Today some philsiophising type stuff. over the 4 days I was lucky enough to have conversations outside the convention area with a wide variety of people. A fair bit of this was down to the 'local' knowledge' of the fine dinning establishments on Cuba st, but also the high caliber of dining companions that I tend to attract, and Barry Fitzgerald (who at least this time round didn't wear jandles). A US prototype modeler pointed out something that I had completely missed, that it is actually a modeling event for all modelers in New Zealand. From the coverage 9and indeed the entries ) I had always felt that it was an NZR convention with add-ons. The flip side was that the layout tours were predominantly American, with the opinion that one of the tours was one of the highest overall standard tours that the modeler had been on.
Competition trophy's. Some thinking (which I agree with) is that there needs to be some rationalisation of the trophy's. Its rather confusing that models with high grades in particular sections don't 'trophy' by the simple reason that they are in the 'wrong' scale or 'wrong' prototype. I'm not sure why this bugs me so much, as I don't feel I'm an overly competitive person (wargaming aside, which I play simply for the game , not to actually win), but I do enjoy entering the competitions simply to see how my modeling compares with others. Its also comparing the primarily scratch built or kit built NZR models with British kits or US highly detailed RTR. Now I'm not suggesting doing away with some of the trophy's, but maybe stretching the categories for their award outside 1/64.
Another topic was the future of the hobby. This is a bit of an old chestnut, but still topical. One thing that I did notice at the convention was that there were not that many younger modelers coming through. At about 40 I would have been in the lower age section. The problem goes further than getting people into modeling NZR, but getting them into railway modeling at all. Lets face it, its not a cheap or easy hobby. I've been working on Paekakariki for over 2 years now and there is still a lot of work to do (thats a bit of an understatement). How do you keep a new modeler interested for that length of time. Sure there are shortcuts, but they are only really available for track, or for locos and wagons, for those with money. It was also pointed out that we can get too insulated in our own wee niche and don't look at the wider picture. Here at Motorised dandruff we have spent 4 years showing that making models is not that hard, that everyone makes mistakes, and hopefully encouraging you all to actually have a go.
Well, that's a bit of a ramble, but I guess all the main points are there, maybe. Open to the peanut gallery for comment..