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Young Modelers DO Exist in This Hobby!

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Posted by csxns on Sunday, June 19, 2022 9:59 AM

Darth Santa Fe
It's not always an easy hobby to get into when you're a teenager and can't afford much, but those who stick with it will usually find that it's worth the time!

You said that right back in the days Birthdays Christmas and grass cutting was the only time I got MR stuff now buying trains is a lot better I now have so much stuff sometimes I forget what I have.

Russell

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Posted by wrench567 on Sunday, June 19, 2022 9:29 AM

  Darth.

 Take it from an old (sometimes grumpy) guy. You do some fantastic work. Love your steam engine builds. Thank you.

    Pete.

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Saturday, June 18, 2022 6:57 PM

I was only a teenager when I joined the forum and started posting my projects pretty quickly.  Most treated me friendly enough even though I had some admittedly dumb questions or comments now and then (wait, I still have those!).  I have other hobbies too, and one thing I've found is that there are know-it-all never-can-be-wrong elitist types everywhere.

It's not always an easy hobby to get into when you're a teenager and can't afford much, but those who stick with it will usually find that it's worth the time!

_________________________________________________________________

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Posted by GN24 on Thursday, June 16, 2022 10:36 AM

well they should exist because I happen to be one of them. I began with my first set in first grade it was a bachmann pacific flyer. right now I am in high school and I am still verry devoted to the hobby.

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Posted by Enzoamps on Saturday, June 11, 2022 10:15 PM

Here at "the home" you have to be 55 or older to even live here.  At 75 I am in the middle.  We have them from just 55 up to mid 90s.  So you can be 55 and still "young".

I worked for decades in electronics, and ran a retail warranty/repair station for many major manufacturers of gear in my industry.  I would have "young" people (20s-30s) come in and ask me questions.  I could tell the ones who really wanted to learn something, and who just wanted to save a buck.  I supported those interested folks.  I answered their questions and did critique of their projects.  I do correct their terminology, but not in a condescending way.  One fellow would build larger and larger projects of increasing sophistication, show me his work and ask for my analysis.  He improived his products.  He built guitar amps.  Then he ;earned to do quality woodworking to build the cabinets they are housed in.  Not only is he now a close friend, but he also sells his line of amps at a major retailer.  All that from a "did I do this right?" years ago.

If I wanted to join a club and got some pushback or intimidation, you know, I could tell them how good I was or write a resume, but what if I just showed them an example of my work and ask how I could improve it.

And it isn't just clubs or hobby stores, there are jerks in absolutely every aspect of life.  As they say, "Illegitimi non carborundum."

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, June 10, 2022 6:04 PM

As for a definition for “Young”. Hmm Hmmm, I’m a believer that while I have to grow old, I don’t have to grow up!
 
Edit.Geez, you dream like me.
Isn’t that half the fun,  Rich?LaughLaugh

It sure is, Bear! Yes

And, like you, I accept growing old, but I can never accept growing up. No

Rich

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, June 10, 2022 5:12 PM
Gidday Charles, I don’t wish to belittle your experiences but rest assured that those curmudgeonly types (read Idiots) don’t just go out of their way to be rude to “youngsters” like yourself. It does leave a bad taste, especially as I suspect that you were bought up like myself to “show respect for your elders”! But then I learnt when I started working, that “respect has to be earned” and especially now as an old grump, I find that such comments, while completely unnecessary and indeed counterproductive, can be dismissed with the contempt those comments, richly deserve!
 
I should also stress that similar curmudgeonly types are found in other hobbies. I just don’t understand what satisfaction, they get from their behaviour, and the hobby, if any?
 
That said, and I don’t hold it against them, there are plenty of model railroaders, even on this Forum, who model for their own satisfaction and don’t see that they have to promote the hobby. Fair enough I suppose, just don’t start moaning about the “Dying Hobby”! (It’s not so much as dying, as just resting!)
 
I do think that there are way more things to attract a young persons interest these days, not that I begrudge them. Just one example, no such thing as “Play Station” or “Xbox” when I was young.
 
As for a definition for “Young”. Hmm Hmmm, I’m a believer that while I have to grow old, I don’t have to grow up!
 
