Terry T's /bons mots/ = joy, meaning, and purpose!

Folks:
I just read the June MR and guess what -- Terry Thompson has given a new dimension to my hobby! I now know that the true
purpose of model railroading is to build a realistic right-of-way to run my purchased, unmodified $400 engines and $50 cars in! Yay! Now I won't have to sit up late, banging my head against a wall, wondering what to do. I'm glad this new idea was discovered, because I would hate to be in the position people were in from 1934 to 2005, snarling and grunting in a dark, dank cellar, 3-square file in hand, building trains and not knowing what to do with them. Graaaaaugh. Braiiiiinz.
Never mind that my 'Boys' Book of Model Railroading' from the dark, dark ages has a very realistic R-O-W profile, ditches and all, which we seldom see reproduced today. I don't expect Terry to read that, or any of the other 1940s books I've read which explain in huge detail how to make a realistic railroad without easily ploppable $150 structures. But can't the guy even read the back issues of his own magazine? Grrrrrr. I think I will go on banging my head against the wall after all...
*smack*
*smack*
*smack*
*smack*
sense of history...grr...
*smack*
Cordially yours: Gerard P.
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On 15 May 2006 10:10:27 -0700, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu instead replied:

I understand what you are implying here but think of it like this. You spend at least some of your time trying to convince the next generation of model railroaders that your hobby is not just running trains around in boring loops after setting them up on the living room floor. You are probably not in their presence when they finally realize that it is time to add some dimension to their train interest and follow your advice to buy a magazine. They learn bits and pieces here and there in those magazines. Some of the most obvious things to you are brand new to them.
A magazine editor has to cater to the needs of all modelers, not just the ones with years of experience. The beginners need to see the possibilities but often don't have access to that 40 year old magazine that advises them on how to build a switching yard in a small space. Most prototype switching yards are literally miles long with some large enough to assemble a 400+ car train. Doing that in HO in a basement would require one huge house above it.
The new hobbyists need to learn how and we won't always be around to teach them. -- Ray
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Ray wrote:
"I understand what you are implying here but think of it like this. You spend at least some of your time trying to convince the next generation of model railroaders that your hobby is not just running trains around in boring loops after setting them up on the living room floor."
Terry Thompson's MR doesn't even try to do this. When I was a teen coming up in model railroading back in the early 1980s I tried painting and decaling my own equipment, scratchbuilding and kitbashing, building kits that weren't shake the box and all the other stuff because MR said that's what model railroading was about. The mesage was that you should strive to improve your skill level in the hobby.
There's none of that today. Thompson sends the message that it's okay to wallow in mediocracy by the choice of articles and what they present. They did a article a few years ago about putting a laser cut wood flat car deck on a flat car. I mean that's what the kit has INSTRUCTIONS for.
"You are probably not in their presence when they finally realize that it is time to add some dimension to their train interest and follow your advice to buy a magazine. They learn bits and pieces here and there in those magazines. Some of the most obvious things to you are brand new to them."
Not if you don't put them in the magazines. The message should be you can build this NOT you can buy this. I'd even be satisfied with them offering both options. You can buy this detail kit or you can build the same thing yourself by doing this.
"A magazine editor has to cater to the needs of all modelers, not just the ones with years of experience."
They're not catering to the needs of any modelers the way they're currently presenting the magazine, they're catering to the needs of the manufacturers.
"The beginners need to see the possibilities but often don't have access to that 40 year old magazine that advises them on how to build a switching yard in a small space. Most prototype switching yards are literally miles long with some large enough to assemble a 400+ car train. Doing that in HO in a basement would require one huge house above it. The new hobbyists need to learn how and we won't always be around to teach them."
They could update and republish the articles in books. They do claim to be a PUBLISHING company.
Eric
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On 16 May 2006 01:26:43 -0700, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and
instead replied:

Without their advertising, you'd pay $60.00 per month for a magazine. I'm glad they cater to them and sprinkle some information in the middle of the ads. -- Ray
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snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com wrote: [...] The message should be you

