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British train enthusiasts journey to Japan to tour rural rail lines

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velotrain

"I think it's important to remember that most people aren't the best scratchbuilders."

 

Well, it isn't really all that difficult, and I suspect that most of these people are merely unwilling to make the effort to learn and try.  It is certainly easy enough to find info and instructional videos online explaining the process.

 

 

"the abundance of high quality pre weathered japanese means many people who are less talented has choosen japanese instead of british as it's available."

 

What data do you have to support this?  There does seem that there may be anecdotal suggestions of slowly growing interest in Japanese N-scale trains in the UK for price:quality ratio reasons, but UK members here have suggested that there are relatively few with Japanese-themed layouts.  I suspect it is likely less than 100 in the entire UK.
 

"In this case i think having more kids and adults playing with trains is better than having a constantly shrinking group of professional scratchbuilders with high quality layouts and no way for an amateur to just buy and plonk down a whole layout for running their trains."

 

What? 

- I have no problem with kids and adults playing with trains if that is what they like.

   There are certainly many of them in the US as well as many more serious modelers.

- What professional scratchbuilders?  What makes you think "they're" shrinking?

- "and no way for an amateur to just buy and plonk down a whole layout"

 

Why would you expect there to be?  There are NO fields of human endeavor where a beginner (which is what I trust you mean by amateur) can expect everything to just happen for them with no effort.  If they have the money they can plonk it down for someone to build a layout for them.  They can buy the Scenic Ridge kit, although there are problems with it that have been documented here.  There are both Japanese and American sources for sectional track and plonkable structures, although I don't know if that is available for Hungarian prototypes.  There have been a number of threads on this forum where people with no experience have built a simple first layout, and added detail to it.
 

"ps: those sidewalk bases are meant to be sunk into the base material and not removed..."

 

Well - I have never seen any photos of that being done.  The bases are always sitting on top of the base material.  Can you provide a link to an example of this?

 

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railsquid

I agree with your comments on the history of UK modelling and think the following is largely (and sadly) true worldwide:  "the significant improvement in accessories for UK modellers, such as ready to plonk buildings, has had a negative impact on the standard of modelling"

 

I'd like to state that I am merely commenting on what I have observed - no doubt flavored by my preferences, and am all in favor of everyone modeling as they wish.

 

 

 

It's one of the age-old laments of the hobby - "it will die because young people are not attracted to it" and "skills are being lost because of RTR/RTP".

 

I see it positively - the more accessible it is, the more people are attracted to the hobby, and the more opportunity they have to develop skills. Speaking entirely personally, having been very time-constrained these past couple of years, I'm very happy about the vast amount of Japanese RTR/RTP stuff available. If I'd been stuck with the classic British approach (build your baseboard, lay your flexitrack, ballast it, build scenery from cardboard kits etc.) I'd probably have given up long ago. That doesn't mean I will restrict myself to RTR/RTP in the future.

 

There are two categories of structures here, and they seem to be generally available.

 

http://www.hattons.co.uk/stocklist/1000589/N_Gauge/productsbyscale.aspx

 

The main producer of ready-to-plonk buildings is Bachmann/Farish; Hornby also used to produce an N-scale range. Everything else is some sort of kit.

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kvp

"I think it's important to remember that most people aren't the best scratchbuilders."

 

Well, it isn't really all that difficult, and I suspect that most of these people are merely unwilling to make the effort to learn and try.  It is certainly easy enough to find info and instructional videos online explaining the process.

Imagine that you are a kid armed only with 'school safe' art tools, including tiny blut nose scissors as your only cutting tool and white glue as your only adhesive. Good luck building Tomtytec quality buildings with them.

 

 

 

"the abundance of high quality pre weathered japanese means many people who are less talented has choosen japanese instead of british as it's available."

 

What data do you have to support this? 

The original quote that started this discussion states this.

 

 

 

- What professional scratchbuilders?  What makes you think "they're" shrinking?

People with the time, money and skill to build something at the same level as a Tomytec pre wathered building. In the UK they tend to be old people, who could build with what is available to them. Kids who are beginners are not interested in building everything from scratch, they would prefer something similar to Lego. Buy the parts, put them together without glue, plonk them down and play. This is why more kids are playing with Lego trains than with all model scales together. Kato and Tomix offers the same easy to build, easy to mix, easy to upgrade solution in N scale.

 

Why would you expect there to be?  There are NO fields of human endeavor where a beginner (which is what I trust you mean by amateur) can expect everything to just happen for them with no effort.  If they have the money they can plonk it down for someone to build a layout for them. 

