Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Kalmbach should produce all of their MR back issues in PDF format Locked

10445 views
65 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Wisconsin
  • 228 posts
Posted by MRTerry on Friday, January 5, 2007 4:40 PM

Dear readers,

Before the weekend is upon us, I'd like to address a few points raised in this thread.

1. "As has been pointed out, Kalmbach's Dream, Plan, Build series has not been a rousing best seller.  Neither have the downloadable .pdfs, even with the video content."

I'm not sure where this information came from, but it's incorrect. Both products are very successful and both are exceeding our sales goals.

2. "If it is the labor, I suggested in another thread that we can collaberate and scan what issues we do have and have it checked off against a master list via a Project Overseer."

Whether on a volunteer or a for-profit basis, scanning issues of MR for distribution is a copyright violation. Individuals can scan or copy their own issues for personal use, but not for distribution.

 3. "Scanning and indexing the issues isn't a big deal."

 Actually, it is. Getting files that are at a quality standard that we're willing to sell is a time-consuming process, and no one wants to read blurry PDFs.

 4.  "This confirms my belief that MR should occasionally include re-releases of "classical" articles in current issues."

Perhaps some future editor will do this, but with the possible exception of an anniversary issue, I don't see us doing so now. Our readers pay us good money with the expectation that they'll get new stories, and I'm not inclined to disappoint them.

5. "Their special issues and books, while not in pdf form, also frequently represent older articles."

Sort of. Some of the Model Railroader books are collections of magazine articles. Most contain all-new content. Our MR special issues - Great Model Railroads, Model Railroad Planning, How to Build Realistic Layouts, etc., are all new.

Joe Fugate has expressed our current thinking very well. Given the legal hurdles, technical challenges, and uncertain market, it's unlikely that we'll put all our back issues into an electronic format soon. Selected articles, yes, through Information Station.

MR is pretty large as hobby magazines go, but our staff actually isn't that large, and we have a lot of products in our line already. The business plan for any new product has to be stronger than the plan(s) for the other products that compete for our time. Right now, the case for electronic back issues isn't as strong as the case for several other initiatives, including some we haven't announced yet. We'd love to be able to release every product we consider, but we can't. In the meantime, if you have specific articles or topics you'd like to see covered in Information Station, e-mail us and we'll take a look. We can't always read the forum, so posting the ideas here won't ensure that we read them.

Thanks for the thoughts and the interest, and thanks most of all for reading MR. Have a good weekend.

 Terry 

 

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, January 5, 2007 4:02 PM

Tell me this:

If they had an article written, photgraphed and maybe a diagram or two in the classic method.

Put the said article into a magazine for publication in... say... 1940.

There are copies of 1940 here and there, not everyone will have it. What then is the problem of reproducing the 1940 issue in it's entirety (Just the legal issues that keeps being mentioned) and making it availible for people who wish to have it.

To me doing business on the Internet with back issues in digital form is no different than the old back issues resales with dwindling stocks of the magazine. It is just that the Internet is Global and certainly the person (Publisher) in 1940 would LOVE to have had that exposure.

If it is the labor, I suggested in another thread that we can collaberate and scan what issues we do have and have it checked off against a master list via a Project Overseer. It would be a volunteer effort, not unlike restoring a steam engine using what we do have on hand. I would imagine the vast bulk of issues that exists around the USA and the world will eventually be scanned into the collection and duplicates elminated with a simple "Delete Key" What is left after 12 months can then be scouted in librarys or known collections and filled in.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: NJ
  • 414 posts
Posted by jackn2mpu on Friday, January 5, 2007 3:51 PM
 jfugate wrote:
 jackn2mpu wrote:
Fred:

Did Kalmbach ever give you a concrete reason why they won't go the pdf route? There has to be a reason they won't do it, and I for one would like to know that reason. That way, the posters who think it's pointless to discuss it (and you know who you are) along with the rest of us would know, and not speculate why. If you can't discuss it here, please email me off list.

I don't know what they said to Fred but they gave me their reasons when I asked them while discussing some other things a while back. They said they had no plans to put them into PDF form for distribution on CD because:

1. Since only recent years are available electronically, the vast bulk of the issues would need to be scanned page by page and indexed by hand. Way too much work and expense.

2. The global electronic republication of issues is fraught with legal headaches around contributor contracts. It's just not worth the hassle.

3. Because of the limited market size, cost would be prohibitive given all the manual effort and legal fees it would take to produce the issues in PDF form.

That was enough to convince me the answer was a firm no and there's little chance of changing their minds. 

Joe:

Thank you very much for your posting of what they told you. As I said in a previous post in this thread, the ARRL (American Radio Relay League - an amateur radio organization) started putting out ALL their back issues on pdf some years back. I believe they started in the 1930's, so there are some real old issues that had to be scanned in. It can be done; just send it off-shore like everything else that's done nowadays. Indexing isn't that big of a problem either - it'll just take time.

The League went ahead with the pdf deal without knowing how many hams would buy into the electronic issues. And it's not like the ARRL had a lot of money to spread around either. But, we did it.

As to global contract issues, the ARRL publications have submissions from all over the world, so it can be done without breaking the back. Maybe Kalmbach should talk to the ARRL about how they went about the pdf issue. Contact info for the ARRL is:

ARRL

225 Main Street

Newington, Connecticut 06111-1494

860-594-0200

So, let's not think we're tilting at windmills here; rather, we're like the ant pushing on the rubber tree plant (remember he had success) and we could hopefully get Kalmbach to change it's mind. Also, like I said in a previous post, why doesn't Terry Thompson, who posts here from time to time, come on and publicly state his opinion on this.

de N2MPU Jack

Proud NRA Life Member and supporter of the 2nd. Amendment

God, guns, and rock and roll!

Modeling the NYC/NYNH&H in HO and CPRail/D&H in N

  • Member since
    November 2002
  • From: Colorado
  • 4,074 posts
Posted by fwright on Friday, January 5, 2007 3:49 PM

A lot of interesting responses here.  I generally only visit the forums once a day, and don't post unless I think I have something different to offer.  So it was a different feeling to see others looking for my repsonse.

When I contact MR regarding digital issues, it was me taking advantage of Terry Thompson's asking me for more details about an LHS that was marking up MR to $6.95.  I decided it was my chance to give my opinion on other items as well - this was September 2005.  Included near the bottom of my opinions of things MR ought to do better was selling digital copies of old issues.  It wasn't a priority to me then, although my wife has been after me for years to slim down my collection of past issues.

