What's Right OR Wrong With Model Railroading???

BarstowRick Nov 25, 2018

  1. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    As I was clicking the "like" button on several posts in this weekend's photo fun thread, I thought about what drives me to do that. Fact is, I probably wouldn't choose to do what Josta, Russell, or SP Wolf have done, but I really do like it. Everyone has a different take on the hobby and a different set of memories and experiences that find their way into our modeling. Even though I would do something different myself, it's all there for the rest of us to consider and enjoy.
     
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  2. Eilif

    Eilif TrainBoard Member

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    I become wary anytime I hear folks say the hobby "Is" or "Isn't" or "should" or "shouldn't". I've got no problem if folks call my trains "models" (as they would have been 40 years ago) or "toys" (as they might be referred today). I have no problem and fully encourage those who wish to enjoy model railroading in the most serious possible manner so long as they don't belittle those who hew (as I do) more towards a view reflected by CS Lewis' words “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

    What's wrong with just wanting to have a "pretty layout"? I've got little interest in computer control or design or extra-accurate anything. Emphasizing the advanced aspects of the hobby is a fine idea. However, if the mainstreaming of geek culture has shown us anything, it's that adults are less worried than ever about appearing to enjoy/collect/engage/game media and products that formerly would have been seen as kids stuff.

    As for the kids shoes ad, I think the receiver may have confused it's intention. It's not unreasonable to assume that those purchasing high-end model trains have young children or -perhaps most likely- grandchildren. I'm sure that Boston got some $ for adding that in and anytime we can get other companies to see value in model railroading -even if just as an advertising avenue- and put money towards that, it seems like a good idea to me.
     
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  3. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    What's Wrong?
    I have a list but it points mostly at some of the manufacturers who delivered less than... quality train equipment. Starting in the 60's through to the 90's. Yes, I've been around that long. I've seen changes and am all kinds of pleased with what I see today and wondered out loud what took them so long?

    Toys/Models are all the same thing in my book. Not ashamed of either one. That may be interpreted as a Oxy Moron and that's ok with me.

    How about what's Right?
    We have one of the most fascinating hobbies being expressed in more ways than I can count.
    Everything from Narrow Gauge to the Big Boys on the 1:1 foot scale.
    Realistic to Fantasy, Freelance to Prototypical train layouts. Variety...do I dare say unlimited or unbridled variety?

    Every train video I watch has a different emphasis.

    Oh there is things wrong. Most of us will no likely be found arguing the same point at one time or the other. Starting with: I wish they wouldn't... What's wrong with them? Why did they make that? What we really need is. At times it appears no one is listening.

    Wrong use of railroad terminology and worst yet model railroad terminology.
    If you are from Britain certain verbiage used there is not necessarily correct to describe American Rails and etc. All of that considered that's only a minor part of the whole picture.

    So, What's Right or Wrong with Model Railroading?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  4. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    I did not imply that being extremely 'whatever' including playful and what some would call 'childish' is wrong in any way for the individual, but it is wrong for the marketing department. Sorry if i come across to strongly but I spent 7 years studying product manufacturing and marketing, from professionals in the field of toy design among other things, and most importantly to that conversation I was instructed by professionals in modern concepts on selling products and understanding market segments. Sorry I am not making it up and not inventing it, but go ahead and fire away at the messenger. It is wrong, and saying a user that received a printed marketing advertisement that invoked negative feelings, that somehow that user/consumer is wrong, is the kind of thing that makes me cringe in how utterly unprofessional an opinion it is. It just is and I am sorry if that sounds harsh but I spent the time with the actual people that designed and marketed millions of units to learn about it, and that is there opinion they told me should be valued. I share it with model railroading not to be annoying, but to help because I believe it. If it it is going to be just refuted from a standpoint that is inexplicable to me without some description of why (and I thought this was going to be without personal attacks so woo woo woo?), if the response is the unprofessional 'I wouldn't be bothered and consumers just like me are good enough for model railroading' I will just go away.

    I am planning mountain bikers doing a jump over the track on a running conveyor, not prototypical, just fun and playful. I got no issue with anyone fun and implying I do by attacking my views and saying that is what I meant is not accurate.

