Sunday, 12 October 2014

Wargaming vs Railway Modelling 2

A couple more observations, based on a few trawls of assorted fora:
  • I still can't help feel that somewhere, somehow, there's a trick missing in the model railway hobby to reduce costs for producing small runs of obscure things, probably involving some combination of laser cutting and 3D printing. And someone will figure it out and make an absolute killing.
  • The major manufacturers seem to have decided there is no demand for pre-nationalisation models. If they make something that existed into BR, fine, they'll release one in a pre-BR paint job (but in the GWR case you can guarantee that'll only be in the incredibly short lived and IMO ugly as sin post 1935 or post 1942 ones!) . But it does seem more and more that if it was made before about 1935, the manufacturers aren't interested. Which makes for a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Witness the maddeningly STUPID call by Hornby: let's make some GWR coaches - I know, we'll do the mid-40s Hawkesworth ones, which lasted well into BR days. But so did loads of even more attractive-to-model 1920s/30s Collets. And I can't USE the bloody Hawkesworths, because my planned layout is deliberately set in about 1934-5!). Contrast to (say) Battlefront. They're not quite at the point of 'if it took the field in WW2, we make it', but they're bloody close.
  • I can't afford to be a serious railway modeller. Sure, metal and plastic armies aren't cheap but... there isn't actually that much difference, price wise, between the (and I'm going to make myself unpopular here - tough!) mass-market (I nearly said 'toy') end of the hobby (40K etc) and the 'serious' end (say, obscure armies for FoG:R). Certainly not enough to make me wince. Compare, though, the difference between a set of Hornby Railroad Collet coaches (about 20 quid a pop) and a set of etched brass Toplight coach kits, which will set you back nearer £100 by the time you add wheels, couplings, buffers etc, and doesn't include the labour costs of building it. And the other core difference there is that the 'serious' railway modellers don't seem to see this as a barrier. The line 'you may as well buy the brass kit' gets tossed around like confetti as if it's an acceptable solution to everyone.
  • If I was as rude and critical about a PSC test render of (say) a King Tiger as some modellers seem to be directly to Bachman (for example) about nitpickingly small details in their mockup of a GWR 64xx Pannier, I'd expect Will to punch me in the face. And I'd feel I'd deserved it. Lumme. Talk about entitlement issues.
  • The above pretty much summarise why, while I will probably slowly construct the GWR layout I have designs on over time, you can guarantee I'll never put it up for scrutiny within the hobby.


  1. I think the dedicated railway modellers/collectors or whatever you call them are much more fanatical than their wargaming equivalent - in a good way. In '78, when I worked at GEC General Signal Ltd., a draughtsman got a bank loan for £400 to have two locos built by one modeller and then coach painted by a different chap. After I nearly fainted (I earned £35 a week), I discovered he wasn't unusual. GS being a railway signalling company, attracted lots of railway enthusiasts and £400 wasn't such a big deal to them.
    I'm stunned to read about the lack of pre nationalisation stuff. I thought that was a major draw? So is the only option hand built kit?

  2. I am guessing the train layout guys take much longer to build their layouts so some of the cost is offset by the time it takes.

    Also in your case you are trying to do two hobbies that are not light on the purse strings.

    I am also wondering if modellers have as huge stockpiles as wargamers seem to have?



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