Is Model Railroader lagging?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by CharlesH., Sep 27, 2004.

  1. CharlesH.

    CharlesH. Member

    Well, I recently got the October Model Railroader from the newstand (actually it was a week ago), and I got to say that I was somewhat dissapointed.
    First (and I know you all vented on this one) there was John Armstrong's obituary. He really deserved at least a good 6 pages and not a skimpy little corner amidst the new product notices, I mean, when John Allen passed away his obit was a cover story. I think Armstrog deserved that kind of attention.
    Second, the coverage of the NMRA model contest winners was somewhat embarrasing. I remember that in previous issues they gave the contest full coverage with big clear pictures of the winning models and sometimes, a center photo of the "Best of show" winner. Now, not only did they bump the section to the end of the magazine, but they also reduced it to a few pictures andf a sidebar with the other winners. I'm sure that those of us who didn't make it to the convention would have liked to see that proto:48 Berkshire or that HO medieval stone church too.
    The dissapointment also covers the rest of the year. The new look seemed promising at first, but now it's beginning to irk me. First of all, the layout stories are getting a bit skimpy on the pictures. It seems like they can only show pictures of a certain area of a layout instead of the whole pike.
    I also miss the final section (and I bet y'all miss it too) called "Along The Line". I always looked forward to see a wonderful model photo with that little story next to the big Kato ad. Now it has been replaced with this bland "Model Railroading Is Fun" section. This section used to have these funny little bits of levity like trains running over grasshoppers or highly unusual prototype photos.... when it was called "Bull Session"! (remember that one?).
    Do you folks remember when MR used to publish prototype drawings on every issue? What happened to those big 200+ page issues that were so common some 2 to 4 years ago? Remeber "Paint Shop"? And please, don't get me started on the "world's greatest hobby" campaign which is beginning to drive me nuts.
    Just my two cents (I really had to vent this one)
  2. cobra

    cobra Member

    I used to subscribe to MR but haven't for several years .....I pick and choose the issues that I want from my LHS. I don't have any major gripe but I do think it has gone in a direction that I have marginal interest in . To each his own but I think there are better and more informative magazines out there and the internet supplies a lot of info as well .
  3. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Personnally, I don't often buy it because I don't don't get much out of it and therefor don't believe it is worth the cover price. I will admit, thought, to having a fairly narrow focus. It is sometimes hard to find the articles amongst all the advertising. I will occassionally go to the library and glance through through a stack.
    That's my $0.02 worth.
  4. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    I'm with Doc. I'm more inclined to go to the library to get Model Railroader and TRAINS and spend my money on publications that aren't as widely available.
  5. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    You can go to MRs website and get good info without buying the issue. If you register (free) they even send e-mails when the next issue is out. I think I have only bought one issue of MR magazine this year.
  6. belg

    belg Member

    Well guys I never bought MR because its available at the library and I do the Electrical work there so I get dibs on the old issues. I have to include MRC in magazines in which I'm not all that happy and say that I cancelled my subscription after three issues for lack of content and not providing what I'm most interested in Scratchbuilding structures and finishing techniques. Pat
  7. Charles Mark

    Charles Mark Member

    I just renewed my subscription to MR for another 3 years. I enjoy reading it but am a novice in this hobby. I agree with some of the comments you all have made but am not as displeased as you seem to be. I suggest you forward your comments to MR, perhaps they are looking for reader feedback and would appreciate them.
  8. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I used to subscribe to MR for years and enjoyed it, especially as a newer modeler. Over the years I began seeing a lot of repeats of topics (which is sensible for a general model railroading mag trying to welcome new hobbyists and teach the basics) so I dropped the subscription. I always look at it on the stands and sometimes find most of the issue is made for me! Other times I find little of interest and leave it on the shelf.
  9. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member

    They only had 2 pages and 5 pictures. You'd think from probably the world's largest MR convention you'd have more stuff, but NO! And as for Armstrong, they gave him 3 of the tiniest paragraphs I have seen in quite a while and one little teeny tiny pic of him. Heck, he isn't even pictured working on model railroads!
  10. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Well, they didn't even come to the NMRA convention in Toronto last year!!! So there were NO pics of the winners - one of which was my storefront apartment kitbash. :(

    I think MR is being geared more and more towards beginners -- as part of the World's Greatest Hobby push -- make it look easy, cover the basics, get more people into the hobby.

    Nothing wrong with that. It keeps manufacturers sales up, which keeps them in business, which benifits all of us.

