Do we have any obligation to future generations of modelers with regards to what kind of hobby we pass on to them?

As a fledgling modeler, I was inspired by people whose work and accomplishments stirred something in my imagination. The people who inspired me weren’t aware that they had. They didn’t even know I existed and they weren’t thinking about leaving any sort of legacy. They were just doing something they enjoyed to the best of their abilities and sharing it with others.

But, the quality of their work had an impact on many people over the years because they were pushing their personal boundaries of what the hobby could be. It begs the thought that we have no way of knowing when or how our own work may impact others. Does knowing this change anything? For the majority, no, not one iota. It does give one pause though, to wonder what sort of hobby are we passing on?



  1. Paul M-P

    Hi Mike
    In the UK it may be slightly different. The UK’s exhibition scene can allow you to meet some of the ‘hero’s ‘ in the hobby over here, and I certainly passed on my thanks and had the opportunity to ask questions to some of those I met, especially in pre-net years. The medium then was primarily printed mags and books

    Many of them as you say were doing their own thing without thinking about ‘legacy’, and certainly if I do something on one of my layouts I don’t think that way, and I’m pretty certain that none of my friends think that way either. This past year on the road with Albion Yard I had a number of people at shows come and say hello and thank me for writing the blog, taking pictures and writing mag articles. That was very touching and hugely inspiring in its own way. By that I mean it meant that other people ‘got’ what I was trying to achieve, and for a lone wolf modeller like me the feed back is very encouraging, not being in regular face to face contact with other like minded modellers.
    Knowing that someone thinks I did a ‘good job’ doesn’t alter what or whg I model like I do, or if it means anything outside my workshop. In the real world it doesn’t actually matter, I’m just playing toy trains. I like the fact my daughters see that I make ‘stuff’ rather than net surf or watch soccer on tv, and that I get enjoyment out of it and that it encopmpasses practical skills. Lets face it we’re probably first base to see if I can mend their ‘stuff’.

    Like my friend Andy Cooper whom has commented on his blog and in Railway Modeller that he’s not over concerned about leaving a ‘legacy’ either financially or ‘in the hobby’, I’m very much of a similar mind.
    If others get enjoyment/inspiration/frustration out of what I do that’s good, if not, no ones going to die and it really doesn’t matter.
    Almost selfishly I’m doing this hobby for me, I enjoy modelling/writing/illustrating/presenting, but I could walk away from it all tomorrow, and do something else if I felt like it. So long as I’d completed anything I’d promised others, that would do me just fine.

    Paul M-P

  2. Simon

    I dislike imperatives, particularly moral ones, so I don’t feel obliged to inspire anyone. Great if I do, of course, but not my aim.

    However, much as I have learned from others being willing to share their insights and techniques, etc, I am more than happy to do the same, not out of obligation, just the way I am.

    Mind you, I did once “bully” a friend into raising his standards and pushing himself. After failing to get him to believe he was perfectly capable of scratchbuilding a freight car (UK outline) in S, and that he would enjoy it, I presented him with the required basic components, and said, “I will only shut up once you have had a go, and decided that you really don’t like it.” One year later, he was on the committee of the S Scale MRS, as he was enjoying scratchbuilding so much.


  3. mike

    Okay folks, let’s get very clear on something right now. I’m not for one minute suggesting that anyone worry about their legacy, nor outlining any imperatives as such (moral or otherwise).

    All I’m saying here is that, like many, I was inspired by the skills and quality of work done by various modelers at different stages of my own development and, that we have no way of knowing whether our own work may or may not have a similar impact on someone else, now or in the future. End of story.


  4. Rick


    I agree with the sentiment that we are here to enjoy a hobby, not to build or leave a legacy. I do, however, believe that each of us should share our knowledge and teach whenever someone is interested in learning, whether their end goal is model railroading or any other.

    The knowledge we each possess which allows us to build our layouts has come from so many sources, none of which I imagine though we would use it to build a model railroad (hobby subject matter experts excluded). I appreciate all of the teachers I have had and look forward to each opportunity to pass along those lessons, which furthers my enjoyment in the hobbies.



  5. Simon

    As you say, Mike, we have no way of knowing (except if we never share our experiences and achievements) so end of story, really.


  6. Simon


    You obviously had an influence here!