[...]
I tried to (gently) impart your message to a 12 year-old and his Dad (who had the wallet with the cash.) They weren't interested. He wanted things that ran straight pout of the box. I did persuade them to try a simple plastic structure kit, but only because I didn't have any HO built-ups in stock. They were visiting family in the area, so they may be back (we had a good time talking trains.) But I'll bet they still want just ready to run and built-ups.
You are shooting the messenger. The hobby is changing, because people's demands and desires are changing. I, too regret the passing of the detailed scratchbuilding article with all those lovely drawings that MR used to publish. I too prefer to spend time running trains; I don't build all those someday kits I've got in my private stash. (I tried selling some of the wood car kits on this forum and elsewhere: not a nibble.)
In fact, there are many how-to-build it articles in MR. There are even more in RMC. But MR outsells RMC, both by subscription and on the stand. There are a number of mags devoted to scratchbuilding etc. They have minuscule circulations. That should tell you something about the actual market.
Some further anecdotal evidence:
Have you noticed that Bowser hardly ever advertises its loco kits anymore? You know, those nice diecast steamers, for which you could get those loverly detail kits?
Walthers used to sell pretty good passenger car kits. Those disappeared. Why, if there really so many builders out there? Then interest in passenger trains revived, and Walthers offered really nice plastic kits. Now they offer pretty well only ready to run. Do you really believe they would do better if they offered more kits?***
Face it: no matter how much you claim that the manufacturers are missing the essence of the hobby, they make what sells. They watch what moves off their shelves and what doesn't. So do the hobby shops, whether bricks and mortar or online. The periodic grousing about those wicked manufacturers and magazine editors who don't promote the One True Hobby is pointless. It doesn't even help you to lower your blood pressure: the more you grouse, the grumpier you'll be.
Let it ride. Enjoy what you enjoy, and let others enjoy what they enjoy.
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Actually I think I heard that this month RMC actually had a larger page count then MR. As I don't take MR I didn't have anything to compare to. If correct this would be the first time in history. Does this mean that RMC sold more, I don't know but it might be headed that way.
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Ray wrote:
"I understand what you are implying here but think of it like this. You spend at least some of your time trying to convince the next generation of model railroaders that your hobby is not just running trains around in boring loops after setting them up on the living room floor."
Terry Thompson's MR doesn't even try to do this. When I was a teen coming up in model railroading back in the early 1980s I tried painting and decaling my own equipment, scratchbuilding and kitbashing, building kits that weren't shake the box and all the other stuff because MR said that's what model railroading was about. The mesage was that you should strive to improve your skill level in the hobby.
There's none of that today. Thompson sends the message that it's okay to wallow in mediocracy by the choice of articles and what they present. They did a article a few years ago about putting a laser cut wood flat car deck on a flat car. I mean that's what the kit has INSTRUCTIONS for.
"You are probably not in their presence when they finally realize that it is time to add some dimension to their train interest and follow your advice to buy a magazine. They learn bits and pieces here and there in those magazines. Some of the most obvious things to you are brand new to them."
Not if you don't put them in the magazines. The message should be you can build this NOT you can buy this. I'd even be satisfied with them offering both options. You can buy this detail kit or you can build the same thing yourself by doing this.
"A magazine editor has to cater to the needs of all modelers, not just the ones with years of experience."
They're not catering to the needs of any modelers the way they're currently presenting the magazine, they're catering to the needs of the manufacturers.
"The beginners need to see the possibilities but often don't have access to that 40 year old magazine that advises them on how to build a switching yard in a small space. Most prototype switching yards are literally miles long with some large enough to assemble a 400+ car train. Doing that in HO in a basement would require one huge house above it. The new hobbyists need to learn how and we won't always be around to teach them."
They could update and republish the articles in books. They do claim to be a PUBLISHING company.
Eric
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Ray wrote:
"I understand what you are implying here but think of it like this. You spend at least some of your time trying to convince the next generation of model railroaders that your hobby is not just running trains around in boring loops after setting them up on the living room floor."
Terry Thompson's MR doesn't even try to do this. When I was a teen coming up in model railroading back in the early 1980s I tried painting and decaling my own equipment, scratchbuilding and kitbashing, building kits that weren't shake the box and all the other stuff because MR said that's what model railroading was about. The mesage was that you should strive to improve your skill level in the hobby.
There's none of that today. Thompson sends the message that it's okay to wallow in mediocracy by the choice of articles and what they present. They did a article a few years ago about putting a laser cut wood flat car deck on a flat car. I mean that's what the kit has INSTRUCTIONS for.
"You are probably not in their presence when they finally realize that it is time to add some dimension to their train interest and follow your advice to buy a magazine. They learn bits and pieces here and there in those magazines. Some of the most obvious things to you are brand new to them."
Not if you don't put them in the magazines. The message should be you can build this NOT you can buy this. I'd even be satisfied with them offering both options. You can buy this detail kit or you can build the same thing yourself by doing this.
"A magazine editor has to cater to the needs of all modelers, not just the ones with years of experience."
They're not catering to the needs of any modelers the way they're currently presenting the magazine, they're catering to the needs of the manufacturers.
"The beginners need to see the possibilities but often don't have access to that 40 year old magazine that advises them on how to build a switching yard in a small space. Most prototype switching yards are literally miles long with some large enough to assemble a 400+ car train. Doing that in HO in a basement would require one huge house above it. The new hobbyists need to learn how and we won't always be around to teach them."
They could update and republish the articles in books. They do claim to be a PUBLISHING company.
Eric
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Ray Haddad wrote:

