I recently read a column from a modeler who had shared his latest plans and theme for a new layout. Predictably, “The Advice” soon followed on how he could “improve” on his plans.

Now this individual is a smart, knowledgeable prototype modeler who knows what he wants from the hobby. My hope is he will stick to his original plan and not allow others, however well intentioned, to muddy the water for him. I believe he will. He’s too smart to allow others to do that.

Agree or not, it is my firm belief there is a definite “herd” mentality to this hobby. For all the talk of individual approaches, if someone strays too far from the norm, they are considered fair game for the experts. New ideas in this hobby are usually less than welcome, if they fly in the face of conventional wisdom. My friend’s theme is outside the norm of conventional layout thought and ideology, making him a target.

Given his resources in time, budget and space, he wants a very simple layout. “The Advice” from one modeler was to add unnecessary complication in the name of operating interest. The implication being, “you’ll be sorry” if you don’t. Simple layouts, in this particular modeler’s view, are too boring to bother with. Nothing wrong with that, except it doesn’t accept what my friend wants to do as a valid choice.

Now don’t misread my words here. Advice can be very valuable, when the giver takes the time to understand and respect the choices being made by the receiver. Advice that helps a modeler achieve his objectives can be worth its weight in gold. It’s also rare. Fortunately, he’s also received such advice from an accomplished modeler who is pursuing a similar goal.

More typical is advice from the bias of the giver in an attempt to enlighten some poor misguided soul and put him back on the good path, that is the same one the giver is on. This advice is worse than useless in my view.

My friend doesn’t need my advice. I will simply say to anyone who might be listening, stick to your guns. You know as much as the “experts.”

Mike