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IDEAS SOUGHT FOR 'KIDS' LAYOUT
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 Posted: Tue Dec 28th, 2010 07:51 am
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teetrix
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Just a simple thought first: elder children are greater (higher? bigger? larger?) than younger...
So put a simple circle with some tunnels and "cute" scenical work (much animals, a farm, etc) at the base of the layout, and the youngest kids can watch the trains (2-3 different trains). Maybe even behind acrylic glass to avoid touching and destruction. 2-4yo children love to watch the trains and maybe to order which train/wagons/loco will come at next.
Next level (in layout height, children's age and skills): a simple trackplan, maybe an oval with a siding, speeds and stoppings controlled by the 5-8 yo kids - speed and stop settings should be limited for save operation.
3rd level: still continous run, but more sophisticated, maybe a simple schedule (which people uses a train at which time, which goods are transported by which train)
4th level: shunting puzzle etc. for the "big kids" - some stuff for thinking about...
You can make the layout squarish and every age has one side of the square, or find other designs to provide good access for all kids...
I would stuck on H0 as a base too, maybe cheap H0 chassis with robust, selfmade  0n30 shells. And, note, most children know steamers only from museum, heritage etc.. So diesels and railcars are more known and welcome.
Thomas and his friends would be the way to go in the UK (especially for the younger kids), but I don't know how well they are known in the US...

Michael

Last edited on Tue Dec 28th, 2010 08:35 am by teetrix

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 Posted: Tue Dec 28th, 2010 02:11 pm
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W C Greene
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Great info, thanks guys. Let me throw this in also. The "council" that runs the local train shows doles out space like Mr Scrooge gives out commendations...they are very protective of their "station" and discussions would need to happen before anything could be finalized. Now, there is a "John Allen Timesaver" module which has been used for the last 10 years at the shows. Many of the "adults" gripe that "kids" are hogging the thing while they are not allowed to use the timesaver for their more lofty purposes. See where this is going? The Lionel guys have a piece of track with plexiglass barriers that is low so kids can watch the trains whiz by. Sounds like real fun, don't it? I have not seen any tables set up for kids to build stuff, again, the overlords don't allow space for that. Funny how the IPMS (plastic modelers show) finds space for kids to build models but the NMRA and such don't have anything like that here. Now that I have your "attention", those are the big "sticking points"...not that the Outlaws don't want to do this, it is what can they do-realizing the constraints- to make this a reality? I have suggested that the Outlaws omit some modules in their plan to allow some space for this proposed layout, I am waiting to see how that plays out. If I was the big cheese, I would do that and then watch the "council" get hot when the group brings in this layout and puts it in the space made available by less On30 layout. They would get upset but what could they do?

Maybe this changes the game plan a little, just thought I would inform all as to what could be the real "issue" with this project...a bunch of protective old men who want things to be the way it has been for...for...forever!

                                       Woodie-against "organized" activities



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 Posted: Tue Dec 28th, 2010 05:40 pm
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Huw Griffiths
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Woodie,

I don't like this state of affairs - unfortunately, it's one that a number of people might recognise (hopefully, most won't). To me, this really sounds like a case of: "Rules are there for the obedience of fools - and the guidance of wise men."

(In case anyone finds this last comment offensive, I should point out that, in Anglo-Saxon, a "man" actually means a "grown-up" human.)

PC disclaimer out of the way, the "rules" clearly aren't a lot of help here - perhaps it might be worth seeing if there's any way of changing (or avoiding) the rules.

 
As I live in the UK, I don't know how clubs are run where you are. I hope you don't mind if I throw around a few thoughts (which may or may not be workable).

I've heard of clubs exhibiting at events with (in theory) nothing to do with model making (town festivals etc). Some events are organised to raise funds for good causes (but also raise the profile of the outfits who get involved). If there's anything like this where you are, it might provide a slot for young people's layouts.

Failing that, you're probably looking at model (and hobby) related shows.

