Author Topic: Your age group...  (Read 6912 times)

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Ed Kapuscinski

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Your age group...
« on: May 24, 2007, 12:24:42 PM »
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I think this will be really interesting.

I've heard the "the hobby is in decline" phrase so many times lately that I want to start collecting some real data on it.

I know the curve here will be heavily weighted toward the older age groups, but I'm curious to see just how strongly.

I'm going to be putting up some more of these, just because I'm really interested in this (because I want to be sure there will be modelers around to abuse when I'm old and crotchety).

ljudice

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2007, 12:31:53 PM »
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Look on the bright side, model railroading has outlasted Train Simulator!


lock4244

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2007, 12:52:29 PM »
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My dad once said "the internet is a fad". Now he spends alot time online looking up train related material and he must be the number one user of Google Maps.

Remember how rap music was a fad?

I think the rumors of a decline in model railroading might be just as accurate. There is a shift going on in the supply of model trains (built to order production runs, etailers getting a bigger piece of the pie). Are the one's saying theres a decline in the hobby running an LHS that sells at MSRP?
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2007, 01:00:14 PM »
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Mike
I think you're hitting at EXACTLY what I'm thinking too.

But I want some numbers!

up1950s

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2007, 01:11:56 PM »
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I tried to vote before I signed in and I couldn't . I didn't do it through the Atlas posted link though . Are you sure it works for a unregistered person as claimed on the A board Ed ? 

DKS

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2007, 01:14:21 PM »
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Mike
I think you're hitting at EXACTLY what I'm thinking too.

But I want some numbers!

Ed, while the idea may be intriguing, a poll on this (or any other) forum would not yield much more than a "that's interesting" result. As for the hobby waning, I cannot speak from direct experience, because I am not much of a social modeler, but I do know a fellow who attends every model railroad convention that is feasible for him. He reports diminishing attendance across the board, in some cases by large margins (like half or more). He has noticed the distinct "graying" of the conventions as well--they are not drawing as many new younger modelers as it needs to maintain critical mass. Granted, the internet probably has an impact on this, but I think it's probably marginal. He also talks with countless manufacturers, distributors and retailers, and many of those in the business have admitted to him that the numbers are beginning to fall. Just about the only reason we see increasing product offerings is because manufacturing is getting cheaper--better technology, plus... China. It's easier than ever to make a buck, even on a dying hobby. He and I conclude that the manufacturers are after one last good rush of sales before the ROI starts dropping faster. I don't mean to sound cynical, but it's a bit like global warming--the evidence is pretty conclusive.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 01:19:47 PM by dks2855 »
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mopaustin

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2007, 01:26:37 PM »
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Well, that's great. Some relatively believable evidence that I signed into a dying hobby.  :'(

I do know that the organization that I'm a part of, the Teen Association of Model Railroaders, is in a state of torpor, with only ~60 members. At its height there were 200+ members, maybe more like 300.

Sokramiketes

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2007, 01:42:54 PM »
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Well, that's great. Some relatively believable evidence that I signed into a dying hobby.  :'(

I do know that the organization that I'm a part of, the Teen Association of Model Railroaders, is in a state of torpor, with only ~60 members. At its height there were 200+ members, maybe more like 300.

I never joined the TAMR even when I was a teen and heavily involved in MR'ing.  I was more interested in being a part of the "adult" clubs in the area instead.  I have a feeling that there are a lot of teen modelers in the same boat.  I didn't really want to be treated like a kid, I wanted to be just like everyone else.  And I was lucky to be involved in a club that didn't treat me differently, and thus allowed my modeling skills and knowledge to grow.

It takes a certain level of maturity to get involved in MR'ing, just because it takes some patience and we don't have the instant gratification of other hobbies like sports and video games.  So, if you're mature enough to get into MR'ing, and mature enough to spend the time learning, then you're probably mature enough to hang out with the adults.

This came up at the N Scale Collector last year.  There was a presentation from the leader of a group of kids who had their own layout as an offshoot of one of the N Trak clubs.  The leader was talking about how things were "dumbed down" for this layout, so the kids could participate.  I happend to be by Mr. BLMA at the time, and asked him if he wished the adults had dumbed down the hobby when he was young.  Craig said no.  Go figure. 

It works into the whole World's Greatest Hobby campaign.  Are we really gaining anything by "dumbing down" the hobby enough so that kids can be forced into it, and cubscouts can get their merit badges, etc?  Or would the time be better spent nurturing those kids who show some maturity and interest on their own?  I think Thomas takes care of introducing kids to trains these days.  If they are interested in trains, they'll find the hobby... just like they always have.

