Thursday, 10 October 2013

The 'New' BRM

British Railway Modelling has a new look! However, the new look appears to be the same look which Model Rail has had for a while...

The original announcement was made on RMweb, and it didn't exactly go well... A lot of people have a real loyalty and affection for 'BRM' and this was made clear with their views and how they were expressed. I was accused having a "(very) predictable 'anti' approach". I am clearly very 'anti' BRM, with a complete collection of the magazine stretching back to the first issue from 1993!

But leave aside the attitude of one of Warners' staff members, the 'new' BRM is little different from the old BRM. A few more bright colours which remind me of old GCSE textbooks have been added - along with 'FACT FILE' boxes and other similar things. The cosmetic changes are very obvious, but the content is very good overall! Phil Parker seems to be a great addition to the magazine. Anything aimed at getting people actually modelling cannot be a bad thing! These articles are very well presented - I hope that BRM will develop the idea to taking the basic kits a little further. Personally I think they need to bring back Ian Fleming to write about modelling wagons, which could take the article on wagon building by Phil Parker even further!

Only a couple of negative points. I still feel that many photographs within the magazine, are too heavily processed which can lend a rather un-natural look to models. The other problem I have, and to me this is a major one, is the choice of font. It's terribly thin and hard to read. I'm dyslexic, and for the most part I can get by (and this blog was originally to force me to 'write'!) but when thin, condensed typefaces are used it can be very difficult. And where this type continues over photographs it can be almost impossible to read. Which does spoil the experience somewhat...

If any Warners staff read this I would urge them to review their choice of typeface in future BRM issues.


  1. Hi James

    A good appraisal I think. For what it's worth I think it looks ok (or should that be it looks LIKE OK!) but your point about those with sight problems is worth considering. There's a list of 'approved' fonts for this sort of thing which all designers know about. I would imagine the designers would have (should have?) made a case for using them which must have been over-ruled at some point.

    From a certain point of view it makes sense to ape model rail. If the stats Simon Kohler mentioned in an interview earlier In the year atre accurate (no reason to believe they arent) there's 4 mags competing for the same market sector. Railway modeller and model rail lead the way in circulation figures while BRM is trailing at the back. I don't think a wildly none standard design design would have done them any good given thier position. Such an obvious clone is perhaps a bit lazy but if they had to change something it's quite safe.

    At the end of the day though it's just new icing on the same old cake. You need to improve the ingredients if you want to sell more but alas while the magazine buying public seem to be spending thier money elsewhere, sadly the mag is low on the choice list for seasoned contributors too. If you want the finescale audience then submit your stuff to MRJ, if you want to get your material in front of the most eyes go for Railway Modeller or Model Rail. BRM doesnt really offer anything to a writer. It's a catch 22 situation really which is why they need to appeal to those who 'just want to see thier stuff in print'. Certainly linking to rmweb is sensible in this regard and it should mean that it will have a freshness that the other mags don't but they really need to capitalise on this. Make it something the mag is known for, talk of higher quality modelling etc is fine IF they can get it but that's a big if and there will always be MRJ doing it better.

    You have to wonder if it's just that it's not lived up to the hype. Something RMweb is constantly guilty of, look at the Xmas hornby thing, always over hyped. It seems to be a mistak that's made over an over again. In this case fed by a poorly concevied and somewhat cluelessly implimenting teaser campaign people's expectations are being totally mismanaged. As anyone who deals with the public will tell you managing expectations is the golden rule.

  2. Are you ever right about BRM's body font -- small san serif is just too hard on the eyes. It's one reason I don't subscribe to BRM anymore (the other is that my subscription never seemed to arrive on time, or frequently at all, a problem I never had with RM).

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks for the kind words James. I'm always pleased when folk reference those old articles, but the simple fact is that things have moved on. I was rather younger back then, and the mag itself was very different and much closer to my own aspirations in the hobby.

    That apart, the current mouthpiece of the mag is of course a considerable disincentive to even considering any contributions. I note you still persist in holding opinions purely to annoy him ;-)