Have Fun and Keep posting!!
Cheers, the Bear.Smile
 
Edit.Geez, you dream like me.
Isn’t that half the fun, Rich?LaughLaugh

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, June 10, 2022 4:44 PM

NorthsideChi

In my mid 30's and I've felt intimidated to join clubs.  I think people need to realize we're not train experts, but enthusiasts.   Been to a few clubs during open sessions for visitors and asked questions in an effort to strike up conversation but was brushed off.  While I don't know all the terminology and prototypical details of train operations, I consider myself experienced with laying and wiring track, landscaping and I've built and detailed over 150 structures.

When I got into HO scale modeling in early 2004 after a 45 year hiatus from playing with my old American Flyer stuff, I visited a local hobby shop just to check things out. The owner quickly intercepted me and offered to help me find for whatever I was looking for. I told him that I wanted to duplicate one of my favorite American Flyer trains of my youth, a green and yellow C&NW train. He frowned and then said, "Oh, you mean locomotive, not train".

That started a friendly but contentious period of time as the owner took me under his wing and taught me how to talk scale model railroading. I needed some "switches". No, you mean turnouts. I needed a "transformer". No, you need a DCC command station. And on and on it went. But, I wouldn't be where I am today without that store owner's help and guidance.

NorthsideChi
I'd really like to help a club continue to develop a layout and help with maintenance and pay for membership but it all feels more comfortable just working in my basement with a few friends helping out.   Maybe I'll start my own as I've been scouting out industrial space to set up in Chicago.  

Geez, you dream like me. I have often thought in a most ambitious way that if I owned or rented a 100' x 100' warehouse, I could replicate all six downtown Chicago passenger stations with minimal compression.

Rich

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, June 10, 2022 2:26 PM

There was a story on the local news this week about a 19 year old from Cuba that is running the repair shop at HR Trains in Pinellas Park, Florida.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by NorthsideChi on Friday, June 10, 2022 10:57 AM

In my mid 30's and I've felt intimidated to join clubs.  I think people need to realize we're not train experts, but enthusiasts.   Been to a few clubs during open sessions for visitors and asked questions in an effort to strike up conversation but was brushed off.  While I don't know all the terminology and prototypical details of train operations, I consider myself experienced with laying and wiring track, landscaping and I've built and detailed over 150 structures. I'd really like to help a club continue to develop a layout and help with maintenance and pay for membership but it all feels more comfortable just working in my basement with a few friends helping out.   Maybe I'll start my own as I've been scouting out industrial space to set up in Chicago.  

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Posted by wrench567 on Friday, June 10, 2022 8:35 AM

  No doubt that there are younger modelers. When I was doing shows with the module group, a major portion of the interest of the modules was from the youngsters. There was a nice polite young man that would attend every show. He would carry around his own step stool just to see the trains on the modules. When he got tall enough, he still had that stool but didn't use it as often. It was. Excuse me sir? Is that a new hopper? Or Excuse me sir, I like your new module.

  Kind of funny looking back to when I joined my first club. I was 55 and was called the kid. At 55 being the youngest gave me the perspective of seeing the grumpy old guys and the welcoming grandpa type and being 55 gave me the patience to deal with each type. Change is what most of us old guys fear the most. Growing up so many years with DC as the major control to some youngster introducing DCC. The first impression would be, oh another fad that will die off. Then the anger knowing DCC is better but all my engines are not worth converting. Heck, getting older myself, I just don't have the patience I used to have. Even a minor thing can bring out a snap and can ruin a whole day.

  Welcome to the hobby one and all young or old, short or tall.

      Pete.

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, June 10, 2022 6:19 AM

N Scale Train Boy

20 Year Old New Haven fan and president of the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society here! We young modelers are relatively few and far between, but in my experience, that makes us all the more important, especially to the older generation. When I go to operate on a layout, and make videos for them, I can always see the eyes of the older modelers and layout owners light up when I talk with them about my models and how much I appreciate theirs. We are the next generation, let our voices be heard! 

I think that the more young modelers try to set themselves apart, the more they set themselves apart.

Yes, there does seem to be fewer young modelers today, and for various reasons, and that is the only point that is constantly made on this forum. No one is trying to keep young people away from model railroading or to silence their voices. In fact, many express concern over the diminishing number of young modelers.

