The hobby is dying and no one cares anymore. It’s a crisis and we need to act NOW!

Say this often enough and it will become your reality.

The hobby is thriving and the opportunities are unlimited.

Repeat this enough times and you will begin to see those opportunities and maybe even act on one.

Your reality, your choice.



  1. Rhett Graves

    Bad day?

  2. mike

    Not at all Rhett. Just making a point about how you get what you focus on.


  3. Dan Placzek

    Good point, Mike. It’s amazing how one’s attitude results in self-fulfilling prophecies.

  4. Chris Mears

    I wonder if there’s a population in the hobby that enjoy this “fact”? Being a member of a contracting population; adopting the role of a martyr of sorts.

    It seems this belief gains its strength during an era where the hobby has never been stronger, richer in opportunity, and offering a selection of product unmatched in any previous time.


  5. mike

    That’s an interesting observation Chris. I wonder if age is a contributing factor also?


  6. Chris Mears

    I wonder if there’s a correlation between this ritualization of the hobby’s death and our fascination with modelling worn out railways? We don’t model broken down narrow gauge railways as popularly as we might have but I think there might be a parallel.

    That, if we derive identity from our work than we might hope to acquire a sense of value by being masters of this dying art that might be the only way to preserve the story of a railway, itself forsaken to history.


  7. mike

    Honestly, I’m less interested in looking back than I am in looking forward. I have identified those things that give meaning about the craft for me, such as bringing a wide range of skills and understanding to bear on the subject of model building and trains. Bringing all of myself to the work is where the relevance lies for me. Going forward I think this is the choice many will face. I prefer not to waste time in uninformed predictions of the future but, I believe that we will see a more diverse and sustainable set of activities around model trains than we do now. I believe those seeds have been and are being planted now. Many won’t like the alternatives that may develop but, any such developments will simply be another step in the natural progression the hobby has historically seen.


  8. steve hurt

    Its funny Mike, in my almost 50 years of modeling I have heard this the entire time. So if it is dying luckily it is at a very slow pace and should last the rest of my life any way.

    Being negative is easy, there is a segment of the population that is doom and gloom no matter what. It just happens many of them are model railroaders. Its easier to sit back and complain about young people not building models than it is to do something to encourage it. How many of the hobby is dying crowd has ever done a display at a library? Or a make and take for kids at a local model contest? Nope, easier to sit home and bitch.

    One of the more popular model railroad forums has a large segment of this, I wish they had a subforum just for complaining about people under 75 and personal health woes. HAHAHA I believe on that forum there are many guys that jump on the “hobby is dying” bandwagon just because they are sheep and fall in line with an easy crowd to join. I would love to know how many of them actually attend events? The St Louis RPM had over 2,000 models on display last year. It grows every year. the models only get better. Walking around there is every age group, and never a word is said about the hobby dying. I’d like to see any of the complainers actually leave the keyboard and go to an event, then still say its dying. Lots of things are dying, fewer people watch black and white TV, fewer people use a rotary phone and dial up AOL, fewer people have to crank their car to start it.

    If the number of modelers goes down but the quality of models goes up I will take that. Funny to me that the same group that says the hobby is dying runs a forum that does not allow critique of models. Pat on the back, boy that is the best thing I ever saw is the only comments that are acceptable. I dont get how anyone hopes to improve that way? But if you dont want to improve your models chances are you dont want to change much else and will follow along with the other minions when they say there are no more modelers left.

  9. mike

    I agree Steve. I’ve also heard this tired song and dance for at least fifty years if not longer.