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Hobby fatigue

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nah00

So this is a problem I've been running into lately that kind of hit me hard last night. I do collect North American rolling stock and mainly run it at shows and honestly I wish I had never gone down that path and had just stuck with Japanese. The amount of work I've had to do and the amount of money I've put in to them to get them to run properly are far greater than any expense or work I've ever had to do on any of my Japanese stock. This in and of itself is annoying but honestly the bigger thing that bugs me is the general attitude of (most) North American model railroaders and especially hobby dealers. 

I went into my LHS and was talking about the markup Walthers puts on Tomix items and how absurd it is. The owner said that Walthers was the only thing keeping the hobby alive in the United States which I think is pretty much the farthest thing from the truth (I would argue Walthers is a pretty big negative on the whole). I think forums like this and sites like MB Klein and (regretfully) eBay do MUCH more to keep the hobby alive than the LHS anymore. Do I necessary like this? No, I did like going into a hobby shop and browsing but I also like getting exactly what I ordered and not having to buy for the overhead of a brick and mortar store. However it seems like some people (not to point fingers here because there are plenty of exceptions), especially the older generations, are convinced the death of the hobby is looming ever nearer when I think it's the exact opposite. Look at what DCC allows you to do. Look at the huge selection of locomotives and rolling stock you can get now. Do we really want to go back to the days of Athearn blue box kits and can motors that sound like a dying cat? It seems like some people can't let go of the past and since things aren't the same they just want to spoil the hobby for everyone else by trying to tell them what to do and how to 'properly' enjoy the hobby. 

Another source of frustration comes from running at shows. Despite doing more work on rolling stock than a real railroad car shop I have constant derailments. Thought it was still my cars but I can run them for hours at home and no problems. Also last show I was at I said the words 'please don't touch/grab' more than anything else and it starts to get old when you're not only telling children this but also adults while also making sure your train is staying on the tracks and that you're not about to be rear-ended by the operator behind you or someone stopped a train in front of you.

To top it all off I've been looking at my layout lately and thinking 'man, I just put a lot of this track here just to put it here' and looking more at even the basic operating principles to make it more enjoyable to run. 

This just feels like a rant but overall it's just feeling burnt out by the hobby. You would think doing train shows would be great and I had the impression people would be interested to see Japanese trains and the differences and similarities but all people comment is 'why do they still have Rapidos on them?' I'm sure other people have felt this way and wonder what they did to get out of the rut. I've been thinking about thinning my North American stuff out, especially some of the out of area/impulse buy stuff. 

Any thoughts?

 

 

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cteno4

Nah,

 

I have felt/experienced a lot of what you have expressed on and off over the last decade. Luckily I stopped the us stuff twenty plus years ago when I got into japanese trains and glad I did. While I still love intermodal and big trains some they are a real pain to have run cleanly, especially on big show layouts.

 

ive really enjoyed how Japanese trains have focused things down for me in that 16 cars is the huge train with a full shinkansen. The sheer variety has kept me going and collecting and interested in the hobby — although the bookcases can really build up with time! I think I would have gotten bored in another 5 years had I stayed with us only and just playing with us clubs. I’ve found our eclectic little band of Japanese modelers is a fun odd bunch hd is very open and receptive to the public and tired to encourage new comers into the hobby. Also we back into Japanese culture and a few into anime so it broadens the hobby for all of us.

 

our Japanese club here has let us play in public here and get a bit of a unique feeling, but at train shows we get a lot of I think “toy” attitude from many older us modelers. Early on (like 10-15 years ago) we even got some pretty bigoted comments from some older modelers which I was pretty shocked at  (my fathered was a South Pacific wwII vet and I was raised with none of that and with an intolerance for bigotry in general). But our general public events we get great responses from and have a great time talking up all the unique and interesting things about Japanese trains, japan, model railroading and hobbies in general. This I have found is the best part of shows. I feel the best when I’ve talked to a parent about hobbies and how great it is to do with the kids and how good it is for them and I see they get it and get a little fire in their bellies. I just try to plant seeds and provide a little fertilizer...
 

the whiners about the us model railroading hobby are usually not the welcoming types I’ve noticed. They tend to have the exclusive club mentality or the you have to do it this way mentality that, yes, will turn folks away and kill the hobby. What we need a lot more of is inclusiveness in clubs and organizations. I’ve been trying to talk to more hire ups in ntrak and NMRA about working on Ttrak as a big public push to get folks (especially younger)  into the hobby as it’s got the best chance of getting a foot in the door. It’s simple, relatively low startup investment, and can be worked on in a very small space with a real minimum of tools. It’s the perfect way to learn scenery techniques, very robust and sturdy, and can be displayed when not in use on a bookshelf (to get more eyeballs!). It’s great for the younger generations that are flocking to smaller urban apartments and condos so big and evening small permanent layouts are a no go. It also ties into the more modern urban social meetup sort of thing. Imagine causal meetups to just show off a module or train at a local coffee house or small meetups to do a little loop of trains. Libraries love using Ttrak setups to bring in folks and is now meshing up well with the robotics and maker stuff many libraries are branching into due to schools no longer having shop or very strict Cirriculum limits on tech stuff like this. Dcc provides a lot of new fun abilities to running. Also doing little arduino projects to just do simple things like turn lights in a building on and off or play a sound effect now and then is dirt cheap (boards for a buck or two, the power supply can cost more!) and simple to do and perfect STEM. I see Ttrak as the gateway drug for a new generation of modelers.
 