On a forum like this one, no one knows if a modeler is young or old, male or female, a minority or not, unless the modeler tells us so. And, quite frankly, no one cares. So, my advice to young modelers is to pursue your model railroading interests and quit raising the issue of youth. No one on this forum is holding that against you.

Rich

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Posted by N Scale Train Boy on Thursday, June 9, 2022 10:54 PM

20 Year Old New Haven fan and president of the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society here! We young modelers are relatively few and far between, but in my experience, that makes us all the more important, especially to the older generation. When I go to operate on a layout, and make videos for them, I can always see the eyes of the older modelers and layout owners light up when I talk with them about my models and how much I appreciate theirs. We are the next generation, let our voices be heard!

Check out the Balfour and Colucci Creek Southern Railroad, my proto-freelanced N scale model railroad, at bccsrailroad.weebly.com or on Youtube on my channel, N Scale Train Boy.

-Dennis

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, June 9, 2022 10:07 PM

thomas81z

funny thing is the local hobby shop , the train dept is being run by a 17 year old modeler .

his favorite road is  NEW HAVENCool

 

I was running a train department in a hobby shop at that age - in 1974.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by thomas81z on Thursday, June 9, 2022 7:29 PM

funny thing is the local hobby shop , the train dept is being run by a 17 year old modeler .

his favorite road is  NEW HAVENCool

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Posted by MJ4562 on Thursday, June 9, 2022 6:47 PM

I think y'all are a little off on your timeline.  Model Trains were still very popular with kids in the 1970s and 1980s.   I don't think I could say if the hobby is any more or less popular with kids today.  I do see the hobby being more accessible to the public, including youngsters (<18 y/o), more than ever.  Clubs seem to have more open houses and N-trak draws lots of attention at malls and public venues.  I don't recall those events happening very often back in the last century or at least they weren't well promoted.  By its nature, Model Railroading is a very private hobby. Few people want strangers in their home so those public events are a great way to show off what we do and spark the imagination of potential new modellers.

@Trainman440.  Liked and subscribed! Yes

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, June 9, 2022 6:36 PM

richhotrain

 

 
Trainman440
richhotrain
Model railroading is a hobby and its participants are part of a niche community. Usually when the topic of younger modelers comes up on this forum, it deals with the reality that there are fewer young modelers today than there used to be, say in the 1950s.  
The question my post was trying to answer is, WHY are there less new modelers out there. I felt like people always blame shifting trends and increasing prices*…when there definitely are other reasons why.

 

 

As you say, there are other reasons why. But, I do think that a major  reason is circumstantial.

 

What I mean by that is the fact that older modelers today were often introduced to model railroading with an American Flyer or Lionel train set under the Christmas tree somewhere between, say, 1945 and 1955. At that time, they were generally in the 5 to 12 age bracket. Those kids are somewhere between 72 and 89 today. In many cases, their younger brothers took over the hobby as their older brothers moved on to dating, high school and college, fast cars, etc.

Boys born after 1955 were less likely to receive a train set at Christmas and certainly less likely for boys born after 1965. So, the pool of 5 to 12 year olds picking up the hobby began to diminish as their Christmas presents were less likely to include a train set.

That's my belief, and I am sticking to it. Stick out tongue

Rich

 

I was born in 1957. I never got a trainset for Christmas. I have never owned an O gauge or S gauge train (except for what I bought my own son).

Oh, that's right, my father set up a 5'x18' HO layout in the living room every year from November to February - until I was 10 and we had a basement - then he set it up, left it up, and gave it to me.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by jjdamnit on Thursday, June 9, 2022 5:27 PM

Hello All,

If you have any doubts click over to Harrisons' latest endeavor...

I Built A Layout in a Suitcase (M&M Sub)

And my experience at the Denver Youth In Model Railroading Club.

Faith in the future generations of model railroaders

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, June 9, 2022 4:47 PM

richhotrain

 

 
Trainman440
richhotrain
Model railroading is a hobby and its participants are part of a niche community. Usually when the topic of younger modelers comes up on this forum, it deals with the reality that there are fewer young modelers today than there used to be, say in the 1950s.  
The question my post was trying to answer is, WHY are there less new modelers out there. I felt like people always blame shifting trends and increasing prices*…when there definitely are other reasons why.