That last sentence is the key that validates what Joe Fugate has been saying in this thread and in the thread on scratch-building articles (http://www.trains.com/trccs/forums/995302/ShowPost.aspx).  Getting my back issue collection digitized has become a priority because I have come to agree with my wife that the magazine collection is no longer worth the cost of moving and storage.  The market for digital issues is just too small at present to justify the costs.  Digital copies of our magazine collections is not that important to most of us most of the time.  For the most part, we'd rather spend our precious hobby time and dollars creating our masterpiece and vision than reading old articles.  If these statements weren't true, most of us would spend a lot more time organizing and cataloging and preserving those back issues.  Before the Kalmbach online article database existed, there were several folks selling master indexes in the classified ads in MR.  Any guesses on how many were actually sold?  I didn't buy one, and neither did anybody else in the hobby I know.

No, MR never replied about selling digital back copies.  As I said, it was buried in my e-mail that was more concerned about present magazine content.  But I do believe that Kalmbach is watching this issue.  If they perceive the market for digital copies being at least break-even, I have no doubt, they (or a third party like me) would start the project.  As has been pointed out, Kalmbach's Dream, Plan, Build series has not been a rousing best seller.  Neither have the downloadable .pdfs, even with the video content.

Also, the loss of value (almost worthless now) of the existing printed back issues will prevent Kalmbach (or anybody else) from recouping their costs.  Fact is I will be able to replace the desirable parts of my printed collection at my new house for little more than the cost of shipping the magazines - pennies on the dollar compared to what back issues used to command.  Knowing this would certainly put a ceiling on what I am willing to pay for a DVD of the same content.

Andre, we're facing a similar situation in HOn3 locomotive production.  All the non-Colorado narrow gaugers (including me) are clamoring for a good Baldwin 4-4-0.  But how many sales does that clamoring really represent?  Enough to pay back the upfront investment plus interest?  How many are willing to contribute upfront to a project that will take several years to bring to fruition?  We have way too many model railroad manufacturers losing money producing what a few people said they wanted.  I certainly don't want to see Kalmbach losing money on its activities because it means a loss of services to the hobby (like this forum, like the product reviews, like the support for the NMRA, etc).

Finally, as Joe pointed out, only recent years of MR have been produced in digital format.  Digitizing and indexing are not yet automated processes unless you want to get a reputation for a poor product like the digital version of National Geographic.

again, just my thoughts - others think differently

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 137 posts
Posted by rghammill on Friday, January 5, 2007 3:40 AM

Actually, they have started to do this already. The Information Station pdf downloads consist of older articles bundled together. Each download covers a particular theme. Granted, most of the articles are from the more recent magazines, but a few of them are from older ones. The reference material in the steam locomotive one seems to be from a while ago. I actually like this approach better to just reprinting the older magazines because it collects a lot of useful information about a given topic in one place.

Their special issues and books, while not in pdf form, also frequently represent older articles.

However, just scanning the magazines is not the best option in my opinion anyway. Some other magazines have done just that, and they are very difficult to read on a computer. I pretty much never use the electronic copies, and end up referring back to the regular old magazine.

They were designed as a print medium, and the mulitple columns, add placement, and articles that start at one point in the magazine and are completed near the end of the magazine make it difficult to read on a computer. A better option would be to reformat the original text and graphics for a more PC-friendly format (much like a web page). This is a very time-consuming process, however, and not likely to happen. It's easy to do with an electronic document (something written in Word, etc.) but not from scanning a paper document.

As for whether the older magazines are relevent-I've been picking up a lot of older issues after hunting through the various online indices. Usually I'm looking for a specific article, but usually find 2-3 that have some good information. Even if newer materials or techniques have rendered the information obsolete, it's still interesting to read how modelers worked within the limitations of the time. There are a lot of very creative solutions and ideas that are still very usable today, if not in the exact same application. 

Randy 

 

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: California & Maine
  • 3,848 posts
Posted by andrechapelon on Friday, January 5, 2007 12:37 AM
If it's such a good idea I suggest that some group approach Kalmbach with enough money to completely bankroll the project - distribution, legal, labor, everything - so that it has no risk but some reward for them but a good reward for the group.  If it's such a good idea, they shouldn't have too much problem raising the money, eh?

But, but .... that would mean taking a personal financial risk. That would mean putting one's own money where one's mouth is. That would mean really committing one's own resources to the project. We can't have that. It's up to Kalmbach to foot the bill and take the risk.Whistling [:-^]

Andre

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Portland, OR
  • 3,119 posts
Posted by jfugate on Friday, January 5, 2007 12:33 AM
 jackn2mpu wrote:
Fred:

Did Kalmbach ever give you a concrete reason why they won't go the pdf route? There has to be a reason they won't do it, and I for one would like to know that reason. That way, the posters who think it's pointless to discuss it (and you know who you are) along with the rest of us would know, and not speculate why. If you can't discuss it here, please email me off list.

I don't know what they said to Fred but they gave me their reasons when I asked them while discussing some other things a while back. They said they had no plans to put them into PDF form for distribution on CD because:

1. Since only recent years are available electronically, the vast bulk of the issues would need to be scanned page by page and indexed by hand. Way too much work and expense.

2. The global electronic republication of issues is fraught with legal headaches around contributor contracts. It's just not worth the hassle.

3. Because of the limited market size, cost would be prohibitive given all the manual effort and legal fees it would take to produce the issues in PDF form.

That was enough to convince me the answer was a firm no and there's little chance of changing their minds. 

Joe Fugate Modeling the 1980s SP Siskiyou Line in southern Oregon

  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: CANADA
  • 2,292 posts
Posted by ereimer on Thursday, January 4, 2007 10:26 PM

have a look at what New Yorker magazine has done

http://www.thenewyorkerstore.com/product_details.asp?sid=122751

now don't go yelling that new yorker has a much bigger potential audience than MR does , i understand that . i'm just showing what's possible .

i'd buy MR on cd's or dvd if it was available , preferably 1 decade at a time to keep the price down a bit , but if they did the same as NYer i'd buy it one chunk , and i wouldn't mind paying a similar price , especially if it came with a nice index program that made it easy to search for articles . 

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Beaver Falls, PA
  • 299 posts
Posted by Kurt_Laughlin on Thursday, January 4, 2007 7:50 PM
 markpierce wrote:

Well, let's just hope Kalmbach listens to us and does the right thing, both for themselves and us.

