Sunday, January 24, 2010
LWMRS open day - with cake
Yes cake. I know how popular pictures of food are on-line so here's a bit of bakery porn for you to salivate over. The cakes concerned were to be found on the tea bar of our model railway club yesterday.
Not for very long though - between 11 and 4 My colleague and I worked our way through 10 pints of milk and several gallons of tea satisfying the appetites of the 40 plus visitors other members were trying to persuade to join the club. Most people decided to sample the food too and very nice it was.
It's always fun to have these post show events. Since the club rooms are in the countryside, a few years ago the committee decided an event on the weekend was a better bet then the traditional Thursday evening. This is paying off as the numbers who turn up have been encouraging. However, turning a room full of people saying nice things about the premises and show into a room full of club members is still more of a challenge. People don't want or need to belong to clubs nowadays. Railway modelling has long been for many a solitary activity so the idea of meeting a group of other people is an alien one.
Personally I know joining a club was one of the best things I ever did for my model making. Simply spending time with other modellers on a regular basis helped me improve the quality of my work. We learned from each others mistakes and shared hints and tips. It's not like I've ever been big on helping out with club layouts either - I'm strictly a tea drinker and talker who makes use of the extensive club library facilities.
Best of all though, club membership gave me the chance to get involved with the exhibition circuit. Initially this was helping operate other peoples layouts and then later, my own. You'll always find someone who needs extra manpower which means a door to the free weekends away standing in halls around the country making railway. Later I was roped in to help organise our show, something provided valuable experience that has helped me in proper paid jobs too.
Nowadays, teh interweb has persuaded people that they can have all the benefits of club membership for free just by hanging around on various forums. These have many advantages - you don't need to leave the comfort of your own home and meet real people. More importantly you don't actually have to do any modelling. Why waste time making things when you can just criticise others via your keyboard ? In a club if you don't occasionally come up with the goods people don't take you seriously. Hiding a behind a screen though, anyone can be the greatest model maker in the world...
So, if you live near a club, join it. Most do not try and press gang you into working on a layout as soon as you walk in the door. If they do then don't hang around long but do give them a chance. Railway modellers are often shy and it can take a few meetings before you get to know people. Just remember, this is the one place in the world where no-one will laugh at you for playing with "toy trains".