Of course this upsets the old regimes a lot, it’s not the way model railroading was done, etc. a recent NMRA event that was sposta be focused on getting new folks into the hobby had very little knowledge about Ttrak and I hope they sought out the referrals I gave them to folks that could help, but from what I’ve heard it sounds like that probably won’t happen. A friend is working on a big model railroading museum exhibit and the old school backers had not mentioned Ttrak to the developers! I have lobbied hard for it to be its own little mini exhibit to spur interest as presentations of just fine scale rivit counting modeling and enormous basement empire layouts does not inspire, it mostly just wows a little bit also intimidates a lot. 

 

I want to keep working on this as I have time as I see this as something very important to the model railroading hobby as well as culture in general to bring hobbies back into the mainstream. I look at other countries and just sigh when I see how hobbies are embraced and almost seen as requirements for being whole.

 

i agree it’s a hard time for the LHS, sadly it’s a much larger social and economic trend thats really hard to combat. Most LHS have shrunk back to the hobbies that benefit most from a brick and mortar like r/c and plastic models (these still sell best I’ve been told by the age old just drooling over the boxes on the shelves) and basic hobby supplies that you need right now and it’s more for shipping than the thing to order online. As things settle out that where it will probably land. Train only/mainly stores will be rare, mb Klein just closed their retail space. I agree walther’s is a huge bully in the market. Producing their own product to compete with their own manufacturers just does not make for a level playing field, they are an 800lb gorilla. The couple of old shop owners I knew (now retired and/or passed away) really hated them, but they were the main game in town. It’s funny the old distributor they loved was Mokei as he really worked hard with the shops to get what sold for them, get new products for them to try, kept the margin down and generally viewed the business as being a partnership with the dealers and if they were successful he would be! Walthers deal with Tomytec was a horrid one. The huge markups made the items just not something that would move on an LHS shelf. This just kills the LHS to order the minimum and then loose the money. Also gives the wrong impression that Japanese stuff is expensive. Small importers like BT trains showed they could make supply deals on small quantities that was around the Japanese street price, Walthers doing a large bulk purchase straight from Tomytec should have been able to do the same as a direct distributor for Tomytec to lhs, but they appear to have gotten greedy and maybe Tomytec as well. Looks like that deal is circling the bowl now, Walthers seems to not be restocking Tomytec last I looked.

 

hobby burnout happens, just need to at times reassess what you like and don’t like and at times take some breaks or readjustments. I know after doing about 50 or 75 shows I hit a wall and shows started to be a real chore for me. I’ve had to cut back on them and keep focused on doing the events that I enjoy and keep me engaged in the club and the hobby. It’s ironic the events I’ve cut back on the most are the train shows. One of our founding principles of the club when we were forced to organize into an org (due to money coming in from shows and just not a group of us playing) was we did not want to have any “service” requirements or show minimums as we wanted the club to function first and for most as someth that’s fun to do and not have it become a chore. That seems to have worked well. The way we decide to do a show is someone volunteers to be the show coordinator and if they can find enough people that want to participate in the show it happens. Seems to work well.

 

hang in there. Search for what you enjoy most in all of this and focus on that and try to reduce or let go the parts that annoy you or don’t bring you joy!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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bill937ca
3 hours ago, nah00 said:

I think forums like this and sites like MB Klein and (regretfully) eBay do MUCH more to keep the hobby alive than the LHS anymore.

 

Well we are in agreement on this. I like MB Klein online (modeltrainstuff.com) and I remember several trips to their old store in downtown Baltimore during the 1990s. JNS really helps. I have never had a local Japanese model railroader around me but I have had access to knowledge and support from JNS members. I like that Japanese trains are so reliable and analog is still are large factor. So many orders and so few problems or mistakes.  Going to a LHS on a regular basis is a fond memory like going to a small, independent book store. But that alas is gone. When I did belong to a model railroad club I was not really impressed with running at  train shows. Now I don't even attend train shows anymore. I'm happier on my own doing my own thing.

 

My model railroading world encompasses a wide range of models: N scale Japanese trains, overhead traction modeling in various gauges,,  two rail  N gauge  European trams,  tinplate trains,, 3 rail Lionel and similar and Standard Trains.  Much of this is done by Facebook  which is OK as I don't have the space or budget to do everything I set eyes upon.

 

I haven't done any modeling on either of my layouts for an extended time now. I'm having a very comfortable winter of daily walks, lots of reading on local history where I grew up and watching a period private detective tv series. 

Edited by bill937ca
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Socimi

It's the same problem anywhere around the world.

 

Here in Italy, for example, one of the main issues the model railway scene faces is stagnation: layouts are set either in steam-era Italy or 1950s West Germany, with anything other (period, location...) is almost unheard of, and of course, evrybody here seems to have an universal attraction, almost a fetish, for steam; i can't blame other modellers, but i'd also like that people would notice that even the right electric locomotive can be as attractive as a steam one.

