Has the hobby got too expensive?

By | March 14, 2024

There has been a lot of frothing negativity surrounding the hobby of late due to one, but only that one out of several, retail outlets closing and one major exhibition organiser downsizing their event away from the NEC. Yes; some of the latest, top of the range, products are expensive but a beginner does not need to cut their modelling teeth on such purchases. As for shows – as one NEC giant calls it a day a new alternative has filled the void.

If your interest is in crafting and making things then arguably such new and expensive items are the wrong place to start your railway modelling journey. There is a lot of pre-owned material available at much lower prices and therefore a more suitable starting point to learn the trade of skills like painting and modifying you purchases. Don’t let prices put you off, the hobby has far more to offer entrants than merely taking part in a one-upmanship, keeping up with the Jones’, rush to prove who has the biggest, shiniest and most expensive set-up.

If the hobby has a problem it is not cost, or the loss of Hattons, but the lack of bits to make things from as our smaller suppliers are finding issues sourcing materials.

As the Show webmaster* perhaps I shouldn’t be issuing this Editorial style blog post. I am writing it though as one of the things I do locally at home in Dorset is have a stand at a couple of our local exhibitions showing some of the cheaper alternatives available to get beginners started. As just one example you wouldn’t start the art of learning weathering by attacking a £200 model, nor do you need to shell out for an expensive air-brush to begin learning the trade.

Again with scenery and building making there are expensive options, just a suggestion but perhaps getting your eye in first through using some of the old style (and less expensive) techniques is a better place to start.

Look at the wonderful layouts on show at our upcoming exhibition but also note we have a beginners corner for new child modellers. As a beginner you may well be far to old for that in purely age terms but in our progression up the modelling ladder we all have to start in the reception class learning the basic steps. Try those out on something small (therefore an achievable goal). A modeller learns through experience and making mistakes. They learn from making them and avoiding and/or correcting such errors next time around – skills are not learnt just by throwing money about.

Talk to modellers, watch a lot of YouTube tutorials, if socialising suits you then perhaps join a model club, the key thing though is learn by doing and making and remember, doing and making does not have to be expensive!

* John New. 14 March 2024.

Note I am writing this in a personal capacity as site Editor. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole Board and should not be read as an official policy stance of YMRS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *