It’s the age old question: how to get people interested in railroad modeling?
What if we turned everything on its head and asked, why is this hobby still relevant in 2014? What does it allow people to do that another one doesn’t and why does it matter?
I don’t have any answers, I’m just thinking out loud again.
It’s the most multi-faceted hobby I know of. It allows everyone to enjoy it in their own unique way.
The hobby is relevant because it can continue to evolve with the current railway scene. Modelers are most likely to model things they remember experiencing, so being able to buy SD70-2Ms in yellow with flags on them and set them to work hauling double stacks is just as much fun for them as the previous generation has spotting 40′ box cars at the freight house with a 0-6-0.
More interesting is what separates the levels of modeling, primarily “model railroading” from “railroad modeling”. Using generic examples, on one end of the spectrum, trains run in circles, whereas, on the other, they run point-to-point with purpose. The amount of recreation of prototype operations and practices varies just as much as the era selection and all are happy along the way.
Its a hobby where your own desires and creative expression can come alive.
It’s still relevant because it covers so many things: I could list all the opportunities it offers, but readers of this blog already know them.
Listing the wide variety of skills and activities, and the range of hobbyists from the simply interested to the dedicated scratchbuilder, buying motors but maybe making everything from rod, bar and sheet, is not the point, is it?
The obvious question is, how do we get this across, how do we promote what MR called “the world’s greatest hobby”?
Personally, I think the question is pointless. If people are not interested in railways or model railways, it is unlikely to interest them, period. If they are interested, then magazines, shows, forums, websites and blogs provide a lot of good information on what the hobby can offer. Sadly, the web also provides an opportunity to meet trolls and bigots who will force their view on anyone unfortunate enough to get within their sights.
So, to promote the hobby, do some modelling, and let people know about it. If they like it, they will have a go. If they don’t, they won’t. The real question, which has been asked on this blog before, is how to get tyros to build their confidence as well as their skills?