Furthemore, people my age (i'm 20), but especially teenagers (when i joined JNSForum i was still one), who have the broadest interests (anything from the 1960s to the 2010s) and are the ones most likely to get into serious modelling are also not cared about by any manufacturer, as they will only point to the two "safe" markets: kids who only like high-speed trains (and as they do not require any kind of details at all, they're served with toy-like stuff) and older rivet-counter steam-era modellers, who are willing to pay 350+ € for a single steam locomotive.

 

Of course, as railway modelling transitioned from toys to serious stuff in the late 1980s, lots of customers were lost, and manufacturers began to be forced to sell their models to a vastly reduced group, overpricing the stuff (to maximise the small and uneasy profits) in the process, but they also started to make evrything as limited runs: not only locomotives or carriages but even the tracks! ("Hello! the left-hand switch sold-out 4 months ago is now in stock again!").

Most major model train shows (HME Novegro for example) are also not shows anymore, they became marketplaces, where people buy, sell, and trade stuff at astronomic prices.

 

This is why i also like Kato and Tomix, as in a sense, they're the last manufacturers with a "traditional" mindset: many trains for all at affordable prices, once a concept dear to most "national manufacturers" such as the french Jouef, spanish Electrotren, british Hornby and of course, my dear italian Lima.

Japanese N Gauge is great for those who want to get into modelling because they're compact (wich is a life-saver for those who live in small apartments), they have an astonishing variety of colours, kinds, operations, styles... (wich makes them very attractive) and they're also very cheap, while being of good/high quality, wich is an important point for those living on tight budges, especially considering the fact that an N-gauge Kato locomotive often costs less than a single H0-scale passenger coach.

In fact, european stuff is so overpriced that i've calculated that with the same 130€ spent on my first japanese order (wich included the Kato 4-car set E231-500, the V5 track set, 10x 808mm flexible tracks and a Toei Bus) i could have afforded only a single N-scale Fleischmann V100 locomotive (the cheapest on the catalog i had and the only one under 150€).

 

I consider myself lucky in a sense that i've joined quite a small club, they're quite open to novelties (my Japanese N-gauge was one) and nobody cares about strict, maniacal details (while enjoying realism, of course) but i've heard that larger clubs can be haunting.

 

(i dont remember who, but someone a while back posted a phrase that stuck in my head: "rivet counters like drill sargents")

 

The demise of phisical model shops is also an issue, not particularily for rolling stock or otherwhise, but mainly for basic modelling stuff such as tools or glue (something you should always be able to check before you buy it), and considering that the closest model shop (not just railways, any kind of models!) to my hometown (of 46'000 inhabitants) is 40Km away, ordering stuff online simply becomes too convenient (and often, it's the only way to get something).

 

 

 

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Sheffie

I have much sympathy, and a tiny piece of general advice. If it isn’t fun any more, then don’t do it so much. This applies to almost any leisure time activity but also to tasks within a hobby. Perhaps you can spend time maintaining rolling stock, or making scenery, or assembling buildings from kits... variety is the spice of life. It should not feel like a grind!

 

regarding local hobby shops...

 

I have resolved to try to visit my LHS more frequently. I’m maintaining a shopping list of low-priority things to look for, in case I don’t see anything that catches my eye. The family who runs the store are clearly USA Rail Modelers Of The Old School but that’s okay. I don’t get into long conversations with them, and thanks to you folks I don’t need to. I appreciate them as a resource, even though I don’t always buy from them. I’m choosing a middle path between cheapness and local value. 

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railsquid
4 hours ago, nah00 said:

 especially the older generations, are convinced the death of the hobby is looming ever nearer when I think it's the exact opposite.

 

Some things never change. When I was a child in the UK in the 1980s, the self-appointed grandees of the hobby were constantly bemoaning how computer games would be the death of the hobby and how sad it is people can just go to shops and buy things and that no-one scratch-builds their own rolling stock out of old tin cans.

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cteno4
1 hour ago, railsquid said:

how sad it is people can just go to shops and buy things and that no-one scratch-builds their own rolling stock out of old tin cans.


LOL, while walking uphill in the snow 10 miles both ways to the LHS for some paints...

 

but back to it. Talking with others like this can help give perspective. I am constantly encouraged at the constant stream of people we get thru the forum here switching over, starting out or already deep into it. It’s the one great thing about the web and this form of interaction to get a large variety of perspectives and interests and keep your eyes open to there are many ways to enjoy the hobby and it’s best to find your own groove with it and not have someone tell you there is only one way. I constantly push the idea of just play with track as much as possible early on and also just doing some temporary scenery bits even if just taped up cardboard. I do this as the usual model railroading culture can be quite forceful to follow this path and you need a real layout, hard core scenery, DCC, etc right away which can kill that period of play early on that lets you discover what your likes and dislikes are so you can then maximize the hobby for yourself going forward, not others. Play is important and I see so many folks in the hobby get great enjoyment out of it but heaven forbid at a big event using the word “play”!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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gavino200
35 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Play is important and I see so many folks in the hobby get great enjoyment out of it but heaven forbid at a big event using the word “play”!

 

Word!

 

I just like playing with my train toys! Is that so wrong???

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cteno4

I’ve been chastised by traditional modelers for using the word play or even the sentiment of the action is a part of the hobby. I’ve been told that you need to be serious about it and play is not that... well I’m serious about my playing! 
 

but that sort of attitude gets put out thru many of the traditional faces of the hobby and is not what gets new folks to the hobby excited! It’s the chance to play, explore, and just fiddle that are great about the hobby (and hobbies in general) and missing in our modern culture.

