Re: Prototype fidelity



Interesting perspective. I am sure the PRRT&HS also had its share of railfans in the early days, but it is pretty hard to mint new rail fans for a long-fallen flag. Still the same problem.

You mention "Classic era" (transition modelers). I find it interesting that when I returned to the hobby ten years ago I was warned that the Pre-WWII and WWII era modelers were becoming a small minority, and that the manufacturers would be producing less WWII and earlier models and more transition era and modern era models (which is exactly what has happened.) Ten years later I hear transition era modelers worrying about the same fate for their era. Time moves on.

I bet for every newly minted transition era modeler, there will be 10 or more modern era modelers buying GEVO's and double stacks.

If historical societies are to survive, they need to be "big-tent" organizations. Just as some societies really struggled because former employees in positions of leadership were unwilling to embrace the modeling community, a similar fate will befall societies if the leadership will only support "fine scale" modeling - whatever that means....

Individual local MRR clubs can and do prosper for a wide variety of reasons - one being leadership that sets reasonable and popular goals and expectations for the vast majority of its members. Good lesson learned there.

It will be much harder for a large, dispersed historical society to provide the same amount of interaction and bonding of a local club.

Tearing these societies apart by setting unattainable goals for a volunteer organization with very limited resources does not do any of us any good.

If you want more accurate models, then it may be better for all of us to expect the manufacturers to make them, not historical societies - they should not be taking the financial risks that a manufacturer can take. And if the manufacturers can't make money making the models you want, why on earth should a historical society take the same financial risk?

Intermountain has made a ton of money on cylindrical hoppers that have no doubt covered the losses on a few of their RR specific models that failed to hit sales targets (as Frank A. his hinted at Cocoa Beach, but never openly confirmed, to my knowledge). Historical societies do not have similar opportunities for large volume sales "winners" to offset a fine scale model that fails to generate the overly wishful predicted demand.

A reminder - the membership count of this group - which includes many very accomplished "fine scale" modelers, is just over 2/3rds of the membership of just one historical society (PRRT&HS), so even within the smaller community of railroad enthusiasts willing to preserve their favorite railroad's history, this group remains a distinct minority.

Dave Evans

---In STMFC@..., <schuyler.larrabee@...> wrote :

I agree with Tony on this.  My model RR Club has been gaining members rapidly the last couple of years, and they are not all the 30somethings that are looking for a nice quiet hobby that the missus will allow.  They’re in their 20s, even late teens and some are as interested in the Classic era (transition) as in modern stuff.  The ELHS has always had a majority of railfans and modelers; the employees/retirees actually rather shunned us as “foamers” or worse.




From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2014 11:21 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Prototype fidelity



Dave Evans wrote:


Here is a sad reality check - most Historical Societies are losing all of their former employee members. Members who worked side by side on the real railroad for decades - they joined the societies almost as a retirement club to preserve bonds and fellowship they had before they joined the society, and those members have provided all of us a very valuable service by preserving and disseminating important railroad history.


       Dave may be right about some societies, but the ones I know about which have surveyed their members do NOT find that the bulk of members are former employees only joining for fellowship with guys they worked with. Every society survey of which I know has found that 85 to 90% or more of the membership are modelers first. Of course some may also be former employees, but that is not the primary reason for membership. That is why I believe his premise about losing those former employees is simply incorrect as an implication for the future of societies, And that is also why modeling issues are indeed paramount, including whether or not a society sells foobies, or Thomas the Tank Engine, or for that matter T-shirts, or hats, or socks and underwear. 


Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA

2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705

(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...

Publishers of books on railroad history




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