My guess is they are think they already are. 

It's very easy to do the Right Thing.  The hard part is determining what the Right Thing is.

KL

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Beaver Falls, PA
  • 299 posts
Posted by Kurt_Laughlin on Thursday, January 4, 2007 7:47 PM
 jackn2mpu wrote:

Just because someone has made up their mind on something it's pointless to discuss it? That sounds like a parent's response to a child for not listening to the child's view of things. I'm sorry, but I don't need you to play parent to me, Kurt. I've made up my mind and nothing's going to change it is what you're saying is Kalmbach's position? Discussion has been known to change a so-called entrenched position of someone. It might just work here; all it takes is for Kalmbach Publishing to listen to what their customers are saying.

Y'know we see this all the time these days, people "getting the message out" about some issue or another and "raising awareness about. . ."  The idea is that if the decision makers could only hear the right argument, they would change their minds.  However this philosophy completely ignores - or refuses to acknowledge - the possibility that the decision makers have already heard the positions of all sides and simply have chosen not to go the way the "earnest explainers" wanted.  (This makes the decision makers pig ignorant scum of course, because CLEARLY anyone who actually understood the argument would change their mind.)

Or does the phrase "The customer is always right" no longer have any meaning?

Oh, it has a meaning alright.  The thing is that meaning never included: "If a few (possibly potential) customers want you enter a money-losing scheme you are obligated to do it."

Let's say the same number of people as have written in this thread - times ten - posted that they think Kalmbach should reduce the cover price of MR by 90%, because those folks "think" it would increase sales, be good for the hobby, and so forth.  Following the customer-is always-right principle, wouldn't Kalmbach be obligated to explain repeatedly why they don't think it's a good idea, to receive petitions explaining why people want the price reduction, go on the Today Show with a spokesman from the reduction group, and so forth?  Wouldn't they be horrible people if they just ignored them? 

Rather than "the customer is always right" I prefer "mind your own business."  There are no customers for this product, only potential customers.  At this point the decision as to whether it's economically advantageous for Kalmbach to turn those potentials into actuals is a business decision.  Their business decision.

If it's such a good idea I suggest that some group approach Kalmbach with enough money to completely bankroll the project - distribution, legal, labor, everything - so that it has no risk but some reward for them but a good reward for the group.  If it's such a good idea, they shouldn't have too much problem raising the money, eh?

 

KL

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: Martinez, CA
  • 5,440 posts
Posted by markpierce on Thursday, January 4, 2007 7:07 PM

Well, let's just hope Kalmbach listens to us and does the right thing, both for themselves and us.

Mark

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: NJ
  • 414 posts
Posted by jackn2mpu on Thursday, January 4, 2007 6:28 PM
 fwright wrote:

I have asked Kalmbach to put their back issues - especially MR - in some kind of electronic format several times, all to no avail.  I suggested $10 per year, or $75 per decade as a price I would be willing to pay.  I suggested that even decent JPEGs (better than the first National Geographic reissue) would suffice, provided the master index (they could use a subset of their present article index) would link to the start of the chosen article - a pretty simple search and link, given that the database already exists.

Fred W

Fred:

Did Kalmbach ever give you a concrete reason why they won't go the pdf route? There has to be a reason they won't do it, and I for one would like to know that reason. That way, the posters who think it's pointless to discuss it (and you know who you are) along with the rest of us would know, and not speculate why. If you can't discuss it here, please email me off list.

de N2MPU Jack

Proud NRA Life Member and supporter of the 2nd. Amendment

God, guns, and rock and roll!

Modeling the NYC/NYNH&H in HO and CPRail/D&H in N

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: NJ
  • 414 posts
Posted by jackn2mpu on Thursday, January 4, 2007 6:22 PM
 Kurt_Laughlin wrote:
 jackn2mpu wrote:
 Kurt_Laughlin wrote:

No one is saying there shouldn't be a discussion.

People are saying that, given Kalmbach's position on the matter, there's really no point in discussing it.

KL

OKay, so we're into semantics here. Do we REALLY know, in first-hand words, what Kalmbach's position on this is?

There's two possibilities:

1. KP plans on doing this.  In that case, there's really no point in discussing it because "we" ain't going to change anything.

2. KP doesn't plan on doing this.  In that case, there's really no point in discussing it because "we" ain't going to change anything.

That what I meant.  It's literally pointless for us to discuss it.

KL

That is about the stupidest reason I've ever heard for doing or not doing something. Just because someone has made up their mind on something it's pointless to discuss it? That sounds like a parent's response to a child for not listening to the child's view of things. I'm sorry, but I don't need you to play parent to me, Kurt. I've made up my mind and nothing's going to change it is what you're saying is Kalmbach's position? Discussion has been known to change a so-called entrenched position of someone. It might just work here; all it takes is for Kalmbach Publishing to listen to what their customers are saying. Or does the phrase "The customer is always right" no longer have any meaning?

It is NOT, repeat NOT pointless to discuss it. If YOU don't want to discuss it, just bow out of the thread. 

de N2MPU Jack

Proud NRA Life Member and supporter of the 2nd. Amendment

God, guns, and rock and roll!

Modeling the NYC/NYNH&H in HO and CPRail/D&H in N

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: California & Maine
  • 3,848 posts
Posted by andrechapelon on Thursday, January 4, 2007 1:03 AM

My sense is a lot of this "MR ain't what it used to be" commentary is to a large degree nostalga on the part of us old-timers rather than any real scientific analysis of the facts, if this little random selection of issues is any indication. Smile,Wink, & Grin <img src=" border="0" width="15" height="15" />

Nostalgia's all it is, Joe. I have very nostalgic feelings about the family 1958 Chevy Brookwood station wagon, the car in which I learned to drive. I wouldn't want to own one, however. The wagon was "well equipped" for 1958 in that it had a V-8, automatic transmission (2 speed Pwerglide), white-sidewall tires, radio and heater (I forget when a heater became standard equipment, but I believe my parents paid extra for that option). However, that same wagon had non-power drum brakes all around, the steering had no power assist, it had a rubber floor cover (no carpet there), no seat belts, no airbags, no seat headrests, a metal dash, no collapsing steering column, bias ply tires, an oil bath air filter, etc. The engine oil was supposed to be changed at 1000 mile intervals and the chassis had to be greased at regular intervals (no uni-body construction there). The car got 17 MPG on the highway and around 13-14 in town. There was no cruise control nor intermittent wipers.

