Model Railroader. then and now

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by trainworm, Dec 28, 2003.

  1. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    The date on the cover doesn't mean a thing...

    The date on the cover doesn't mean a thing...

    I receive the MR at work at least 3 weeks early...

    I read the January issue last week! And I'll probably see the February issue before January 15th.

    As far as seeing the same old things...

    Well, if you read the small print at the beginning of the magazine under submissions..

    If you want to see something on a specific subject, then you should write it yourself and submit it....

    It's like the old saying... "If you want the job done right, then do it yourself."

    The articles are only as good as the submissions that the magazines receive.

    And, while I'm back up on this soap-box...

    The old articles depended on the written word to convey the message, because they didn't always have photos and diagrams.

    A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words...

    Now-a-days, you have to hope that the photos and diagrams are good, because the words arn't always there to guide you....
  2. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Tin Goat said:If you want to see something on a specific subject, then you should write it yourself and submit it....
    I suspect that *may* be more easier said then done seeing that the club tried 4 times to get a article publish on the club's
    layout...One of the members that is a school teacher wrote the article and we had very nice photos..The article kept getting rejected on the grounds of not enough and finally not good enough photos.So we just give up seeing that the pictures was taken by a professional photographer under MR guide lines for submitting photographs..Go figure.We never could figure out what the real problem was..
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    I thought that MR (or another MRR magazine) recently published an article on what the requirements are for submission and went into detail regarding picture quality. They said something like five megapixels is the minimum, and discussed lighting. I would go find it, but I've got most of my magazines packed already.

  4. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    The MR website has submission guidelines for those who are able to spend some time exercising the author in themselves and submitting the kind of articles they themselves would like to see. I'm working on one slowly, may never get it finished but it is another fun project.

    But think about this - maybe it is the internet itself and the proliferation of railroading websites and forums and instant info exchange that has caused MR to 'dumb down'?

    For example, just look at 'The-Gauge' - an online 'publication' with thousands of authors - beautiful pictures of fantastic models and almost instant answers to any and all questions and requests for advice. How can a print publication compete effectively with the same sort of content?

    I still enjoy MR, but so glad we live in the internet age!
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    You are right on. I haven't been in MRR that long and so I find I like MR for the ads as well as the content, but I still come here for advice and great photos. Just think of the magazine as a supplement to this forum.:wave: :wave:

  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Glenn,Excellent point made about forums..One can get a instant answer to his/her question in a very timely manner..Also there are SIG forums as well..
    Of course the down side is one should use caution in what he/she reads in reviews of new locomotives and or other so called reported problems which in some cases *may* be isolated cases and not found in the production run as a whole as well as some advice he/she receives..Of course this can apply to magazines as well.
  7. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member


    Maybe what MR could use is a 'reality railroading' column from someone who's been there...

    Miss your stories, got any more in the works?
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Glen,Did you read about the smoking Alcos in the topic "Those Smoking Alcos? I have several more stories that I will be sharing on a weekly bases..Like all old railroaders I love to talk "shop" to any and all that is willing to listen.:D
  9. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    i have to agree with Brakie on this one the genral trend of the new modelers is to ready to run or ready to use or pay someone else to do it and MR just follows the trend.
  10. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Just did now, sometimes i goof and hit the reload instead of back buttons and it seems to wipe out all the unread flags. Thanks, it's stories like this that make modellers realize that when their babies get ornery they are just doing the same as the prototypes.

    But seriously (and to keep on topic) maybe MR would be interested in some real life railroad experiences from days gone by. Couldn't hurt to try. I know we all like reading them here!
  11. Jim T

    Jim T Member

    I think you hit it right on the head Jon. A lot of times when a person thinks a mag isn't as good as it used to be it's because the person has advanced beyond the level of the mag or their interest has become more specialized. Like you said, it's then time to find a mag that fits better where they're at. By the way tnx for listing the mags you look at. I wasn't aware of Timber Times (even though I find it's published 80 mi. from where I live) and I hadn't taken that close of look at Finescale. I will give both of them a hard look.

    Cheers, Jim
  12. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    MRR has ALWAYS whined about not enough people submitting articles. Yet I personally know several model railroaders who STOPPED submitting articles because by the time their stuff was printed it had been edited to the point of their hardly recognizing the articles as theirs.

    I also know one experienced, professional writer who submitted a couple of articles while Andy S was editor, and who was so turned off by Andy's rude demands for rewrites (that would have ruined the articles) that he gave up on the whole thing.

    So far as the photos not being "good enough" that's one of MRR's real problems. They are more concerned with the appearance than the substance. I think most model railroaders would rather look at a "fair" photo of something interesting than a wonderful photo of something boring. It seems to me they spend too much time worrying about trick graphics and professional level photography, at the expense of content interest. I remember a few years ago they published a black and white photo of a really spectacular layout scene, but appologized for it being black and white, saying they normally refuse to publish black and white.....

    Who, other than art directors, really cares whether EVERY photo is color? MRR seems to be unable to get it through their heads that SUBSTANCE is what we want. The MRR of the fifties published fuzzy photos of some pretty poor models sometimes. Not because that was all there was, but because some modeler had done his best, and the result was interesting even if it was not professional level.

