Sunday, 7 September 2014

A Touchy Subject...


I have been formulating this post for some time and while the subject matter has the real possibility of polarising recent blog trolling has certainly confirmed that the situation is indeed also alive and well at least in Britain.

I, like many thought that blogging may be like the "Yo-Yo" and just be another fad that came and went without trace.  How wrong I was...Blogging now is a very important facet of our hobby and also has the ability of spanning and cross fertilising on a global basis...and more importantly is free! ( for now ).  Inspiration, advice, kinship and just plain old enjoyment has allowed the blogosphere to go ahead in leaps and bounds.

While all of this is happening around us...I could not help but ask myself the question..."Where does this leave the humble model related magazines and periodicals?"...  Magazines, certainly were a very important facet of my earlier years in the hobby and before the internet, the only real way for modellers to be informed, entertained and inspired...apart from the exhibition and the club scene.  So where does the cyber advancements leave our paper based technology.

To my mind there are many factors that will influence where our magazines end up.  Firstly ( just like the daily tabloids ) online information exchange will govern the future of the printed word.  How long it takes for many day to day printed items to become extinct is anyone's guess...Newspapers, periodicals, magazines and indeed the humble phone book will all succumb to cyber space and with the advancements in computers, internet speeds, methodologies and just plain old economics...I think the transition will be swift.

The next logical question is...are magazines still relevant?.  That one comment will probably incur the wrath of many individuals in our hobby at least...but let us just examine where we find ourselves before any reader of this post is moved towards "taking out a contract" on my very existence.  Whether one will publicly concede this fact or not...every conceivable "bit" of information relating to our hobby can now be found online.  Even the very advertisers that fuel the salaries and running costs of the magazine are now to be found online, with some now having up to date (in some instances) blogs attached to the parent website and many even have links to a "demonic", to some,  facebook page.

Some time back, I made a conscious decision to reassess my magazine purchases and to concentrate only on magazines that are well written, have absorbing articles, have the content I am interested in and provide value for money.  I opted for the British they have not yet succumbed to totally being absorbed with the "plonker" type of readership and still have many articles on "modelling" and the skills involved.  As I have stated in an earlier post dedicated to the subject...I have now trimmed costs even further by having my mags delivered electronically.  This all seems ironic given that I model NSW outline...but most of the modelling, weathering and landscape articles have a universal appeal and I still become absorbed with the fringe articles as well.

As for the local magazine scene...I have taken an annual "digital" subscription to our "leading" magazine...but in all honesty I cannot see this continuing as my interests cover ALL aspects of modelling and are not limited to "new releases" and a short hop around a layout...Have we really lost the appreciation of the true art and skills of modelling???. We also have to move away from the overtones that we are "privileged" to have the magazines that are available today...Any commodity that comes at a price is not a privilege. I certainly want more than 1/2 an hour of interest from any magazine that I or paper.  To be fair I still look forward to AJMR when a new issue appears and would love to see this magazine on a more regular basis.

I guess the reason why some British bloggers bemoan their local magazines is possibly due to that fact that there are a plethora of offerings and choice over there... and as I am a fairly recent convert to some of these mags...I still find the content quite interesting and valuable.

And this is where I see that blogs (for me) will sooner or later replace the printed word. A mind boggling variety of subject matter, differing writing styles and skills, evocative subjects, progress of specific projects,  superb photos and illustrations, matter what your taste...and last but not least...true "real time" interaction with the blog owner / writer.

And following a week where "real work" overtook my modelling time yet again!...a couple of shots of the shed progress.  Still much to do...but we are getting there, albeit slowly.  Internal asbestos sheeting is now complete, as well as the timber guardrails, and truck loading bay "buffer timbers"....all internals are almost complete and in readiness for the roof to be permanently  installed, barge cappings, gutters and downpipes can then be fitted...subtle changes...but time consuming





  1. Hi Rod,

    Totally agree. I believe magazines will suffer, either from not really being required these days or destroyed by those publishing them. I still buy AMRM , probably out of habit and collection sake rather than actual need. I have said many times that I enjoy people's Blog posts (especially yours Rod ha ha) more than flicking through a mag these days. Where my magazine collection really comes in handy is when reference material is needed. AMRM back in the 80s and 90s was brilliant. I was so inspired by the articles and layouts.