Mike

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John

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2007, 02:16:03 PM »
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Well, that's great. Some relatively believable evidence that I signed into a dying hobby.  :'(


I am thinking I will die first .. so I continue to model my trainz

Robbman

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2007, 02:17:50 PM »
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Message deleted
« Last Edit: January 27, 2008, 02:11:24 AM by Robbman »

DKS

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2007, 02:34:44 PM »
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Well, that's great. Some relatively believable evidence that I signed into a dying hobby.  :'(


I am thinking I will die first .. so I continue to model my trainz

Me too. I'm not trying to make it sound like the sky is falling and the hobby will be dead by 2010; I'm sure I'll go out before it will.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 03:00:40 PM by dks2855 »
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lock4244

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2007, 03:28:32 PM »
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I am a model railroader/railfan. I have not been to a train show in at least eight years, and I live in Toronto, Ontario, so it's not like they don't have them here or that it's a small market. I don't go because I got sick of them. Does that mean I'm no longer in the hobby. Not by a long shot. And, FWIW, I'm 32, so I'm not exactly a grayhair either.

I hear alot of the "attendance is down at shows" as justification that the hobby is in decline. The theory is that kids aren't being introduced to the hobby and it's going to be the end of model railroading. I gotta say I get pretty sick and tired of hearing that. Here's my theory:

Potential model railroaders (lets call them kids) have to first be interested in trains. Period. If the kid don't care, why bother (that thing about leading a horse to water). Oh, and yes, I know what your thinking "how will the kid know about trains without being exposed to them?" and all that. Kids get exposed to lots of things and show an interest for a while before they move onto the next. A kid with the train bug doesn't need to be exposed to a train show to discover he/she likes trains. They know it (and usually by figuring it out on their own). My folks (mostly father) never nurtured my interest in trains until they saw that I was very interested in trains. Before that, they never made an attempt. Why would they?

I don't think enough credit is given to the ability of kids to figure things out on their own. They have this thing called the internet on computers now and any kid in the Western World that goes to public school knows how to navigate it. I personally think the trainshow is overrated. How impressed is kid going to be by some old guy in coveralls and engineers cap, a vest you can no longer see for the railroad pins, probably overweight and bespeckled as an introduction? My guess, not very impressed at all... pretty weak role model. Remember, kids don't realize they'll be that guy someday since they all think they'll be young forever.
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Pomperaugrr

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2007, 03:53:04 PM »
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I still think that model railroading will continue to appeal to all age groups.  The quality of products is improving (with many manufacturers).  The cost might keep some of the younger folks out at first, but if they get exposure to some decent model railroad photos or layouts, the bug will bite them eventually.  Times, technology and entertainment forms change with time.  That is inevitable.  I don't see our hobby dying off any time soon though.  There will be a core group demanding and getting improved performance and detailing for years to come.  Just seeing the increase in available detail parts, more realistic track and rolling stock, great weathering, more model railroading publications, online forums, control systems and a focus on operations, leads me to believe that model railroading will be around for a long time to come.

Ed, I like the idea of this poll.  We all make many assumptions.  The data you get through this may give us a view into the age layers.  I think there will be a direct correlation to the age groups and the types of products each group will seek out.  Some may be too set in their ways to want DCC, fine details, realistic track etc, yet some may get drawn into the hobby by the promise of improved realism and operation.  They are the future of our hobby.

Hell, I finally got over my not wanting to ditch the huge amount of code 80 N-scale track I have, and bite the bullet in going totally code 55.  The desire for realism outweighed the desire not to part with more $$$ than I thought necessary.  Turns out the cost of the code 55 was an investment in getting me recharged about the hobby and in finally building my layout!  I hope to see others make the choice to adapt and embrace the future.  Resistance to change is normal, but not always healthy.

Eric
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 03:55:49 PM by Pomperaugrr »

tokenbrit

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2007, 04:48:02 PM »
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If:
Quote from: Groucho Marx
A man's only as old as the woman he feels
- then that puts me in the 20-39 bracket ;D

Wlal13again

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Re: Your age group...
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2007, 05:25:53 PM »
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I think the dying hobby cry is a bunch of malarky.. So many new products and technologies are coming out. I always thought that you get into model trains in your mid teens, then discover girls, parties, etc, go to college, or the service, come out, get married, get settled, start a carreer, then you come back to the hobby full force around your early 30`s. Thats what i did...
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