Ray:
Correct. That's not really the problem I have with TT and the magazine he edits. Besides, to be fair, there has been a modest improvement in MR's published articles since TT took over -- there actually have been more construction articles, unless I am mistaken. I /would/ like to see less repetition of basics and more advanced projects, but perhaps they aren't getting submissions -- I can't fault them for that either, though I could do with a little more content and perhaps a little less graphical slickness.
No, what sends me into fits of craniomural percussion is the lacking sense of history. "Decades ago we didn't have x y z", when the truth is that we did, and if TT would read up on his own back issues he'd discover that. Heck, I wasn't around then either. Libraries are your friend. Still, it's a free country, and if TT wants to keep on recycling the same few tired lines about how these are the best days of the hobby and everything is shiny happy, without really analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of our era, I suppose it's his right, but it's still ungood duckspeak.
Hal Carstens is a good example of somebody in the model RR press with a well-developed sense of history (at least where MRRing is concerned, and as far as I can tell from his RMC articles). He does occasionally err in the opposite direction, but at least he knows where we've been. I don't know why, but RMC seems a lot more balanced and 'intelligent' than MR these days -- how very odd.
MR can't do without a sense of history if they want to be progressive. Without history you don't make progress - you just keep rediscovering the same things over and over and over and over and over again.
Cordially yours: Gerard P.
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lot more balanced and 'intelligent' than MR these days < RMC is picking up the newer generation of the hobby today. If you look carefully (we will use hair color as the choice of determination) you will see a younger crowd reading RMC because it caters to history and accuracy. The younger modelers are not at NMRA meets or conventions, they are at Prototype Modelers conventions or meetings. They are modeling history as it's a challenge and requires research. They don't just build a wood kit anymore, they build resin or styrene and they build it to represent a real item, not generic. They are into electronics as they grew up with a computer in their hand. These are the things that challenge the younger crowd today. If you don't believe the above go to the different meets and look at the hair color<VBG>!
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How are you defining young? I going to celebrate my 25th year in the hobby; I was about 15 when I started.
Most of the people at the train club I was a member of are either about my age or considerabably older.
The people there tend to be lacksadaisical about prototype practise. Of course it doesn't help that it's a freelanced road. I've noticed the modern era people are less into accuracy, at least the ones I've met, which is surprises me since what they model is sitting right outside.
Even the ones who do follow prototype practices they tend to go for the spirit of the practice rather than actual practise.
The there's my friend who likes to run trains of all one roadname from the locomotive to the caboose. He also collects Bev-Bel. I've been trying to turn him on to Branchline Yardmaster box cars to no avail. [sighs]
How does this hair thing work? As I don't actually have much left anymore.
Eric
Jon Miller wrote:
"If you look carefully (we will use hair color as the choice of determination) you will see a younger crowd reading RMC because it caters to history and accuracy.
The younger modelers are not at NMRA meets or conventions, they are at Prototype Modelers conventions or meetings. They are modeling history as it's a challenge and requires research. They don't just build a wood kit anymore, they build resin or styrene and they build it to represent a real item, not generic.
They are into electronics as they grew up with a computer in their hand. These are the things that challenge the younger crowd today. If you don't believe the above go to the different meets and look at the hair color<VBG>!"
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On 16 May 2006 05:53:21 -0700, I said, "Pick a card, any card" and snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu instead replied:

Funny you should make that comment as I was going to advise you to do just that if you wanted to make a difference. Not everybody can write well but that's what editors are for. Give it a go. -- Ray
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I've not had the pleasure to read about Terry Thompson's latest insights. After four decades of being a monthly reader of MR I finally let it go with the May issue. As for Terry Thompson he appears to be about as deep as a rain puddle on a concrete drive way. Now how soon do you think Woodland Scenics, Walthers or someone else will come up with some instant R-O-W ? Bruce
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