By the same token, the first locomotive I purchased with my own money was an Athearn Hi-F drive (i.e. rubber bands and drums instead of gears) F-7. While the plastic shell wasn't bad by the standards of the day, the truck sideframes were cast in mystery metal and resembled lumps of solidified lava more than EMD Blomberg trucks. The locomotive had 4 speeds. These were stop, fast, very fast and high subsonic. These speeds were obtained both in forward and reverse. The first freight car I ever bought was an Athearn Lackawanna boxcar. The trucks has to be assembled and, instead of metal truck springs, the "springs" were made of a molded rubber "thingy" vaguely resembling springs that had to be inserted while holding the the truck bolster and side frame at some thing approaching a right angle to each other. I don't mind assembling trucks, but those rubber pieces of <bleep> actually would fight you when you tried to insert them.  

They don't build 'em like they used to (either model railroad equipment or automobiles). 'Allelujah!!! 'Allelujah!!! 'Alle-e-e-lujah!!! (strains of Handel's "Messiah" in the background).

Andre

 

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: California & Maine
  • 3,848 posts
Posted by andrechapelon on Thursday, January 4, 2007 12:21 AM

Regarding my statement about the greater value of the hobby magazines from years ago, I have to echo a sentiment I've heard on this forum on a number of occasions expressed by oldtimers, "Back then I used to pour over the articles in the latest issue for days...now I find I'm finished reading the entire magazine in an hour or so!" 

I used to pore over articles, too, and hang on every word. Today, I usually scan the issue and then go back and read things that seem interesting. HOWEVER, there is a big difference now than then. Back then, I was just starting upward on the learning curve. Everything was new and exciting and there was so much to learn. It's not going to be the same today, no matter how much one might wish it. If one persists in an endeavour, one goes from "Grasshopper" to Master Po, from Luke Skywalker to Yoda, from acolyte to master. The perspective is entirely different. To wish for things to be the way they were is to wish for something that will never happen. Things are only fresh and new once. I lived in Mojave during the final years of SP steam over Tehachapi. Apart from threats on my life from my wife, there's nothing to stop me from living there again. However, Mojave, 2007, isn't Mojave, 1953 and Andre 2007 isn't Andre 1953 or '57 or '68. In the words of Thomas Wolfe, "You Can't Go Home Again".

On average, if you opened one of the earlier MR's, you came across several articles or projects each month that were immediately applicable to you and building or enhancing your layout...and you often went right out and started working on them.

Perhaps. But back then, the idea (with some exceptions) was to build a generic model railroad (or reasonable facsimile thereof), not a model that comes as close as possible given time, space, skills and money to reproduce in miniature the Southern Pacific's Monterey Branch as it appeared in the late 1940's. Jared Harper's dream is not to build a model railroad or even model the Santa Fe, but to model the Alma Branch of the Santa Fe as it was in the latter part of WWII. Jack Burgess didn't just build a model railroad, but a masterful recreation of the Yosemite Valley as it appeared in August, 1939, the last month of peace before the outbreak of WWII. Even freelancers like Eric Brooman and Allen McClellan build their layouts to look like they actually could exist in the real world.

Quite frankly, the only thing that's appeared in MR in the last 5 or so years that actually applies to my situation is the article on scratchbuilding the Lamy, NM, Santa Fe depot, and only then because some time was taken to discuss how to model stucco buildings. The Monterey station is stucco. 

If I am eventually to model the Monterey Branch with some degree of believability, I don't need "trees", but reasonable replicas of some of the signature trees of the California Central Coast and the Monterey Peninsula ( quercus agrifolia - Coast live oak, eucalyptus globulus - the most common eucalyptus in California, and cupressus macrocarpa - Monterey cypress : http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v651/andrechapelon/MontereyTrainstation083.jpg  ).

Rather, those sorts of interesting articles, projects, or presentation of new skills simply don't appear any more. While I'll grant that some of the recent articles you mention might appeal to a certain limited audience, they lack the broad appeal many (most?) of the earlier articles displayed. They adressed things just about every reader would be interested in doing. Few MR articles these days honestly address advanced model building, whereas they once were common place.

Limited audience? What's a general audience in this day and age? Back when I walked 10 miles a day to and from school through 6 foot snow drifts, uphill both ways in a howling blizzard Whistling [:-^], there was still active steam running. There's a fairly large segment in the hobby who have only seen a steam locomotive on display or in excursion service. There are also a considerable number of us who only have a passing interest (if that) in an SD70ACe or an ES44DC. The hobby covers a wider range of interests now than it did 40 or 50 years ago. Not only that, but knowledge is a lot more specialized and focused.

I earlier mentioned Monterey cypress trees. There are only 2 places in the world where the Monterey cypress is a native species and that's Point Lobos (south of Carmel) and Pebble Beach. Anyone writing an article on how to model a Monterey cypress would be writing for a very limited audience. Besides myself, I can think of maybe 2 people who might really be interested. I remember reading Jack Work's article on building pine trees, sometime in 1958 or so, IIRC. Not loblolly pine, sugar pine, Monterey pine, Eastern white pine, lodgepole pine, etc., but "pine" (of which there are about 115 species). I'm not dissing Jack Work, his modeling was superb, just making a point about now vs. then.

If I get the chance to delve into my MR libary tomorrow, I'll try to offer up some examples of what I feel were truly worthy and enlightening articles from the past (and who was the best model photographer in the history of MR...and he ain't current!).

We've both read the same articles, so fire away.

My guess is you'll name the late Ben King. Yeah, he was good. His modeling was good, too.

Andre

P.S. Back in the day, Kalmbach sold a lot of copies of "HO Layout That Grows", a bowl of spaghetti 4x8 layout that was essentially a toy train layout using HO scale equipment. Compare that with "Soo's Red Wing Division" which appeared in the late 90's, IIRC, and also appeared in one of the recent starter layout books. The difference in overall realism is at least an order of magnitude. The Red Wing divison is still a 4x8, but as far as I'm concerned it's a far better starting point than the earlier HO layout that didn't just grow but also made a rather successful attempt to mimic kudzu.

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Beaver Falls, PA
  • 299 posts
Posted by Kurt_Laughlin on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 7:03 PM
 jackn2mpu wrote:
 Kurt_Laughlin wrote:

No one is saying there shouldn't be a discussion.

People are saying that, given Kalmbach's position on the matter, there's really no point in discussing it.

KL

OKay, so we're into semantics here. Do we REALLY know, in first-hand words, what Kalmbach's position on this is?