 
I've mentioned about shows to raise funds for good causes. Some UK model shops organise their own mini-shows (or invite local clubs to do this, on their behalf). Usually, this would be in their shops, or in an indoor area that they open onto. Other shops run free shows, just to let people know they exist (and advertise local clubs). I don't know if there's anything like this where you are.

I don't know whether the Outlaws have a club room. If so, perhaps an open day might be in order - or a fundraising show, in conjunction with other clubs in the area. I don't know if this would be feasible - but, as well as allowing more control over what gets shown, it might offer a way of generating goodwill and fostering links with other clubs in the area.

You mention about IPMS encouraging young people to have a go. I don't know if they have a local chapter - or if any of the Outlaws have links with them. I also don't know if they have any "special interest groups" dealing in railway modelling - (if not, why not - last time I checked, most RTR model trains had plastic bodies - which a lot of modellers modify using plastic) or if it might be feasible to get a SIG started - this might offer some leverage.

I like your idea of "removing" parts of your existing exhibition layout, to make space for something for younger modellers. Another possibility might be to encourage some young people to build a new layout, for young people - and have this as the Outlaws' contribution to the local show.

Either that, or (numbers and appropriate adult supervision permitting) encourage the formation of a new "club within a club" - and encourage some particularly articulate teenagers in the club to be involved in negotiations for their own display area at the show. This might give some young people the chance to offer "a bunch of protective old men" the opportunity to help protect the future of the hobby. Do these guys really want "things to be the way they have been" -  with no new blood - and existing blood (and local interest) going the way of the dodo? Sooner or later, they'll need to answer this question.

I'd guess that some people might want this to be sooner, rather than later. Who decides who actually sits on the show organising committee - is it a group of clubs (in which case, might there be scope for a few clubs to talk)? 

I could just imagine an articulate teenager gently making their views known: "Some people are happy with status quo. I want a revolution - NOW!!"

Here's another thought - probably just as crazy as the rest, but who cares? Are there any complaints that the timesaver is getting a bit long in the tooth? Perhaps a few teenagers might offer to build a replacement switching layout (with help, if needed) - it doesn't even have to be a timesaver. Of course, somebody would need to test it - and they might need some help (from their peers). It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it - I wonder who that might be ... ?


I don't know what sort of presence the Outlaws have on the internet - but I wonder if a young people's area of a club website might help with generating publicity and interest (and, of course, showing what young people in the club are achieving, despite the best / worst efforts of the show organising cartel). As far as I'm concerned, there's no question about it: young people are the future of any hobby - assuming, of course that they actually get the chance to be part of this future.

I've got no problem about building bridges - but, if some guys are building barriers, perhaps it might be time to get into the demolition business.

 
OK, that's my rant over. I hope I haven't caused any offence (I certainly didn't set out to). I used to work in Higher Education - which is all about encouraging the next generation to learn and achieve - I'd like them to get the chance. This is why I feel so strongly about this issue.

 
All the best with your endeavours,

Huw.