  13. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    I'd heard

    that MR prefers to use their own photographers...

    Take a look at the photo credits and you'll see what I mean.

    You have to be within a days drive of one of their photographers to get published....

    Going back to the subject of timing.... I just received the February issue in the mail today!

    They're over a month early!

    This might be fine for sending copies to the troops overseas, but it's a pain in the butt for the rest of us....

    They reported that the NMRA National Convention in Toronto this past July had cancelled the National Train Show (The Maple Leaf 2003) because of SARS.

    They never reported the fact that the show was resurrected by the Local Chapter of the NMRA and was a rousing success....

    By that time they had the October issue in the can....

    All of their reporting is a couple of months out of date.

    And one last rant....

    If MR won't publish your article, RMC might... Or perhaps FS or another magazine...
  14. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Well for what its worth
    Kalmback and carstens have done more for this Hobby than any other entity's on earth Bar None!!
    Dont try to explain it, Just keep buying it,.Its fluff for the experianced modeler but does have its merits on occassion.The internal problems they are having will eventually go away and they will get back to business as ussual for better or worse.
    It has always been a good magazine for what it is.It will never ever be something it isnt.You and i will not change the fact that MR is now and forever will be a magazine designed for the beginner to novice modeler with just enough content to keep the experianced modeler hanging on by the fingertips.
    Now, go sign up for another year :)
  15. Raildog

    Raildog Member

    Now that I have hopefully progressed beyond a beginner, I still look forward to every issue of MR. I have been in the hobby for about 45 years or so and I am amazed by the quality and diversity of products available to anyone with the budget to buy them. The advertising alone, while paying the bills, offers us a tremendous amount of information and shows us a tangible financial commitment to the hobby that we need to support or we'll be building GG1's, decapods and SD90 MAC's out of orange juice cans and cardstock, just like the so-called "good old days".

    The idea that MR should not cover the basics is silly, as there are always new people entering into the hobby. I would Imagine that any niche magazine not covering basic articles every few months would be doomed to live a short life. Imagine a young man entering into scouting and not finding articles about knot tying or starting a campfire in any recent issues of Boys Life!

    Bass fishing, Computing, Basket Weaving, etc. all have their publications geared toward their target audience and I'm sure they all cover the basics to the chagrin of the old timers...

    MR and Trains have never been friendly to "outsiders" writing articles or submiting pictures. They have a clique that is very hard to break into. I have many friends who have had articles rejected by MR, only to be published by some of the smaller outfits.
  16. ceebeenq

    ceebeenq Member


    Since I'm still a newbie- about 2 years ago I bought my first HO items and started thinking about a real layout-- MRR to me is not great but still decent.
    They do seem to lean to the beginner and/or small layout person that might be dipping toes in the hobby.

    I agree with many comments here: It doesn't take long to see they are heavy on marketing and ads (well that DOES pay the bills) , not too good on real advanced articles, and a lot of their photography stinks.... Seems they've never heard of using a tripod, stopping way down to get good depth of field and focus and exposing appropriately. Or maybe using larger format cams. (I know a heckuva lot more about that topic than model RRs!)

    But I still learn something from most every issue although I cancelled my subscription and get a buddy's when he's done or photocopy a good item from the library issue.
    Much of the stuff in RMC is beyond my reach too. :cry:
    Just my 2 cents worth.........:D :wave:
    and Happy New Year to everybody.
  17. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    On the topic of back issues...

    Last time I was at the LHS picking through back issues of RMC, I found several older Model Railroading issues and bought those as well. These are early 80's back when it was quarterly. These are really, really great publications. Mostly black and white, less photo's and maybe not the best quality photo's. But one thing they tend to do is write about the prototype, then how to model it. Kind of the why followed by the how, the 1 - 2 punch :D :D :D Also great technical information. Crazy stuff: how to derail proof turnouts and convert them to RP25 etc. I'll be looking for more of these at 50 cents a copy...
  18. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I thumbed through the Feb 2004 issue the other day and saw articles about creating a computerized signalling system, handlaying Proto 87 turnouts, an interesting article about dispatching, excellent layout tours from the US and Europe...and a very basic article about a beginner's layout project...this all seems a great example of to balance content appealing to beginning and advanced modelers.
  19. ceebeenq

    ceebeenq Member


    Ralph, I have to agree.
    And I was recently looking at Nov '01 MRR-- chock full of how-to, advice, tips of all kinds, advanced and not so advanced.
    It is easy to be critical when we don't sit around the table and make the decisions on what to come up with every month.
    cBnQ ;)
  20. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Can I beat the dog too? The reason I let my subscription laspe was the the cost of the magazine. I can now get a daily dose free on the net and get feedback. I can publish what I want for free without rejection. I much rather see incomplete layout made by real modelers over the cream made by the pros. I remember back in the 1960's - 70's people would complain because MR was full of John Allen and some (most?) readers of the time was sick of him and his layout pictures. Just read reader forums from the time.

    So free what I want everyday v. pay out the nose for once a month professional slick paper magazines full of ads. (what i really do is wait a few months until the LHS cuts off the cover and then I buy them for 50 cents). LOL

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