There's two possibilities:

1. KP plans on doing this.  In that case, there's really no point in discussing it because "we" ain't going to change anything.

2. KP doesn't plan on doing this.  In that case, there's really no point in discussing it because "we" ain't going to change anything.

That what I meant.  It's literally pointless for us to discuss it.

KL

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: PtTownsendWA
  • 1,445 posts
Posted by johncolley on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 5:56 PM
I would think the major articles would be a good thing to put out in PDF. Not necessarily so with all the advertising and product reviews, columns, etc. It seems like the columns are frequently gathered together into subject  type books. But the articles by all the major players going back to the beginning would be nice. I still run across articles by John Armstrong, Linn Wescott, Whit Towers, and others that are timeless. jc5729 
jc5729
  • Member since
    November 2002
  • From: Colorado
  • 4,074 posts
Posted by fwright on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 3:15 PM

I have asked Kalmbach to put their back issues - especially MR - in some kind of electronic format several times, all to no avail.  I suggested $10 per year, or $75 per decade as a price I would be willing to pay.  I suggested that even decent JPEGs (better than the first National Geographic reissue) would suffice, provided the master index (they could use a subset of their present article index) would link to the start of the chosen article - a pretty simple search and link, given that the database already exists.

As Joe Fugate suggests, the market is probably somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 for such a service.  Is that enough to make it work at the proposed prices?  And I'm willing to bet a decade's worth of MR on DVD that the '50s, '60s, and '70s would sell quite a bit better than the other decades - probably more than all the other decades combined.  Why is that?

As of right now, I have scattered issues of the '50s, a complete 1957, complete from 1962 to 1995, and complete from 2003 to present.  When I go to read back issues (about once a month), which ones do I read?  The '50s, '60s, and '70s.  For whatever reason, I will rarely bother re-reading anything newer unless I am looking up a specific article or review.  The issues from the '80s onward just don't seem to be as interesting, whereas I have nearly memorized my favorite years.  This has held true despite the many articles on obsolete control systems and electronics in the older issues.  My eight year gap represents my perception that there was nothing new in the magazine, and the subscription no longer had value.  The series on building the Proto87 project layout got me interested in MR again.

Moving and storage issues are causing me to give up this collection, but I would definitely pay to replace it in digital format.  As it is, I am busy manually scanning key articles, plans, and prototype information whenever I have time.

And as others have pointed out, digitizing the past would probably increase Kalmbach's resale of particular and popular articles.  Kalmbach could respond with an e-mail attachment of an article within minutes of receiving payment.

just my thoughts

Fred W

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Beaver Falls, PA
  • 299 posts
Posted by Kurt_Laughlin on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 12:03 AM
 CNJ831 wrote:

Regarding my statement about the greater value of the hobby magazines from years ago, I have to echo a sentiment I've heard on this forum on a number of occasions expressed by oldtimers, "Back then I used to pour over the articles in the latest issue for days...now I find I'm finished reading the entire magazine in an hour or so!" 

On average, if you opened one of the earlier MR's, you came across several articles or projects each month that were immediately applicable to you and building or enhancing your layout...and you often went right out and started working on them. I'll bet I haven't done that now in a decade and it's not through a lack of interest or challenges. I'm still building my layout, my contest models, etc. Rather, those sorts of interesting articles, projects, or presentation of new skills simply don't appear any more. While I'll grant that some of the recent articles you mention might appeal to a certain limited audience, they lack the broad appeal many (most?) of the earlier articles displayed. They adressed things just about every reader would be interested in doing. Few MR articles these days honestly address advanced model building, whereas they once were common place.

I can relate a parallel experience of my own from plastic modeling.  When I got my first issue of Scale Modeler in '74 or '75, I read it over several days.  I read it again and again, trying to soak up every article, ad, and photo.  I got a subscription, and by 1982 I was finishing an issue in less than an hour.  Did the magazine change?  No.  (In fact, SM was known for running the same articles several times. . .)  Did I change?  Yes.  After five years I had developed in the hobby.  I knew how to mask camouflage finishes, because I had seen it done a dozen times before and had done it myself.  I knew there was big hobby shop in Denver because their ad was the same one I'd seen for five years.  I knew that there was a new Monogram kit coming out because it had been advertised for the previous three months.  When everything is new, it takes longer to absorb it.  When you have some familiarity and some better developed interests, you select what you spend time on reading. 

After getting the mag for awhile you skip ads that you initially read because there was nothing new or that you knew in a glance were for something you weren't interested in.  Articles that covered jet fighters when you built prop bombers get only a superficial read.  Product announcements in 1/72 scale get skipped when you model 1/48.  The fact is, there is only so much new in a hobby.  Improvement generally comes from practicing basic skills.  There is some evolution in techniques, materials, and so forth, but it ain't happening by each month's deadline.  You mention that there just isn't a presentation of new skills like there use to be.  Have you ever considered that with each skill you've acquired, there's one less new one in the universe for you to learn?  When your skills are already advanced through decades of practice, do you realize how rare it would be for an article to boost yours even further?

In plastic modeling, like model railroading, there's only a rather small set of basic skills involved.  I'd say 25 or less for mrr'ing, a dozen or so for plastic.  Once you become competent in each I've found that what I'm learning from others is really just small little "tips 'n' tricks": How to paint wheels using a drafting template (Not: how to paint); how to simulate weld beads (Not: how to detail models); how to make chain from armature wire (Not: how to add details to kits). 

What it looks like to this modeler of 35+ years is that we are both in the place where we've picked all the low-hanging fruit off the magazine tree.  I look at that as more of an proof of my harvesting abilities rather than a fault of the tree for not making new fruit every month.

KL

  • Member since
    April 2001
  • From: US
  • 3,150 posts
Posted by CNJ831 on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 10:45 PM
 andrechapelon wrote:
The magazines of yore had the goal of showing you how YOU could advance your modeling skills to create a better layout. Today, they serve mainly to show examples of what someone else has done but usually, I'm afraid, not how you can go about doing it (except maybe to buy it RTR!).

CNJ831

Before reading, beware. Somewhat lengthy.

By your own admission, you have built prize winning models. Given that, it wouldn't surprise me if you used different techniques (even if only slightly different) and materials than those who wrote the articles to which you have referred. I may be way off base in saying this, but it would seem to me that the fact you have built prize winning models makes you one of the modelers who ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THE Censored [censored] HE'S DOING. From that premise, it would seem to follow logically that you are sufficiently knowledgeable to write something that would be the spark to enhance the modeling skills of other people. Now I don't know if you actually have written anything for publication or have given clinics, but, going by what you've said, you're certainly qualified to do so.