 

jeff

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Cat
2 hours ago, cteno4 said:

I’ve been told that you need to be serious about it and play is not that...


One must always remember that Gojira suits changed in style with each movie, and that the height grew over time.  If you do not have the correct number and placement of back fins and the correct scale height for the time period of your train layout, then you are just playing with Godzillas.
~ , ~

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chadbag

 

So, I have about 5 hobbies / past times that I pursue.  Usually not all at once, but I kind of cycle through them.  I am not exclusive to one, but there are generally one or two that get more attention while others languish, and after a while, which ones are the "one or two" change.

 

My 5 are (not in any order):  

 

* R/C flying -- mainly gliders, but also electrics and drones.  Having said that, I most recently have been doing drone stuff and it has been a couple years since I did much.  I look to "get back to it" when we move to the new house at the end of the year, and I have room.   Right now, I don't really have any room and any room I had is now train space in our cramped basement.

 

* wood working -- this is really electric bass / electric guitar building, and not general wood working.  I have several projects started and underway, but it has been a couple years since I got anything major done on any of them.  I have gotten a little done more recently -- a day or two here and there -- but nothing major.  Again, my "man cave" kind of got over crowded and I am looking forward to the "more room."

 

* reloading / shooting -- been a good while since I did anything here.  Reloading wise the woodworking took over the man cave and shooting wise I need to find time.  I'll cycle back into this more after we move.

 

* electronic music / MIDI / composition -- Been a long while but am planning a music room in the new house.  I want to get restarted on this once the house is done and the time spent on the house comes back to me.  I do practice my bass guitar occasionally as I am taking lessons with the kids but otherwise this is the one that has been neglected the most.

 

* model trains -- specifically N scale/gauge Japanese and European.  I am not interested in clubs, or anything -- just want to run my own trains.  Not really interested in US trains myself, though I like to watch others do their thing with them.  And while I will do some "modeling" once I get the train room (about 20'x25'plus a work nook -- above the garage) and start my "permanent" layout, it will still be more running oriented and "emotional attachment" oriented instead of pure model realism oriented.  Even though I've been interested in model trains since I was a kid (And the Tyco H0 stuff my brother got for Christmas and his catalogs), and had an eye on German N-scale since the early 90s and Japanese N-scale since the early 2000s, I did not make the jump to this new train hobby until about 2 years ago and so most of my extra time since then has been spent on trains these past two years, to the  neglecting of the above hobbies.  

 

But the above will get more love and attention when I have enough room in the house to let each one have its own place, and I can "drop in" and do something in that particular hobby for a day, weekend, evening, whatever and not need to spend a day or three getting it out and setting it up to make it accessible.  So while I'll have one or two main ones at any given time,  I'll probably do more multi-tasking through them here and there when it is easier space-wise.

 

Why did I type all this about it?  It is how I avoid "burn out."  By having multiple hobbies I enjoy and have enjoyed over the last 30 years, even if I am into one or two of them at any time, I know I can switch interests for a while to something I have not done a lot of, which helps avoid the burn out.

 

So if the trains are starting to become a burden, switch to one of your other hobbies or find a new one for a while, then go back.    I used to do table top wargaming of the "Bookcase" variety -- Avalon Hill and similar -- not miniatures, when I was a teen ager.  And a lot of AD&D.  Have not done a lot since then though I have tried to get the kids interested in D&D.  But once we get the new house (that I will die in), we have a small "board game room" planned for the basement, as we like to play games as a family -- Ticket to Ride, Machi Koro, Uno, etc. -- and I plan on slowly getting back into some table top wargaming -- specifically ASL and some other stuff I have as well as D&D.  Yet another hobby to distract me -- one that I have not really done in over 30 years except for a half dozen Sunday afternoons of D&D a year or two or three ago.  Luckily I still have the Avalon Hill (and some SPI)  games and books and stuff somewhere in a box.

 

When your hobby becomes a burden -- becomes a chore or a "job", time to take a break or get another different one for a while.  And if trains really are your thing, switch from scenery to running or something.  Switch it up inside the general train hobby.  If you've bogged down on scenery, forget about scenery for a few months and just run them.  Or if you've been running them too much and want to get back to scenery, etc.  

 

Anyway, time to go to bed. I've been rambling on too long.

 

 

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RossDensha

WOW love seeing the attachment everyone has to it all!

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Welshbloke

I do think the British model trade needs to embrace the table layout and playing trains mentality. Nothing to be ashamed of and great for people who don't have the room for a large permanent layout (or who don't want to fill their available space with a fixed layout when they can use it to build Japanese-style temporary setups and change it when bored). In my case I take over a roughly 3m long chunk of living room with a Kato elevated double track dogbone occasionally. Other times it's the dining table with assorted ground level Unitrak.

 

As for the hobby market, I'm a bit unusual in having four very good shops within 90mins drive in various directions. Two are one man operations whose owners will probably retire sooner rather than later, but the others appear to have a decent future ahead. That's not counting the various antique shops and junk shops I keep an eye on as they frequently have train stuff for very sensible prices.

