Time for the annual look back on another year's worth of model making and writing.
There have been a few changes in my professional life - I handed the editor's chair of Engineering in Miniature magazine to Andrew Charman. He's a much better fit for the job than I was being an engineer for a start, and the magazine is going from strength to strength. Quite how he finds the time what with editing Narrow Gauge World and some serious motoring journalism is beyond me...
Garden Rail is still very much mine though, and it is going very well. (Nearly) Everyone seems to enjoy it, readers and advertisers. Most importantly, the publisher is happy so they are still paying me. One day he will realise that I'm only faking it all, but for the moment, please don't tell him.
I don't escape work just by handing EiM on though as instead of a monthly magazine, I produce an on-line newsletter, BRM Express, twice a month. Quite a lot of that has to be written by me too. If you don't get it, go here and tick all the boxes. It's free and, though I say so myself, very good.
All this is part of the way that the magazine world is changing. Every magazine is losing sales. BRM is holding up very well thanks to our DVD, but if you are publishing a celebrity mag, then you are in trouble as Instagram eats your audience.
Digital editions also play a bigger part in our output since they are far more profitable than issues sold on the newsstand (subscription sales are too) since the costs of getting physical products on the shelves are massive. Digital allows us to do more though and so we do. I'm set up to shoot video, as well as taking on some layout snapping duties so this will become an increasing part of my job. The Phil'n'Andy film crew will be putting in some miles this year.
As far a magazine work goes, the biggest success has been our Cake Box Challenge. We know over a hundred people started projects, many for the first time. Simply getting people modelling is a real challenge and yet that's what we have done with this idea. I couldn't be more proud.
Personally, I've built a few things, but nowhere near as many as I'd have liked to.
There have been a couple of 16mm battery powered diesels:
Dotti from an IP Engineering kit and a Phil Sharples kit for a Hunslet.
I'm really loving working in the larger scales and will definitely be doing more in the future.
An odd-ball project was a Space 1999 Comlock.
All of which means that the list of uncompleted projects from this time last year hasn't changed much:
- 7mm scale Garratts STILL haven't been out of their boxes
- I found the 3mm scale Class 25 the other day and it hasn't bothered to build itself.
- O gauge "Flying Banana" railcar, still summoning up the courage to re-start that.
- 4mm GWR steam railcar, I know it's one people would like to see finished. Me too.
- The Cravens DMU is probably the first candidate on this list to re-start as it should be fairly simple.
And my Beetle still sits forlornly in the garage stopping it filling up with junk.
All the above is still true. I suppose I can dream that the list might get shorter during the year, but other commitments, combined with my propensity to buy even more projects to sit on the shelf and tempt me means I have a horrible feeling that I'll do the same in 12 months time.
One highlight I should mention is my trip to Canada. I really did it - I really built a model railway and took it across the Atlantic to an exhibition.
I know you all like numbers, so here we go
- 365 posts - one a day. It's been a struggle sometimes, but I stuck to it.
- An average of 360 visitors a day. That's down on last year.
- 214000 page views. Again, up on last year
Anyway, thanks for dropping by and reading this stuff. It is nice to know people do, and even nicer if they comment occasionally.
Let's see what 2019 brings!