If you haven't written anything for publication (or given clinics or whatever), I have to shake my head at the complaint that MR and RMC ain't what they used to be. If you think that at least some of the articles should be more like the ones that were written (metaphorically speaking) "way back in the winter of aught six", why not write some yourself? There used to be a radio station in Silicon Valley that had a signature saying, "If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own!".

(snip) 

Returning to the question at hand, this particularly puzzles me:  Today, they serve mainly to show examples of what someone else has done but usually, I'm afraid, not how you can go about doing it (except maybe to buy it RTR!). There are specific articles I have in mind, and please pardon me if I forget which month/year the articles appeared. I hope you'll forgive my bias toward steam locomotive projects. The examples below are just off the top of my head.

(snip)

Whew! An awful lot to address in that post, Andre! For the moment let me just respond to the two main points: writing articles and comparing the content of MR then and now.

Let me start out by saying that I wrote a monthly column for a popular science publication with a circulation probably around that of MR's for nearly two decades and that pretty much got the writing bug out of me! When I finished up that stint I swore that, in my other field of interest - model railroading - I'd steer well clear of any literary commitments, if I could. I have ended up doing three pieces for RMC back in the 90's, several for my area's NMRA Regional newsletter and did present a couple of NMRA convention clinics. But writing and similar activities really are no longer my thing.

Regarding my statement about the greater value of the hobby magazines from years ago, I have to echo a sentiment I've heard on this forum on a number of occasions expressed by oldtimers, "Back then I used to pour over the articles in the latest issue for days...now I find I'm finished reading the entire magazine in an hour or so!" 

On average, if you opened one of the earlier MR's, you came across several articles or projects each month that were immediately applicable to you and building or enhancing your layout...and you often went right out and started working on them. I'll bet I haven't done that now in a decade and it's not through a lack of interest or challenges. I'm still building my layout, my contest models, etc. Rather, those sorts of interesting articles, projects, or presentation of new skills simply don't appear any more. While I'll grant that some of the recent articles you mention might appeal to a certain limited audience, they lack the broad appeal many (most?) of the earlier articles displayed. They adressed things just about every reader would be interested in doing. Few MR articles these days honestly address advanced model building, whereas they once were common place.

I guess, as you suggest in your post, I'm a fella that can model pretty well, one  who really still enjoys excercising and honing the skills associated with that phase of model railroading. Endless beginners' articles, the monthly hyping of DCC, and being instructed on how to remove the latest RTR item from its box properly, just doesn't do it for me.

If I get the chance to delve into my MR libary tomorrow, I'll try to offer up some examples of what I feel were truly worthy and enlightening articles from the past (and who was the best model photographer in the history of MR...and he ain't current!).

CNJ831   

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: Martinez, CA
  • 5,440 posts
Posted by markpierce on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 10:32 PM

Joe's comments demonstrate there are a lot of past articles that are still relevant.  This confirms my belief that MR should occasionally include re-releases of "classical" articles in current issues.  What the heck -- most of them are rarely above 4 pages long --  we're talking about 12 pages a year!  And it would be worthwhile for most all readers.

Mark

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Portland, OR
  • 3,119 posts
Posted by jfugate on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 10:17 PM

Just to conduct a non-scientific test of the notion issues of MR from the 50s and 60s are still very relevant and are more meaty than today's issues, I pulled an old issue at random from my collection -- January 1963.  I'm going to ignore columns -- I'm looking for articles in each issue.

- Caboose in 2 hours 74 minutes - 1 page of text, 4 photos, one diagram, 2 pages total
- How we built our railroad - 2 pages of text, 10 photos, 1 track plan, 5 pages total
- Alpena & Harwood Western RR - 1/3rd page of text, 1 track plan, 1 page total**
- Timber station and snowshed - no text, 1 photo, 2 pages of scale drawings, 2 pages total**
- Building timber station and snowshed - 2 pages of text, 6 photos, 5 diagrams, 4 pages total*
- Speeder rail truck - 3 pages of text, 7 photos, 6 scale drawings, 5 pages total*
- Neat way to develop a track plan - 1/4 page of text, 1 photo, 1/2 page total
- One man's roster - 1/4 page of text, 6 photos, 1 page total
- Texas railroaders banish dust - 1 page of text, 3 photos, 2 diagrams, 2 pages total
- Underbody detail on passenger cars - 1/4 page of text, no photos, 13 diagrams, 3 pages total**

That's 10 articles with about 25 pages of article content (the stuff I marked with two ** would be completely relevant today, the articles with one * would be somewhat relevant today). Looking at it another way, that's:

11 pages of text (44%)
14 pages of photos and diagrams

Now pulling a random recent issue of MR (January 2005) and doing the same analysis yields:

- Branch line for the Turtle Creek Central -  3 pg of text, 8 full color photos, 4 full color diagrams, 6 pgs total
- How to model a stucco depot - 5 pages of text, 12 full color photos, 8 diagrams/scale drawings, 8 pages total
- Smooth running railroad by the book - 3 pages of text, 6 full color photos, 1 full color track plan, 5 pages total
- Different time, different look - 3 pages text, 6 full color photos, no diagrams, 4 pages total
- Build an upgraded SD40-2 - 3 pages text, 15 full color photos, no diagrams, 4 pages total
- Power districts for digital command control - 2 pages text, 2 full color photos, 3 diagrams, 3 pages total
- Keeping track of history - 3 pages of text, 6 full color photos, 1 full color diagram, 5 pages total

That's 7 articles with 35 pages of content, or:

24 pages of text (68%)
11 pages of photos and diagrams (all full color)

I don't know if this little unscientific sampling is typical, but it shows some interesting points. The current issues have fewer articles with more text content, and they are in general more lengthy than the mini-articles used as filler in the old 1963 issue. The older issue had lots of scale drawings, which is useful even today. The 1963 issue did have more articles, but just how useful is 1/4 page of text anyhow?

If anything, the charge of "all photos and no meaty text" could be applied to the 1963 issue more than the modern one, with 7 articles in the 1963 issue having one page of text or less.