 

I can see a looming crash for collectable toys from the 50s and 60s like Hornby Dublo. The generation which remembers them from childhood is beginning to leave us, and there's a lot of fair to good but not mint and boxed Dublo about which is keeping prices low. There might be a spike in more recent models as those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s go after the stock we couldn't afford aged eight. I do have some 2 rail Dublo which turns out to be happy enough on Unitrak.

 

From observation the successful model shops have embraced the Internet and diversified. One I've known for almost thirty years has moved, expanded hugely, and now commissions their own limited edition models to sell alongside the radio control, plastic kits, slotcars, Lego and Playmobil which keep them in business. They're in the midst of revamping their website which should hopefully see them thrive.

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Martijn Meerts

I'd love it if there was some club I could join to run some trains, but the clubs nearby here are just terrible. Their members are pretty much the stereotypical old model train guys that don't want to share their knowledge and who are stuck to 1 brand and scale (usually Marklin H0). If you mention anything else, they just categorise it as toys, and you're not worth their time.

 

There's no local hobby store, and hasn't been for a long time. The ones we did have long ago weren't even dedicated model train stores, but just toy stores with a small section for model trains. Heck, there's not even a decent store for getting plastic building kits anymore. There's plenty reasons for that of course, the hobby has gotten pretty expensive if you stick to H0, which is still the most common here. A lot of people will then also want Dutch prototype stuff. Of course, fairly nearby in Germany there's DM-Toys, which seems to be doing very well.

 

Neither stores nor clubs do much to help newcomers into the hobby. 1 of the clubs has a pretty decent modular H0 layout, but when they go to shows with it, they have it fenced off a bit too much, so kids can barely see anything. They also don't have anything set up for kids to play with, and of course, since they're only interested in H0, they only give H0 prices to people who are interested and ask what it costs to get into the hobby.

 

As for the forum, I really like that the members are so willing to share their experiences and techniques. Even some of the people who post incredibly detailed scenes or weathered loco's / buildings are more than happy to even do video's on how they did it. And the people just getting into layout building normally get constructive criticism that's actually useful. And of course, the diversity is great, we have plenty people playing with all sorts of scales, from 1/450 to 1/1 😄

 

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nah00

After stewing it over for a while (I think writing it out helped too) I came up with some solutions:

 

LHS wants to lecture me on the greatness of Walthers and how they brought over all these wonderful European scenery products? Well that's fine. If your attitude toward me as a customer (who has spent a decent amount of money in your shop) is to condescend and go off on a tangent every time I bring up ordering DCC equipped locos (aside from horribly overpriced Broadway Limited models and the occasional Kato locomotive that I can install a decoder in for much less than the price Kobo charges) then I have the final say by voting with my wallet. I'm lucky to have two other hobby shops that are slightly farther, one is much smaller but run by a guy who is 100% on the modeler's side as he is, best way to describe it, 'one of us'. The next one is a bigger shop but with smaller N scale selection but has enough of the basics ((mainly spare parts) that are really what I need. 

 

North American prototype is easier to get over. I just start looking at how much it costs versus my Japanese trains and it's a no-brainer. Sure I have some super detailed locomotives but at 3 feet you can hardly see the detail. Sound is another thing I'm quickly falling out of love with - it makes the locomotive harder to maintain yourself (much like almost everything else today) and honestly it doesn't add terribly much except to steam locomotives. Part of my problem with collecting North American stock is because of where I live - I collect the railroads I grew up with and that I see today. I don't think cutting back on this and maybe narrowing my collection is going to be too big of a problem - the other day I was looking through my train cars and found more than a few I didn't ever remember buying. Too much impulse spending. 

 

As for 'making a railroad that runs like a real railroad' I had revelation with regard to that. A lot of these prototype police people DON'T have a railroad of their own and simply like to point the shortcomings of other layouts without having any skin in the game. I can criticize my own layout's shortcomings but I also went back and looked hard and thought 'what was the reason I did this' I generally came up with a good answer. Doesn't mean I still don't have issues with the club layout but I'll keep them to myself and maybe on the next iteration be more active in construction. If I wasn't there to help build it I guess I really can't complain. Also I think I'll be doing less shows this year, the enjoyment I get out of them is less than if I would invest that same amount of time working on my own layout. Plus since the club is 'owned' by the LHS I won't be using any more it's hard for me to shill for them at shows. Maybe I'll ask Hobbysearch or Model Train Plus to send me business cards to hand out.

 

I went to a small train show this weekend strictly as a guest and just listened to people talking. The amount of people that said 'well I have all these trains, I'm going to make a layout eventually' far outweighed the people who said 'this is just what I was looking for for my layout'. It goes back to what I said earlier, it seems like a lot of people (especially the older generation, once again no offense, I've also ran into my fair share of people my age who have even worse beliefs) are willing to criticize but get stuck in analysis paralysis and end up without even having a loop to run trains on. Regardless of what you may think of my layout or style at the end of the day I can run my trains and yes I can very much enjoy PLAYING with them. If I wanted to operate a railroad I would go work for Norfolk Southern.  

 

Edited by nah00
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cteno4

Nah,

 

glad to hear this, your reasoning seem very sound and fitting with your stated frustrations. That’s good and conversations like this are good to have as we can sometimes think we are alone in feeling these things and it turns out no many of us have very similar frustrations that at time muck up our hobby fun! Best to find the routes around the impediments and keep on tack with you bliss — that is your own and not exactly the same as everyone else,mwe are all a little different.