 

 

As you say, there are other reasons why. But, I do think that a major  reason is circumstantial.

 

What I mean by that is the fact that older modelers today were often introduced to model railroading with an American Flyer or Lionel train set under the Christmas tree somewhere between, say, 1945 and 1955. At that time, they were generally in the 5 to 12 age bracket. Those kids are somewhere between 72 and 89 today. In many cases, their younger brothers took over the hobby as their older brothers moved on to dating, high school and college, fast cars, etc.

Boys born after 1955 were less likely to receive a train set at Christmas and certainly less likely for boys born after 1965. So, the pool of 5 to 12 year olds picking up the hobby began to diminish as their Christmas presents were less likely to include a train set.

That's my belief, and I am sticking to it. Stick out tongue

Rich

 

That's my thinking too. Those who grew up in the 1950s were far more likely to get a trainset for Christmas or their birthday. I had both a Lionel and American Flyer set when I was very young. In the early 1960s, I graduated to HO and came back to it in the late 1970s. Slot cars and building model cars, planes, and ships seemed to be prominent in the 1960s than trains. I have no idea what the popular hobbies were with kids in the 1970s and 1980s. Radio controlled cars became popular and now kids have drones to play with. Who knows why interests change but they do. That's neither good nor bad. It's just different. 

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, June 9, 2022 4:34 PM

Trainman440
richhotrain
Model railroading is a hobby and its participants are part of a niche community. Usually when the topic of younger modelers comes up on this forum, it deals with the reality that there are fewer young modelers today than there used to be, say in the 1950s.  
The question my post was trying to answer is, WHY are there less new modelers out there. I felt like people always blame shifting trends and increasing prices*…when there definitely are other reasons why.

As you say, there are other reasons why. But, I do think that a major  reason is circumstantial.

What I mean by that is the fact that older modelers today were often introduced to model railroading with an American Flyer or Lionel train set under the Christmas tree somewhere between, say, 1945 and 1955. At that time, they were generally in the 5 to 12 age bracket. Those kids are somewhere between 72 and 89 today. In many cases, their younger brothers took over the hobby as their older brothers moved on to dating, high school and college, fast cars, etc.

Boys born after 1955 were less likely to receive a train set at Christmas and certainly less likely for boys born after 1965. So, the pool of 5 to 12 year olds picking up the hobby began to diminish as their Christmas presents were less likely to include a train set.

That's my belief, and I am sticking to it. Stick out tongue

Rich

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Posted by NorthBrit on Thursday, June 9, 2022 10:04 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
NorthBrit
Then we come across the (shall we say)  'I know it all and you know nothing'  exhibitor.

 

When these people are speaking to me, they are correct, but I end the conversation.

-Kevin

 

 

Laugh

 

We are the same.

 

David

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, June 9, 2022 9:36 AM

NorthBrit
Then we come across the (shall we say)  'I know it all and you know nothing'  exhibitor.

When these people are speaking to me, they are correct, but I end the conversation.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by NorthBrit on Thursday, June 9, 2022 9:21 AM

Another interesting thread I find.

Here in the U.K.  model railways is alive and well.   

I know there are many times we see no other modellers, because of online shopping and not going to model stores.   At shows though,  there is a good mix of modellers in all age groups.

The way some people are treat is another matter.   As a small example,  I often take my (now 6 year old) younger granddaughter to local shows.  Many exhibitors take time and talk to her.  Some know her as the 'train nut'  she is  and I get left out of the conversations.

Then we come across the (shall we say)  'I know it all and you know nothing'  exhibitor.   Why they are there  is a mystery.  

 

David

  

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

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Posted by Trainman440 on Thursday, June 9, 2022 8:30 AM
A personalized reply just to Rich. I appreciate your comment first off, and the time you took to make such a reply. Hopefully here I can help clarify some points. 
richhotrain
 
But, in the few train shows that I have attended everyone, young and old alike, seemed to be treated in the same way - - either rudely or outright ignored. So, it is not a young person's problem. Any inexperienced modeler will be treated condescendingly at a train show in my experience.
 
 
Id argue younger people tend to take this sort of behavior more personally than someone who’s been in this hobby for years and is used to it. Just because sellers treat everyone like sh*t doesn't make it any easier for young modelers want to be a part of this hobby.
 