Last edited on Tue Dec 28th, 2010 06:01 pm by Huw Griffiths

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 Posted: Tue Dec 28th, 2010 07:55 pm
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W C Greene
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Huw-maybe a little background is needed. Way back around 2002 or so, some fellows got together at a since closed hobby shop and decided to build On30 modules just to have fun and run trains. No dues, no organization, no club...just that the modules had to be 48" above the floor and the mainline track is 6" from the finished front edge. That's it! Things got going, all agreed that we could have fun just setting up some kind of free form layout and having a blast. Then someone suggested that we could "show off" at the 2 local train shows...alright..or so "we" thought. Since this wasn't a club and nobody wanted to rent a clubhouse (in Dallas, rent is through the roof), the Outlaws could "align" themselves with this "North Texas Council of Model Railroad Governers"...no lie-GOVERNERS!. This is the only way to be "in the show" if you are not a club with some type of clubhouse or layout room. The "Council" demanded a 300 dollar "entrance fee" to join their fraternity and be able...at their discretion...to show the Outlaws' work. OK so far. Then the "Council" demanded that the group have "by laws, a president, and a charter"...what? All this crap just to be able to show the layout and run trains? You can't play if you don't pay! The ONLY way the Outlaws could show is to have a "clubhouse" and layout set up and be on the layout tour (more rules there also) if they didn't want to "join" the NTCMRG. By that time, the Outlaws had set up their first layout under the trees in a parking lot and behind the local hobby shop and had a real blast and talked to folks who dropped by to see what was happening. But, the "call of the show" was strong and the Outlaws (minus me) voted to bow down, pay the "Council", get "organized", shape up, fly right, and crawl under the thumb of some real jackasses. By now, you should be able to tell that I have no regard for the "council" nor its' board of pickers and politicos. In return, the Outlaws, along with the other clubs, gets a "cut" of the gate reciepts at the shows...provided that the Outlaws spend time taking tickets, running the timesaver layout, picking up trash, cleaning toilets, and whatever the "Council" deems necessary. The money? Last year, each of the Outlaws got $47.50 if they were at the show and behaved well with the "duties as assigned".

I don't care about any payment to show my trains, and I surely wouldn't knuckle under to the nitwits who run the shows. Be aware that these are the ONLY 2 shows in the Dallas area besides the Lockheed-Martin show (they have a large layout) and a one day NMRA local division show that attracts maybe 30 visitors. The Outlaws are stuck now and have settled into this "groove". There are other shows in Texas and shows like the National NG Convention which welcome the group and appreciate their work, but the local shows are the "property" of this "Council". I have been informed that the "Council" has the LAST WORD on this subject and it is not in favor of a kid's layout. Unless the folks who want to show the kids' layout PAY UP AND LAY DOWN. So, you see what I (the Outlaws probably won't back me on any of this) am up against.

So, after all the great suggestions and helpful advice on this, it looks to be a dead issue before it was ever born. Maybe something will change but as for now it looks kind of dim for this project. What a shame that something like this could be shot down by some old farts who think they know how things are and will not budge even for a great cause.

I will probably get shot for these comments, but I have been kicked before by better mules.

                                     Woodie



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 Posted: Tue Dec 28th, 2010 08:45 pm
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Herb Kephart
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Build a new timesaver for the kids, and put it on the nearest public property that will let the public see it as they enter the show. Print up some sheets with your reasons you are not inside, and hand them out, also put one under the wiper of any car in the parking lot.

That's how a real troublemaker would handle it!

Herbacide  :old dude:



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 Posted: Tue Dec 28th, 2010 09:11 pm
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Huw Griffiths
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Herb Kephart wrote: That's how a real troublemaker would handle it!

... or somebody who doesn't put up with the real troublemakers.


A few years ago, someone in a UK city had been stitched up by a shop. They also refused to speak to him - answer his phone calls and mail - stuff like that.

I can't remember the details, but the guy made sure the locals did. He got an old scrapper of a van and parked it outside the shop, complete with painted-on rats and details of his (legitimate) grudge against the shop. I think photos also appeared in a local newspaper. It didn't take long for the shop to come to their senses.


Returning to the exhibitions, I know I wouldn't choose to align myself with anyone who'd expect me to jump through those hoops. Pulling my weight is one thing - being micromanaged in my own time, for no reason and by people I pay money to, is quite another. ("No taxation without representation" - and all that.)

Railway modelling is supposed to be a hobby - a leisure activity. The moment it ceases to be that would probably also be the moment I look for a new hobby.

When I was in school, playground bullies made my life hell.

I'm now a bit older (actually in my mid 40s), so I haven't had to put up with them for years - and I don't see why anyone else should.

 
Changing the subject, I'm glad that shows elsewhere (like the National NG Convention) treat you guys with some respect. It's just a shame about the local position. I know where I'd be exhibiting (OK - I'm not in a position to exhibit - but you know what I mean).


Regards,

Huw.