 

You may have never seen Lego or a Japanese layout being built from the base up with only commercial ready to run/place structures. It's easy, fun and fast for kids and everyone who is a beginner. It's also very easy to modify and upgrade later when they get more experienced.

 

 

"ps: those sidewalk bases are meant to be sunk into the base material and not removed..."

 

Well - I have never seen any photos of that being done.  The bases are always sitting on top of the base material.  Can you provide a link to an example of this?

 

Yes, just look at any Tomix or Kato instructional video or the various japanese language how to-s on the net. This is a classical case of a language barrier based rtfm problem. Actual japanese layout builders, who create permanent layouts (or even ttrak) usually do it right. Tomix even sells the right type of prepainted foamcore boards for getting the street levels right (with instructions on how to mark and cut around the building bases) and Kato has the various modular city plates even pre painted with road markings for the same purpose. It's easy if you know that these things exist.

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scotspensioner

I would agree with velotrain that there are very few Japanese themed layouts in the UK.Plenty of the model rail shows are shown on YouTube but the vast majority of layouts are British followed by European and American.

So Japanese is very much a niche interest and unless something revolutionary happens I think it'll stay that way.

I've been lucky in what I've been able to get on a grab it when you see it basis if you can afford it! (I nearly fainted when I worked out what I'd spent recently but it was worth it for what I got-Hokutusei,383,E209,E257 and813!)Now I'm having a break!!!

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kvp

There are two categories of structures here, and they seem to be generally available.

 

http://www.hattons.co.uk/stocklist/1000589/N_Gauge/productsbyscale.aspx

I counted a bit in the general buildings category:

9 ready to use buildings, mostly countryside style

14 half relief buildings, mostly classic city, with a single modern building

(the rest are kits and scratch build aids)

and a lone used painted clay building set...

 

Then went over to the railway buildings category:

the first three non kit buildings are japanese Kato (stations)

and there is only a single old style branchline station building by Graham Farish

(and a few low relief or standalone misc buildings, like signal boxes)

 

This is actually petty much nothing. Compare this to Hobby Search, Plaza Japan or any larger japanese store and you see that the availability of british ready to use buildings are next to nothing. If a kid gets a trainset (usually a startset), but there is no way for them to build a layout without becoming a professional model maker first, they will get bored of it pretty fast. Also if they decide to upgrade the tracks gradually, then it will never get ballasted as after that you can't rearrange them when you get the next piece. (Kato and Tomix tracks are in small packs, so kids could buy them one pack at a time)

 

 

 

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velotrain

Imagine that you are a kid armed only with 'school safe' art tools, including tiny blut nose scissors as your only cutting tool and white glue as your only adhesive.

 

 

I must have mistaken where I was - I thought this was a forum for adult modelers, not kindergarten students.

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kvp

I must have mistaken where I was - I thought this was a forum for adult modelers, not kindergarten students.

For us, it might not matter, but for the manufacturers and the size of the market, kids and beginner hobbysts do matter as they buy more off the shelf ready to run/place stuff than a professional modeller would ever use. This is why it's so profitable for japanese companies to make so many different buildings, accessories and trains and why european, or more specificially british model makes are struggling to produce new models or keep already issued ones in continous production. You might be good without any of this, but most of us don't want to scratch or kit build all of our houses and trains so ready to use/run items are needed.

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Wonderbolt

The UK night end resin buildings, Hornbys Skaledale and Bachmanns Scenecraft are much more expensive compared to the Plastic kato, to mix ect so I don't think its fair to fully compare them

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velotrain

> The original quote that started this discussion states this.

 

No - that isn't true.

 

 

> Yes, just look at any Tomix or Kato instructional video or the various japanese language how to-s on the net. This is a classical case of a language barrier based rtfm problem. Actual japanese layout builders, who create permanent layouts (or even ttrak) usually do it right. Tomix even sells the right type of prepainted foamcore boards for getting the street levels right (with instructions on how to mark and cut around the building bases) and Kato has the various modular city plates even pre painted with road markings for the same purpose. It's easy if you know that these things exist.

 

Doesn't look like a link to me.

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kvp

Doesn't look like a link to me.

 

This video has been already linked on this forum a few times: (you can also take this course and some others at Tomix World Omiya)

 

The base material they use is this type, but it's just prepainted foamcore board:

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10178664

An example how to use it for streets and buildings:

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/image/10178664/30/4

 

The Kato version is called Unitram and while less flexible, it's supported with english language material:

http://www.katousa.com/N/Unitrack/UNITRAM.html

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