Also it is usually assumed by sellers (and others) that I am inexperienced. Its not like these guys are completely unbiased initially and only become condescending once it is clear to them that the buyer is inexperienced after conversing with them for a while. No, they will make assumptions right from the start. 
 
I look young, I also am a minority race. Saying that, Im not trying to complain about my experience or equality or whatever lol, but I can tell you from first hand experience that I've been treated differently from others. It doesnt happen often, and when it does I just ignore it, but dont try telling me that everyone gets treated the same. 
 
richhotrain
The OP makes the assertion that younger modelers don't share their work on forums like this one and that is the reason that the young modeling community is often forgotten and unseen by the older folk. Speaking for myself, I don't think of modelers as young or old, so what's to forget? I only care about asking questions to those modelers with experience, answering questions for those modelers with less experience and generally reading about others layouts and experience. I suspect that many, many others on this forum feel the same way as I do.
 
I agree, I was more referring to in person interactions. Online forums like these, we are all just profile pictures in little squares, so its harder to introduce bias, since much of the info on the modeler is unknown. And experience level is mostly determined (or can be assumed) by the level of detail/specificity in the question asked in the post.
 
richhotrain
The OP goes on to say that younger modelers don't have the huge income (some) people seem to believe. I am not at all sure that that statement can be supported because I know of no one who thinks that young modelers are wealthy.
 
This was mentioned moreso in reply to the few comments from the original thread:
 
PC101
Young people will buy into the hobby. They will spend more money per detailed piece of rolling stock and engines and I'd think collect less pieces then us ''old'' guys growing up on Athearn BB and MDC/Roundhouse.
Attuvian1
1) I'm amazed how some young folks can generate money.  And not always by means of their parents or plastic.
2) I'm just as amazed at how much they are willing to spend for what they want.
Also while I don’t like making stereotypes, Im sure we are all aware of atleast ONE kid who parents will buy any train they want. Just wanted to say that these guys are very much in the minority. Most of us find income for trains via hustles and other means.
richhotrain
Model railroading is a hobby and its participants are part of a niche community. Usually when the topic of younger modelers comes up on this forum, it deals with the reality that there are fewer young modelers today than there used to be, say in the 1950s. 
 
The question my post was trying to answer is, WHY are there less new modelers out there. I felt like people always blame shifting trends and increasing prices*…when there definitely are other reasons why.
-------------------
I hope these sum up my points a little better. Im not trying to whine complain about “old people being mean”, but rather have a discussion on possible reasons why the new modeling community is as small as it is.
 
Charles
 
*these are obviously true too, and definitely are big reasons, but they are not the ONLY reasons.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, June 9, 2022 8:27 AM

gregc
i'm curious what defines young.

If you wake up and nothing hurts, you are young.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 9, 2022 8:18 AM

gregc

i'm curious what defines young.

i got started in junior high school when my father put a couple pieces of plywood together for a layout.   but my paper route didn't give me much money for modeling.   can't imagine how someone that age today could afford much

but at the club, two member just graduated high school and became full members.  unfortunately, college will now be a significant distraction.   getting married becomes an even greater distraction.   one club member's father is a member of the club and significantly into the hobby.

so young could be junior high school with and without some adult mentoring, college and young parenthood.

at what age does desire meet reality

 

Good point Greg.

I was interested at age 6.  Got my first train set at age 9 via Christmas present.  Began reading MR and RMC at about age 13, and began understanding the hobby.  Got my first Athearn blue box 40 ft boxcar kit around that time and it put all of my Tyco and Life Like rolling stock to shame, as did the Athearn BB F7 Super Geared in UP paint.  I had a paper route (remember those?), but my mom was nice to me and bought most of the stuff I had over time.  IIRC. Athearn BB kits were about $1.99, but that money mattered to my mom so I didn't get many freebies.

Then at age 16 I discovered cars, then girls, then beer, and then college and more girls and more beer; and my interest in the hobby waned until about age 30.  About age 35 it took hold and that's when I really started the quest for learning more.  That was 25 years ago.

So it seems that there could be many "young" people who do have an interest in the hobby, but we don't see that because they don't express that interest until the conditions are right for them, which may be a little later in life. 