 

yeah you will never change the old LHS chap, too set in their ways and that attitude is not helping the hobby and customers in general, sounds he’s more into Walthers profits more than his or the overall hobby! Support the chaps doing it right and good for you! Was he talking about noch? That been available by some of the smaller importers and distributors since I was a kid at reasonable prices. Walthers probably marks it up as an “import” like Tomytec!

 

i backed off on show as I started to feel the burn out and want to keep it fun so more selective on ones I do and what they will take out of me and my hobby time. I’ve also had the issue that a lot of my train time in the last 15 years has been around club stuff and I need to move to do more my own so getting other folks to take over shows I’ve coordinated in the past. Good for me and good for the club to get wider engagement and different views and styles into doing the shows.

 

i really hate the folks that will criticize but don’t have any of their own to show as a better or mentor example. The few times I’ve gotten that blast at shows I’ve just shot back oh can you tell me about yours and how you did it better? Got any photos of it on your phone? Website I can look at? I try be nice and sincere and not snarky and it’s shut them up every time. A few it’s turned the conversation to a better tack and they weren’t bad eggs just a rough front edge. Others usually just hem and ha a second and quickly scoot off.

 

that was great to just spend time observing at the show. I need to do that more, I use to do it a lot in museum exhibits I designed/produced as well as others to just try to get the feel of how folks interact with the exhibit and their focuses etc. at train shows I’ve only done observation with the other layouts, I need to do it at the rest where folks chatter about that stuff.

 

yeah that kind of shop owned but club built layout can get stuff in an odd situation, especially if your not really into helping support the shop it’s odd to have the owner be them! Does he provide all the track, scenery and buildings? Big investment... does it live in the store on display when not at shows?

 

jeff

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RogerK

These rules for the N scale club on the store's website pretty well says it all.

 

Our motto is: Relax...with a hobby!

WE ARE ALWAYS OPEN FOR NEW MEMBERS!

3 RULES:

1: RELAX AND ENJOY THE HOBBY

2: [Name redacted] IS ALWAYS RIGHT

3: WHEN IN DOUBT REFER TO RULES 1&2

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cteno4

LOL I assume the one whom is redacted is the owner. Great way to relax and enjoy the hobby and the club. 
 

perhaps rule number one should read “relax and enjoy the hobby [redacted name]’s way” so as to jibe with rule 2.

 

this just makes me shutter, now I really feel why nah was feeling what he was. Sad

 

our club’s main rule is for folks to have fun and not to feel like they have to do anything they don’t find fun, last thing we want is for folks to be feel forced into any particular way they have to participate. All our rules we generally have to follow are about money which when we built up a small pile and club possessions we neededTo have some sort of rules on that. For the first few years we had no stinkin rules!  
 

we are fine with folks participating as much as they want without joining, membership just gets you on the internal mailing list and ability to vote, otherwise we let folks just come and play if they want to.

 

jeff

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marknewton

This is an interesting thread with some very perceptive comments. And I say that as an HO scale modeller with a steam fetish! 😂

 

My interests are firmly in the prototypical track plan/operations camp, mainly because my entire working life has been on the railway. So I don't know anything else. But I understand that not everyone has had that sort of experience, and that's fine. There's nights we're at the club that all I want to do I play trains.

 

Same goes for steam locos, they've been a big part of my working life as well. I model in HO because it's the scale I've always worked in, and so I'm comfortable with it. So in the context of modelling J-trains I'm in the minority.

 

Having said that, I wouldn't behave the way some people described here have in a pink fit. I tend to be a rivet counter when I critique my own work, but that's as far as it goes. I wouldn't, I couldn't do that to other people's models. I don't what what their interests or their skill levels are or their degree of knowledge is. All I know is that rivet-counting directed at others is never going to be appreciated. 
 

Though I prefer HO I'm always keen to see what other people are doing and how they're doing it, regardless of what scale they work in. I think anyone who only looks at models in their own scale is depriving themselves of knowledge, ideas and inspiration. I get a lot of enjoyment from seeing the progress forum members are making on their layouts, aside from being informed.

 

And as much as I like steam, I'm equally keen on the rest - electric locos, MUs, diesel locos and railcars. Thats one of the reasons I became interested in Japanese railways in the first place - the sheer variety.

 

I also realise I'm very lucky to have a club where the members have a broad range of interests, and we have a fair number of younger members getting involved. From day one I was welcomed and people were interested to see my J-trains and learn more about them. We own our clubroom, so we're not in thrall to any hobbyshop or any other organisation. We have a similar approach to exhibitions to what Jeff has described, we only attend ones that members want to. 
 

The forum is very important to me, not only for the information we share. Having contact with other J-train fans is something I treasure, knowing I'm not the only oddball out there. It's been a help when I've felt like I've lost focus, or been a little burnt-out. 
 

So on that note I'll say that between work and the weather I haven't done a lot of modelling since Christmas. But after discussing it with Jeff I'm starting a new thread focussing on workbench topics, and making progress with various tasks and projects.

 

All the best to you all for 2020, and happy hobbys!

 

Mark.
 

 

Edited by marknewton
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Martijn Meerts

Feel free to be the rivet counter on my H0 project really. While it's not prototypical as in modelling an existing line, it will be inspired by lines that (did) exists, and I do want it to be realistic... Well, minus the steam and sound and such, that stuff doesn't scale well 🙂

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NX:

Hi Nah,

 

You mentioned interesting points.