    That said, I do find myself gradually outgrowing MR mag. Nothing wrong with that either. I still buy it for the purty pictures, and still dream of seeing a photo of one of my models in there. It's the equivalent of "The Cover of the Rolling Stone"!!! :D :D

  11. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Hi Val, I contacted the editor (Tony Spreando sp?) by email about a year ago regarding MR apparent lack of interest in covering shows and photographing peoples layouts and such. I was bluntly informed that they (MR) didn't go to or do such things and it was up to the hobbiest (you and me) to take and send them pictures of the shows, layouts, etc. and send them into them as transparancies and or high resolution digital along with a written article properly edited in text format on CD so they can cut and paste it into their magazine. Then they might print it if it was in of general interest to their readers and meeting of their high photographic and prose standards. That leavews me out on both counts.

    They didn't have the time, energy, or manpower to leave the office was the impression I got.

    Congats on your win BTW. :D Fred
  12. CharlesH.

    CharlesH. Member

    Me too. Some time ago I sent a few pictures to the contest (one of which was posted here) and since I didn't win, I'm still hoping it gets some ink on "Trackside Photos"... why did they have to push that section to the end of the magazine anyway? I'm gonna miss those big spreads.
  13. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Venting here is one way of dealing with the frustration brought on by Model Railroader, and their inability to please you. Writing to the editor, and venting to him is more effective......if improving the magazine is your goal. Buying......better,..... subscribing to the other magazines, will definitely get their attention. Rail Model Journal, and Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette, are currently my personal choices for serious consideration. Timber times is another I'm looking into.
  14. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    I'll second the NG&SG, one of the best mags out there IMHO!
  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I look through MR to see if its worth buying..I have not bought Trucks-er,ah Trains for quite some time.Time was I bought both faithfully..No,MR carters to the beginner and to a certain degree its advertisers.How long has it been since you seen a actuate product review that wasn't so much fluff-mustn't make your advertisers mad ya know..IMHO MR has continued to go down hill over the last few years..As far as John Armstrong's obituary that was pitiful considering Art Curren got a whole page obituary..
  16. DT1967

    DT1967 New Member

    I think the November issue will show how they'll handle John Armstrong's passing. The October issue seemed to be too soon to get more than what they did.

    As for the rest of the MR I've enjoyed all three issues I have. One from 1977 and 3 from this year.

  17. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I'm with Val. The mag is geared for beginners, for the most part, the plunk, plug and play type. Hopefully, there's an interest enough to search out forums like this and like-minded clubs to bring them out into the more creative aspects of the hobby. I myself salivate over musty smelling piles of old MRs found in box lots at auctions and flea markets.

    NEMMRRC New Member


    I got my November MR in the mail today. Tony Koester paid a tribute to John Armstrong. However, his column was also about other model railroading greats like John Allen.

  19. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Not to defend MR, but I've done some writing for magazines in the past. Don't do it anymore, because frankly it's too time consuming for the payment I usually received (if any).
    Magazines of this nature usually do not have the staff or expense accounts to send people out in the world on assignments. You'd probably be surprised by just how few people actually work for the magazine. Most of the articles are from contributors. Now, with this kind of magazine you also need photos to go with your stories...if you aren't a good photographer, or have the right equipment, you need to find someone who can do it for you. This chops your payment in half (this was always my problem). Taking pictures is easy; taking quality photos for publication is not. It's a talent. My experiences were with a highly skilled photographer who was sadly very unreliable. No sense setting up a photo shoot if the guy won't come because he has a more interesting offer elsewhere. :mad:
    So figure the magazine is only as good as the submissions they may be getting. This is why when I read N Scale Railroading I sometimes get annoyed with it. While I'm happy for the content, it can often be written in a style that is horribly dull or reveals little about the actual construction process...sometimes it's just the modeller patting himself on the back. :rolleyes: You never know what you'll get. MR won't print stuff like that from what I've seen; they are more selective with the content. And, they may be catering to the 'beginner' crowd to get a bigger audience, because ultimately, it's all about selling more magazines.
    Hope this offers a bit of persepective. FWIW, I don't buy MR, or RMC as I find little in it that interests me as an N modeller.
  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I used to subscribe to MR and RMC. In both cases my wife used to get very frustrated with their high pressure "renew your subscription now you only have three more years to go on this one!" In addition, since I've gone from being interrested in everything model railroading to modeling the Santa Fe in the fifties with occasional forays into other decades if something appeals to me and modeling the L.A. Junction RR in the 90s to current, I only buy it if it has an artical on L.A. J. or S.F. The same with other monthly mags. I realise that the magazines are trying to cater to a wide range of interests to broaden sales, but the only publication that I subscribe to is the War Bonnet from the Santa Fe Modeling & Historical Society. I just wish it was monthly instead of quarterly, but it is obvious that they just don't have the funding or the staff to do it monthly.

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