Author Topic: Era Modeling by Age Group?  (Read 3588 times)

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Rivet Miscounter

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #105 on: January 31, 2019, 06:21:18 PM »
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I was born alongside the SD40-2--in the early 70’s--in north-central Texas.  I am currently modeling circa-2007, a shortline/commuter line with BNSF (and rare UP) as the secondary….in Z-scale.   My “normal” modeling preference is BNSF, circa “late 90’s/early 00’s”.  This includes close to a dozen “false starts” of various layouts in N-scale.  In the past I modeled mid/late 80’s BN and MKT (with some heavy Santa Fe mixed in) in HO as around the wall/shelf type layouts.  Both of those eras were modeling essentially the same prototype segment of railroad in the north-central and panhandle regions of Texas.  And yes, somewhat modeling my childhood…certainly the locale, and really the convergence of my childhood interests of BN and ATSF manifested in the early years of BNSF.  I would say all of it is heavily influenced/motivated by what I saw as a lifelong (even at a VERY young age) railfan.   

Availability does factor in…in Z, the commuter equipment on a silver platter absolutely drove the layout concept.   The lack of some key items in N (and some other factors) precipitated the move to Z…and of course now a lot of those items have been announced/released in N.   I eventually plan to move back to N or HO, and that will largely depend on availability of items and available space. (now, I have virtually none...but hope to eventually have space for a medium-approaching-large size N layout or small-medium HO shelf switching style layout.).  For example, HO gets the nod now by virtue of having readily available ATSF/BNSF GP7u’s….maybe the success of the GP10’s will spawn those in N, we’ll see.  The carbon black cars (in both scales) also call to me.  Will they be available in 6-8-10 years?  Who knows.

Also as time rolls on, I find myself less drawn to specific prototypes and more to the “protolance” style, and also I’m looking at less of the long unit train mainline flair in exchange for a more point-to-point ops focused mantra.  Although likely I’ll end up somewhere in the middle of those two ends of the spectrum.   As of now, hobby funds are zero, space is extremely limited, and I’ll just keep plugging (chugging?) away at my little Z layout and doing what I can with what I have to enjoy the hobby.

As an aside—to address one of your options in the poll—I don’t consider model trains “collectibles”.  I used to at some level, but (a) eBay burst that bubble pretty well and brought everyone back to reality and (b) I found it detracted from enjoyment.   Now, I place the price of items I buy as the cost of enjoying that item as a piece of this model railroad I’m attempting to build...I would never buy anything solely for the purpose of placing it on a shelf.   If I decide to sell something and it brings a decent price then that is just a bonus, but I don’t have any expectations of my collection having some great value that passes on to my heirs.  I don’t want to do that to them…a lesson that is being reinforced first-hand since my dad recently passed away.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2019, 09:22:42 PM by Rivet Miscounter »

nscalbitz

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #106 on: January 31, 2019, 06:28:09 PM »
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By the Numbers

I'll take this break in the action (...wow!...) to post refreshed stats:
... And then there's modern, which is now down to just 1/6 of the sample. So, explain to me why so many manufacturers are pursuing this market.

And that's the demographic that needs survey/ polling.
It's their interest/ desire/ perceptions/ market research (of which I see little)/ grand-schemes that MATTERS.
If there is an answer-- it lies with them.
Obviously unless they ask- they will not hear.
With apologies to those 'smaller'  manfrs who do indeed ask.
dave

MVW

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #107 on: January 31, 2019, 06:41:42 PM »
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Likely due to the tendency of modelers to model what they see--not a universal given, but a strong tendency nonetheless, especially for younger modelers.


What younger modelers?  :trollface:

By my unofficial count (unofficial cuz Mike's put all the work into crunching the numbers), out of 81 responses, only 27% were under the age of 40. And five guys who responded will be turning 40 this year, which will drive the percentage down to 20%.

Yeah, I know, small sample size, etc. etc. But I'm guessing it's probably not far off from the wider community.

And no, I'm not trying to start a "hobby is dying" debate. Just sayin'.

Joe Fugate made the point years ago that guys discover the hobby as youths (or utes, as some would have it), go dormant between the approximate ages of 20 and 40, and get back in after their kids are grown, etc. I think that may pose an interesting question: How many (older) guys are life-long model railroaders, and how many got back into it when life slowed down a bit?