 

On 1/24/2020 at 4:19 AM, nah00 said:

So this is a problem I've been running into lately that kind of hit me hard last night. I do collect North American rolling stock and mainly run it at shows and honestly I wish I had never gone down that path and had just stuck with Japanese. The amount of work I've had to do and the amount of money I've put in to them to get them to run properly are far greater than any expense or work I've ever had to do on any of my Japanese stock. 

 

Modelling other than JPN trains requires more resources and generates frustrations. I would do it (modelling something else) only after understanding and accepting all the pros and cons.

 

On 1/24/2020 at 4:19 AM, nah00 said:

This in and of itself is annoying but honestly the bigger thing that bugs me is the general attitude of (most) North American model railroaders and especially hobby dealers. 

 

I also know that "attitude". Do your own stuff, don't waste your time in what you cannot change (things or people).

Note: if you cannot help yourself and keep getting upset about it, just think that "that attitude" will "naturally" disappear in 10 or 15 years.

 

On 1/24/2020 at 4:19 AM, nah00 said:

I went into my LHS and was talking about the markup Walthers puts on Tomix items and how absurd it is. The owner said that Walthers was the only thing keeping the hobby alive in the United States which I think is pretty much the farthest thing from the truth (I would argue Walthers is a pretty big negative on the whole). I think forums like this and sites like MB Klein and (regretfully) eBay do MUCH more to keep the hobby alive than the LHS anymore. Do I necessary like this? No, I did like going into a hobby shop and browsing but I also like getting exactly what I ordered and not having to buy for the overhead of a brick and mortar store. 

 

Retail is dying, sad but true. The last stores will move online (or close) and they will face even more competition.

 

On 1/24/2020 at 4:19 AM, nah00 said:

However it seems like some people (not to point fingers here because there are plenty of exceptions), especially the older generations, are convinced the death of the hobby is looming ever nearer when I think it's the exact opposite. Look at what DCC allows you to do. Look at the huge selection of locomotives and rolling stock you can get now. Do we really want to go back to the days of Athearn blue box kits and can motors that sound like a dying cat? It seems like some people can't let go of the past and since things aren't the same they just want to spoil the hobby for everyone else by trying to tell them what to do and how to 'properly' enjoy the hobby. 

 

Under the current circumstances, I think the hobby (outside Japan) will shrink but stay alive for like a couple of generations more. You can check in magazines, TV programs, forums, youtube videos and other sources about how many people from "new generations" are really into the hobby... not many. Nowadays, people seeks hobbies that provide immediate gratification (and immediate peer validation), simplicity and pretty much anything that doesn't demand effort and perseverance. The latter ones plus the "attitude" from the old generation plus the "attitude" of the manufacturers only indicate a not so bright future outside JPN.

 

On 1/24/2020 at 4:19 AM, nah00 said:

Another source of frustration comes from running at shows. Despite doing more work on rolling stock than a real railroad car shop I have constant derailments. Thought it was still my cars but I can run them for hours at home and no problems. Also last show I was at I said the words 'please don't touch/grab' more than anything else and it starts to get old when you're not only telling children this but also adults while also making sure your train is staying on the tracks and that you're not about to be rear-ended by the operator behind you or someone stopped a train in front of you.

 

This is good info. I was thinking that being part of a show will be like your description.

Once I though I could participate in a show but bit by bit it makes less sense.

 

On 1/24/2020 at 4:19 AM, nah00 said:

To top it all off I've been looking at my layout lately and thinking 'man, I just put a lot of this track here just to put it here' and looking more at even the basic operating principles to make it more enjoyable to run. 

 

Option 1: Happens to everyone, it is part of the process. Option 2:  Think what you did by following other people's advice, think what you did trying to please other people or just to follow your peer group or club. At the end, be selfish and do with your layout as you wish (you will see that it is so refreshing).

 

On 1/24/2020 at 4:19 AM, nah00 said:

This just feels like a rant but overall it's just feeling burnt out by the hobby. You would think doing train shows would be great and I had the impression people would be interested to see Japanese trains and the differences and similarities but all people comment is 'why do they still have Rapidos on them?' I'm sure other people have felt this way and wonder what they did to get out of the rut. I've been thinking about thinning my North American stuff out, especially some of the out of area/impulse buy stuff. 

Any thoughts?

 

Having expectations on people brings disappointment, do something because you really want to do it regardless what other people think.

 

Cheers,

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Welshbloke

I might suggest a look over the hedge at the tabletop wargaming world. Plenty of young modellers doing fantastic conversions and paintwork, and thriving social media communities based around it for the peer validation part. The same goes for modified cars, despite constant attempts to make new vehicles impossible to modify or even maintain on your driveway. Mighty Car Mods and similar have a huge following of 20-somethings. Both hobbies take time and effort and don't give you anything instantly.