My sense is a lot of this "MR ain't what it used to be" commentary is to a large degree nostalga on the part of us old-timers rather than any real scientific analysis of the facts, if this little random selection of issues is any indication. Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]

Joe Fugate Modeling the 1980s SP Siskiyou Line in southern Oregon

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: California & Maine
  • 3,848 posts
Posted by andrechapelon on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 8:23 PM
The magazines of yore had the goal of showing you how YOU could advance your modeling skills to create a better layout. Today, they serve mainly to show examples of what someone else has done but usually, I'm afraid, not how you can go about doing it (except maybe to buy it RTR!).

CNJ831

Before reading, beware. Somewhat lengthy.

By your own admission, you have built prize winning models. Given that, it wouldn't surprise me if you used different techniques (even if only slightly different) and materials than those who wrote the articles to which you have referred. I may be way off base in saying this, but it would seem to me that the fact you have built prize winning models makes you one of the modelers who ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THE Censored [censored] HE'S DOING. From that premise, it would seem to follow logically that you are sufficiently knowledgeable to write something that would be the spark to enhance the modeling skills of other people. Now I don't know if you actually have written anything for publication or have given clinics, but, going by what you've said, you're certainly qualified to do so.

If you haven't written anything for publication (or given clinics or whatever), I have to shake my head at the complaint that MR and RMC ain't what they used to be. If you think that at least some of the articles should be more like the ones that were written (metaphorically speaking) "way back in the winter of aught six", why not write some yourself? There used to be a radio station in Silicon Valley that had a signature saying, "If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own!".

The ultimate truth is, nobody really learns anything that involves building or modifying anything until he/she actually does it him/her self. About three years ago, we found out the window frame in one of the back bedroom windows was rotten because my wife leaned against it and broke the window out. Fortunately, she wasn't hurt. Unfortunately (I'm being facetious here), she wanted ME to put in the replacement window. That was something I'd never done, even though I'd seen it done and read about it in DIY books. Fat lot of good that did. Once I dismantled the inside and outside trim and removed the remnants of the window, it was like facing a nightmare. You want to talk about nervous, I was a wreck. It took me nearly 10 days from start to finish. You've heard the advice, "Measure twice, cut once"? With me, it was stare at the opening for about 10 minutes, measure 3 times, stare some more, measure some more, drink a cup of coffee, well, you get the picture. It was a case of measure 45 times (punctuated by fairly lengthy bouts of staring and multiple cups of coffee), and cut once. Well, actually, in couple of cases, I had to cut twice, which just goes to show you that no matter how many times you measure, you can still screw something up. The second window (which didn't physically need replacing) was done in 2 1/2 days including painting.

Now, could I write an article that could tell you how to replace a window? Perhaps, but in order to do it justice, I'd have to do the next window with an article in mind, taking both notes and pictures from the start of the project to its finish. However, such an article would be slanted to wood framed houses with wood sheathing on the outside (in our particular case it's, horizontal  tongue in groove). In any case, all I'd be doing is showing you what I did, the techniques I used and the challenges I faced. How much of it would be applicable to your own situation is open to speculation should you need to replace a window in your own house.

Returning to the question at hand, this particularly puzzles me:  Today, they serve mainly to show examples of what someone else has done but usually, I'm afraid, not how you can go about doing it (except maybe to buy it RTR!). There are specific articles I have in mind, and please pardon me if I forget which month/year the articles appeared. I hope you'll forgive my bias toward steam locomotive projects. The examples below are just off the top of my head.

1999: Iain Rice writes an article about bashing a Spectrum 2-8-0 into a Central Vermont M-5A for Marty McGuirk. My memory of that article is that it was fairly detailed and that someone who had one or two detailing projects under his belt could have successfully undertaken this one or used some of the techniques for another project.

Later, forget which month and year, Rice writes about detailing a Genesis Mike for the L&N. Not bad, but not as good as the earlier Rice article.

August, 2000 (IIRC). Article about detailing a Genesis Mike for the UP. Forget the author. IMHO, pretty much told you what you needed to do and how to do it.

Forget the month and year (but it's fairly recent). Article on scratchbuilding a model of the Santa Fe depot at Lamy, New Mexico. Contained info on modeling a stucco building. Stucco buildings are quite common out here in the West. 

2002 (forget the month): Article on regearing an MDC Consolidation for smoother slow speed operation. The one thing that sticks out in my mind is the idea of scribing a "witness mark" on the wheel hub and the axle to make quartering the driver that much easier when reassembling. In fact, given that you are returning the wheel to its original position on the axle, you are also maintaining the quartering relationship with the other drivers. That alone made the article worth reading.

September and October, 2005: Two part article in RMC about bashing a BLI Heavy USRA Mike into a CNJ "Back Track Behemoth". I'm into SP, not CNJ, but I found the article valuable even if not directly applicable.

I guess I really don't understand your objections. I've read every issue of MR since August, 1957 (not to mention some from before), and apparently I remember the "good old days" differently than you do. I can remember any number of times in old articles wishing that something that was being described had a picture to go with it either because the text didn't make that much sense to me or a picture would have clarified the text.

No article is ever going to take the place of actual experience, even if it means doing something that hasn't been written up in the hobby press. I plan to model SP's Monterey branch in the late 40's. Every locomotive I need has been made in brass save one (plus the Spectrum consol can be bashed into an SP loco) and the MDC "Harriman" 4-6-0 is based more or less on the SP T-28. To pull the "Del Monte", I need a P-6 Pacific, which has never been done before in brass or otherwise. There are a number of approaches I can take:

1. Scratchbuild. Probably not gonna happen.

2. Scratchbash - Use an altered commercial chassis with a scratchbuilt superstructure.

3. Brass bash - Use one of the brass models of UP's Heavy Harriman Pacifics to make a P-6. These engines were built to the same plans. The biggest visible change would be to shorten the smokebox. Fortunately, someone over on the Espee Yahoo forum has done just that and provided pictures, so there's a brain to pick. Rather expensive alternative.

4. Use a USRA light Pacific as a stand-in. Altered with SP details, it could come close enough visually to pass at first glance even with a knowledgeable SP modeler. Ron Kuykendall detailed one of the Mehano USRA Light 4-6-2's to look like a P-7 (essentially a P-6 with 73" instead of 77" drivers). The only immediate giveaway was the Baker valve gear.

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: NJ
  • 414 posts
Posted by jackn2mpu on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 7:44 PM
 Kurt_Laughlin wrote:
 CurtMc wrote:

And therefore there should be no discussion of anything if they are not doing it?

There is certainly the tone of your postings.

Personally I don't think it is a good idea but it is worth chatting about.

No one is saying there shouldn't be a discussion.

