Where are the Great Young Model Railroaders?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by riverotter, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I havent read MR in years. I thumb through it at the LHS, and if there is something interesting, i will buy it. But there hasn't been anything interesting in years...

    But that is my opinion and I don't know what that means. First, MY tastes have changed. When I was just starting in the hobby, all information was good information. Now, it is just redundant. What I would like to see are more construction articles, how-tos, etc. The magazine HAS changed, but perhaps it is changing in response to a changing demographic. Maybe I am truly a minority in wanting to see a scratchbuilding project out of cardstock, kitbashing articles, or a return of columns like "student fare".

    Model railroading is not the only hobby that is changing - just look at the automotive hobbies. 30 years ago a teenager would soup up his engine, know how to modify his carburetor, and know that there is no such thing as a "muffler bearing". Teenagers today modify their cars with fancy lights, lawnmower exhaust pipes, and fancy rims. Ask them to change a tire, and they call AAA. Ask them to check their oil and they wander over by the gas cap scratching their head. They are still interested in their cars, just a different aspect of them.

  2. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    The trend of the magazines like Mr seems to be to focus of the mega-layouts. I find the smaller personal layouts much more interesting, and I am interested in the construction tips.

    No offense to anyone, but I must have read over one hundred times how tracks are ballasted during layout construction, and it never changes. Same with a lot of features - way to much padding and puffery and not enough substance.

    And sometimes, it seems as though steam doesn't even exist. Again, no offense, but diesels do not melt my butter - they have no soul and they all look alike.

    I center more on the mags that focus on old steam and narrow guagwe, rather the hi-tech, clone-like world of today's railroading.
  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I think that with regards to magazines that they are all like that regardles of your interests or hobbies. To put it into perspective, I love mountain biking yet after almost 15 years as a solid rider I don't pay attention to the mags anymore. I can only read how to clean and lub my chain so many times before the content gets old. It's a rather dis-heartening trend too as any of the magazines out there are now more about the new latest and greatest trend or product as opposed to publishing articles about the particular interest that the experienced individual would like to read.

    That said when I first got back into this hobby a couple years ago one of the first things I did was visit the LHS, bought a Walther's catalogue and an issue of MR Mag. I wanted to see where the hobby was at after 15 years had passed. See what tech was available and get some ideas for my own. Lately, I've been buying MR just for the photo spreads of featured layouts. Although sometimes an interesting article about Ops will catch my eye.

    I think the focus for mags has shifted towards the new modeller. Which you can't blame them for. While its good for the old guard to continue with their work and build on their techniques, the industry will always need to pull in and attract new fresh blood in order to keep things alive and pumping.

    I can honestly say that if I had opened up a mag full of operations articles, rules and regs, and how your layout MUST be prototypical to operate...I would have been turned off a little.
  4. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I think we have answered the original question: Where are the great new young modelers?

    There really aren't any - just younger people who apparently might become modelers when they get older. With possible two exceptions, no one has come up with anything in the way of "great new young modelers", nor is there any evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, of crowds of young people engaged in this hobby.

    Not very encouraging for the hobby as a whole.
  5. conrailmike

    conrailmike Member

    That's because too many parents have gone out and bought their kids video games. That's also why too many kids are overweight.
  6. NIevo

    NIevo Member

    Model railroading isn't exactly the most active hobby in the world.sign1
  7. NIevo

    NIevo Member

    Couldn't disagree with you more. I went to a local train show recently and was amazed at the number of younger people there, not only checking it out but buying and selling as well. Sure not as many as the older crowd but when it comes to a hobby like this you've really got to stop and ask yourself how much free time and money alot of younger people have.

    For an example, you go out and buy yourself and R/C airplane or car and boom, your ready to rock and have fun, no extra time needed. Now you go and buy yourself and train and then you've got to think of space (not something alot of young people have), and unless you just set up the track on the floor and go (which wouldn't make you a very great young model railroader) you then have to do planning, benchwork, wiring, scenery, etc. Lots of people go months or years before even being able to enjoy operations. Not very appealing to someone without alot of time. Hence why the vast majority of MRR's are retired.

    Also, think about what it takes to become "GREAT" at anything. In most cases it's time. Your just not going to have teenagers or people in their 20's building masterpieces like some of the greats out there who have had 20+ years perfecting their craft.

    I for one think the worst thing in the world is to be a "closet" model railroader. That is just playing right into the mindset that most people outside the hobby have. I for one have no hesitation telling people what my hobbies are. Sure some of them make fun of you until you really tell them what its about or show them that its more then setting up trains to go around a Christmas Tree.

