Sunday, 11 April 2010
ModelRAIL was rather unique when it first appeared; it was dedicated to 'modern' modelling. Although the mainstream press has always covered more up-to-date subjects, this was a little part of the modelling press which was devoted to the contemporary scene.
When I was reading them around the age of ten, I don't think I realised just how cutting edge some of the articles really were. I have a treasured collection to which I regularly refer even now. Articles by Andrew Donnoley, although a little dated because of the RTR starting points, are still an inspiration! When you look back at the content you realise that it was pretty ground breaking and has, I think stood the test of time admirably. I was rather disappointed when the supplement changed into what would eventually become the new ModelRail magazine, this is a world away from the original ModelRAIL.
It's interesting that when a magazine billed as being 'Dedicated to the D&E enthusiast' it failed. Modern Railway Modelling was a strange beast really. It had some excellent articles but never seemed to know exactly where it was going or what it wanted to be - it had international themed articles which sat awkwardly alongside the British coverage. It suffered, I believe, because it tried to provide too broad a spectrum - articles which covered general things like techniques and, for example, couplings seemed to dilute the content.
Focusing on the D&E content seems to be the best approach for a more niche publication - the support of a larger magazine seems the best way for D&E magazines. So it's no surprise that a supplement is the most successful D&E publication - Rail Express Modeller is part of Rail Express much like the way ModelRAIL was part of RAIL magazine. Though this should come as no surprise as the same team were behind both!
REM doesn't concern itself with trying to cover general themes instead its concentrated on promoting high quality D&E modelling. But, and here's a clever bit, their ten step detailing guides present a way to achieve the desired aim but using methods which are clearly explained so most people could follow them. It treats the reader as an intelligent person and doesn't dumb anything down like some step-by-step guides in other (not just railway) modelling publications. It works and it works very well. I might not agree with everything which is in all the time but then I'm awkward and have my own ways and means!