 

 

- Douglas

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Posted by Trainman440 on Thursday, June 9, 2022 8:06 AM

Thanks for the kind replies all! Some replies:

Sheldon - I agree I don't like having so many different accounts/forms of media. Its hard keeping track of them. All Im saying is ever since creating an instagram I learned about the HUGE train community on there, which I was previously unaware of. So I suspect much of these teens/20s modelers are likely on there instead of forums like this. 

Doughless

My advice to OP is to simply look up, smile and say hi, then walk away and remain focused on your task at hand.  Afterall, what can you say when greeted like that.

No yea that's exactly what I've been doing. And that's why Im still in this hobby. Im just trying to say for someone who's younger or less experienced and perhaps more shy or etc... having those sort of interactions might be a deterrent. 

Charles

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, June 9, 2022 8:05 AM

Trainman440

Another issue is that it often feels like some older modelers appear very unfriendly to us. Ive gotten used to it at this point, but the amount of condescending sellers at train shows is ridiculous. People who say "do you even know what brass is?" or "oh you model PRR? well take a look at this junker life-like 0-4-0 here", etc. Modelers who aren't friendly to new/young modelers, yet complain about why the hobby is dying just baffle me. You cant have your cake and eat it too. Of course I dont want to overgeneralize. Ive met numerous very nice experienced modelers who were extremely helpful. but I can say that meeting intimidating snobby modeler puts a bad taste in my mouth and could be a deterrent for many new comers from this hobby. 

I am completely apathetic to whether young people want to get into the hobby. It makes no difference to me. I don't encourage them. If, they need to be prodded, they probably shouldn't get into it. The hobby requires a considerable investment of time and money. If I could go back 40 years and do it over again, I wouldn't have invested as much time and money into it that I have. It just hasn't been rewarding enough to me to justify everything I have put into it. Now I am too heavily invested in it to just walk away from it. But that doesn't mean I don't regret having put as much into it as I have. 

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Heart of Georgia
  • 5,085 posts
Posted by Doughless on Thursday, June 9, 2022 7:53 AM

richhotrain

 

Trainman440

Another issue is that it often feels like some older modelers appear very unfriendly to us. Ive gotten used to it at this point, but the amount of condescending sellers at train shows is ridiculous. People who say "do you even know what brass is?" or "oh you model PRR? well take a look at this junker life-like 0-4-0 here", etc. Modelers who aren't friendly to new/young modelers, yet complain about why the hobby is dying just baffle me. You cant have your cake and eat it too. Of course I dont want to overgeneralize. Ive met numerous very nice experienced modelers who were extremely helpful. but I can say that meeting some experienced snobby modeler puts a bad taste in my mouth and may deter many new comers from this hobby. 

 

 

This particular point stands out in my mind. I am getting up there in years myself, but it always amazes me at how stuffy and crabby some older modelers can be.

 

The members of this forum don't seem to be that way, but when several local hobby shops were still open in my area, the owners and employees were fine, but there were always small groups of "old timers" sitting along the window sills, silently intimidating the rest of us shoppers by their presence. Just hanging around, talking loudly, complaining, whatever. The train shows were even worse, so I stopped going to them.

I think that experiences like that lend to the thought that model railroading is an old man's hobby.

Rich

 

One event stands out to me.  I was living in Indy and about 45 years old, examining an Atlas RS32 in NYC paint.  A regular in the LHS who probably never really bought much on any given trip to the LHS but somehow was never arrested for loitering, (an LHS Groupie) started (and didn't stop) talking to me about how the PRR was such a better railroad.  This was about the year 2005 and both NYC and PRR went away about 1970.  Those RRs were big in Indy and this guy was probably holding a grudge about something neither he or I had anything to with 35 years earlier. 

(Besides, I was looking at the NYC and a PRR loco to see how easy it would be to destroy the lettering and strip off any road specific details...I didn't even care what road name was on the loco) 

People with bad perceptions of their surroundings or understandings of the moment exist all over the world, but somehow those personalities who are also model railroaders can be pretty vocal and visible given the right situation.  Or else they just have really bad skills at starting a convo.

My advice to OP is to simply look up, smile and say hi, then walk away and remain focused on your task at hand.  Afterall, what can you say when greeted like that.

- Douglas

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