Jim

mrhedley

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #108 on: January 31, 2019, 06:42:15 PM »
+1
Born in 54, Southern Tier of NY.  Our house overlooked the DLW East Binghamton yard.  Not surprisingly, that is part of what I model, 1965-1970 DLW/EL with some DH and LV which interchanged with the EL just a few miles west of our house.  Started modeling in 69 when paper route money bought an Atlas N gauge train Penn Central set.  Took a hiatus in 74 when I joined the US Navy.  Started up again in 84 when I bought my first house and built my first layout, free lanced Pennsylvania and also built a couple of N scale modules I operated at the local train shows.  Went on hiatus again when I went back to get my Engineering degree and went through a divorce.  Started up again in 98 after remarrying and buying our current home.  By that time the N scale product line was much improved and there was a lot of EL and DH product available, which made modeling my childhood memories more achievable. 

nscalbitz

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #109 on: January 31, 2019, 06:53:26 PM »
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First Response:
Born in 1957. First sight/ memory of train travel- local steam city ride and long distance passenger trip @ 3yrs. This IS close to 'our' transition era.
Non-US.
No interest in local modelling (too colonial and 'British').  8)

At 15-16 started work and to buy N scale. Purchased anything A1G and any US roads.
Decided cost and lack of layout space meant could not support- so sold all off and concentrated on second interest- military modelling for 30 years. (Included travel and research).

In 2000 was convinced N scale had arrived, so spent a year or so researching via net viable roads not big 3- ATSF/UP/PRR.
Proto Railroad- Settled on discreet opportunist D&RGW.

Proto Era- Predominantly Transition- First gen.  1954-1964.

Interest however means I've accepted/ by design the 'niche' narrow gauge (we are here) and a 'rolling' advancement into modern era of the early 1980's with cut off pre-merger (1986).
Passenger and freight equally, tho the former little present.
Extends to interaction with associated roads- CB&Q; MoPac; CRIP etc.

Collecting- N scale and relevant only to main purpose. Societies/ books/ etc. such as available on prototype. AD.2002 visit to US combined research both rail and military (AWI 1775-80) in 'New England'.
Other- Main thrust for a decade had been scenic support and some operations on anothers layout until demise.

regards
davew

CYkodelic

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #110 on: January 31, 2019, 07:50:06 PM »
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Great thread. I and others in my NTRAK club also have had similar discussions lately, much of it relating to the health and direction of the hobby.

My personal summary:
born 1967
primary road/era: Virginian, 1930s
secondary road/era: Iowa Interstate, modern day

I chose the Virginian about the same time I chose to get back into the hobby about ten years ago. I always liked steam and the more I learned about the road the more I liked it. It's roster had a lot of steam variety, and because I live in Virginia it felt like a good fit. However, one could argue that it's better to model the Virginian in HO because almost the entire roster is available in HO, including all the electrics, but I haven't regretted my decisions one bit. 

I chose the IAIS because I'm originally from Iowa and I wanted a modern line that could be researched in real time and there were some good models available. I've really enjoyed the weathering/graffiti aspects of modern freight, too.


Wardie

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #111 on: January 31, 2019, 07:53:32 PM »
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What younger modelers?  :trollface:

By my unofficial count (unofficial cuz Mike's put all the work into crunching the numbers), out of 81 responses, only 27% were under the age of 40. And five guys who responded will be turning 40 this year, which will drive the percentage down to 20%.

Yeah, I know, small sample size, etc. etc. But I'm guessing it's probably not far off from the wider community.

And no, I'm not trying to start a "hobby is dying" debate. Just sayin'.

Joe Fugate made the point years ago that guys discover the hobby as youths (or utes, as some would have it), go dormant between the approximate ages of 20 and 40, and get back in after their kids are grown, etc. I think that may pose an interesting question: How many (older) guys are life-long model railroaders, and how many got back into it when life slowed down a bit?

Jim

I started actively modeling in N scale in my twenties, after some HO as a child. And having kids did put pause to my efforts, but not really until they were teens and we became very busy with sports and music festivals and all sorts of other extra curricular activities. My youngest just started college and my modeling is picking up again, although a new large layout is on hold until we build a new house.

Steveruger45

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #112 on: January 31, 2019, 08:04:01 PM »
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Ok, I’ll chip in too.
Born 1956 in UK
Got my first train set, a Triang 00 British outline steam at 3 yrs old.  I used to love driving the train through closed grade (level) crossing gates. I still have the broken grade crossing.
Started up again in 00 gauge, Hornby, around 12, made my own 6 x4 layout.
Stopped when I got interested in girls around 14.
Started again after I got married at 22, built a huge layout in the attic, also Hornby 00.
Stopped at 25, life got busy.
Immigrated to USA in 1996 and got into n scale US modeling initially early 1970’s eastern railroads.
Life and work got in the way again
2012, started up again and moved the hobby to western railroads seen in Texas, era early 1990’s and still at it.  ATSF, SoPac and UP mostly.
Steve
Atascocita, Texas

CRL

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #113 on: January 31, 2019, 09:59:00 PM »
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Steverugar45 - on Google Earth, check out the old roadbed near where the Pecos meets the Rio Grande. See if you can find the 3 tunnels.

SSW7771

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #114 on: January 31, 2019, 10:20:44 PM »
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This is great!