 

As I said earlier, IMO the problem in the UK is the entry price and the attitudes. Yes we all know you can buy bargain used models and overhaul them, but an absolute newbie wants simple. They want to open the box, follow the instructions and have something working. Not spend an hour poking through a decade old bodge job which means you now need to seek a new baseplate for a motor bogie which went out of production before they were born. A decent Hornby set is pushing £150 now and needs either a large table or ideally a solid board, as their track isn't designed for floor running or repeated dismantling. That's before you buy the extras which make it genuinely interesting to run. Against a media backdrop which seems to push the idea that anyone interested in trains is a socially maladjusted loner and probably autistic (which to the mass media is A Bad Thing). While we've all met the shower-phobics and those with zero social skills, they're not the majority.

 

I'm currently in touch with someone trying to get an astronomy club started near me, and one suggestion I made was that it should essentially be a social club with an astronomy habit, meeting in a pub or bar rather than hiring a hall or room. That should put off the tedious people (as we won't be serious enough for them) and produce a fun group who run outreach events and call each other if we fancy going out observing in a dark skies area and don't want to be lonely. Keep it loose, no AGMs or Chair or Committee, just a group of friends.

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disturbman
3 hours ago, NX: said:

Having expectations on people brings disappointment, do something because you really want to do it regardless what other people think.


Ideally, but things are never that easy. Nagging and constant criticism can always take its toll, even when we are inclined to disregard those negative opinions. We are still social animals and very few people can live in a vacuum where the only important metric is their own understanding of their intrinsic worth. And, usually, these are particularly horrible, absolutely selfish, persons to be around.

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nah00
5 hours ago, Welshbloke said:

I might suggest a look over the hedge at the tabletop wargaming world. Plenty of young modellers doing fantastic conversions and paintwork, and thriving social media communities based around it for the peer validation part. The same goes for modified cars, despite constant attempts to make new vehicles impossible to modify or even maintain on your driveway. Mighty Car Mods and similar have a huge following of 20-somethings. Both hobbies take time and effort and don't give you anything instantly.

 

One of my hobbies still is miniature wargaming though I'm less active playing than collecting. I've done Flames of War a bit but never got very much into it, I did get a bit more into the tank game that streamlines the rules and focuses on tank-on-tank combat. I have a bunch of models to put together for that still and I somewhat tied to get into Warhammer 40k but man I thought trains could be expensive boy was I surprised. I did get one of the army boxes (Deathwatch) since they are a pretty good value and the new Kill Team style of game is a lot faster to play and doesn't require a huge investment in models. I also got a Bolt Action rulebook and considered that since it's a smaller scale game as well that doesn't require and army of 100 miniatures and is readily customizable to your playstyle.

 

5 hours ago, NX: said:

Option 1: Happens to everyone, it is part of the process. Option 2:  Think what you did by following other people's advice, think what you did trying to please other people or just to follow your peer group or club. At the end, be selfish and do with your layout as you wish (you will see that it is so refreshing).

 

Having expectations on people brings disappointment, do something because you really want to do it regardless what other people think.

 

I looked over my track plan the other day and did some thinking on it and it's not as bad as I felt it was. The problem I was having was that I was applying too much of what I know about North American railroads to Japanese railroads which is apples to oranges. The fundamental operating principles of the way they handle traffic are completely different just as British railways are different from how German railways run. There isn't a one size fits all design and ultimately my layout pretty much does what I want it to do. Can I make changes? Yes. Do I necessarily want to right now? No, not at this point. 

 

6 hours ago, marknewton said:

The forum is very important to me, not only for the information we share. Having contact with other J-train fans is something I treasure, knowing I'm not the only oddball out there. It's been a help when I've felt like I've lost focus, or been a little burnt-out. 

 

I agree 100%. Just putting this out there made me feel better and to know that other people had the same/similar experiences to me and helped me refocus on what I want to do in the hobby and not necessarily doing what I feel someone expects me to do in the hobby.

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cteno4
5 hours ago, Welshbloke said:

I'm currently in touch with someone trying to get an astronomy club started near me, and one suggestion I made was that it should essentially be a social club with an astronomy habit, meeting in a pub or bar rather than hiring a hall or room. That should put off the tedious people (as we won't be serious enough for them) and produce a fun group who run outreach events and call each other if we fancy going out observing in a dark skies area and don't want to be lonely. Keep it loose, no AGMs or Chair or Committee, just a group of friends.


great idea and I think will mesh very well with the younger generations that like more informal meetups in more informal places. I’ve been suggesting this to ntrak for them now being the overseer of ttrak for a way to encourage model railroading thru ttrak with younger generations. I’ve got good reactions from them and they were a little surprised and curious of the idea, I think as it’s just not the usual model railroading club or approach they have always done. I need to keep on it. The social aspect to the hobby as mentioned is important and if framed in a more relaxed fashion and face to face might be less harsh and critical and more supportive and constructive.
 

Online stuff is great with us scattered all over the world, but sadly it lacks a good bit of the human ‘monkey’ language we use to communicate and it’s hard to make all that up in just words. It’s one of the reasons we let the forum be more conversational as that helps us all build a little better picture of the person behind the words and try to make it a more pub atmosphere than a serious sit in rows of chairs meetings. Shows, clubs, meetups and more community based forums and lists help fill in the social side to our hobbies to round it out with companionship, teaching, sharing, learning, and just having fun.

 

that said I’ve made really wonderful friends thru the forum and corresponded a lot but each time I get to meet one of them in person it’s like this great explosion of more great stuff that blossoms out of the original great connection on the forum. Been one of the greatest things with the forum other than seeing folks get into the hobby and take off.

 

jeff

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