People are saying that, given Kalmbach's position on the matter, there's really no point in discussing it.

KL

OKay, so we're into semantics here. Do we REALLY know, in first-hand words, what Kalmbach's position on this is? I mean we have Joe Fugate's words saying what he believes Kalmbach said, but as we all know, what a person says is filtered through that person's brain. Ever play telephone? What I'd like to see, and I'll wager there are others with the same thought, is Terry Thompson's or Andy Sperandeo's thoughts on this, or even those higher up in the Kalmbach Publishing empire. And we know Andy and Terry both post here. I'm not saying Joe isn't right, but I'd rather hear it from someone from at the top.

As to searching in Acrobat, it's built into the reader itself, so there's no indexing of every word that needs to be done. The only work, outside of scanning the material in (and most scanners will output documents in Adobe pdf), is to provide an electronic version of the index with hyperlinks. An advantage of pdf, and this is something an advertiser with a web presence would like and push for, is one can embed hyperlinks to a company's website. Imagine no more copying a url into a browser and getting a porno site or some such filth from mis-typing a letter or two.

It can be done, and smaller companies than Kalmbach have done it. Maybe they just need some prodding. Just because a person says that they won't do something, ever, doesn't mean they can't change. For a long time Railpace wouldn't take digital picture submission because they said the quality wasn't there, compared to 35mm film. And this was a a time when you didn't have the full-frame and close to full-frame sensors in digital slrs. Now most of the picture submissions are in digital. A lot of pro photographers swore they wouldn't go digital. Guess what? During the last couple of Olypmics, the one in Greece, for example, not one photog shot film.

de N2MPU Jack

Proud NRA Life Member and supporter of the 2nd. Amendment

God, guns, and rock and roll!

Modeling the NYC/NYNH&H in HO and CPRail/D&H in N

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • 294 posts
Posted by Shilshole on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 5:52 PM

 CNJ831 wrote:
...As to comparing what was done in the past with what's accomplished today, as it appears in the pages of hobby publications like MR, RMC, or now on the Internet, I can indeed cite you examples of as good or even better model building and equally or more realistic, model photography from the 1950's than actually exists today.

I, for one, would be interested in seeing those cites of 50s examples of better model building and more realistic photography than is accomplished today.  I'm hard pressed to remember examples from mid-century issues of MR or RMC that equal those on the links Andre provided, or the diorama and structure efforts by Doug and Jackie Hole in MM, or prototypical rolling stock produced and photographed by Ted Culotta in his recent series on Essential Freight Cars in RMC, or the diesel modeling of Jim Six and Andy Harman in recent MR and RMC articles.  Of course, that may reflect more on my memory than a magazine's actual content, but I have the time to look up the articles in my modest library.

The magazines of yore had the goal of showing you how YOU could advance your modeling skills to create a better layout. Today, they serve mainly to show examples of what someone else has done but usually, I'm afraid, not how you can go about doing it (except maybe to buy it RTR!).

IMHO, that's a mis-observation; examples of instructional articles in late 20th and 21st century mags abound, ranging from MR's continuing series on 1001 new ways to employ foam to kitbashing-to-prototype-accuracy articles in MM.  Bob Hundman and others in MM went even further, providing step-by-step sequences of photos showing how to scratchbuild structures and rolling stock and including mistakes they made along the way -- photos and text documenting how not to do it as well as how to do it.  See also Ted Culotta's aforementioned series on resin kit construction and mods, or CC Crow's instructions on hydrocal casting in MM for other examples of how-tos using 'modern' materials.

I'd be happy if MR reproduced their prototype rolling stock and structure plans from the past, but much of the rest on model building or other construction (TAT IV throttles and Twin-Ts, anyone?) simply doesn't travel well.

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: US
  • 155 posts
Posted by conford on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 5:39 PM

Current issues of MR are being produced in pdf format, and are available through Ebsco, a library database vendor. Some of you probably do have access to about 5 years of MR in pdf. Check and see if your library subscribes to an online index of magazine articles from Ebsco. You can usually check the online resources section of your library's website. The two databases I know of that contain MR are MasterFILE Premier and MAS Ultra - School Edition. Full pdf image is available from 7/2001 to present. Your library may provide lots of useful services, and I hope that a few of you will find out that you have access to MR online through Ebsco. Good luck. And yes I am a librarian!

Regards,

Peter

conford

Modeling Grand Rapids Michigan, C&O, PRR and NYC operations circa 1958.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: Martinez, CA
  • 5,440 posts
Posted by markpierce on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 3:12 PM

I suggest that MR currently publish occasional (3 or 4 times a year) past classical articles.  By classical, I mean over 20 years old which are exceptionally noteworthy and have current relevance, but not covering subjects rehashed periodically.  I'd have no objection if the re-printed articles are newly edited.

Mark

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,205 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 9:18 AM

One of the aspects of model railroading that has always intrigued me is its diversity. I enjoy doing research, and I've got a more than passing interest in kit building, kit bashing, scratch building, airbrushing, soldering, electronics, and woodworking. And, I'll confess to enjoying the model train porn that arrives in my mailbox in the form of magazines and catalogs. On any given day, no matter my mood or fancy, I can work in any of these areas and still remain within the milieu of the hobby. And I don't think I'm alone in this sentiment.

Operations have never been a principal interest for me, but I read about them nonetheless. I'm also not huge on scenery or track laying, but that may change as my layout progresses.

My point is that ours' is a wide-open hobby providing for a myriad of interests. Therefore, I think it's a pointless exercise to foist one aspect of the hobby as more important than all others. Each of us will ultimately pursue those activities that provide the most pleasure and relaxation. But, I think there are again many hobbyists like me who, when pressured into the belief that there's some compulsory end game in all this, will lose interest or leave the hobby altogether.

This is my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Lynda
  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Culpeper, Va
  • 8,201 posts
Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 8:56 AM

Personally, I have all but 6 issues back to 1950 and several from before that.  The most useful information, as Joe noted above is the prototype information - remember when every issue of MR had one or more drawings?  Many of the trackplans based on real railroads are also interesting. But I also just enjoy going back and reading them for what people were doing. 

I am not sure how much I would pay, but searchability would be a big factor for me.  I would like to be able to search all the back issues at the same time.  If they are copy protected, one year per disk, then I would be much less interested with all the disk shuffling that would be required.

As others have noted MR has from time to time done reprint collections.  I would like to see them do the drawings.

Enjoy

Paul 

 

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!