Last edited on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 12:44 am by Huw Griffiths

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 Posted: Wed Dec 29th, 2010 12:47 am
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W C Greene
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Huw-all I can say is that everyone is welcome to visit me & Muj anytime and check out out our layouts...except the ultra maroons who think they run things. One more bite...years ago, the "Council" guys called me up about being on the layout tour with my On20 Mogollon Railway. Well, I lived in a small house and the layout could only handle maybe 2 or 3 visitors at a time. I told the big shots that and they told me that I HAD BETTER MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO ALLOW MORE VISITORS! They were telling me what to do. I told the gent who called me to kiss off and he then told me that I would never be accepted on any tour again. You know, I haven't missed the honor at all. That probably started the whole hate affair I have had with this group, wait till they want to tour the new layout, Muj will be in the yard with his pistol...waiting...

Now, back to work...we have trains to run.

                       Woodie



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 Posted: Wed Dec 29th, 2010 11:08 am
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Run Down And Poor Lumber Company
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Woodie,

This is total "CRAP" !!! and that saying it lightly I don't blame you for not bowing down to these fools. And that why I don't belong to any clubs now !!!! And don't get me wrong there are some really nice one out there. But it's not for me !!! Short story, I once visited a "G " scale club layout here in Denver and thought Cool!!! great group of guys nice layout I might want to join this club. But the main A-wipe who started the club and own the building the layout was housed in was the "BIGGEST PRICK" When I had ask a question about something on the layout, He started talking down to me as if I was someone who had just gotten his first train set for Christmas. "Dude" I have been modeling for over 20 years and published 3 times. Who the hell do you think your talking too. (It's crap like that I won't put up with)

Woodie sorry for ranting !!!! But stand your ground !! This is the kind of junk that's killing this dying hobby and these people need to removed.


Ronnie D.:Salute:

 



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 Posted: Wed Dec 29th, 2010 11:08 am
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Run Down And Poor Lumber Company
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Give Hell Woodie !!!

Last edited on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 11:10 am by Run Down And Poor Lumber Company



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 Posted: Wed Dec 29th, 2010 08:34 pm
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danpickard
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I'm sorry to hear of some of the dificulties and restraints that go into trying to add and promote the hobby in your neck of the woods Woodie.  You would think that provided the layout you wanted to display was safe, it should atleast go into consideration.

Exhibiting is certainly different here downunder then.  I don't belong to any club, mainly because of work and family commitments, I can't dedicate that club time, but also because there really aren't any local clubs that have modelling interests that match mine.  Despite being in no club, I still exhibit frequently, with minimal fuss.  Submit an expression of interest to show something, and most of the exhibition organisers here (usually the various train clubs hosting their own exhibitions, we have about 10/year) are normally keen to have something new or different for the show.  There is maybe one or two clubs that insist on showing the same tired looking layouts over and over, which I think is disrespectful in a way to the paying public (I'd want to see something different each year, otherwise I'd stop coming back).  The only club I really belong too is NMRA, and thats mainly for the insurance cover that comes with the membership.  If I didn't do public exhibitions, I doubt I would be in the NMRA. 

The layouts we have at shows here vary widely, from large club efforts, down to small individual efforts, anything from a 40' monster, to a 6x4 table top loop.  The standards vary even more...finescale stuff, lego loops, collectable tin plate displays, the Thomas kids u-drive (normally always has a line up), diorama and scratchbuilders displays, under construction displays etc...the point is, a wide cross section of interests are normally met.  The organisers often try to get a bit of model variety as well, so far as layouts depicting US, UK, European and Aussie operations.  On most times, there would be something displayed to interest the die hard railfans, to the young (or older) just getting interested, how could see a fairly simple layout that they might try to do for themselves. 

Back to the original topic of the thread though, its good that there is atleast thought towards attracting and encouraging new members of our hobby.  I reckon most things that encourage kids to do more than sit for hours getting early onset RSI playing hours on end of the latest video games, are good.  Trains can encourage creative skills, technical skills, research skills etc and also be fun.  So Thomas running around in a circle is a long way from a prototypical railway model, but you gotta start somewhere.

Dan Pickard

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