I was born in 1985. My modeling is focused on the SP around Houston and East Texas from 1990-1996. This is mostly influenced by my Dad who was an SP engineer based in Houston. I spent lots of time with him around the railroad mainly the yard office and hump tower at Englewood and Hardy Street Shops. Cab rides also helped too.

I have had other interest in MRL/BNSF and narrow gauge from my time in Montana and Colorado. Even had a slight interest in the UP from high school years (2000’s), but I keep coming back to SP in Texas in the 1990’s.
Marshall

High Hood

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #115 on: January 31, 2019, 10:25:54 PM »
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This is just a passing observation, but I’ve noticed a lot of posters are modeling the years just before or the year they born. Perhaps trying to model what they born a little too late to have experienced firsthand?

Albert in N

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #116 on: January 31, 2019, 10:42:22 PM »
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 :)  Born in 1944 and lived in Oklahoma until 1968, settling in Texas in 1970.  I mostly model late 1960s and early 1970s.  Most of my N scale is ATSF, Burlington and BN, Frisco, Rock Island, MKT, SP, and Union Pacific.  I gravitated over the years to diesel locomotives since that is what I saw from about 1956 on to present.  Besides, I have memories of my mother sending me out to gather the wet clothes off the clothes line when Rock Island ran a steamer, especially the coal-fired consolidations. Early HO and later N scale memories of steamers made me favor diesels due to reliability and colorful paint schemes.  I really began rail fanning with a decent camera in the early 1970s.  That period included a lot more pre-merger railroads plus shorter trains, more diesel variety (even Alco and FM), plus cabooses on nearly every train.  When Uncle Pete absorbed Rock Island, MKT, and SP, I became more interested in seeing UP.  Yes, I do have a few modern locomotives, like GP 60s, SD70s, and GE AC4400s since that is what I see today.   

James Costello

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #117 on: January 31, 2019, 11:12:54 PM »
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Maybe, but I don't see it that way, that's akin to the "dying hobby" model. The trend is pointing to modeling preferences "back when railroads were interesting". It might take exposure to published history (books, videos) for the young'uns to appreciate what they missed, as a few have already stated.

Perhaps a better (or simpler) trend summary would be "when the bug bit" rather than "when railroads were interesting."

What we all find interesting is subjective, as is what is "modern" as that only refers to a moment in time.

There is very much a demand from people to replicate what they can see out on the tracks each day and/or when the "interest" took control of us - either from what we see in the world or from books/magazines/internet. Some of us then get more interested into specifics and our interests change to suit over time.

When you combine this with the consolidation in the railroad industry (railroads and manufacturers and standardization) over the last 30 years and the inevitable lag in prototype-to-model production, perhaps more consumer demand exists for new entrants into the hobby (and existing "modern" modelers) wanting what they see and filling voids in available models.

As an example, in the 90s we had the Super 7 of Class 1s within the US. By comparison this is down to 4. One of these, UP, ended up with over 1,000 SD70Ms. By definition there is more demand for current / modern models because there are less options for (model) variety and the individual quantities are higher. You don't want 2x GP30s and 2x GP35s, you want 4x SD70Ms, so there is less vote splitting.   

Just because we spent a few pages on TRW talking about the C44-9W and a few containers that were announced at Springfield doesn't mean manufacturers are focusing on modern equipment either. Each show and announcement cycle is as different as the manufacturers own drivers and interests.

We've relatively recently reached the end of the manufacturing era where duplication isn't a bad thing and the voids of missing models is getting smaller. Frequent production runs (and an increased ability to access the secondary market) have meant that generally speaking, models are available and there is a certain level of saturation. The decision to tool a new, never produced model (increasingly more likely to be modern) or an upgraded / cheaper / bells n whistle version that has competition in the market is clearly the current state of n scale manufacturing decision making.   
 
James Costello
Espee into the 90's

C855B

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #118 on: January 31, 2019, 11:31:20 PM »
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This is just a passing observation, but I’ve noticed a lot of posters are modeling the years just before or the year they born. Perhaps trying to model what they born a little too late to have experienced firsthand?

Depends on what you define as "a lot". Of the 84 responses so far, 5 are modeling their birth year. If you expand that cohort to +/-5 years, it's roughly 25% of the sample. Only one report was within 5 years before.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

C855B

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Re: Era Modeling by Age Group?
« Reply #119 on: January 31, 2019, 11:40:51 PM »
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Perhaps a better (or simpler) trend summary would be "when the bug bit" rather than "when railroads were interesting."

The data does not support that. 63% model what they could not have experienced.

Quote
There is very much a demand from people to replicate what they can see out on the tracks each day...

Also counter to the data. 15% model current or near-current as their primary interest. A handful have acknowledged having modern/current for running elsewhere like a club layout; I'm only recording their current expressed key interest.

I'll post another recap later tonight.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross