Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2018 - Review of the year


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.

Apart from that, however, my personal output has been derisory. From last January, I can copy'n'paste:

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. 

This isn't something I ever thought I'd do, so thanks to all the guys at Rapido Trains for making me get on an aeroplane.

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
The traffic drop is a little worrying, but probably due to there being less coherent projects this year. I always notice numbers rise if I start soldering things together. Maybe it's just the way the world works too. People prefer less reading, more gawping at video or single photos. I could do more video, but the truth is, it's time consuming and so saved for work generally. Making model railway videos quickly becomes a hobby in itself, and not one I really want to get in to to the exclusion of everything else I do.

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!


Bernhard Beck said...

Hi Phil,

I love your writing style and the wide variety of projects you tackle over time. It's a pleasure to follow your blog, even though most of the topics you cover don't apply to my chosen prototype or era (1970's Germany). That's ok.
The regular look outside my "home turf" keeps me on my toes, and the UK perspective gives me another point of view on our hobby and constraints to consider. I liked the cake box layout idea this year, box file mini layouts, or adventures in the pond, or your larger scale experiments, ...

Thank you and Happy New Year from California,

davee52uk said...

Thanks for all the posts in 2018. They are the first thing I read every day

Grahame Every said...

Phil, You keep me sane in the ever-madder world of consumerism which slowly envelops life, even including our cherished hobbies which many of us use to escape from the realities of life. I never miss a post, enjoy your style and will very likely sign up to whatever medium you choose to write in. Long may it continue. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Grahame Every.

Apple Tree said...

Every morning I read your blog over breakfast. It only takes a couple of minutes and is good escapist stuff away from the usually dire news.
So good to see someone make a career out of being an enthusiast for their hobby.
Happy New Year and keep it going.

Nick Brad said...

I wouldn't worry about the daily count dropping, (unless it's a major drop,) I know that i for one have missed out a few times on daily reads, however, I do always go back and read everything, plus i make sure i click the ad links and occasionally also buy stuff from the links to assist with ad revenue, (as small as it may be).

Here's to a fantastic 2019 and hope that you're able to cross at least one of those things off of the list.

Phil Parker said...

Thanks for the kind comments. I better keep on writing stuff then!

Christopher said...

Well done Phil for another year, and thank you for going to the trouble! I know I struggle to produce a monthly blog posting, so I can imagine how much effort and planning it takes to produce something every day.

Have a Happy New Year, keep up the good work, and may you find time to build plenty of stuff!