their ability to pursue more innovative technology including DCC and its many features. In a selfish sense, that's great. However, I completely agree with you that securing the hobby's future should be a top priority if they hope to maintain their profitability.

Reply to
Matt & Kathleen Brennan

See? That's why the kid wasn't allowed to operate his dad's train...

Reply to
Mark Mathu

On Sat, 04 Dec 2004 09:13:41 -0500, Matt & Kathleen Brennan purred:

They have been doing that for years and on the rare occasion when the boy had the throttle and female was reduced to a mere object looking on with adoration. Women and kids do not buy MR, older males do, so that is their mindset. They aim their content and imagery at their existing customer base and rarely will they depart from that enough to even allow a picture with a different focus to slip by. That attitude is one of the reasons this hobby is not growing.


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Presumably this is because the adult man represents MR's market. How many children do you know who buy MR?

Not a chance. What possible competition could there be between mass-market electronic games and our hobby? None, I'd say. Model railroading is for adults, not children.

Reply to
Mark Newton

Kids can't afford model trains anymore...

For the most part, neither can adults.

Doug Menke

Reply to
Douglas E. Menke

Douglas=A0E.=A0Menke replied: Kids can't afford model trains anymore... For the most part, neither can adults.

--------------------------------------------------- Very, very true.

Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:

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I can't afford my house, my trucks or car. I can't afford my kids or pets. I can't afford anything so I also have trains that I can't afford. When I was a kid I bought trains that I couldn't afford. As I child I dreamed of owning a red Jaguar XKE that I couldn't afford. As a teenager I dreamed of owning a red Jaguar XKE that I couldn't afford. As a young man I dreamed of owning a red Jaguar XKE that I couldn't afford. Then when I was 26 I bought a red Jaguar XKE that I could afford. Then I didn't want it anymore. Bruce

Reply to
Bruce Favinger

Would have been good to see both of them holding throttles doing a meet at a siding... Jb

Reply to
J Barnstorf

Call me a geek (GEEK!), but one thing that I took away from Star Trek was one episode where Spock notes that "sometimes wanting is more important than having", or words to that effect. I found it profound then and still do.

It's the wanting that keeps us striving for something better. You wanted a red Jag. Once you had it, what else was there? Time for a new target to shoot for!


website URL: members.aol.com/orphantrainlocos/index.html All the world's a stage - and everybody's a critic.

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Or a cornfield meet, to rival the video games.

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Unfortunately, by targeting men in the 40's-50's age bracket (and, alas, I am one), many aspects of the hobby will wither & die. The true craftsmen of a generation or two ago learned and practiced their craft as younger guys. The most original, detailed work on models and whole layouts at the train shows I go to seem to be turned out by guys barely out of their teens. We older guys don't have the time, and can't see as well as we used to, but we tend to have more money - so we buy our stuff ready-made, or as admittedly excellent simple kits. The typical good model railroad today is a skillful arrangement of recognizable parts - "ah, there's a Walthers' building, here's a bridge from so & so etc". A generation ago, it was more, wow, that's an incredible scratchbuilt farmhouse - "yes, thank you, I photographed and measured the prototype myself". We just don't have time enough any more, and with increasingly good products available off the shelf, why should we make the time. It is, however, becoming increasingly expensive as we substitute time with money.

If you think this is a crock, when's the last time you scratchbuilt a locomotive? Okay, a freight car? If new inductees into the hobby join in their 40's and 50's, they'll have fast-forwarded past the stage of the hobby when time is available, cash isn't, and scratchbuilding or at least craftsmanship thrives. (And, yes, there are always exceptions that prove the rule, there are incredible craftsman still churning out wonderful models in their 70's and 80's, but they are indeed exceptions).


Reply to
John M. Day

Alas, how true!

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