    Just my $.02:thumb::mrgreen:
  8. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Im right here sign1sign1sign1

    Just Kidding, Im young (18) but I dont consider myself to be a great model railroader
  9. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Well I would be around more, but......I just found out a few months ago I was going to be a dad. So that has been taking up much of my time getting things ready for my little one. I am having a girl. This is one of the reasons I have not been around much. But i try to stop in when i can. My trains have been put on hold for awhile though.
  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I think the "overweight" is mostly a function of America's insane love with fast food, driven by the rise of the two-income family and latchkey children. Even schools and the military now have fast food available on the premises, something previously unthinkable.

    Video games certainly don't help, and it's peculiar in a nation that idolizes athletes of all types that we don't place more emphasis on exercise beyond the sports section of the paper.

    Alien anthropologists of the distant future are certainly going to find us puzzling and contradictory beings, to say the least...all of us except the model railroaders, of course. :mrgreen:
  11. conrailmike

    conrailmike Member

    Well, the active part I just threw in there :) My point really was that a lot of parents these days don't encourage their kids to participate in hobbies that require learning certain skills or require patience. They just seem to throw a video game in front of them and as long as they're quiet then that's good.
  12. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    "We'll be comin' round the mountain when we come..."

    And, in a perfect circular segue back to the original point, the majority of us are older, as in "not so active anymore". Probably one of the reasons this hobby appealed to us in the first place...:cool:
  13. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    I think a hobby's support organizations can be a big factor in promoting the hobby. To what extent do you-all agree with this idea that the NMRA has become "pro-HO"? What are your opinions about the traveling "World's Greatest Hobby" show?
  14. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    I think a hobby's trade publications make a big difference in peoples' interest in that hobby. How do other folks feel about the 'big ones' in model railroading - MR & RMC?
  15. conrailmike

    conrailmike Member

    I think you misunderstood me riverotter, not the NMRA has become pro-HO but MR magazine seems to have become pro-HO.
  16. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I've been in the hobby since 1974 and it never has had a large following beyond the "Those are really neat trains." crowd. I long ago grew used to "The Look", where, when you say what your hobby is, you're looked upon as the poor bachelor uncle who never married and lives in his mom's basement.

    It is a hobby that demands patience, multiple skills and the desire to add to them, research, the money to match your desires---I keep mine low and amaze myself at what I own and how little I have invested---and an understanding spouse when that time comes.

    It does not need evangelists or the NMRA to keep it alive, just a patient group of older folks willing to pass it on to the younger folks, willing to hand the throttle over to a newcomer and willing to answer for the 256th time "What...", "How...", "Did...", etc..., as though you've never been asked that before. Muscling past the gag reflex when your trains are referred to as "cute" helps too.
  17. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    Where are the young great modelers is the question. Well look over at TruckLovers work, look at CNWmans layout, heck take a peek at mine. No we are not the best yet, but as mentioned, it takes time. I have over $1000 invested, and thats just gotten me some cheap benchwork, some locos and not nearly enough taconite cars, not much of a scenery start yet either. Most younger guys cant afford it. When I go to train shows most of the people are litttle kids who Id be willing to bet will have a nice layout someday.

    About the MR talk. I am a subscriber for 3 yrs now. I LOVE it. Yes I have seen a few re runs, but there is great info if your not a master modeler. There is alot of HO, but most people model HO, and there are MANY other scales talked about in the mag.

    Anyway, I wouldnt worry to much about the hobbys direction, is it changing? Yes, but so are the techniques and equipment. In the long run, I know there will soon be a new generation of modelers with layouts on all the mag covers. Here is what I have been able to do, with help from all of you more experienced modelers, thanks everybody!:wave::thumb: If you guys continue to show how, we will be here to learn!

    Attached Files:

  18. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Between your first post and this one, I think you got it. The 2 working parent family, plus the "Movin on up" to a new home every 5 - 6 years, then the idea that parents don't have the time (or money) to encourage the kids learning a hobby, all make for a "Video Game - Fast Food" nation.

    The times we grew up in, when mother was home with the kids and we could relax at the layout is no longer "hours" a week. There is just too much going on, long hours at work, not seeing your spouse due to different schedules etc.....

    It takes real dedication for the 20 - 40 year olds to start a hobby. I agree too, that the permanent "big" layouts are not existent until things settle down (Kids move out) and you near retirement.... I'm almost 50, and I built the MF&W in 94, when I was 36. 9 X 12 F gauge 1:20.3
  19. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Well the young modelers are around..
    At one HO club the 90% of the members will not see 55 again including me.
    At the other HO club we old farts are a minority.The majority of the members are in their 30/40s.
    At the N Scale club out of 17 members 4 of us are old folks.The rest is in their late 20s to early 40s..
  20. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    That's cool!!!!! Good to know there are at lease some young bucks interested in the hobby :D :D :D

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