    If I could readily find it I would buy every issue of the British Model Railway Journal. It is not full of RTR adds.

    I understand that magazines depend on reader articles and advertising. Plenty of people are writing articles however they end up on blogs rather than emailed to a magazine editor. Perhaps a collated blog magazine would be more fitting of the times?

    Interesting topic and I love the shed. I need to come and see you about possibly cutting the frames for Picton's engine and goods shed.

    All the best,


    1. Linton,

      Thanks for your message...adding your thoughts to the mix adds another dimension. I did exercise restraint in my comments...but I would not offer up an article for consideration because the "know alls" would likely heavily edit it, crop the crap out of the photos...and at the end of the day it is an editors job to find the correct mix for a mag and approach the right person for the right article...not just wait for it to come across the desk. At the end of the day I love blogging as I do not have to be part of a "click" to be relevant...The readers will decide all by themselves if something is of interest or not...

      Look forward to seeing you again!


  2. Rod, you are right on the button there and very much a la mode with this topic. Although I'm too tight-arsed to buy magazines, if I did I would take MRJ and Narrow gauge and Industrial Review, both much of a standard, but alas too expensive for me. They are, as you say, not full of RTR stuff. Having said that a few years ago I sent two articles on river, boats, roads and pathways to MRJ and was told that "nobody makes anything anymore", by Tim Shackleton, who, fortunately, no longer runs it. I haven't even looked at a copy since. I too, find blogging to be the answer. If I want to spend an entire evening making one lock gate, I can do so without being pilloried by some clown who reckons he's too important to have the time. To his sort, I say, "go play golf!" Have a look when you have a few moments, if you like:- Cheers,

  3. Rod,

    You beat me to a post as I was working on mine at the same time, especially as I had in mind the age of the plonker taking over. I actually deteste that name really, as it seems to add some sort of legitimacy to a name that is a run off of some poor individuals that cannot help themselves with their addiction that began with standard alchohol & denigrated down to such things as drinking metholated spirits & the like.

    Anyway to me, I believe that its hard to cover all aspects of the hobby in a single type of magazine, but it is possible with astute working of the articles in each addition. The aspect of what we see in many layouts these days is also what I hinted at regarding the pristine manner that we see on so many layouts these days, certainly they look nice but just as certainly they are not representative what real world railways were & are still like around the world. Interestingly that the modern railways in private ownership have their loco's in a far worse asthetic condition then ever was seen on the NSWGR, except for steam in the heavy salt embedded waters in many parts of the state.

    I would also certainly love to see the AJRM appear on a greater freguency than it has for some time, its sad that a magazine with its potential to fill a huge void is so erratic in its arrivals on the scene,

  4. Rod,

    Thanks for your thoughtful post. I agree that the information on the internet, blogs, suppliers' news and other sources - I hesitate to say facebook is now the primary sources for my modelling activities. For the same reasons that you identify, I enjoy following quite a few blogs and appreciate the information that each of the writers. I also miss the AJRM but believe that it's going to be a long time between drinks for that publication.

    However, I'm not yet ready to consign AMRM to the scrapheap if for no other reason that it is like a comfortable coat that I don't want to discard. I suppose that time will come but not yet. I was a bit disappointed about the way the electronic version has been marketed but the magazine still provides another perspective on the hobby even if I don't derive much information from some articles.

    I suppose time will tell whether the magazines will continue to have a future but if the mainstream media is any guide, that future may be limited and perhaps my 'comfortable coat' may yet disappear.

    PS. The shed is looking great, a tribute to your modelling skills.

    cheers Phil

  5. Hi Rod, that is very sad that the Oz mags have deteriorated to that extent. Modelling in Australia, from all the blogs I follow, seems to be going from strength to strength, especially if all the superb modelling on the blogs in your sidebar are anything to go by.

    I really like what you have done with the building - the weathering is perfect and the rusting of the steels is restrained and understated but entirely convincing.