Thursday 12 April 2012

Loosing the fun

It's dawning on me that our hobby is changing. The slow and steady incremental developments that have always been with us are leading us towards a point where a dramatic shift, out of all proportion to the increment that takes us there, will happen. Each year brings fresh models of a standard that pushes kit and scratchbuilding to the sidelines, now the preserve of those who do it not out of necessity but choice. Quite how all pervasive this trend has become has been highlighted by the release by Bachmann of the Pendon range of ready to plonk buildings. I find it hugely ironic that the models that embody the most painstaking and patient approach our hobby have begat  resin copies now available to the idle comfortably off at the drop of a wallet.

Model railways used to be a creative hobby; I fear that we'll soon see retail therapy overtake creative endeavour.I can't in all honesty see where the fun in that is. My youth was a blur of sticky fingers, Superquick kits, Humbrol paints and tubes of Airfix glue. They may have been crude and childlike, but they set me up for a lifetimes enjoyment of making things. I'm convinced that making things is fun, it's something that we see in all children but that often gets lost in our busy adult world where short cuts to having things seems like a good idea.

Here's the latest thing I'm making. Nobody else will have one quite like it and it's kept me utterly absorbed for hours. Ready made buildings; you can stick 'em where the sun don't shine..


Anonymous said...

Quite so, I had moved up to 7mm scale to ensure that I actually do so 'real' modelling, although I see that 'ready to run' mania is starting to creep in there.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, but where do you stop with this argument? A friend and I recently swapped brakevans. Mine scratchbuilt, his kit built, both made many years ago and not in keeping with our own developing tastes, but ideal for the other person.

Neither of us were happy with the outcome, quite simply because we hadn't made them ourselves: I now have my brakevan back ( he didn't want his, as it was 30 years too modern for his tastes, but in any case he wasn't fond of it as it was not scratchbuilt).

I agree that simply buying and using is probably little more than retail therapy, but - as you have said elsewhere - if these are viewed as components of a greater "whole", then what is the problem?

I look forward to you following your argument to its logical conclusion, and the appearance of a Furness well tank plus matching coaches!

Colin Peake said...

I've touched on the advent of 'consumerist' railway modelling myself in the past ( and the list of new models has grown, and continues to grow almost weekly (so it seems), so I find myself in complete agreement with you Neil.

In fact, if I couldn't make things for myself, I doubt I'd still be a railway modeller...!

Martin A said...

Years back, I lived in the USA for a while and got to know some old-time O-scalers there. I asked why locomotive scratchbuilding seemed to have died out - several of them had built some magnificent models in the 1940's.

They explained that, since the 1960's, you can buy ready-to-run brass models far beyond the abilities of most scratchbuilders - and for moderate price. So what's the point of scratchbuilding?

Dolomite Mike said...

The problem is that the pressures of time get in the way of life. I recently purchased a number of Railway Modellers from 1972. April has Leighton Buzzard (Linslade) which would put to shame many models of today (totally scratch built. September 72 has Ian Futers Ashleigh - build a 'terminus in a week' - I recall even at the age of 14 that was inspirational and every Easter promise myself the opportunity to do so gets in the way. Totally agree with Neil, there is something therapeutic about building and converting - but the dilemma is that the commercial influences raise the profile of the hobby, which has to be a good thing. Finally it is raining the veg is growing and another deep bed needs to be made, and manure picked up, but - there is time for a little project - if you make it so!

James Finister said...

One of the keys to a successful model, one could argue is that all the elements are of an appropriate standard. I suppose you could argue that the increase in out of the box standards means the modeler whose interest lies in locos, for instance, can now source buildings that don't detract from their handiwork. Where realism isn't served is when the source of the elements is obvious and the model becomes a cliché. That is what could happen with the Pendon range. On the otherhand the availability of some of these models will I'm sure entice others to have a go who would otherwise be put off by the enormity of the empty baseboard.

James Finister said...

A PS to my earlier comment. I thought that narrow gauge station looked familiar.

This is what it reminded me of