    Edit: I really did not have any issue with it myself other than thinking 'if it were me I would not imply age range in my marketing, I would focus that on customers through the webpage in a much more controlled way where I can get metrics on the reaction from my web management services'. It was not any issue to me, except for the conversation I discovered about 'shrinking market' (which is in relation to other interests of consumers, and there is an issue if your base is moving out of the market as they are your primary advertiser as well).
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  5. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    N Scale Ken, has his say and that's Okay with me. He represents a very vital part of the hobby. So, lets hope marketers are paying attention.

    Marketing is a strange animal and can be driven by the desires of the el-presidente of any specific company or by monitoring the market. The trouble with the market which is you and I...we can't agree on anything. So the next question is if I make a Norther Pacific passenger train how many potential customers will buy it? Unless the market warrants it you aren't likely to see such a train in any scale. One of the reasons they ask you to Reserve or Pre-order. A false barometer, as most buyers are finicky buyers and if the train that is delivered doesn't meet the buyers expectatons as in his or her perspective, it's a no deal and the seller can end up stuck with it. Saw that happen time and again at a Hobby Shop I worked for.

    Then the bottom feeders come along watching the price de-escalate until it finally reaches a low they can afford. I ought to know because I'm one of those. I can't afford the new equipment right out of the box. Not going to happen. Which could be a, What's Wrong with Model Railroading. Still, I have pretty much all the things I want. Need is a different story. Do we need model trains and that's a subject for another thread?

    Enjoy the weekend.
     
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  6. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Ken, you're right about marketing. In a way, Thomas has hurt this hobby more than it helped .
     
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  7. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    So very true. I have a friend who once owned a shop and he had significant inventory from "customers" that would special order products and not claim them when they arrived. One fellow even refused to pay for flawless custom painting work on two locomotives, using a phony excuse that something was incorrect on them. People get starry-eyed and somehow forget that actual payment is involved.
     
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  8. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    We say internet businesses have advantages, but do we admit that one of the disadvantages brick-and-mortars have is us?
     
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  9. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Good point. After having been left holding the bag, my friend began a new policy to collect a pre-payment on special orders and some customers would be offended! Ya just can't win sometimes.
     
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  10. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    The brick and mortar stores also have high levels of shoplifting. I can’t blame this on the younger generation as I have seen more octogenarians try to five finger discount, at hobby shops and train shows.
     
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  11. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I recall a number of stolen item alerts in Model Railroader magazine in various issues long ago. I think one item was an L&NE covered hopper, beautifully scratchbuilt in HO and stolen during an open house at someone's home layout. The announcement greatly upset me, to think that someone would do such a thing. Did the thief plan to run it only with the curtains drawn? What a creep.
     
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  12. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    At least you know someone who steals your trains is also a model railroader...I've had my house broken into twice while I had a layout, and the trains were totally untouched!
     
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  13. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    It's a very long story but with the help of a local detective, two undercover officers and some willing model railroaders we set up a sting and nailed the guy who was stealing from us. It took a club layout, pissed off model railroaders and we nailed the...$0p... That's just one occasion.

    I had befriended a retired clown, carny type, who considered stealing a...:cautious::sick::censored:... game to see how much he could get away with. I caught him with a sting and put that behind me. However after checking my inventory I couldn't believe how much of my hard earned stuff he ended up with.

    In both cases the thief was a pack rat. In other words he would leave something of lesser value, broken train cars and non-working diesels or stoves. After each visit I would look my layout over. When I saw something on my layout I didn't recognize, as mine, I went immediately to what's missing?

    A professional thief, is there such a thing? They will use diversions, hidden pouch's, deep pockets in baggy pants or long coats. The carny clown had a pouch that fit dead center over his crotch. Not likely a security officer would frisk him there or so he thought. It was embarrassing the things he would do while he rode shot gun with me. Only I didn't catch on right away. When a Paul a hobby shop owner and good friend asked me what he was up to? After watching him on security cameras Paul's wife caught him red handed. Her remark, "Are you happy to see me or do you have a 4-8-4 stuck in your pants"? That's when I discovered he was walking out of the hobby shops we visited, with stolen stuff. Once I had the goods on him that was the last time he rode shot gun.

