Monday, 19 February 2018

Profit and loss

I've had several conversations recently about a certain individual who is putting on model railway exhibitions on his own and essentially running it as a small business. This has generated a fair bit of negative comment from most people I talk to and I really can't see why. I had the same conversation again yesterday.

I've been working under the basic shape entertainment model for donkeys years: the promoter books the venue, then books the band, the artists or what have you. Then puts out advance publicity and ticket prices. The show gets done, promoter pays everybody (hopefully) and takes the balance of the profit. He takes the overall risk - then takes the profit should there be any. Most people would see this as an acceptable structure. Not so the club modeller.

The basic shape of most model railway exhibitions is this: club books venue (usually the same as the previous year) books layouts (expenses to be paid for same). They book enough trade stands to cover the cost hire of the venue, and advertise in the mags with linage or possibly a display ad, plus flyers at previous shows etc. The entry ticket money is the bunce and goes to the club to pay for the club room/ modelling material etc for the year. No one personally profits - or do they?

The main negative response to the top structure is that there is personal profit - 'profiteering' was the phase used yesterday. This misses the point of a) personal financial risk and b) the fact that in the standard club show structure everyone personally profits by default, as if the show cash wasn't there, then they would have to fund clubrooms etc out of their own pockets. No they don't personally gain money, but they are saved from spending it which is the same thing - collective overall risk and collective individual profiteering.

The afore mentioned individual books the venue at his own expense (different every time) books the layouts (expenses to be paid) takes the linage ads, but promotes through local press and social media.

And here's the sucker punch: the resulting audience is mainly young- middle aged parents with under 16s in tow, exactly the demographic that the standard club exhibition structure and the hobby in general says that it is not reaching and can't attract. What he doesn't do is rely on word of mouth from the over -50s modellers.This may be the future and the conservative-thinking clubs are fighting it in every way, possibly toward their own demise.  Discuss.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Saturday Ramble

A couple of people query my love of smaller (or just small) shows. The trend in the last twenty years is to get bigger and bigger and this probably peaks with the mighty Warley.  The comment that accompanies is often that it proves how buoyant the hobby is. Maybe, maybe not. I would tend to say the opposite. I don't know what the gate numbers are for such a show, but I'd think that there is a percentage involved here. Say it is 10,000. 2,500 of this are casuals i.e. those who are interested but do no modelling. Another quarter are what might be termed 'collectors', those who will buy the latest Hornby model and put it on the shelf. Leaving half of the number who are are actually doing any modelling; from running some RTR round in circles, to the full-blown hair-shirt scratch-builders.

These numbers could also most probably be transferred in percentage terms down to any show. The difference is that at the smaller shows you get more modelling. Yes some of it isn't that high quality, but it is modelling nevertheless. What's more is that it is more representative of what actually happens, and shows the real levels of attainment. The big shows rarely do this, only picking the best of the bunch and keeping the quality high. Not to mention the fashion of 'billing', that is that there has to be a number of name layouts that have appeared in the press. The problem here is that can have an adverse effect leaving the casual/beginner with a feeling of 'I'll never be able to do that'. Conversely the small show usually hits a more basic level. There maybe a top flight layout or two, but more likely there will be varying levels of quality, and more often  - ideas. In other words some of the more left-field oddball stuff that will never get to Warley et al and has been dreamt up by a guy who has no desire to go there. That's where the magic is, that's where the modelling is, and that's where I tend to gravitate toward.

Friday, 16 February 2018

GWR seating

A quick bit of seating. Actually it's a bit of a fiddle and you have to let one join go totally firm before the next is added otherwise it goes very jelly. Research shows that there are a remarkable number of these supplied now from Metcalfe, Roxey, Severn Models CPL et al. This is a Coopercraft which seem a little thin on the ground now. Two tone paint finish and even with the photos, about half an hour to do. Batch-building would be quicker overall, but I only needed one.

Off to Reigate with Morton Stanley on Sunday for that star of Biggest Little Railway, Dakota D. Pop in and throw things.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

GWR tin shed.

Shed. Wills sheet and a few bits of plasticard. Based loosely on Hemyock but with a brick base.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Hemyock goods shed.

The Moreton shed wasn't working on several levels and was bugging me, so the decision to change took took me back to Volume 1 and the W&L tin shed. This is essentially the same beast as the proto-replacement goods shed at Hemyock albeit with a different door arrangement. Therefore it was a simple shift to start to go over this ground again with the different outward decoration. Logically this is better for the beginner to scratch-building anyway as there is less cutting out to do - the door assembly is a separate piece of work added on top. Therefore the total buy for the basic structure is one pack of Wills sheet, some 30 thou and the strip of paper being added here.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Late night shopping

My route home every night this week. Gaugemaster by night.

This was just before a smackhead got off the train, calmly walked across the line by squeezing through the gates, bowed to the queue, then tapped on my window and asked for a lift.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Never fear a change of plan

Well that didn't work very well. I don't crash and burn that often - change of plan called for.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

GWR goods warehouse

And to the scratch-build. Something simple... but of course that's never how it works out does it? The base prototype is the shed at Moreton-in-Marsh which I've discussed here before. First impressions are that it is a 'play school' type structure of easy shape that can be built from Wills sheet, without any joins. So far, so good.
Then the windows appear.
It needs four, which were originally multi-pain landscape rectangular units, plus an arch window over the door. The modern building has replacement double glazed units. The Wills window pack only has one suitable item, and buying four packs to get four windows is ridiculous. So a little compromise (again) is needed. The Wills arch windows pack gives a close match in one direction and they are chop-able. This isn't pretty, but once painted and fitted may make the grade. I essentially chopped the top and bottom, removed the arch for the doorway and moved everything inward. A dab of filler and we're away. Compromises...

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Pendon Museum 1958

Middle aged men in shorts and tank tops - how we used to do it.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Peco station building

And done. Well bar any signage etc. It goes together well, and with a bit of paint subterfuge, it's generic enough to fit almost anywhere.  The big problem is the secondary fittings and their colour as mentioned earlier. Those windows however... well in another life I'd replace with something finer. Here though that wasn't the name of the game. This is of course for the latest tome in the series of modelling for the novice, so keeping the brief as tight and non-complex as possible; I have a drawer full of Wills windows and the like, others will not and the only addition to the basic kit is paint, solvent and some strip for the finials and canopy ribbing.