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AhmadKane

Starting a Club. Phase 1

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AhmadKane

Model Railroading has been so ingrained in the diecast community in Indonesia. Unfortunately, like most places, those who play this are stereotypically men over the age of 35 that has free time or disposable funds. The hobby is also heavily centralized in Java. Jakarta, Yogya and Bandung. All of which are mostly dominated by old money. 

 

Where I'm living, Bandar Lampung, just south of Sumatra, the community is a bit hidden if not nonexistent. I'm therefore trying to grow a small model train club and community in Bandar Lampung, and the first step would be to attract some prospective people. The end idea would be to create a small model railroad cafe, since Bandar Lampung is famous for its export coffee and its cafes, so it may be a way to keep the community going. 

 

Now I've been mulling over this, and I suppose you guys might have some thoughts as well. Currently I do not have enough funds or people to start exhibitions. But I do have a lot of connections with restaurants and cafe owners. So the idea would be to create a layout simple enough to not spook prospective modellers. An oval or two with a light baseboard. Movable. It'll house a simple train, maybe a commuter and a steam.

 

Concepts:

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/4d/66/40/4d6640709c660bd1d6c572774ff24991--model-trains-scale-model.jpg

https://www.cmrproducts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/cmr-products-com-n-scale-layout.jpg

https://fthmb.tqn.com/RBhTtPF88QZRs1gZ20x5XO0xBkU=/960x0/filters:no_upscale()/N-scale-layout-56a632ad5f9b58b7d0e05d39.JPG

 

The layout will be protected with an acrylic lid if needed . Using any track I could get my hands on and has a controller ready to be used. The presence of the controller would allow customers from the cafe to play with the model trains as much as they would see fit. Later on, there would be a contact card and a group in which they could get in touch with me if they want to start, and we can build the community there. This would also allow me to gauge the market, and which demographic would be the most prospective to begin this club. 

 

But you guys may have more experience in building the popularity of model railroading in your respective areas, got any advice on how to begin?

 

 

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AhmadKane

This is the SCARM file I made on the plans. I might use different track based on what I have right now, and keep it as simple and as cheap as possible. 

 

172128296_CircleAround.thumb.PNG.c300be54b468fccb4a7c7d766a88baca.PNG

The design would be 1x0,6 metres in dimension with a small town and a station. Double tracked using 216-45 for inner and 249-45 for the outer. No points, despite it would be a great addition, I fear that the trains would crash. I think the design should be as simple as possible, and could stand hours of it moving. Collisions should be out of the question for now. 

 

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Simple houses and buildings using cardstock and cheap trees. Base would use cardboard or a plank of wood. Maybe an old hollow door. Grass would use the grassy carpety layer. The roadwork would use printed roads but I'm looking to paint these roads to save the trouble. 

 

The layout should be easily used and run with the minimum risk of collision and derailing. Should be fun enough to entice people to see it, and the double track may mean that there could be races around the track. Easily maintained by the cafe or restaurant staff and protected from any spills or thieves. That was the idea at first.

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Cat

I've started up some tabletop gaming clubs, but not railroading.  Having the toys to bring to get started has certainly been a big help.

You might want to consider T-Trak for a very easy path for newcomers to the hobby to get into and very easy to transport to various venues.  If others do start building modules, then it is a very social experience connecting them so folks can play trains together with members contributing their own work.  If the cafe has tables that can be pushed together, you could set it up on the spot.

When I was staying over in Edinburgh, the miniatures gaming club there followed a very typical UK pattern.  They met once a week in an upstairs room they rented at the local pub.  Games started promptly at 7pm, and ended promptly at 10pm so everyone could descend downstairs for a pint!

Edited by Cat
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AhmadKane
1 minute ago, Cat said:

I've started up some tabletop gaming clubs, but not railroading.  Having the toys to bring to get started has certainly been a big help.

You might want to consider T-Trak for a very easy path for newcomers to the hobby to get into and very easy to transport to various venues.  If others do start building modules, then it is a very social experience connecting them so folks can play trains together with members contributing their own work.

When I was staying over in Edinburgh, the miniatures gaming club there followed a very typical UK pattern.  They met once a week in an upstairs room they rented at the local pub.  Games started promptly at 7pm, and ended promptly at 10pm so everyone could descend downstairs for a pint!

 

That is exactly my thought too. People might be insterested in doing T track modules for photo shots, and perhaps we could start the trend there. I'll make the T track modules at first, and hopefully others would continue on and create a big layout. T track would also make it easier to transport to different places too, and easier for the cafe staff to store and put together later on

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Cat

The staff may not be keen on doing the work, unless they have someone who is really excited about the project.  The Edinburgh gaming club had storage lockers in the meeting room where they could keep their gear locked up between game nights.

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cteno4

While having a cafe layout going all the time would be a great wide net, it runs into the keeping something like that operational all the time. I do exhibit development as my day job and anytime something operational/mechanical/delicate like this comes into discussion you have to first stop and see if you can have the proper staffing resources and backup equipment to keep the show running as a down exhibit is a real bummer/turn-off. At shows we are constantly having to tweek things, fix things, clean things, etc and that’s just for 6-7hrs a day for a weekend. In attended running takes a lot of fine engineering and upkeep. Even a plastic case can invite lots dirty fingerprints that need removing Constantly.

 

Ardesh, one of the past train part suppliers in the area here, and I use to have lunches where we would knoodle on ideas of how to help draw more newbies into the hobby in informal ways (usual ones are train shows and clubs here). We looked at the idea of having 2-4 hr socials at a cafe or restaurant that had sometimes unused sections at certain times. Restaurant/cafe gets customers and we get a space to do stuff. Idea was to just have some track to run some trains, folks bring show and tell of they have it. Do some workshops on scenery or Ttrak, etc. keep it fun and informal. Problem here is most places wanted a guaranteed minimum of business or they would charge us.
 

Other thing that has worked well here to get Ttrak clubs going past a few folks is just the initial one or two people had a loop of Ttrak they set up for a weekend in the local library once every month or two. It was just enough exposure to get a critical mass to form more of a club and grow the events and then go to other public festivals and events. Ttrak is really well suited to do this as each member can work on their own modules, easy to store and transport, East to do workshops on modules in a small place, you can vary the layout setup. Only downside is you need tables or run on the floor. But many venues have tables. Some clubs (us included) have a few plastic folding tables we can use in a venue w.o table for a small setup or at club meetings. Ttrak is also the best for newbies as they can get going fast and easy. Biggest issue is getting modules built but there are some simple ways to produce some. Might find a local woodworker that can churn a batch out to get started with. Even with nice materials (with nice veneer fronts, bold tans all hardware) here I can make them for under $5 per module.

 

Ardesh also was starting an import business to bring more model trains to india and he found it was really inexpensive to rent a small place and get a few modelers he found and bribe them with some trains to do a small weekend show. They charged a very small door fee and the modelers had some displays of their work a few loops of track running trains, a small loop for kids to run a train and workshops on scenery making buildings, etc. they were a huge hit and had lines down the block and police limiting how many got in at one point! It showed him there was a lot of pent up interest to tap into so started his import business.

 

the idea of a cafe being willing to have a set of storage lockers so folks could keep their modules there if they wished is interesting. Needs the space and investment in lockers but could be minimal rental charge maybe to pay it off eventually. Ttrak is great as you can store or display it on a bookshelf when not in use or make some small wood racks or boxes to transport and store them in.

 

but just getting a Ttrak loop (as few as like 8 modules and a folding 5’ table) and show up at some places or events for a few hours or a day could be the simple thing that might find the critical mass of people to go larger to cafe, club, get togethers, etc.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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