    Being a thief or being known as one is shameful at best but most of these guys and gals that practice this age old art-form of theif'ry are stuck on the thrill of the moment and the adrenaline rush they get. If they pull off a good heist it's like they got off on it. :eek::oops::confused::mad: Sad really!

    And that definitely is related to, What's Wrong with Model Railroading. o_O
     
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  14. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

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    Such people have never matured emotionally and morally. If you are ever in the mood, google "Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development." It's an older model, and is showing its age in light of criticism over his methods, but it is still a useful and easily-understood model, and still taught as part of the development of the theory. You may have read in recent years how empathy has begun to factor in our study of social interaction and how it is limited, sometimes severely, in those who would formerly be called sociopaths. Nowadays, they have what is called anti-social personality disorder. They think only about what's in it for themselves, and can't be bothered, or are simply unable, to assume the standpoint of their 'victims'. Their victims are like hammers...pick-'em up and use 'em.
     
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  15. Hoghead2

    Hoghead2 TrainBoard Member

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    Wow-this is getting bleak! Even for an ex-cop.... I like model railroading because after years of modelling alone, I now belong to a club that has provided 13 years of fun and friendship. Damn the thieves , there's more of us than there is of them.
     
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  16. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    On a lighter note, I had a friend who took down a large layout recently. After the last few ops sessions, pieces had gone missing. He was pretty certain who it was (one operator in particular was the suspect). While disassembling the layout, several of the pieces turned up in odd spots in the benchwork. Not sure how they got there. They were from the train the suspect operator always ran. Maybe he placed them there for later, or maybe he derailed, lost the cars, recoupled what he could see and kept going. We may never know.
     
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  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thieves! Give me a shot at them and I'll nail them to the floor. Legally of course!!! I've worked hours on end in a support role for our local Sheriff and Police Departments. We Morticians tend to end up at the grizzliest of scenes, in support of the local law enforcement and Coroners office. Sad to say!

    "Bleak" you said and Bleak it is. I'm having a hard time finding "What's wrong with Model Railroading," as there is so much "Right" about it. Everyone who has participated here has brought some interesting thoughts to this thread.

    The biggest thing for m,e is I can put comma's in any place I want. :LOL::sick::sneaky:

    Starting over the biggest thing right for me, is the camaraderie and/or rubbing shoulders with others. I rubbed shoulders with one of the gals at the club and had to apologize. Stumbling, bumbling old fart that I...am. I zigged where she was zagging and I bumped her. So that would come under what's wrong. Not the best way to get her attention. Still she was sweet about it and I told her if I do that again to shove me out of the way. She promised she would, saying she put up with older brothers.

    That's it. The one single thing I enjoy most. The chance to meet other's in our hobby. I don't think it matters what someone else is doing it's fun to hear about it, fun to see their craftsmanship, workmanship and the results of their efforts. Wishing I was so talented. How many times have I learned something from someone else? Lot's and that can't be all bad.

    Then when I get together with someone of like mind gosh, can that be fun. Competitive? That can't be all bad either. So, if I were to conclude this thread now and it isn't the time because there is so much more we can talk about. Don't be afraid to throw in you two cents and don't be afraid if you get change.

    What's Right or Wrong with Model Railroading?
     
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  18. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I didn't mean to say we could conclude this thread, just thinking out loud with no intention of a summation.

    Your turn.

    There's more. How about scenic techniques? Bragdon Geodesic compared to Sulptmold? DCC versus Analog DC? Lionel Trains Versus American Flyer? Todays O scale and S scale products? The quality of products today versus yesterday? Variety of Scales good or bad? Or What's your favorite?

    So...:censored::cautious:o_O... what's right or wrong with model railroading?
     
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  19. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    What's right with model railroading is the diverse crowd that it draws. I do some eBay selling on occasion and am happily amazed to find SP fans in NY, B&M modelers in Chicago and SOU followers in Sacramento. It assures that interesting conversation can be found most anywhere. (y)
     
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  20. Josta

    Josta TrainBoard Supporter

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    And don't forget the common wire debate, LOLOLOL.
     
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